Following several grueling months of dormancy, the Auto Club Dragway in Fontana is back. Well, sort of, anyway.
Officials at the quarter-mile dragstrip located in the city of Fontana, Calif., in San Bernardino county, issued a statement on the Auto Club Dragway website this morning regarding recent progress in the ongoing negotiations with area citizens and government officials to re-open the popular facility just outside Los Angeles.
Official statement from Auto Club Dragway:
“The Auto Club Speedway has reached a settlement with a local group of concerned citizens in the San Bernardino County area known as CCoMPRESS, represented by Chatten-Brown & Carstens related to the operation of the Auto Club Dragway. As a result, the Auto Club Speedway may resume operations at the Auto Club Dragway if it first complies with a series of requirements intended to mitigate the environmental impacts to the surrounding community, including construction of a soundwall.”
The Auto Club Dragway, situated on the grounds of the two-mile Auto Club Speedway utilized by NASCAR and other major oval and road racing organizations, was forced to shutter its racing operations in late February by a Superior Court following a successful challenge by area residents of the San Bernardino County sound standard. County officials had approved an amendment to the sound standard in 2010 to accommodate the noise from the dragstrip, but the courts later found the Environmental Impact Report used to approve the amendment as insufficient.
Last season, the visiting Pacific Street Car Association (PSCA) ceased contesting the Pro Street division at Fontana in an effort to reduce noise complaints, but those moves weren’t enough to appease residents. Since its closure in March, the PSCA, NHRA, and NMCA West series have all been forced to find new venues for their previously scheduled events.
Sources with knowledge of the situation indicated last year ongoing discussions of the construction of a sound wall, meaning those requirements set forth by the Superior Court are not out of line with what track officials already had in the works, and that could mean a timely and civil revival of racing at the Auto Club Dragway in the very near future.
Both Fontana and nearby Irwindale Speedway closed temporarily in February (Irwindale has since re-opened), leaving only Bakersfield to the north, Barona to the south, and the streets in between for hot rodders to compete.