When most people think about NASCAR they think about oval tracks. NASCARs are very, very good at going around in circles. In fact NASCAR loves ovals so much that there are only two “road courses” in their season calendar (Watkin’s Glen and Sonoma). What really helps out the series is that they also own about half the tracks they race on with their International Speedway Corporation (ISC) arm and nearly all the tracks they own are ovals. However, according to recent reports it looks like ISC is looking to add another road course to their stable of race tracks.
In a recent story by the Monterey Herald it was reported that the ISC is in talks with Monterey County officials about a possible take over of “operations” at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Currently Mazda Raceway has been operated by the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) non-profit organization. Actually, SCRAMP has been operating the race course since its creation. If the ISC were to take over it could possibly mean that SCRAMP would no longer be involved in track operations.
So, why would Monterey County be interested in working with the ISC and NASCAR? Well, it could have something to do with the rumors that the race track has not been doing as well financially due to losing a few big events over the last decade or so, one being a CHAMP car race event and then losing the Moto GP race back in 2013. ISC taking the helm would likely infuse some capital into the race track and with the ISC connections possibly also bring in more high visibility events. Can you imagine NASCARs coming down the famous “cork screw” turn?
Although, this possibility also begs the questions of what will happen to SCRAMP? What of Mazda? Mazda has been a strong supporter of the track and SCRAMP for nearly 16 years, demonstrated by the venue taking on Mazda as its name sake.
I reached out to Mazda for comment on the situation and here is their response:
Mazda has been a partner with SCRAMP since 2000 and we look forward to joining the discussions as to how Mazda Raceway can best serve the needs of both Monterey County and visiting race fans from around the world in 2016 and beyond. We have worked hand-in-hand with the SCRAMP staff and volunteers, and the local community, for 15 years now, and are optimistic about the future of this iconic racetrack.
Looks like Mazda definitely wants to have its say as this all gets hashed out at the negotiation table. What say you? Do you think the ISC taking over Mazda Raceway is a good thing? Or would you rather SCRAMP continue to manage the venue? Let us know in the comments or tweet to us at @MotorworldHype.