California's Irwindale Speedway Is Staying Open

Photo credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images
Photo credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images

After being scheduled to close next month to be bulldozed and turned into a mall, California’s Irwindale Speedway isn’t done for after all. Posts on social media said the speedway announced it Thursday night, and a spokesperson from the track confirmed to Jalopnik on Friday that Irwindale will stay open.

The track announced in August that its final date in operation would be Jan. 31, and that the land would become a 700,000-square-foot mall—something that’s been rumored for years. Our Andrew Collins went out there and drifted recently, thinking it would be the last time he’d see the place. That’s a sad realization.

But plans changed somewhere along the way, and while the spokesperson couldn’t give Jalopnik the details what did change, even vague news about a race track staying open is all we can really ask for. After all, who needs more shopping malls? Order it online. Save the short tracks.

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While social posts had the general idea about Irwindale staying open down, don’t believe everything that’s out there about the track right now. Some posts say the track will be open for at least another year, some say the track signed a five-year deal. Some say the deal happened because nothing could be built on the landfill the track is on. (There’s a track on the landfill.)

The track spokesperson said there is no announced timeline in regards to the deal, and that the announcement from the other night was something along the lines of, “Literally 30 minutes ago, a deal was made to keep Irwindale Speedway and drag strip open. More details in the following days.” That was all, he said.

The spokesperson, who’s working on those details, said they will hopefully be out before the start of the new year. He said he’ll keep Jalopnik in the loop, and we’ll update as soon as we know more.

Until then, just know that the House of Drift will stay open. We don’t know for how long, and we don’t know why, but it will. That’s what matters.

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Hat tip to Paulo!

Update, Dec. 30 at 7:40 p.m. Irwindale sent out an announcement that appears to confirm the deal to keep it a race track will be for multiple years, but did not specify how many. From the announcement:

It was announced on Thursday evening that Irwindale Event Center, the home of Irwindale Speedway and Irwindale Drag Strip, will remain open and in full operation under a new multi-year agreement with a group of motorsports enthusiasts led by Tim Huddleston and Justice Brothers and the property owners.

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The announcement ended by saying more details will be available soon.

Staff writer, Jalopnik

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DISCUSSION

These scenarios are becoming all too familiar across the country and while I think it sucks to see tracks vanish, people should look deeper into what’s going on. Irwindale staying open even temporarily is great, don’t get me wrong, but for every Irwindale there are 10 Southampton Speedways.

Folks always blame the economy but in most cases it’s shitty management combined with no support from the public that causes places to shut down. Dominion Raceway in Virginia is a good example. Nicest short track facility on the east coast, two years old, and already struggling thanks to the dumbfucks in charge. Car counts are shit, fan count is dwindling, classes are dropping like flies. All of this can be traced back to a few people who have managed to run the place into the ground in only two seasons. $15 to get in and $12 for a cheeseburger to watch single digit car counts in every class. They still haven’t figured out why they are losing money.

On the flip side there are tracks like Motor Mile who just can’t get asses in seats even though they put on a great show. People are mad that it’s closing but they didn’t support it while it was open. Sucks to see it go but I can completely understand why that decision was made.

Track management, competitors and fans are all part of what is needed to succeed. If you lack just one of those things, you’re circling the bowl.