Yahoo Contributor Network
This article was created on the Yahoo Contributor Network, where users like you are published on Yahoo every day. Learn more »Yahoo Contributor Network
Racing is Losing a Gem in Irwindale – Fan’s Reaction
A beautifully built half-mile speedway, sitting roughly 20 minutes from downtown Los Angeles and only 12 years old, is closing. Irwindale Speedway which was the only paved short track for racing in Southern California has been the area's only connection to regular NASCAR action. But no more.
Although nothing official has been reported, many sources and obvious signs point the way to closure. The giant billboard-like sign that sits off the 605 Freeway is not operating - it was always on. Also, the website for the track is no longer found. Plus, local track teams have been given no schedule yet and usually the season starts in early March.
Besides, it's never a good sign when moving trucks are parked next to the facilities offices. Oh, and the small grandstands off turn one and two were being dismantled this past weekend. And, to put a final nail in the coffin of closure, employees who work for the eighth-mile drag strip were given their final paychecks last week. Reports from the L.A. Times state the track has cancelled the 2012 season - whatever that supposedly means.
So the end of the line seems to have come to one of the best tracks in the land. I remember the first time I went to Irwindale Speedway. The track had only been open a couple of years and I was there for a July 4th event. It was an incredible afternoon and evening with great music blaring whenever there wasn't racing. I saw mostly open wheel cars such as quarter midgets and midgets along with other classes. The midgets were the most fun as they were all over the track with multiple lines. It was a grand time and a grand place.
The track was made perfect with progressive banking and huge turns with short straightaways. There's another smaller track inside for one-third mile racing. There wasn't the normal infield pits as the pit area was actually behind turn one and two. If I remember right, the grandstands which were really all of the seating, held maybe 10,000. I also saw Southwest Tour and Winston West series racing there and most of the time, the stands were filled. The NASCAR Trucks even raced there for a few years if memory serves me. They added drifting and in fact some nicknamed the track the 'House of Drift', but it was never a real savior.
The facility was the cleanest and most modern I had ever been too and truly was even nicer than Fontana which is actually a very comfortable and pleasant track in and of its self. Probably due to the progressive banking, the racing was the best I've ever witnessed … period.
I've been told by friends and business acquaintances that the attendance had dropped over the years. At first it was thought that the Recession was the culprit which it certainly didn't help, but while the economy is not as bad as it was (but bad nonetheless), the attendance just continued to plunge. Some blamed Toyota when they took over as title sponsor but there's no hard evidence to say either way. But now Irwindale will go down as yet another lost race track for Southern California.
One of the finest facilities is no more and although nothing is official - it looks bad for one of the greatest short tracks in the history of racing.
Sources - AutoWeek, Edmonds
Daryle has been involved in motorsports most of his life and has three decades of experience inside racemarketing, plus blogged about every type of racing for several years.
Note: This article was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Sign up here to start publishing your own sports content.