Irwindale Speedway likely to be demolished for outlet mall: City officials Wednesday will likely approve plans to demolish the iconic Irwindale Speedway to pave way for a 700,000-square-foot outlet mall. City Council will hold a public hearing about the project at a meeting where officials are also expected to approve a development agreement with Irwindale Outlets Partners, LLC, change the site’s zoning code to commercial and certify the final Environmental Impact Report. The Irwindale Outlet Center project, which includes design plans for an outdoor shopping center, entertainment stage, a central plaza and dining courtyard, is expected to generate thousands of jobs and bring a new heartbeat to the community. The 63-acre site, bordered by the San Gabriel Valley Freeway and Live Oak Avenue, has changed uses several times since the 1960s, when it was a quarry, mined for sand and gravel by Pacific Rock. When the mining operation ended in the mid ’70s, it was converted into a 200-foot deep landfill of mainly construction waste for nearly 20 years. It later became home to the Irwindale Speedway in 1999. When Irwindale Outlet Partners, LLC purchased the property for $22 million in September 2013, the owner extended the lease with 211 Enterprises, which operates the Irwindale Event Center, on a year-by-year basis.(Pasadena Star News)(3-24-2015)
Texas World Speedway set to be closed for housing development: College Station and Bryan is growing everyday with more than 200,000 people living in the area... and counting. Texas World Speedway will shutdown in mid-June to make way for a multi-million dollar housing development. CEO Bill Mather is also the housing developer who will convert the 400 acre speedway into driveways and into what will be known as the "Southern Point" community. The $55 million dollar development will be constructed in five phases to include 1400 homes, a commercial development, nature trails, and space for a new elementary school. The development will be the first municipal utility district, or MUD, in College Station. Developers like Mather will absorb the costs of building the infrastructure, and bonds will be used to reimburse the developers quicker than waiting for the lots to be sold. Mather hopes to break ground shortly after the track closes in mid-June with the first homeowner possibly moving in by the Summer of 2016.(KBTX)(3-18-2015)
Motorsports facilities get tax break: Track operators got the tax break they've been waiting for all year when the U.S. Senate on Tuesday passed a tax extenders package for the remainder of 2014. Included in the extensive list of tax breaks to be continued was a provision that allows motorsports facilities to depreciate new construction over seven years instead of the life of the project, which typically is 25 years or more. The congressional Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the provision will result in an $11 million tax break for motorsports facilities in 2015, a total $32 million from 2015 to 2019 and $33 million from 2015 to 2024. It was part of an estimated $41.6 billion in tax breaks over the next 10 years that were approved by the House of Representatives 378-46 earlier this month and then by the Senate 76-16 (60 votes need for passage) on Tuesday. All that awaits now is the expected signature of President Barack Obama. The provision is similar to those granted to amusement parks, and track operators felt that the same break should apply to their facilities. After arguing the issue with the Internal Revenue Service, the issue became moot when Congress, as part of the Jobs Creation Act of 2004, granted the seven-year depreciation provision for new motorsports construction. The provision covers all motorsports facilities, not just NASCAR facilities.(Sporting News)(12-18-2014)
Texas World Speedway to be replaced by houses: The College Station City (Texas) Council unanimously gave conditional consent to create a new municipal utility district that will replace the Texas World Speedway just outside of College Station. The plan will now go to the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality for its approval, during which time a series of agreements will come before city council to ready services and sync up the development plans with the city’s building standards. The developer is asking for the city to provide water and sewer services to the community. The concept plan for the development will span about 550 acres in College Station’s extra-territorial jurisdiction, and add about 1,400 single-family homes, 27 acres of commercial development, 14 acres for a future College Station school district school and 73 acres of detention and greenways. The Brazos County Appraisal District values that land at $5.4 million, but the projected build out value is $514 million. Three of the public speakers spoke on behalf of the racing community that would miss the track. Mayor Pro Tem Karl Mooney said the speedway just hasn’t been able to keep up with the times.(The Eagle)(4-2-2014)
Race Track tax break to expire: Every year, there are a raft of "temporary" tax breaks, credits, and deductions that expire on Dec. 31. Lawmakers usually plan on extending them. But they don't always get to it on time. This year, Congress let about 55 different tax breaks expire on Dec. 31. In theory, Congress could still extend these (retroactively) for 2014. One such tax break was: A tax break to help NASCAR build racetracks. This tax break allowed anyone who builds a racetrack to receive a small tax benefit through accelerated depreciation. (It was called the "NASCAR loophole," but it doesn't just help NASCAR.) Supporters claimed the break is necessary so that NASCAR can compete on a level playing field with other theme parks. But it's gone now, unless Congress decides to extend. Cost to extend: About $50 million per year.(in part from the Washington Post)(1-3-2014)
Humpy Wheeler's Brainchild, Speedway Benefits, Translates into Millions for Potential Sponsors: In just 45 business days, a unique idea that could save many of the nation's grassroots racetracks was born, and the results have been sensational. The idea was created by NASCAR legend Humpy Wheeler and his son Trip. It was simple: amass as many grassroots racetracks as possible and pool them together to sell advertising and collectively buy the products they use most. Speedway Benefits, LLC has already signed close to 300 tracks translating to an annual attendance of over 12,000,000 fans. Members include many of the top tracks in the nation. See full release at speedwaybenefits.com.(12-14-2013)
