Any faint hope that Sunday’s race at Auto Club Speedway wouldn’t be the last on the 2-mile track appears to be gone.
According to the Sports Business Journal, NASCAR has already reached an agreement to sell approximately 80% of the over 500 acres of track property. While no specific dollar figure was cited in the SBJ’s report, it said that the value of the deal is expected to be nine figures.
From the report:
NASCAR declined to comment this week on the documents, but sources said the sanctioning body had closed on a land sale at Auto Club Speedway. A document filed to the California Environmental Quality Act website indicates that the “Speedway Commerce Center” area that Hillwood was selling on behalf of NASCAR included 433 acres on the roughly 522-acre site.
NASCAR has previously said that it plans to build a roughly half-mile track at the Fontana, California, track site and the track could open in a couple of years. But NASCAR officials have sounded less certain about those plans in recent weeks and said before the 2023 season that there would be no race at the Auto Club Speedway site in any capacity in 2024. NASCAR COO Steve O’Donnell told the SBJ earlier in February that it was “fair to say we’re evaluating” the Southern California market “as a whole.”
NASCAR has hosted the season-opening exhibition Clash race at a temporary track constructed in the Los Angeles Coliseum for the past two seasons. But that quarter-mile track is not large enough to host a full-field points event and drivers were adamant after this season’s crash-fest that the Coliseum should not be the site of a race that counts for points.
Auto Club Speedway opened in 1997 and Sunday’s race will be its 33rd Cup Series race. The track was originally constructed by Roger Penske before it was purchased by NASCAR and hosted one race a year until 2003. It had two races a season through 2010 and has held a single race in the first part of the season ever since.
Auto Club Speedway is one of just two 2-mile tracks on the NASCAR schedule and its worn-out pavement has led to some of the best large-track racing in NASCAR in recent seasons. Drivers can run anywhere from the apron to the wall to find grip and the varying grooves and significant tire wear are a fun test for drivers.