The past few months has festered many rumors and speculations regarding the future of Irwindale Speedway in California. The facility was set to be closed on January 31, 2018 by current promoters, but a new deal has been struck and the iconic west coast short track will stay alive, at least for another two-years.
Tim Huddleston leads the new operating group that has signed a lease to take over management of the Irwindale Events Center for next two-years, and hopefully more to come.
The new group is fueled with passionate racing supporters like Huddleston who is a former Late Model track champion at Irwindale. Huddleston is joined by longtime NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Car Owner Bob Bruncati along with Justice Brothers Distributing. The new managing group is known as Group of Motorsports Enthusiast.
This has been a long journey with Huddleston. It started back in 2012 when he originally tried to take over the lease to the track. Now that Huddleston and his team have the track, the emotions have set in.
“It’s been a pretty emotional 48 hours to say the least. There has been a lot of hard work and effort put in by a lot of people and to finally have it done is amazing,” Huddleston told Speed51.com Powered by JEGS. “My phone has been blowing up with people reaching out to me and being excited about the track coming back.”
The story of Irwindale opening and closing has been somewhat of a soap-opera over the years for the track that is just 30 minutes away from Hollywood. This is the third time that the track has closed or was scheduled to close since 2012. Huddleston and his group hope that they can stop the drama and keep it as a track for many years to come.
“Our hope is to get this track going to a point where we can purchase the facility and keep the track. We want to go back to the roots of racing and bring some of the great events that have happened at the track over the years back,” said Huddleston. “There is so many great events here over the years like drifting and NASCAR, but we are really close to Hollywood and I want to try to use that to help our events.”
The family racing connection is very strong in the Huddleston household as Tim’s son, Trevor, won the Irwindale Speedway Late Model Track Championship in 2017, as well as the NASCAR Whelen All-American National Championship Runner-up honors.
“My family has been so involved in this facility since the beginning, from me being there when they had the ground breaking for the track; Trevor has been going to the track since he was three years old and my wife has put many hours of hard work into us securing this lease,” said Huddleston.
It’s unclear if the track will still be able to try and secure a NASCAR K&N Pro Series West event now that the schedule has already been released, but Huddleston said they would welcome that to their schedule if possible but would definitely have the series back in 2019.
Since Irwindale Speedway opened in 1999 it’s been a staple of short track racing on the west coast. It has hosted events such as NASCAR’s Toyota All-Star Showdown, X-Games, Formula Drift, along with many national television and movie productions.
One of the core series over the years to visit Irwindale Speedway has been the SRL Southwest Tour. The series released their schedule earlier this month, but had two TBD dates on the schedule. While nothing if official yet, Speed51 has learned that the tour should be on the schedule again in 2018.
Huddleston says that the track plans on releasing a more detailed press release on Tuesday to talk more about the 2018 season.
Story by: Jeremy Anders, West Coast Correspondent, Speed51.com – Twitter:
Photo Credit: Track Photo