Close named interim general manager at Gresham Motorsports Park: Gresham Motorsports Park (GMP) today announced that John Close has been named as the Interim General Manager of the Jefferson, GA motorsports and event complex. Close – a 30-year professional motorsports media and marketing specialist – served as the Communications Director at GMP in 2009-2010. "It's a homecoming of sorts for me," stated Close. "It was a great honor to be associated with GMP when we reopened in 2009. Now, I am very fortunate to again be a part of the team at one of the best and most modern motorsports and event facilities in the United States. For a life-long 'racer' like me, it doesn't get any better than this." According to Track Properties LLC president Jim Gresham, Close's hiring will mark a new direction for the 88-acre Georgia racing and public event complex. "John's wide range of experience at multiple levels of the racing – including an extensive media, marketing and business career in NASCAR - is going to help GMP expand its brand and events both locally and nationally in 2014," stated Gresham. "GMP will be hosting more and a wider variety of races this coming season. There are also several other new community events John and our GMP management team have on the drawing board. We're looking forward to our best season ever."(GMP)(10-24-2013)
In wake of Boston bombings, NASCAR asks teams to be more vigilant: In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombings, NASCAR teams have been warned by the sanctioning body to be on the lookout for errant backpacks and other packages in the garage area. NASCAR called a special, crew chiefs-only meeting Saturday morning at Richmond International Raceway, asking race teams to increase their level of vigilance this weekend at Talladega Superspeedway and beyond. The warning is not believed to be the result of any specific threat against NASCAR or Talladega Superspeedway, but part of a broader focus on safety at major sporting events across the country. "They asked us to keep our eyes open," said one NASCAR crewman, on the condition of anonymity. "They want us to monitor our garage stalls more closely, to make sure there is nothing there that doesn't belong. I didn't get the impression that there was any specific threat," he said. "It was just a request to stay vigilant."(Godfather Motorsports)(4-30-2013)
NASCAR promoter lobbies for tens of millions in tax breaks: International Speedway Corp. and NASCAR promoter just won an extension of a lucrative tax break from the federal government. The company says interest among its most avid fans is at a five-year high. And it has signed a new television deal with Fox Sports valued at more than $2.4 billion over eight years — a 36% jump over its current TV-rights deal. ISC is lobbying the state Legislature for a package of tax breaks that could save it close to $100 million during the next 30 years. ISC says the tax breaks would help persuade it to go forward with a sweeping renovation and expansion of Daytona International Speedway, home of the storied Daytona 500 and other racing events. The company's tentative plans call for everything from the installation of escalators, concourses and wider seats in the grandstand itself to a mixed-use commercial development just across the street. Adding pressure to get a deal done, ISC executives say the amount of money they ultimately decide to invest in the project is directly tied to whether the Legislature gives the company its tax breaks. "It's definitely going to affect whether or not it [the project] gets approved or at what size or scope," said Joie Chitwood III, an ISC vice president and the president of Daytona International Speedway. The legislation (HB 1049, SB 1394) was initially written by ISC lobbyists. It is being sponsored in the Legislature by a pair of Volusia County Republicans: Sen. Dorothy Hukill of Port Orange and Rep. David Santiago of Deltona.(Orlando Sentinel)(3-20-2013)
Military cuts could limit flyovers: The military flyover for Sunday's Daytona 500 may be a rarity at NASCAR events -- and sporting events in general -- moving forward. Military spending cuts of 30 percent have forced the Air Force to trim flying hours by 18%. That will come from air shows, including the Thunderbirds aerobatic flying team that will perform prior to Daytona 500. Daytona International Speedway did not have its traditional flyover for the Rolex 24, Thursday's 150-mile qualifying races, and one is not planned for Saturday's Nationwide Series race. There is a plan in place if automatic budget cuts known as "sequestration" are triggered on March 1 to suspend all Air Force flyovers immediately except for the Thunderbirds, which will be suspended on April 1. "If sequestration kicks in, we'll be looking not to support any future NASCAR races," Wendy Varhegyi, the chief of the engagement division for Air Force public affairs, told ESPN.com. Varhegyi said the suspension of flyovers would include all sports "at least through the end of the fiscal year [Sept. 30]." Luke Air Force was not allowed to provide a flyover for the March 3 Sprint Cup race at Phoenix. Instead, a private company has provided the track a B-17 that is not a part of Air Force inventory. Las Vegas Motor Speedway has an agreement with the Thunderbirds based nearby at Nellis Air Force Base for its March 10 Cup event. But Speedway Motorsports, which hosts 11 other Cup events in addition to the Vegas race, has a "tentative hold" on flyovers. NASCAR officials said they are working with the military and tracks to find a compromise that will allow flyovers to remain at events.(ESPN)(2-23-2013)
Segway to target the NASCAR market: Segway Inc. announced that it's 'Teaming Up For Security' with BCM Solutions, Inc., the motorsports industry's largest security provider. BCM Solutions will deploy Segway Patrollers beginning with the 2013 and 2014 NASCAR and IndyCar race seasons to enhance its overall security efforts. Across all racing series, each season includes nearly 100 races throughout the United States.(Segway)(1-11-2013)
Two California short tracks back in biz: Two paved circle tracks in Southern California should be up and racing by spring, planning to cooperate in order to maximize the chances of success. Irwindale Speedway, now officially to be referred to as The Irwindale Event Center, had no races on its oval tracks in 2012 after the former track operators filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy in February. New operators 211 Entertainment Company were granted a full operational lease on Dec. 14 by property owners Nu-Way Industries. The speedway is all set, physically, to hold races again. Grandstands, garages, parking lots, lights and everything you need to race on the track's half- and third-mile circuits is still in place from the last time cars roared around the ovals in November 2011. Exactly which classes will run is one of the things being sorted out, but expect Late and Super Late model stock cars in addition to other classes "to be determined." The Late Models and Super Late Models will not run every Saturday night, as they had in the past. But there will be some kind of racing or entertainment at Irwindale every Saturday, including events at the facility's 1/8-mile drag strip, which never stopped featuring racing.
Irwindale stock cars will likely alternate Saturday nights with the other soon-to-be-opened half-mile paved oval in Southern California, Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield. Work originally got underway on the all-new Kern County Raceway Park's half-mile D-shaped paved oval in 2006, but the project foundered amid the housing bust. The unfinished track sat dormant for three years from 2007 to 2010 until a new set of investors took over. Now work is nearly finished on the 500-acre facility. The track is paved, and some cars have done test laps on it and the four-story hospitality tower will be done soon. The two facilities had the good sense to realize they were competing for the same racers, fans and sponsors and so they met to see what they could work out. That's where the alternate Saturdays idea came from.
“Our talks also included ideas for co-promotion and cross-promotions of special attractions and events, publishing a unified set of competition rules and classes, as well as considering the idea of establishing a highly trained stock car racing tech inspection team that would serve both tracks,” said Jim Cohan, president and CEO of Irwindale's Team 211 Entertainment. “…with the sort of teams that we have in place, and the sort of support we've been offered from our fans, sponsors, racers, suppliers, and even the sanctioning bodies, we know that we're teamed up and embarking on an exciting new era in motorsports entertainment. We want to invite everyone to come and join us."
While specifics are still to be announced, look for an early April or even late March opening date.(AutoWeek)(12-30-2012)
Michael Waltrip Racing invests in auto research center: The opportunity to be part of the racetrack and automotive-research center being built on the site of Cooper Stadium [in Columbus, OH] was just too tempting for NASCAR team owner and driver Michael Waltrip to pass up. Waltrip announced that he and his racing team will be investors in the Sports Pavilion & Automotive Research Complex, or SPARC, being developed on the stadium site. "He had me from racetrack," the two-time Daytona 500 winner said of his initial discussions with Bill Schottenstein, principal of Arshot Investment Corp., developer of the complex. "Having my hands on designing and helping to build a racetrack is very exciting." Waltrip and Schottenstein both declined to say how much the team invested. The SPARC complex will include a half-mile racetrack with 8,500 seats, a 50,000-square-foot office building for the research center, 1,900 parking spaces, a hotel and meeting center, and four or five sites for restaurants or stores along Mound Street. It's unlikely, but possible an actual NASCAR race could take place at SPARC, Waltrip said. Waltrip Racing is based in Cornelius, N.C., and will use SPARC as a satellite operation and test center. Most tracks of the quality of SPARC, Waltrip said, are already connected to an existing NASCAR race, which means teams can't test their cars there. Cooper Stadium closed in 2008, and one of the goals of the new project is to spark the revitalization of the Franklinton area just west of Downtown.(Columbus Dispatch)(12-5-2012)
Another new track in 2013 - Greenville Pickens; possibly heat races? NASCAR tentatively plans to add Eldora Speedway in Ohio and Greenville-Pickens Speedway in South Carolina to the Truck Series schedule in 2013, NASCAR officials confirmed on Friday. The series is looking to move to Myrtle Beach Speedway in South Carolina in 2014. NASCAR executive Steve O'Donnell said on Saturday that experts from the University of Nebraska that developed the SAFER barriers used at all tracks in the top three series are scheduled to visit Eldora Speedway after Thanksgiving. O'Donnell said that if plans to design a barrier that can be anchored to dirt is financially feasible for track owner Tony Stewart, the series will schedule a race at the half-mile track next season. It will be the first time NASCAR has scheduled a race on dirt since 1970. O'Donnell said Nebraska officials already have visited Greenville-Pickens Speedway, a half-mile paved track in South Carolina, and plans are moving forward to add barriers. O'Donnell also said NASCAR is considering heat races in the Truck Series, another way for the sport to get back to its roots. O'Donnell said the Truck schedule should be released in the next week or two.(ESPN.com.)(11-17-2012)
Battle underway to save Nazareth Speedway: All over the United States, you can find historic but shuttered tracks, locales which once hosted all-out assaults of speed and sound but now sit abandoned, often gone to seed. Each of these tracks has its own hardy band of defenders and advocates who hope they can entice racing to return. Nazareth Speedway in Pennsylvania never hosted a Sprint Cup-level race, but did host lower series races (and IndyCar races) until 2004. Familiar names like Matt Kenseth, Dan Wheldon, Helio Castroneves and Greg Biffle notched Nationwide wins there; Martin Truex Jr. won the last race there in May 2004. The track is owned by ISC, but its role in the Northeast has been usurped by fellow ISC track Watkins Glen. Shoot, even the grandstands from Nazareth Speedway were removed and shipped over to Watkins Glen. For more about the speedway preservation effort, visit their Facebook page.(Yahoo Sports)(7-25-2012)
Childress may buy Bowman Gray Stadium: Winston-Salem State University's effort to buy Bowman Gray Stadium from the city was snuffed out Thursday when state lawmakers killed the university's request for permission to borrow $7.5 million to buy the stadium. The legislative move – sponsored by Sen. Don East, R-Surry, and pushed by Winston-Salem entrepreneur Harold Day – opens the door wider to another potential bidder: Richard Childress, the NASCAR icon from Winston-Salem who sold peanuts as a child at Bowman Gray and started his racing career there in the 1950s. Bill Patterson, an executive vice president at Richard Childress Racing, met with Martha Wheelock, an assistant city manager, recently to talk about costs related to the stadium, he said. Bowman Gray has sentimental value for Childress. It's a landmark stock-car racing stadium and more could be done with it, Patterson said, though he declined to provide further information about what else could be done. "We do have an interest in it," he said.(full story at the Winston Salem Journal)(6-15-2012)
Nu-Way Industries back in control of Irwindale Speedway : The first hurdle for racing to return to Irwindale Speedway has been cleared. Track owner Nu-Way Industries, Inc. has regained control of the track, considered by many the best short track in America, after a decision in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. Jason Rund, the Chapter 7 trustee for Irwindale Speedway, LLC, ended the 33-year lease late last week. That frees Nu-Way to determine what it will do with the property, which includes state-of-the-art half- and third-mile gradually banked ovals and an eighth-mile drag strip. The lease was to expire on July 9, 2029. L.A. Racing, which operates a racing school on the property and is not affiliated with Irwindale Speedway, LLC, has continued running its classes and programs since track general manager Bob DeFazio filed bankruptcy papers on Feb. 13. "We're just trying to feel our way through," Nu-Way's Jay Garrett said. "We weren't able to do too much because the property was tied up with the bankruptcy. We can go ahead now." Garrett said that the pair have received hundreds of phone calls from parties interested in buying the property or entering into a new lease. "(Racing) will take a little longer to get re-geared back up," Garrett said. "But there are a couple of leading candidates. We'll have to see what it has to take to put it together."(more info at the Pasadena Star News)(3-23-2012)
Daytona International Speedway to add short track races in 2013: There will be no gap in the 2013 Speedweeks stock-car schedule. Beginning next year, Daytona International Speedway's "dark days," or the Monday and Tuesday before the Daytona 500, will be filled with a mega national event on a short track carved from the backstretch area fronting the Lund Grandstands. "When I think about adding a short track event here, it's just an opportunity to connect with that local racer supporting NASCAR," Speedway president Joie Chitwood III said. "Thinking about them, getting the chance to run at the World Center of Racing, it felt like the right thing to do. Whether it's a hobby or profession, everybody should have the chance to race at Daytona." The lineup includes drivers from NASCAR's K&N Pro Series East and West; Whelen Modified Tour North and South; and NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Division I, or weekly track. While all the details are not known -- the official announcement is Friday -- The News-Journal has learned Daytona will create a defined, 0.4-mile, flat oval using the newly paved racetrack and skid pad surfaces. Removable concrete barriers will be used to identify the short track course. The two-day racing program will run under the lights. Any K&N or Whelen race winner throughout the 2012 season will get an automatic ticket to Daytona's event. NASCAR's top 10 weekly track drivers (the Whelan All-American Series) will also get a Daytona invitation. In addition NASCAR champions from Canada, Mexico and Europe will receive invites to this inaugural short track competition.(Daytona Beach News Journal)(2-16-2012)
Irwindale group files for bankruptcy: Irwindale Speedway LLC, the management group that runs the track, filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy on Monday, the same day track management canceled the 2012 racing season. In the paperwork filed at the United States Bankruptcy Court, Central District, it shows that Irwindale Speedway LLC owes creditors $331,773.11. The largest amount is $150,000 owed on a personal-injury claim. Irwindale Speedway LLC owes Nu-Way Industries Inc., the company that owns the property where the track and offices are built, $55,000 in rent. Irwindale Speedway LLC has two more outstanding personal injury claims with unknown values. There is also a debt of $8,093.51 owed to the city of Irwindale Police Department, $16,379.58 owed to the Golden State Water Company and $1,437.50 owed to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune for advertising. Irwindale Speedway vice president and general manager Bob DeFazio did not return a phone message. There are four buildings on the Irwindale Speedway property owned by Nu-Way Industries valued at an estimated $31 million, according to documents obtained from the Los Angeles County Treasurer and Tax Collector.(full story at ESPN LA)(2-16-2012)
Irwindale Speedway closing? UPDATE: On Saturday, workers appeared to be closing down the Irwindale Speedway facility, which has had the biggest NASCAR short track races on the West Coast for more than a decade. Workers were dismantling the pit grandstand, which is adjacent to the first turn. They were also taking apart storage areas. The large billboard bordering the San Gabriel Valley River Freeway was not lit up for the first time in its history, barring power outages, and the track's web site was taken off the Internet. "They went out of business," said a prominent Irwindale racer who did not want to be identified. Vice president and general manager Bob DeFazio and some staff members were in the locked administration building Saturday morning, a moving truck backed up to the office's side entrance and a moving box stacked outside. DeFazio, through track operations director Bob Klein, refused to comment. Klein would only say an announcement would be made Monday. Efforts to reach DeFazio were unsuccessful. The track's eighth-mile facility remained intact on Saturday, but according to a