AVONDALE, Ariz. — Confirming the demolition of the 2-mile oval in Fontana, California, has begun, NASCAR president Steve Phelps said the plan remains to replace Auto Club Speedway with a short track.
But details were scant on the specific parameters of the layout and the timeframe for opening a new permanent for NASCAR in Southern California
"I would say that we are still planning on building a short track in Fontana; what the timing of that is, I don't know," Phelps said during his annual end of the season media address Friday at Phoenix Raceway. This isn't the best time to be building based on inflation, the cost of capital, etc. But our intention is to continue to be in the Southern California market. For 2024, it will be at the Coliseum (for The Clash preseason all-star exhibition). It is our intention to build a short track in the Inland Empire."
LAST LAP IN FONTANA: Questions linger about NASCAR’s past, present and future in Southern California
After Auto Club Speedway's final Cup race Feb. 26, details emerged about NASCAR's sale of 433 acres on property for $544 million to a developer. But there seemed no outward progress for months on dismantling the 2-mile oval that opened June 22, 1997, and no further updates were released.
In the past month, images finally emerged on social media of the track's parking lots being razed as most of the site is transformed into a logistics hub with warehouse space.
NASCAR then plans to build a short track on the remaining land. Though San Bernardino County documents indicated the track would be 0.67 miles (and The Athletic’s Jeff Gluck initially reported it would be a half-mile blend of Bristol and Martinsville, Phelps said the shape likely would be a half-mile.
"We've got renderings," Phelps said. "We've got what it looks like. We are ready to go when the time is right."
The Clash at the Los Angeles Coliseum started in 2022 with a three-year contract. When the deal expires next year, it seems likely NASCAR will move the event elsewhere, and it's unclear what that might mean for keeping a presence in Southern California.
"That's a good question that we're not ready to talk about because we're not going to talk about the '25 schedule," Phelps said. "But the Southern California market is important to us.