Racing will not be held at Spud Speedway in Caribou next season because of financial problems, according to owner Troy Haney, who bought the track from Greg Veinote in 2009.

Racing could return if Haney can lease the track. He wants it to remain a racetrack, but he has decided to relinquish his role as track manager.

Haney just signed a 25-year contract with a cellphone company that will operate a tower on his property. The money he will receive will go toward insuring the track for racing and upkeep, he said.

Spud Speedway includes a third of a mile track and a go-kart track, which will remain open.

Spud Speedway will be the third of Maine’s six major racetracks to face an uncertain future over the past four years.

Wiscasset Raceway, now Wiscasset Speedway, didn’t have racing in 2011 and 2012 after owner Doug White ran into financial difficulties. Richard and Vanessa Jordan bought the track, and racing resumed a year ago.

A few races have been held at Unity Raceway this season but it has been idle for most of the year. Jere Humphrey leased it last year, but he and and owner Ralph Nason parted ways after the season.

Haney said he has invested about $250,000 to improve the facility, and he has lost as much as $40,000-$50,000 in some years.

He said there are a “multitude of reasons” behind the financial losses.

He said the struggling economy, nationally and locally, has limited sponsorship money.

“We’ve had to work harder for a lot less money than other tracks in more populated areas. A major [national] company may give another track $5,000-$10,000 [in sponsorship money] while they give us $500-$1,000 because we don’t have the population,” he said. “There may be a point down the road where the economy improves … maybe some big jobs will come to the base [former Loring Air Force Base in Limestone]. And we will revisit it and re-evaluate it as we go.

“But, for the short term, it definitely doesn’t make sense to keep doing what we’ve been doing,” said Haney.

Another major issue has been the fact that he has had a couple of seasons plagued by bad weather resulting in several rainouts. That takes its toll on crowds and car counts.

He also said the Car Allowance Rebate System, better known as “Cash for Clunkers” that was implemented by the government in 2009 and encouraged drivers to trade in their cars for safer, environmentally cleaner and more fuel-efficient cars, significantly reduced the number of potential race cars. The cars that were traded in were crushed to prevent dealers from trying to resell them.

The clunkers were less expensive to prepare for racing, while the newer cars require more technical savvy and money.

“And the baby boomers who got involved with racing in the 70s, 80s and 90s have different interests now,” said Haney. “The younger generation has a shorter attention span and prefer things like extreme sports that don’t take nearly as long. Attendance at all levels of racing has been dwindling.”

He also feels racers are “extremely competitive” and lose sight of the fact the sport is supposed to be fun. So if racers stop having fun or get disciplined for dangerous driving, they don’t return to the track.

Haney said he will lease the track for $12,000 per year and the terms are negotiable. And if nobody is interested, he will offer it to the drivers.

“They can form a club and create their own set of rules and management [group],” he said.

Another option is to hold a few special events every year such as a Pro All-Stars Series tour weekend, other touring groups or a demolition derby.

Haney said he has tried everything to attract revenue including concerts, monster trucks and fairs.

He said this year has actually been respectable.

The track has averaged 30 cars spread among four classes, and the crowds have averaged 300-400 in the grandstand and 150-200 in the pits per race night.

“It has been better than in the past. The weather has been good. But we’re still going to lose $20,000-$25,000. We’re better, but it’s certainly not where we want to be,” Haney said.

He readily admits that he didn’t buy the track expecting to make money.

“It was always about keeping racing alive in Aroostook County,” said Haney. “I grew up three miles from the racetrack. I’ve been involved in the track all my life.

“Maybe somebody with some fresh ideas can come in [and be successful]. I hope so. I’ve invested nearly half a million dollars in it, so I’m not going to let it fall apart,” said Haney, who owns two businesses in Caribou and also is a vice president for a soil company and is in charge of sales for the western part of the United States, which requires a lot of travel.

After canceling its race card on Sunday, Spud Speedway will conclude its season with its annual Fall Brawl at 2:15 p.m. Saturday.