WILL NASCAR OPERATE MAZDA RACEWAY LAGUNA SECA?

Will the International Speedway Corporation (NASCAR) take over control of one of our favorite tracks? Possibly.

Laguna Seca race action shot

Reporter Jim Johnson of the Monterey Herald reported on June 22 that officials of California’s Monterey County are negotiating with the International Speedway Corporation of Daytona, Florida, regarding “a potential concession agreement to operate the (Laguna) raceway.”

The report said SCRAMP (the people we get credentials from every year—Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula, which has managed the track since 1957) has continued to manage the raceway on a monthly renewal basis since early last year while the county has been “exploring options” that might assure future success.

One such option could be a management deal with ISC, which may be motivated by a need to become involved in more “European” motorsports events such as F1, MotoGP, and World Superbike. Daytona, once the standout premier motorcycling event that began every racing season, has gradually declined to the status of a large club event. Meanwhile, US MotoGP events have taken over that status, first at Laguna, then later at Indianapolis and at Circuit of The Americas in Austin, Texas. Certain tracks have solidly iconic brand status: Daytona, Indianapolis, Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.  Business survival in an uncertain future requires a solid basis, and a Laguna track operated by NASCAR could be part of that.

Laguna Seca race action shot

We love it when wealthy, adventuresome men decide to lighten up, have some fun and build themselves a deluxe racetrack. We also know they can lose interest if what they’ve so boldly created fails to pay its own way.  The great speedway at Ontario, California was supposed to pull race fans from the motor culture of Los Angeles, but it turned out that nothing out-pulls the Big Town. The Roosevelt Speedway on Long Island and then Bridgehampton raceway perished in this manner. At present, the status of the excellent Miller facility near Salt Lake City is uncertain.

Let us therefore hope that Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, so woven into the history of US motorsports, finds the management and funding it needs to survive—and even to prosper.