Abandoned Raceway To Be Opened

Kern County Raceway Has New Owners

NASCAR racing is coming back to Kern County and the abandoned Kern County Raceway is coming back to life.

The track was started in 2007 but never finished. The project eventually went bankrupt.

Two longtime racing fans couldn't stand to see the unfinished race track just sitting there, so they got a group of investors together and bought it.

"It’s just been deteriorating all along. Nobody's been taking care of it. It’s been let go," new owner James Vernon said.

Bakersfield businessmen Vernon and Dan Smith bought the property and are working to get it finished.

"We got to fix the parking lot, finish the stands, and put another coat of asphalt on the racetrack," Vernon said.

Vernon said it’s going to be a lot of work, but he couldn't stand to see the track sit idle anymore.

"You drive by here and it would make you almost sick to your stomach because what it could be and what it is is a whole lot different," he said.

The owners hope to have it ready for a race by late this year. They said it is possible the track could one day host a national race.

"I talked to one of the NASCAR guys this morning and he’s going to come meet with me in March and see if we want to be a NASCAR track or not. So we haven't decided any of that yet," Vernon said.

Vernon said ever since Mesa Marin closed, the proud racing tradition in Kern County just hasn't been the same.

"Racing in Kern County is probably bigger than L.A. or any other county around here. There’s more people that race here than anywhere that I know of," Vernon said.

Local race fans are revved up about the news.

"I like the idea. I think they should have done it a long time ago," said race fan Danny Dabbert.

"It’s going to be great. It’s going to be awesome for Kern County," said race fan Vicky Dabbert.

The new owners say they expect the return of NASCAR racing will bring a lot of money to Kern County.

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