By Antonio Rosetti
After 35 years of ownership by Miley Motorsports, Pittsburgh’s Pennsylvania Motor Speedway has a new owner.
Crafton couple Blair and Tabby Cress have taken the wheel and promise to keep the race day thrills coming.
“We have been working on some family-oriented events, whether it’s vendor shows or different activities that we can bring in for the community,” Blair said. “That’s kind of where we’d like to see it go. Keep the racing going and then add in some more events for the community.”
The Miley family followed in the footsteps of the Garin family, the founders of the North Fayette Township track located at 170 Kelso Road. For 35 years, the Mileys put on events at the race track and in the process, created a tight-knit community between the racers, workers, and the audience who attended the races.
On June 30, 2023, according to the Allegheny County Real Estate Portal, the property changed hands for $2.35 million. In 2016, a proposed sale of the property to a housing developer fell through and racing continued at the site while new ownership was actively searched for.
“We could not be more excited to pass on PPMS to the next generation of family operators who are enthusiastic to keep the track running,” said Miley Motorsports owner, Ben Miley. “This is certainly a bittersweet transition. We’ve been blessed for many years to work with great employees, competitors, fans and friends, and we appreciate the years of support and memories made.”
Blair Cress said that he was looking for a place to move his landscaping company, 20/20 Landscaping and Tree Service LLC, for close to a year before the purchase as his landscaping outgrew the space in the current location in Crafton.
“We stopped by the tracks to watch the races,” Cress said. “We came back the following weekend and then next thing you know, I was on the internet looking for property and the track came up…I started speaking with our realtor over the timeframe, it was six months, and we were able to make things happen. We like the atmosphere. Where it is located is a great spot for my landscaping, so everything just kind of made sense.”
While searching for the new property, the speedway had something that made him commit to purchasing the property. He said he knew that when he saw the property, this was the place he wanted.
“I like the racing atmosphere,” Cress said. “I liked it a lot because obviously, my landscaper tree care business doesn’t need 220 acres. I only need 10 acres. I could have kept looking but the market was pretty tight to move property. This location made sense because the track was a big bonus that I liked. That’s kind of what sold me.”
The transition has been very smooth. Cress said the Mileys have assisted them throughout the entire process.
“I would say we came pretty close with the Mileys,” Cress said. “They are very good people to work with and very helpful in teaching everything that needs to be learned about the business. The track is all staffed and everybody out there seems like they really like what they do and the track atmosphere, so that was a big bonus.”
As for the race schedule, the events will stay the same.
The Mileys continued helping with the scheduled 2023 events and helped the Cress’ through the remainder of the season.
Cress said he is grateful for that, but noticed that it isn’t only the Mileys who have been helpful. He mentioned that the racing community at PPMS is a very close-knit community. He added that he’s had a ton of outreach since buying the speedway.
“A lot of people have reached out for help or advice. I’ve had people from different states reach out to me through Facebook with different ideas, some advice, offering a lending hand. It’s been very welcoming, and very positive,” he said.
Several of the ideas caught his attention, but since he is the father of two daughters, he is focused on one aspect in particular. He said he would like to add more events that will be tailored to children and families, in addition to the regular race schedule.
True to his word, a Trunk or Treat event complete with petting zoo, vendors, tractor rides, race cars and more, was held at the track on Oct. 22. Earlier in the season, kids were invited to race bicycles one night and on another Scouts were invited to attend for free. 20/20 Landscaping and Tree Service LLC should be moved to its new home prior to the start of the next race season.