Don’t Buy the Hype That Irwindale Speedway is Closed

Posted on Feb 20, 2012 In Formula D Major Announcements

The Irwindale Speedway debacle has been full of misinformation and poor reporting from the mainstream media mixed with a lack of PR from the track owners. The management company of the track has gone bankrupt and many reasons/speculations have been issued as to why this has happened (our old thread touched on a few titled “Irwindale Speedway Updates Along with Statement from Jim Liaw“).

While everyone keeps acting like the track is closed the L.A. Racing Experience is running business as usual at the track without any operational difficulties. They have already had two track events for people since the bankruptcy dates. The 2012 race season for NASCAR was canceled but other operations at the track are not at a halt right now.

Jim Cohan, the owner of the L.A. Racing School, has confirmed that the operation of his program is 100% unaffected by the track situation. He noted that they have a great relationship with the track ownership and all of his classes are running as advertised. So the 1/2 mile oval is ALIVE and talking to Formula Drift it sounds like the finals are all set to go down business as usual.

13 Comments

  1. YOitzJDM says:

    but I read it on the internet? CLOSED CLOSED CLOSED! It must be true!!!!!!

    I’m shocked that sites like AutoBlog even reported the closure incorrectly

  2. thelolbus says:

    Then what happened with XDC?

  3. Mike Peters says:

    I honestly don’t know why XDC bailed.

  4. Scott t says:

    Phew. My wife bought in on the Groupon to LA Racing.

  5. YOitzJDM says:

    XDC probably relied on the safety crews from Irwindale Speedway LLC, which aren’t available at this moment. They have to finish the bankruptcy proceedings before hiring a new management company, so unless you want to provide your own safety crews (and have an existing contract with the land owner, not the speedway), you’ll have to wait for the bankruptcy crap to finish first.

    Irwindale will probably be unavailable for motorsport use outside of the existing tenants for the next 1-3 months, then back to business as usual before the end of the summer. XDC just got stuck with bad timing.

  6. OldO says:

    While I agree that the reporting has been filled with inaccuracies etc, the fact is that the original management is gone forever. It is perfectly feasible that the driving school can continue operating, it seems very unlikely that ANY regular racing will occur this year. Nu-Way needs to find an investor group with money to lose, they have to hire and train staff, negotiate a lease, find a competent track mgr, get licensing, vendors, and most importantly, figure out the impossible-make a profit!

  7. hollywood says:

    i told you fools it WASNT closed ugh

  8. thelolbus says:

    It is closed hollywood, otherwise XDC would be running.

  9. OldO says:

    Get serious folks. There may be a lot of people who WANT the Speedway to re-open, but they still need to find someone who is willing and able to lose $1 million per year, perhaps more. Does such a fool exist? My guess is that they will reactivate the dragstrip sometime this Summer, maybe sooner. As for the oval track, any sophisticated potential operator will soon realize that they will need 3,000 to 4,000 paid attendance per event and maybe $1 million in sponsorship/advertising for any chance at profitability. Won’t happen this year.

  10. Mike Peters says:

    Its a sad world when getting 3-4k on a weekly basis for short track wheel to wheel action in the 2nd largest metro area in the USA is a plausible hurdle.

    RIP Dale Earnhardt, we need you.

  11. ae86_Fan says:

    this is an in depth article i found online, with a little more insight for all:

    Bankruptcy filings by Irwindale Speedway, LLC reveal the company did not own the multi-million dollar facilities that it built near the 605 Freeway.

    Instead, landowner Nu-Way Industries Inc. of Arcadia owned the facilities, which Irwindale Speedway, LLC built in 1999 at an estimated cost of more than $15 million, and leased the property to the company.

    One of Nu-Way’s general managing partners, Jim Mnoian, said Thursday that he has already been contacted by about 20 parties interested in leasing or buying the facilities.

    “My plans are to find a new operator,” Mnoian said. “As soon as this gets through bankruptcy, we’ll find if a new operator wants to lease it.”

    “Everybody’s hands are tied until the bankruptcy is done,” he added.

    Mnoian said that the company’s intentions for the property will be revealed next week, but he does not expect anything to happen until all bankruptcy issues are resolved.

    “I was totally surprised,” he said of the track filing for Chapter 7. “That was not one of the options they were telling me.”

    The track opened in 1999 with great fanfare and quickly became the short track every race-car driver wanted to tame. It held some of the most well-known NASCAR short track races in history, including the Toyota All-Star Showdown. It is where the wildly popular Japanese motorsport of drifting made its American debut. And it was the home of the USAC Turkey Night Grand Prix for midget cars, the second-longest continuously running race in the U.S.

    “There has been a lot of interest in keeping it going,” Mnoian said of the track.

    Bankruptcy papers indicate that Irwindale Speedway, LLC owns the conditional use permit to operate the facility. Ken Lee, Irwindale’s Community Development Director, said the permit was issued jointly to the company and the landowners. There is no expiration date to the permit.

    That means L.A. Racing Experience, which operates a racing school in the property, can continue its operations.

    Mnoian said that Nu-Way had made three option offers to sell the land to Irwindale Speedway. Each time the track decided not to accept the offer and to pay the $55,000 monthly rent instead. The company signed a 33-year lease with two five-year options in 1998.

    “They paid a lot more in rent than if they had bought it,” Mnoian said.

    He said when an offer was finally accepted, the track wanted to buy it at the 1998 property rate; before improvements had been made.

    “I said, `The price has changed now,”‘ he recalled. “Then they came saying they were struggling and could we cut the rent to zero? I said, “No.”‘

    In the bankruptcy filings, the track said it had assets of $28,943 and debts of $331,773.

    Among those claims listed are a $150,000 personal injury claim filed in July 2010 by Pedro Molina Parra, $55,000 in rent to Nu-Way, $4,348 to the City of Irwindale for ticket taxes, $8,094 to the city’s police department, $11.449 to VP Racing Fuels, $16,380 to Golden State Water, $12,239 to ThyssenKrupp Elevator and $7,015 to USAC.

    The track had $4.96 million in gross profits in 2010 and $4.36 million last year.

    Jim Williams owned 64.3 percent of Irwindale Speedway LLC and was the CEO. His company, J. Williams Cars, paid $20,000 to the L.A., law firm of Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLC to pay for the bankruptcy.

    Track general manager Bob DeFazio did not return repeated phone calls and Williams was unavailable for comment.

    Seven parties are listed as shareholders with more than 5 percent interest in the LLC.

    The track’s trademark, Irwindale Speedway has lapsed, but it had been known as Toyota Speedway at Irwindale until recently, when the Southern California Toyota Dealers Association ended a four-year namings right contract. However, several of the track’s web site names will not expire for another four years.

    A court hearing for creditors has been scheduled for March 20 

  12. OldO says:

    ae86_Fan–thanks for the article–quite a good recap for all who care. However, the author needs to clean up that annoying and incorrect reference to “Gross Profits” about 2/3 down. The correct term would be “Gross Revenue”, not Gross Profit”. Two entirely different things.

  13. Ulremember says:

    What is the status of the Dragstrip?