Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

Is The Auto Club Speedway Short Track Quietly Happening?

Article Contents

Article Contents

Let us know what you think

Join the conversation on socials

Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts

What’s Happening?

As the demolition of Auto Club Speedway continues, fans are beginning to notice something. The center of the main grandstands near the start-finish line are still standing. The way the grandstands are made looks almost exactly like the original drawings of the original Auto Club Speedway short track. Is NASCAR quietly building that short track they promised?

  • Auto Club Speedway hosted its last NASCAR Cup Series race on the 2-mile configuration in 2023. Later that year, demolition began at the facility after NASCAR sold most of the land the race track sits on.
  • It was first reported in 2020 that NASCAR was looking at selling off the land at Auto Club Speedway to build a short track at the location. In November of 2023 during the “State of the Sport” address, Steve Phelps said that the plan is still to build a short track in Fontana.
  • Fans are waiting for any news on Auto Club Speedway. They are sad to see the current track go, but they are curious about the future of the race track.

The Renderings vs The Demolition

As can be seen above, the demolition currently featured the center of the grandstands and the corresponding light towers remaining in place. When comparing it to the original short track plans, the grandstands look very similar to the grandstand shape in the rendering as thealtman12 pointed out in the above Reddit thread.

There may be a reason they are waiting to demolish that part of the track. That part of the track features corporate suites and light towers aside from simply grandstands like the areas already demolished. Still, the resemblance is uncanny.

The original plans may be still in place to convert Auto Club Speedway to a short track, and the pieces are certainly in place to do that. Steve Phelps joined Sirius XM NASCAR Radio back in December where he said that they already have rendering and are committed to making it a short track.

Why Not Announce It Now?

So, why not announce and release those renderings now? There are two reasons based on the comments that Steve Phelps has given on the progress at Auto Club Speedway. First, Phelps pointed out during the State of the Sport address that now is a tough time to build.

This isn’t the best time to be building based on inflation, the cost of capital, et cetera. But our intention is to continue to be in the southern California market.

Steve Phelps

NASCAR is trying to be smart and make sure they do not overpay for this major investment they are making. Building a race track is not cheap, and race tracks oftentimes fall victim to poor finances. Now, if NASCAR wants to stay in that market they will have to bite the bullet at some point, but, still, it makes sense that now may not be the best time to do it.

A second reason is buried in the Sirius XM Radio interview above. Phelps had this to say about the short-track package.

Fans for years and years and years said, ‘Hey we need some more short tracks’, and as we continue to improve on our short track package with this Next-Gen car, at some point that track will come on-line.

Steve Phelps

Phelps is correct that NASCAR fans were clambering for more short tracks in the late 2010s and early 2020s before the Next-Gen car was introduced. Well, now, it’s 2024 and fan sentiment has changed. Is it really the best idea to open a brand new short track when the short track package is struggling?

It may not be the best time for that, and fans would not love the idea. However, Phelps seems optimistic the racing product on short tracks will continue to improve, and, if that does happen, a short track at Auto Club Speedway should come with it.

Will Auto Club Speedway’s short track happen soon? Everything is in place, except the green light from NASCAR.

Let us know what you think

Join the conversation on socials

Share this:

Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts