Kern County Raceway Park
This new facility was built as a replacement for Mesa Marin Speedway, which was closed in October 2005. The opening day was May 18, 2013, just four months prior to our visit. The track is a half-mile asphalt main track with a quarter-mile oval inside along the front stretch for the smaller divisions.
It's very fast and sports a 13-degree banking angle with a raised backstretch. There are 5,000 seats currently with a potential for more than 15,000 seats. Truly the owners planned or hoped for much bigger events possibly connected to their NASCAR sanctioning.
There are 21 VIP suites situated within a four story control tower and concession building. A 250-person banquet hall sits on the second floor of the tower that can host corporate functions during the races or at other times.
There is a large paved parking area, TV quality Musco lightning and other features that might come in handy should they draw a nationally televised event sometime in the future.
Like any new business, and racetracks are no different, there are bugs to be worked out. This area was without an asphalt racing facility for almost eight years, so getting the fans to come back and reestablish their loyalty will take time and effort.
One thing that was strange was the $5 charge for parking. I know of no other racetrack in America including the big track at Daytona that charges for general admission parking. If you bring a motorhome, you have to pay $25 and there are no hookups available. These guys are going to have to get a little more fan friendly than that if they are to survive.
I liked the speed of this track and it all looks great. I really hope they can put together a working plan to attract both fans and races to make this a success. A lot of money went into the construction of this track and now it is time to do some planning.
Maybe they can consult with some of the other tracks we have visited where everything is well thought out and running smoothly. The “build it and they will come” movie dream just does not work in the real world.
The track is running a winter series that will include many of the normal cars that will run in the regular season. Those classes include the NASCAR Pro Late Models, Late Models, and Spec Modifieds running on the half-mile track.
For the quarter-mile track, the classes include the Mini Stocks, INEX Legends and Bandolaros, Mini Dwarfs, Quarter Midgets, and Karts. These classes are way too slow and not built correctly for the very fast half mile portion of this racetrack.
This Bandolaros cars run on the smaller quarter-mile track in front of the grandstands. He
This team is hard at work repairing a bent rearend that happened when it got too close to
The safety equipment at every track is something we review and notice often. Whereas some
The feature event on this night was the NASCAR Late Models and it was a 50-lap event. I had talked to Brian Richardson earlier in the day and he expressed how much he liked running here and how difficult it would be to beat the seven time winner, David Mayhew.
In the race, Brian did run down Mayhew and pass him with 16 laps to go and motor on to win on a night that was his daughter's 13th birthday. It was significant that she had agreed to celebrate with her friends at the racetrack watching her daddy race. It was a fun thing to watch.
Our Next Stops
We changed our original schedule a bit to include Havasu 95 Speedway in Lake Havasu, Arizona for their season opener, running through the winter months. Then we'll be doing our very last stop at Central Arizona Raceway located in Casa Grande, Arizona, before heading home for good.
Our trip south from Washington State to California was a great experience with all of the Sprint Car racing and side trips we made to places like Yosemite, Mount Shasta, Monterey Bay, the Redwood forest, and the huge Sequoias. We drove our bus down roads that weren't meant for large vehicles, and survived. We fought wine country traffic on a Sunday, and we ran canyons where the rock walls stuck out farther than the white line marking the edge of the driving lane.
We blew a left front tire doing 70 mph, were shut out of the Grand Canyon later on because of the sequester. We drove dune buggies on the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area and made our way to the top of Crater Lake. We camped at the foot of Mount Shasta, visited the Olympic National Park as well as taking a trip to Mount Rainier, a magnificent sight.
All in all, the entire trip down the west coast from Deming Speedway at the far northern end south to Bakersfield was quite an adventure. The variety of landscapes, people, racetracks and opportunity for adventure are something Karen and I will never forget. See you next month for our last races and a wrap-up of the four year journey.
Don't forget to check out the rest of our series on The 2013 AMSOIL Great American CT Tour!
Atomic Motor And Rocky Mountain Raceways
Meridian And Stateline Speedways
Wenatchee and South Sound Speedways
Skagit and Deming Speedways
Evergreen, Douglas County, and Coos Bay Speedways
Southern Oregon, Calistoga, and Silver Dollar Speedways
Petaluma, All American, and Battle Mountain
Ocean, Madera, and Kern County Speedways