I wrote an article last week about the future of Irwindale Speedway which you can read here if you want to know what the facts I was able to gather from various sources on what the future holds for the House of Drift. For the time being, the track is standing and operational but the future is not promising for this icon of American drifting. I put some serious thought into what Formula Drift will do once the track turns into a shopping mall and came up with these six realistic options.
1. California Speedway in Fontana, California
The reality is that California Speedway is the only other large racing venue in Southern California that can house 20,000 people and provide a track event. California Speedway has been host to a D1GP Drivers Search back in 2004 and a JGTC weekend drift event on the infield. I think this is the most likely alternative for Formula Drift but it will be far from a turn key operation for them. The place needs grandstands moved onto the infield regardless of where they want to drift and the walk from the parking lot will be a HIKE. Let’s also not forget about how much hotter the weather can get in Fontana even though the tracks are 35 miles apart. My guess is they would setup a course on the infield (hopefully not the old JGTC course because it sucked) and build the event around whatever area they want to use.
2. Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park in Phoenix, Arizona
If I made this list before the 2015 SEMA Show I wouldn’t of had this track on my 12 Places to replace Irwindale Speedway list. However, Formula Drift added the Pro 2 finals here for 2016 and you have to consider they are test piloting this race facility for future expansion. Why else would they be rolling into Arizona and splitting off Pro 2 to have its own final? I have the least amount of personal knowledge with this venue but it seems like successful events have happened here such as the Turbo by Garrett event called Boostfest. Not sure how setup and layout would work but I imagine this venue is near the top of the list regardless of these issues. Saying this venue has proximity to Southern California is a stretch at a solid 6 hour drive for most fans in the area.
3. Las Vegas Motor Speedway in Las Vegas, Nevada
A grand return to the City of Sin seems like a natural fit for the series. By their own records, they pulled in around 16,000 fans to Las Vegas Motor Speedway in the past before leaving the venue and region for Texas. The event took place at night during August and still maintained a heat index of well over 100 degrees. I was always a voice shouting for an earlier in the year Las Vegas drift event but who knows what the cards would hold if they return. The Vegas scene is a strong one with frequent events hosted by Vegas Drift and now Street Driven Tour is throwing down every September at LVMS. I can see fans traveling to this one with the couple hour drive from SoCal along with the added bonus of a fun weekend in Vegas.