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