NASCAR still planning for Southern California short track as Auto Club demolition begins

As Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, is being demolished, NASCAR president Steve Phelps has reiterated the organization’s plans to construct a short track as its replacement. However, the specific details are yet to be determined.

“I’m not sure about the timing for that,” Phelps stated at Phoenix Raceway. “This may not be the best time for construction due to inflation and the high cost of capital. Nevertheless, we are committed to remaining in the Southern California market.”

“In 2024, we will be at the (L.A.) Coliseum. Additionally, we plan to build a short track in the Inland Empire,” he added.

Originally known as California Speedway, Auto Club Speedway held its first NASCAR Cup Series race in 1997. It also hosted a round of the CART IndyCar series that year. The two-mile oval track quickly became popular among NASCAR drivers due to its high speeds and unique features, such as the bumps on the backstretch and the opportunity for multiple passing lanes.

All three NASCAR national series have competed at Fontana, including NASCAR K&N Pro Series West (now ARCA) races.

NASCAR officially announced plans to convert the track into a half-mile short track in late 2020. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NASCAR did not hold any races at the speedway in 2021, and progress on the future plans has been slow until the recent start of demolition.

The last NASCAR race on the two-mile surface took place in the spring. Additionally, NASCAR sold 433 acres of land surrounding the facility earlier this year.

“The short track will likely be a half-mile racetrack,” Phelps revealed. “We have renderings and plans ready to go. We just need the right timing to proceed.”


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