Irwindale is back in business!
NASCAR race cars are back on the 1/4-mile Irwindale Speedway oval – Anne Proffit photo
Irwindale Event Center’s 1/3- and 1/4-mile Irwindale Speedway ovals were very busy the final Saturday of March with open practice scheduled prior to the re-opening night set for next Saturday, April 6th. While the dragstrip has been operating since last year, the track’s operators needed to wait for sanctioning agreements to be in place before outlining the 2013 schedule, which now stands at 15 oval events ranging from the opening salvo to the final Saturday of October, an “Annual Night of Destruction.”
The pit area was filling up shortly after 10AM when gates opened for media opportunities and we found some NASCAR Super Late Model, Late Model, Super Stock Mini-Stock, Irwindale Race Trucks, Bandolero and Legend cars on hand.
Bob Klein and Doug Stokes were proud to note the re-emergence of the track, which had been used in the interim for private functions for the LA Racing Experience driving school and for film work while the legal tangles with the previous operators were settled so that racing could move forward.
“The drivers are pretty excited about being here and we’re excited about the interest our track has generated,” Irwindale vice president of communications Stokes said. “If you’re good here and at Bakersfield (a new track near the central California city) you can be good anywhere,” he noted of the blended banking on both tracks’ quarter-mile circuits.
Formula Drift, which leases the track each year, will be back at the track for the season finale again this October. Stokes said the Drift organizers wanted to sign their new contract the same night as last year’s event!
The new MAVTV television show “Won and Done”, which started airing this same day, is running on the dragstrip through spring but will take a summer hiatus from the first part of May until August. The show takes place the first and third Thursday of each month and earns a winner $500 – but a race loser can never perform on the show again; if a driver/car combination wins 10 races on the show, they earn a cool $50,000 so this is a good incentive for local Los Angeles-area drag racers.
With perfect weather for the open test, fans were arriving for the free ability to watch the NASCAR race cars and other vehicles on hand to prepare for the upcoming re-opening race. Everyone was smiling and enjoying themselves – and why not? Irwindale is back in business – and still the best paved short oval track the Los Angeles area has ever seen.
By Anne Proffit