By Charlene Papasodaro
The Haldimand Press
CAYUGA/HAGERSVILLE—The Canadian Motorsport Hall of Fame announced 15 people are set to be honoured as new members come February. One of those is Cayuga resident Alex Nagy, who is the General Manager of Jukasa Motor Speedway in Hagersville and is to be inducted as a Competitor/Motorsport Builder.
“It was quite a surprise to get the call,” Nagy said. “It’s quite an honour.”
Once the news sunk in, Nagy began to reflect on his past experiences, stating, “You start to think about all the people that helped get you to that point,” including people he learned from and worked with, but “especially family.”
Nagy has spent his life surrounded by racing. “It goes back to my dad,” said Nagy, who grew up watching his father race. “He helped me build my first car.”
Nagy himself joined the industry in 1981 when he started racing stock cars in Flamborough. He even met his wife there, as her father was also a racer.
He moved up and pooled his resources to get into Canada’s national stock car series, the CASCAR Super Series, in 1993. He was a series front runner and even won in New Brunswick in 1998. He raced in the CASCAR series until 1999.
Afterward, Nagy went to work for a company in Tennessee that owned three racetracks. Here he was able to learn and work on the management side of things for three years before returning home to Canada in 2004.
Nagy continued to work in the industry part time, sometimes as crew chief for drivers. This led to him working with Alex Tagliani, one of Canada’s most well-known racecar drivers. Nagy went with Tagliani into IndyCar racing as a spotter and driver coach for three years.
In 2013 Nagy got a call from NASCAR Canada asking him to consider being the director. “That was awesome!” Nagy exclaimed.
This eventually led to him meeting the owners of Jukasa Speedway. “One thing led to another” and Nagy switched to work as the General Manager of Jukasa.
Jukasa is Canada’s largest oval track auto racing facility and is a 5/8-mile paved oval. It was once called the Cayuga Speedway and opened in 1966 as a dirt track in its first year. It shut down in 2009 until it was bought by Ken Hill and Jerry Montour. Nagy said, “It was pretty exciting to be part of the rebuild and design.” Under the management of Nagy, the track has grown to one of the top short tracks in North America. “I’ve been really fortunate to be part of bringing my most favourite racetrack … back to life,” said Nagy. “It’s nice to put it back on the map.”
On his transition from racer to management, Nagy said, “People ask me if I miss the competition side, and I do. But there’s so many challenges on this side.”
He feels his past experiences help tremendously in his current role as he is able to relate to almost everyone involved in the industry. Nagy added that ultimately, “I don’t think you can do anything without passion,” and that’s what has kept him in the racing world his whole life.