February 13 marked a sad day for the entire SoCal racing community. Irwindale Speedway, a paved half-mile oval that first opened in 1999 officially closed. In a dramatic twist of events, Irwindale Speedway officials sent out a one-sentence statement that afternoon, saying that the 2012 season had been cancelled. The last of the remaining racetracks in SoCal and the site of Formula Drift’s final race each year, dubbed the “House of Drift”, has seen its last smoke-filled event.
Upon hearing of the closure, rumors quickly ran rampant of Irwindale Speedway’s demise, ranging from money mismanagement, to Toyota choosing not to renew its multimillion-dollar contract as a title sponsor, to speculation of poor attendance, to a number of reasons why the management company could have decided to quickly pull the trigger. On the bright side, we’re told that the facility won’t be demolished, and there are talks of new ownership potentials. Lucas Oil Products and Tony Stewart of famed NASCAR, who owns tracks including famed Eldora Speedway in Rossburg, Ohio, were rumored to be interested in buying the facility. We’re crossing our fingers and hope they quickly reopen the track before drifters and drag racers decide on taking their racing to the streets.