NASCAR Aims to Reconfigure Auto Club Speedway into Half-Mile Short Track
In a development first reported by The Athletic, NASCAR has submitted a proposal that would reconfigure 2-mile Auto Club Speedway into a half-mile short track.
NASCAR confirmed the story.
“We are still very early in the process, but we are excited about what this ambitious project could mean for our loyal fans in Southern California,” said Craig Neeb, NASCAR executive vice president and chief innovation officer. “This is our first step towards creating a state-of-the-art facility that would deliver the intense short-track racing our fans love, an intimate viewing experience, and upgraded suites and hospitality areas that would position Auto Club Speedway among the top entertainment venues in the market.”
According to The Athletic, NASCAR submitted a redevelopment plan to San Bernardino County on Tuesday. The short track would feature long straights similar to Martinsville Speedway but high banked corners like Bristol Motor Speedway.
The initial rendering shows the short track using part of the existing frontstretch, which is banked at 11 degrees, diving into the corner. What is now pit road would be reconfigured into the new backstretch.
Victory Lane and the garage area would be outside the racetrack itself.
The only true short tracks to host Cup Series events currently are Martinsville, Bristol and Richmond Raceway.
The redevelopment request would greatly reduce the footprint’s facility on the NASCAR owned property. While no such plans are known, this could allow the remaining land to be sold or leased.
Auto Club Speedway is located in Fontana, California and has had at least one race on the Cup Series schedule since 1997 when Jeff Gordon captured the inaugural checkered flag. Jimmie Johnson has a track record six wins. Alex Bowman won the most recent event there in March.
NASCAR has not provided a development timeline and the process is dependent on local government approval.
NASCAR merged with International Speedway Corporation during the winter. Over the past five years, NASCAR owned tracks have undergone modernization projects starting with Daytona, Richmond, Phoenix and Talladega.
Phoenix will host the NASCAR Cup Series championship weekend for the first time in November.
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