Irwindale is back in business!
(all photos, logos courtesy Irwindale Event Center)
Irwindale Speedway, which was shuttered in the fall of 2011 when its operators went into a deserved Chapter 7 bankruptcy filing, is coming back to Southern California as Irwindale Event Center. This is good news in car crazy So Cal, the area where hot-rodding came of age, where drag racing as a sport was born and where Irwindale once drew sellout crowds for its stock car and open wheel racing.
Mismanagement put the half- and third-mile oval tracks (one within the other) on hiatus, but the operator of the track’s LA Racing Experience Stock Car School formed 211 Entertainment to bring the track back to life. Jim Cohan and his small but dedicated staff have been working very closely with site owners Nu-Way Industries to restore the track to its glory.
Of course Irwindale’s been used during the past year for commercials and for the track school – as well as other events like Formula Drift’s hugely popular season finale. The dragstrip roared back to life about midway through the calendar year and stock car racing is scheduled for next season. More events are likely to come up as planning by the small and dedicated staff goes along.
The new 211 Entertainment group got its full operational lease for the entire facility in mid-December, according to Doug Stokes, who returns to the track to head its PR functions – as he did when the circuit opened. “I’ve worked with Jim Cohan and his staff as a sort of ‘volunteer’ since February,” Stokes said. He called out Bob Klein, the on-site leader at Irwindale Event Center stating, “I’ve worked with Bob for a number of years and I’m very excited about being able to work a lot more closely with him.”
With this staff of dedicated personnel so excited about the prospects of racing returning to this fine speedway, expect to see the kind of service and fairness that was evident at Irwindale Event Center when it initially opened. It’s time to banish the poor management of the past and bring this fabulous half- and third-mile oval, and its wonderful dragstrip, back to the So Cal prominence it deserves.
By Anne Proffit