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Irwindale Speedway to be Demolished for Outlet Mall Project

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 3/28/2015 Alex Nishimoto

Southern California has lost another motorsports venue. The city of Irwindale, Calif., approved plans this week to demolish the 16-year-old Irwindale Speedway. The half-mile banked oval race track and 1/8-mile drag strip will be torn down to make way for an outlet mall.

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The Los Angeles Times reports that the Irwindale City Council voted to demolish the 6000-seat speedway on Wednesday, concluding that the space would better serve the city as a 700,000-square-foot outlet mall. City officials say that the mall would create "thousands of jobs" and bring in an estimated $2.6 million a year in tax revenue. The city's seal of approval will allow Irwindale Outlet Partners, the development group that purchased the track in 2013, to go ahead with its plans. However, Irwindale Speedway's existing lease will be good until the new owners secure a certain number of tenants for the mall's shops. That means track events could continue into the 2016 season.

Irwindale_Drag_Thursday_June_20-08© Provided by MotorTrend Irwindale_Drag_Thursday_June_20-08

"We will continue to operate this top-notch NASCAR oval track and NHRA drag racing facility for as long as we are able to do so," the track's CEO Jim Cohan told the Los Angeles Times. "We can promise you that if the time comes where we must announce a final season of this legendary facility...you'll hear it from us."

Irwindale Speedway, which opened in 1999, formerly hosted the NASCAR Camping World truck series and K&N Pro Series. In 2011, NASCAR dropped Irwindale from its calendar. The track was also known as a venue for professional drifting events. In 2003, Irwindale hosted an exhibition race for the D1 Grand Prix -- the pro drifting series' first event outside of Japan. In the years that followed, the Formula Drift series used the venue frequently, so much so that Irwindale earned the nickname "The House of Drift." Irwindale Speedway was also an advocate for keeping racing confined to the track, working with local police who often passed out admission tickets to the drag strip instead of speeding tickets.

The outlet mall project is expected to be carried out in two phases. The first phase is expected to break ground in 2016 and be completed in 2017, ahead of the second phase planned for 2018.

Photo courtesy of Hot Rod.

Source: Los Angeles Times

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