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Thursday
Oct282010

Tulare track back on the front burner

Tulare Motorsports Complex will feature a 1-mile D-shaped oval and drag strip with many other features planned down the road (Image: Tulare Motorsports Complex)I'm stunned -- but excited -- to hear that the Tulare Motorsports Park is on the verge of confirming a first round of funding. This project went mostly silent with the recession, and despite rumors in recent weeks that it was coming back, I remained skeptical. 

And don't get too excited yet -- this prospective round of funding is only to buy land, and install utilities and roads. But the endorsement from S.C. Global Investments is a strong first step and a confidence builder for anyone who doubted the dreams of building a $750 million complex featuring a 1-mile oval, dragstrip, kart track and 1/4-mile oval in the middle of Central California. There's also talk of a shopping center, theaters and amusement park. 

If all goes to plan, construction is to begin later this year with completion of the mile-track and drag strip by July 4, 2012. 

I have my doubts all that will be built out -- the project scope has grown from $400 million a few years ago to $750 million this week knowing the legacy of the mortgage meltdown will be with us for years -- but from what I hear from other people, the track project is a real deal and not just a pipe dream. The video on the Tulare Motorsports homepage does a great job of selling the glitz and glamor of big-time racing. This is not your local dirt track we're talking about. 

My major concerns remain: A project this large will require lots of visitors from outside the San Joaquin Valley dropping big bucks on hotel, food, park tickets and everything in between. The Craftsman Truck Series couldn't survive more than a few years at Mesa Marin in Bakersfield and IndyCar can't draw beans at Fontana, so who's to say a much larger track in the middle of Central California will draw enough people to, say, a NASCAR Nationwide race or an IndyCar race? Just asking. Perhaps the key is the drag strip in the short term, where it may be easier to pull a top-drawer NHRA event. 

Regardless, I wish the project the best and hope it can restore to the area the rich history left by nearby Marchbanks Speedway and Hanford Motor Speedway a half-century ago. It's been too long.

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Reader Comments (1)

I, too, am getting frustrated with the amount of content that is now being offered in video form that should just be text.

-Montblanc pens for sale

July 15, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterbggpig

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