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Two New Circuits for L.A.: One Temporary, One for Real

6 August 1998

Formerly called the Los Angeles Grand Prix the 1998 Los Angeles Street
Race presented by Ford will blast off Saturday September 5 on a
temporary 1.4 mile course in the streets around the fabled Los Angeles
Coliseum.  Dr. William Burke, race promoter, outlined the schedule and
players for the three day speed fest in front of dozens of TV cameras
stationed outside the Peristyle entrance to the venue that catered to
the 1984 Olympics.  Burke founded and now conducts the L.A. Marathon,
which kicked off 12 years ago (the event press kit says it was 14
years ago) and said four classes of race vehicles will run: American
Cities Racing League (Sports 2000) Pro Racing series (Acura, Porsche,
Lotus, etc) Ultra Wheel spec truck series, and NASCAR Featherlite
Southwest Tour stockers.  One highlight will be the filming of a
segment of the Baywatch, night time network TV soap during one of the
races.  Two of the Baywatch Babes were on hand at today's race
kickoff, to add to tittilating photo ops.  Dr. Burke, holder of a
litany of community, commercial and fraternal titles and appointments
said the Coliseum site was appropriate for an auto race event, as the
first auto race held in L.A. was run inside the Coliseum at the turn
of the century.  The Coliseum was built in the 1920s.

Besides the 'stars' of NASCAR's Featherlite series, other racers will
make an appearance, including Winston Cuppers Mark Martin, Chad Little
and Ken Schrader.  Local favorite, Craftsman Truck series driver, Ron
Hornaday will drive in two events, and former Trans-Am standout Willy
T. Ribbs will also drive.  Dr. Burke said the cars could hit 185 to
200 mph on the back straight, but chicanes are going to be put in to
curtail these high speeds. For more information: 310 474 5116.

Irwindale, California, at one time, was the site of a very active NHRA
drag strip (Irwindale Dragway) and also the location of a Sprint car,
midget, and stock car paved semi-banked 1/4 mile bullring (Speedway
605).  On March 27, next year, Irwindale Speedway opens its gates to
showcase a 6,500 seat speed circuit designed to replace the now
defunct Ascot Park.  The track's opening has been eagerly awaited by
Southern California's open wheel short track racing aficionados and
fendered freaks.  General Manager/Promoter, Ray Wilkings, formerly of
Las Vegas Motor Speedway management team, says the 1/2 mile
superspeedway will feature a twin-ring pairing of separate 1/2 and 1/3
mile oval tracks, and every spectator accommodation that one expects
at major speedways.  The racing plant will feature corporate suites,
annual box seats (stylized version of PSLs), elevators to the upper
levels, special catering sections, paved and lighted parking (lordy,
lordy, do you remember Ascot parking?) concert quality sound and
ballpark-bright lights.

Over 60 race dates have been set with the featured classes to be:
Super Late Model stocks, Grand American Modified, Super Stocks, Street
Stocks, Mini Stocks, USAC Midgets, 3/4 midgets, Sprint Cars, Legends,
Spec Trucks, Speed Trucks, American Race Trucks and Karts.

Irwindale will soon announce a number of on-site driving schools at
the facility, which is freeway close for most Southern California race
fans at the 605 freeway and Live Oak avenue just 40 minutes from
downtown L.A.  But then, who would be coming to the race track from
downtown L.A.?

Ain't no race buffs in downtown L.A. More info: 888 954 2500

Bill Maloney -- The Auto Channel