NASCAR has announced plans to finally redevelop the two-mile-long Auto Club Speedway superspeedway into a short course after complications from COVID-19 put plans on hold. An unfortunate victim has risen from the dust of the announcement: CalSpeed Karting is leaving Auto Club Speedway after 19 years.
CalSpeed is Southern California’s premier go-kart track. Most of the top professional and amateur karting takes place there, with Formula 1 drivers as regular guests such as Alex Albon, Daniel Ricciardo and Jenson Button as semi-regular drivers on the car park track. All levels of kart racing are represented on the track, and on any given weekend there will be races to watch, from basic kids karts to rental kart racing, the Los Angeles Regional Kart Championship, Rotax and in-house rental karting championships.
It primarily serves the Los Angeles area and is about 45 miles out of town, located in the huge Auto Club parking lot in Fontana. CalSpeed’s closure will leave a huge void in Southern California running culture. There are alternatives, but none have caught on to the karting zeitgeist like CalSpeed. There’s Adams Motorsports Park which isn’t quite the same, Apple Valley Speedway is kind of a drift course now, and all the other dedicated go-kart facilities near Los Angeles are recreational like K1 or MB2.
Reading between the lines of the plan as reported by Heavy to redevelop the track, the superspeedway will be demolished into a short half-mile track, meaning the footprint of the oval itself will be much smaller . The Auto Club property and facilities are colossal, which means there are should leave room for something like CalSpeed to continue. But the statement released by the organization says otherwise. He says the closure will be “permanent”.
The kart track is scheduled to close Dec. 4, but the facility will maintain its full schedule through Dec. 3, including the 12-hour Machismo endurance kart race. For now, the organization is “exploring options for the future”.