source, workers were given a final paycheck after last Thursday's regular street legal session. The elimination of the pit grandstand is significant because teams usually put their crews in those seats so that if there is a problem on the track, they could quickly get to their pit stall and fix the car and get it racing again. L.A. Racing, a school not owned by Irwindale Speedway LLC, the consortium of owners led by Jim Williams, has 12 schools planned within the next month. "They have not said a word," L.A. Racing's Ozzie Blackwell said. "We have no idea. We're assuming it's a go. We've been told it's a go." If only the racing operation is closed, the track could still be used for filming commercials, movies and television shows, an endeavor that has been very successful. Many racing commercials, with the likes of 1969 Indianapolis 500 champion and 1978 Formula One champion Mario Andretti and three-time NASCAR Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart, have been shot at the facility. Recently a Hyundai commercial viewed during the Super Bowl was shot. That shoot took three nights. Rumors have swirled for months about new ownership. Lucas Oil Products and Tony Stewart, who owns tracks including famed Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, were rumored to be interested in buying the facility.(in part from the Los Angeles Daily News)(2-13-2012)
UPDATE: Toyota Speedway at Irwindale, once hailed as perhaps the best short track for minor-league NASCAR racing, said Monday it has canceled its 2012 season. Amid speculation that the half-mile speedway might be closed or sold in the face of dwindling crowds, its management issued a one-sentence statement announcing the cancellation and providing no other details. Track officials could not immediately be reached to elaborate, but the speedway's website also had been taken down.(Loa Angeles Times)(2-13-2013)
Nominations for Promoters of the Year: Readers of Racing Promotion Monthly this year selected three first-time and three repeat nominees as Regional Auto Racing Promoters of the Year. They came from among 87 different short tracks in 33 states receiving votes. The nominees’ experience ranges from six years to over 30 years. For the first time in the history of the award, all the regional nominees operate dirt tracks. One is affiliated with UMP for weekly racing, one with ASA, one with IMCA, one with WISSOTA, and two operate independently. All the nominated tracks are 1/3-mile or shorter.
The nominees are: Region One, the Eastern Region, Andrew Harpell, Five-Mile Point (NY) Speedway; Region Two, the Southeastern Region, James “Redd” Griffin, Screven (GA) Motor Speedway; Region Three, the Central Region, Bob Sargent, Macon (IL) and Paducah (KY) Speedways; Region Four, the Northern Region, Wayne Anderson, Don & Linus Mack, and Darren Evavold, River Cities (ND) Speedway; Region Five, the Great Plains Region, Roger Hadan, Eagle (NE) Raceway; and the Rocky Mountain West Region, Steve Beitler, Skagit (WA) Speedway. Harpell received his third consecutive nomination, and Sargent his second, following a Prior 2002 nomination and Beitler his second nomination. The Griffin, Hadan, and the Grand Forks quartet are first time nominees. The Auto Racing Promoter of the Year ballot will soon reach promoters. The Thirty-Sixth ARPY will be revealed during the Thirty-Ninth Annual RPM Speedweek National Workshop at the Plaza Resort & Spa, Daytona Beach, FL; February 20, 2012.
The Auto Racing Promoter of the Year is short track racing’s most prestigious award. It is awarded each year after voting by promoters. The award was originated in 1976 by the editors of Racing Promotion Monthly. Voting is conducted in two phases: a preliminary ballot in the newsletter nominates candidates in six regions. The six candidates become Regional Promoters of the Year and then appear on a second ballot for final voting. The Queensland family, Deer Creek (MN) Speedway, received the award last year.(Racing Promotion Monthly)(1-2-2012)
Crawford takes reigns at Mobile International Speedway: UPDATE more info: NASCAR driver Rick Crawford has entered into a multi-year agreement to manage and promote Mobile International Speedway. Crawford's career began at MIS racing for owner's Lee and Ida Fields and has now come full circle with his return to the Speedway. "I am truly humbled that Ida Fields has chosen me to takeover her and Lee's baby. Growing up, I thought winning at Daytona was just a dream and that dream came true, today another dream has become a reality," said Crawford. "We've got a lot of work to do and I hope our fans and our racers will be patient with us as we get started." Ida Fields added the following: "I had a great partner in Lee and we were able to build the track into something special. I see a lot of Lee in Rick and Lee would be so proud that Rick has come back to Mobile International Speedway." Crawford's management team is in place as of today and are in the process of preparing for the Speedway's Annual Swap Meet this Saturday [March 19th] as well as the Miller Lite Super Late Model series season opener on March 26th. Known as the fastest half mile in Alabama, Mobile International Speedway hosts racing every other Saturday night. Six different classes of cars compete at MIS; Island Motors II Bombers, Bob's Speed Shop Sportsman, Praytor Realty Super Stocks, Alabama Pipe and Supply Modifieds, Midwest Cooling Towers Pro-Late Models and Miller Lite Super Late Models. The Winged Sprint cars are set to make a special appearance on July 9th. Rick Crawford Performance, L.L.C. is based out of Concord, North Carolina Rick Crawford Performance provides promotions, entertainment and racing performance consulting services from local racing to NASCAR. Currently, Rick Crawford Performance has an ARCA team, two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series and a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series team in it's North Carolina facility.(Rick Crawford Performance PR)(3-15-2011)
UPDATE: Formal announcement was made at a luncheon at a local Mobile, Alabama restaurant today. Mobile International Speedway, has now become a Rick Crawford Performance Track. Crawford has a three-year agreement to run the Speedway, with an option for three more years, with the track's owner, Ida Fields. Crawford said that he would like to see Mobile International Speedway become a "full-blown entertainment facility" with outdoor summer concerts, defensive driving classes for kids and eventually something along the lines of the "Snowball Derby" at Mobile International Speedway. Crawford also said that he's not done racing yet; and hopes to run a few more truck races this year. He would like to run Talladega, possibly others if able to pick up a ride in a good truck. Crawford ended his remarks by saying that he's driven race cars all over the United States, but is glad to call Mobile home.(3-15-2011)
Tax-cut legislation includes benefits for NASCAR Tracks: A host of industries, from Caribbean distilleries to Hollywood producers, would gain billions in tax breaks and other subsidies under compromise tax-cut legislation now moving its way through Congress. The $858 billion package approved by the Senate is focused primarily on continuing the Bush administration tax cuts for two years, extending unemployment benefits and other large-scale expenditures. But buried inside the legislation are more than $55 billion in other giveaways and tax reductions for some of Washington's most influential industry groups. Owners of NASCAR tracks and other motor-sports facilities would benefit from two more years of a tax policy making it cheaper for them to fund capital projects. Estimated cost to taxpayers: $40 million. The motor-sports provision stems from an ongoing dispute between racetrack owners and the Internal Revenue Service, which concluded that racing facilities should be subject to longer depreciation schedules - thus decreasing tax benefits for owners. The motor-sports industry, including the popular NASCAR series, argues that a shorter, seven-year depreciation schedule used by amusement parks and similar facilities should apply instead. Congress has periodically approved the accelerated depreciation schedule since 2004; the tax-cuts bill would extend the provision again through 2011. The main beneficiaries of the provision would be large track owners such as International Speedway Corp. and Speedway Motorsports. But other racing organizations also support the change. "For us to be able to run our events at the track, you have to have quality facilities," said Ramsey Poston, managing director of corporate communications at NASCAR. "Being able to provide the track owners the opportunity to invest more in their tracks and make them better and safer is important for us and our fans."(in part from the Washingtom Post)(12-18-2010)
Racers Reunion – Occoneechee – Orange Speedway: On Friday and Saturday August 27th and 28th – The Historic Speedway Group will host the Fourth Annual Celebration of the Automobile Car Show & Racers Reunion. The Occoneechee-Orange Speedway is the only surviving dirt race track from NASCAR's inaugural season in 1948. Racers Reunion will feature guest appearances by prominent NASCAR drivers and Car Owners as well as celebrities of the racing fraternity. including:
*Cotton Owens – “King of the Modifieds” - famed racing driver and car owner of Junior Johnson, David Pearson – Grand National Championship, 1966
*Hoss Ellington – famous NASCAR racer & team owner (Donnie Allison & A.J. Foyt)
*Rex White – NASCAR Champion, 1960, Most popular Driver & Driver of the year (1960) and winner, Dixie 400 in 1962 at Atlanta Motor Speedway
*Marvin Panch – Superspeedway Winner, Daytona 500, Atlanta 500 & World 600 (Charlotte)
The history of the Occoneechee Speedway will be the primary focus on the event, and all in attendance will be invited to walk the historic .9 mile dirt track and ramble through miles of forested trails along the Eno River. Restoration of the Occoneechee-Orange Speedway includes a recently rebuilt Ticket Office that now houses a valuable collection of historic racing memorabilia. The Mens and Ladies Out Houses, the Flag Stand and a freshly refubished Concession Stand-Press Box provide glimpses of the historic racing era that brought NASCAR to life.
All events taking place during the Racers Reunion will be free and open to the general public - beginning with the Friday night Cruise-In with a Twist at the Shops at Daniel Boone, South Churton Street, Hillsborough. The two day event will be held at the Historic Occoneechee-Orange Speedway, Elizabeth Brady Road/Highway 70-A, Hillsborough, NC. More info at Historic Speedway Group.(8-26-2010)
California tragedies highlight dangers of racing: Safety concerns for both drivers and fans are swirling in California after two tragic accidents over the weekend that killed the driver of a racing big rig and eight spectators of an off-road race in the desert. In Marysville, about 40 miles north of Sacramento, Merle Shepard, the 56-year-old driver of a racing big rig, was killed when he overturned after becoming tangled with another truck. Shepard’s truck had no roll cage, and questions remained whether there should have been one. The racetrack announced it would cancel the rest of its racing season, which was to continue through Oct. 23. A message on the raceway's Facebook page Sunday said that due to the accident, "the track is closed for the rest of 2010." Earlier Sunday, race promoters Paul and Kathy Hawes said the racetrack would permanently close after 46 years. The Haweses said they made their decision to close the track after consulting with track owner Richard Sinnott. However, when reached later in the day Sunday, Sinnott would neither confirm nor deny the course's permanent shutdown.
