News Column

No auto racing at Shasta District Fair has some questioning speedway status

June 13, 2014

By David Benda, Redding Record Searchlight, Calif.

June 13--Signs posted at the Shasta District Fair are letting visitors know that there will be no auto racing at this year's event.

Fairgoers are told the Saturday race was canceled due to circumstances beyond organizers' control.

Fair CEO Chris Workman on Thursday morning declined to elaborate, but she did say rumors that the remainder of the racing season at the speedway also has been canceled are not true.

"I am in negotiations so I can't say anything else," Workman said.

For years, the auto races have been a huge draw at the fair, providing visitors with a Saturday night doubleheader of racing and destruction derby.

The demolition derby has not been canceled and is scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Bill Gibson, vice president of the fair board, said he heard that the fairgrounds' speedway operator pulled out and that is why Saturday's race was canceled. Gibson also has heard that the July 3 race, which shares the bill with the Anderson Explodes fireworks show, also will not happen.

"Exactly what happened and what spurred this just before those big races, I don't know," Gibson said, adding that he hopes to find out more at the board's meeting in July.

If it's true that the July 3 race won't go off, Gibson said it would be a big loss for the community.

"Personally, it is a disappointment because that is a great race," Gibson said.

The board in 2012 awarded George Wade a three-year contract to run the speedway. Gibson and board member Patrick Wallner said Wade is still the promoter. A typical race season at the speedway runs from March through October.

"It brings money to the fair so it's really important," Gibson said of the racing.

But the number of cars racing at the speedway has been down.

"It has been a tough venue over the years with the bleachers facing the wrong way into the sun and the cost of racing makes it really difficult on contractors," Gibson said.

Gibson referred more specific inquiries to Workman and board member Suzie Clark, who he says chairs the board's auto racing committee.

Clark provided few details on the current status of the speedway.

"I stand behind whatever Chris said and soon we will have more information and we will let you know," Clark said.

When it was awarded in 2012, Wade's contract guaranteed the fairgrounds receiving a minimum of $20,000 in 2012, $23,000 in 2013 and $25,500 in 2014.

"We do have a legal binding contract with the promoter and there has been no request to get out of that," Wallner said.

Wade could not be reached for comment.


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Source: Record Searchlight (Redding, CA)

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