IRVINGTON, Ala. (WKRG) — Local race fans are excited to hear Mobile International Speedway has a new operator, and there will be racing this year at the half-mile oval in Irvington.

Gina Schild-Knowles has reached a lease purchase agreement with longtime track operator Ida Fields. Schild-Knowles, who is general manager at the Houston Motorsports Park, has plans for four races this year and a full slate of races in 2022. Also on the drawing board are improvements to track infrastructure.

“This track, I like to say, has soul, it has a very old soul to it, a lot of big names started here,” Schild-Knowles said. “It’s an historical spot. Alabama is the center of racing inthe nation basically, in the nation, and this is right in the heart of it.”

“She knows a lot about racing and this race track is like family. All these racers are like a big family and I think she’s going to keep that going,” Former track owner Ida Fields said. “Everybody seems to be excited about her coming and I’m very excited too because I want this to continue.”