AND At the California 200 off-road competition in Lucerne Valley, San Bernardino County, an off-road racing pickup went out of control coming off a jump and plowed into a crowd of spectators, killing eight people and injuring 12 others. On Saturday, when 28-year-old Brett M. Sloppy lost control of a modified Ford Ranger during the annual California 200 in Lucerne Valley, near Los Angeles. No barricades separate the track from spectators in the Mojave Desert race track, and the races there are infamous for fans’ ability to get so close to the action that you can literally reach out and touch the trucks as they race by. The California Highway Patrol estimates, Sloppy – who isn’t expected to face any charges in the incident – was going about 45 to 50 miles per hour when he flipped into the crowd.(in part from abcactionnews.com and Appeal-Democrat)(8-17-2010)
Lakewood Speedway Reunion: The third annual Lakewood Speedway Reunion, coming up Saturday, August 7th at the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame, located in the Dawsonville Municipal Complex at 415 HWY 53 E in Dawsonville, Georgia. This year, we plan to honor the Flock Brothers of NASCAR fame, Tim, Bob and Fonty, who were among the winningest drivers of record at Lakewood. Along with the three brothers, we plan to honor the other members of the Flock family that made them a unique group in the annals of Georgia Auto Racing. We're also anticipating a big turnout from the motorcycle community, as several former two-wheel racers have said they plan to come out to the event this year for the first time as we also prepare to induct our first champion motorcycle racer, Ted Edwards, into the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame in October. We're also planning to have a host of vintage dirt track racing motorcycles on hand to pay homage to the two-wheeled history that was written at Lakewood, along with all the four wheel history there.(Georgia Racing Hall of Fame)(7-29-2010)
Kansas race track celebrates 100 years: On July 4, 1910, three cars entered the first auto race held in Belleville, Kan. Auto racing was a relatively new sporting event in 1910, as was the automobile. Those three cars and their drivers that day were part of a much larger sporting contingency … horse racing. The only documentation that has been located about that first auto race in Belleville is buried in a newspaper story featuring the horse racing of July 4, 1910. The Belleville High Banks [a half mile circle dirt track] will hold the Belleville 100 in honor of the race that took place 100 years ago. More info at belleville100.com.(6-29-2010)
Jeff Gordon part of Ohio track plan: Jeff Gordon's name is being linked to a project to turn an old Ohio baseball stadium into a race track, Gordon's stepfather, John Bickford, who's also the vice president and general manager of Jeff Gordon Inc., says Gordon would help design the half-mile track at Cooper Stadium in Columbus, OH. Bickford says the project also could include a school for mechanics school and auto technology center similar to one Gordon is involved with in Charlotte, N.C. The developer says Gordon's company would become a partner in the track, which still requires several approvals. Bickford came to Columbus yesterday to meet with community leaders and residents and gauge their interest. Some residents have been concerned that the track would be too noisy. Gordon's involvement brings credibility to a project that's been discussed for almost two years, said officials who attended the meeting at Cooper Stadium. Gordon is involved in the Joe Hendrick Center for Automotive Technology at Central Piedmont Community College in suburban Charlotte, N.C. A similar program could be created at the Cooper Stadium track, dubbed Cooper Park, Bickford said. Bickford said there's been no decision on whether Gordon's company would directly invest in the track.(Columbus Dispatch)(1-30-2010)
Former Orange Speedway site could become highway: The N.C. Department of Transportation is considering a new road that would bisect the Occoneechee-Orange Speedway, NASCAR's third-ever dirt track. Built in 1948, it's now a natural area that attracts runners, dog-walkers, wild turkeys and dozens of racing preservationists. "This is sacred ground," said Apex resident and racer Gene Hobby, 72, touring the speedway on Wednesday. "DOT better not come through here."
Crossing the track is one of three DOT alternatives for routing traffic from N.C. 86 around downtown Hillsborough. All start near its junction with U.S. 70A and run north to U.S. 70 near St.Mary's Road. Boards oppose options The speedway route would also pass within 100 feet of the historic house at Ayr Mount, a plantation that turns 200 years old in 2015. Another route would knock out about 20 homes, and the third would pave Poplar Ridge overlooking the Eno River. The Hillsborough Town Board and the Orange County Board of Commissioners have opposed all three options. The boards prefer other means of relieving congestion along N.C. 86, the town's main north-south corridor, which passes directly through the quaint downtown. Hillsborough Mayor Tom Stevens calls DOT's alternatives "20th-century solutions for a 21st-century problem."
He wants to improve public transit and create multiple routes around downtown with minor realignments of existing roads. "They've got 100 ways to go around town without coming through here," Hobby said of the speedway. Vince Rhea, a DOT project planning engineer, said the Federal Highway Administration and the N.C. State Historic Preservation Office will scrutinize the speedway crossing because of its impact on the national landmarks. "If you've got another alternative that's feasible and prudent, you're going to have a hard time going through a protected property," he said. "They're not likely to do that." Rhea said the DOT and other state and federal agencies will decide by the end of March whether to proceed with the bypass. Construction would be unlikely to start for at least five years, he said.
Hobby and his partners in the Historic Speedway Group have spent the past two years restoring the track. They've cleared trees that had overgrown the dirt track and rebuilt the ticket booth, flag stand and corrugated metal fence around the grounds. Craig, now the group's president, figures they've spent about $70,000 and thousands of volunteer hours on the project. The Orange Speedway is one of three auto race tracks on the National Register of Historic Places. The others are the Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.(News and Observer)(12-28-2009)
National Speedway Directory Co-Founder Retires: Frost Motorsports, LLC, a financial advisory firm for the motorsports industry, has acquired “National Speedway Directory” from Allan E. Brown. The deal includes Speedwaysonline.com and “The History of America’s Speedways.” Allan E. Brown will remain as a consultant to the publication. He has been associated with National Speedway Directory for over 30 years. Widely recognized as an authoritarian on the history of auto racing, Allan E. Brown has visited over 2,000 auto racing facilities. He has received the RPM Promoters Workshops prestigious “Stew Reamer Award” for lifetime service to the weekly auto racing industry. Frost Motorsports, LLC President Timothy W. Frost said, “National Speedway Directory is a highly respected publication. It is considered as the authoritative source for racing facility information. We are excited to continue the tradition, while exploring opportunities for growth.” National Speedway Directory is an information source for the motorsports industry. It prints listings of oval tracks, dragstrips, road courses, sanctions, publications, museums and race schedules. National Speedway Directory has been published annually since 1975.(PR)(12-16-2009)
U.S. House Votes to Extend NASCAR Track Tax Breaks: Extending temporary tax breaks has become nearly routine for Congress, but pressure is building to review the provisions and perhaps send some to the trash heap. A tax break for NASCAR racetrack facilities has been singled out as suspect by some Democrats on the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. "I questioned it. I have not seen its usefulness," said Rep. Bill Pascrell (D., N.J.). "I thought this would be a good example to get to the bigger question of do these things work anymore?" The NASCAR break, estimated to cost $45 million to extend for one year, is included in the bill passed by the House on Wednesday. It is important to race complex operators including Speedway Motorsports Inc. and International Speedway Corp. The provision allows a quicker, seven-year depreciation schedule for new construction and improvements to racetracks, grandstands, parking lots and other parts of track facilities. It was first enacted in 2004 tax legislation, after track operators argued they deserved similar depreciation treatment as theme-park rides and equipment, rather than the longer amortization periods used by operators of sports stadiums.(Wall Street Journal)(12-14-2009)
Bobby Hamilton Jr. buys race track: Nationwide driver and former Sprint Cup Series driver, Bobby Hamilton Jr. took over Highland Rim Speedway in Greenbrier TN on Wednesday, December 2nd. Hamilton immediately announced that the 2010 season will get underway on March 13th, with a complete schedule to be released soon. Hamilton also stated that he intends to refurbish the aging facility. Hitting the ground running, Hamilton announced 2010 rules meetings beginning Monday, December 7th. Fairgrounds Speedway competitors, now without a home, are invited to attend and race at Highland Rim. Highland Rim Speedway is a 1/3 mile high banked paved oval.(Middle Tennessee Racing Scene)(12-5-2009)
Bruton to build race tracks in the Mid East? Bruton Smith, chairman and CEO of Speedway Motorsports Inc., is in negotiations to build three race tracks in the Middle Eastern country of Qatar. It is not clear yet if Smith and SMI would assist in ownership and/or operation of the facilities, or simply construct them and hand over the keys to the Emir of Qatar and his royal family, but Smith said Friday that he hopes to have all the details worked out soon, perhaps within another week. Smith said he was approached about construction of the tracks by the Emir of Qatar, Sheik Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Thani -- and not the other way around. The Emir was in the international news recently for reportedly offering 400 million euros to purchase the former Elysee Palace Hotel in Paris. The Emir is said to be a great fan of all forms of auto racing, and several of his representatives met late last week with Smith and his associates to put the finishing touches on an agreement to have SMI build the three tracks in Qatar. That didn't quite come to pass, but Smith said the two parties are moving closer toward finalizing everything so construction can begin. Smith said the preliminary plan is to have each track seat no more than 40,000 and that he has been informed the Emir has a unique plan in mind for filling them.(NASCAR.com)(11-7-2009)
Scott Wimmer to purchase speedway: NASCAR driver and Wausau native Scott Wimmer along with Wausau area land developed Ron Wimmer announced their purchase of State Park Speedway. The Speedway, located in the Town of Rib Mountain, just outside of Wausau, WI was put up for sale at the end of the 2009 race season. “State Park Speedway has always been special to me,” says Scott Wimmer, “It’s where I got my start in racing, so to be able to keep SPS as a racetrack and support the racing community that supported me is pretty exciting.” More info at asamidwesttour.com.(11-7-2009)
Dale Jr's name off race track project: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s name has been dropped from the planned $640 million motorsports park off Interstate 65 in Prichard, whose investors now plan to use a new 5-cent sales tax to help develop the complex, according to investors in the project. "Dale is focusing on racing, and his sponsor demands have gone up incredibly," Bill Futterer of PSE-3 and Futterer Partners said Tuesday evening. Futterer's Raleigh, N.C., marketing firm is working on what had been called Alabama Motorsports Park, A Dale Earnhardt Jr. Speedway. "We have agreed not to extend his personal services agreement," Futterer said. Also gone are agreements with Earnhardt's sister, Kelly Earnhardt Elledge, and his race-driver brother, Kerry Earnhardt, Futterer said. He added, "we're not upset, and they are not angry." An effort Tuesday evening to reach Earnhardt through his Hendrick Motorsports race team was unsuccessful. Gulf Coast Entertainment, the group of 30 or so investors in the project, want a name that will fit what they see as a total entertainment complex, not just a race venue, he said. The project includes three tracks — a seven-tenths-mile oval with 75,000 seats, a karting track, and a road course — plus an RV park and basic infrastructure at the 2,400-acre site along Ala. 158. But developers envision their project as a draw for hotels, entertainment and retail venues that others will develop on the property. When fully built out, developers estimate the complex could create 4,800 jobs.(Alabama Live)(8-13-2009)