SAN TAN VALLEY, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - It's the end of an era for a popular racing facility in San Tan Valley. On April 4, the Arizona Speedway and ET Motopark will shut down for good, making way for new development in the area.
According to a news release from the owners, the "Arizona State Land Department has decided that the facility and noise it produces does not fit into their neighboring development plan."
However, in this letter sent to the track's owner Jonah Trussel by state commissioner Lisa Atkins, the noise was not a factor, and the track's owner has known since 2019 his permit would be expiring in April.
Last year the land adjacent to the speedway was auctioned off to a home builder and will be rezoned and developed into the city of Apache Junction.
The facility has been part of Arizona's racing community for decades, and has been home to thousands of motocross events, hundreds of dirt track events, and more than 100 mud bog and sand drag events.
Arizona Speedway and ET Motopark lists the following events on its remaining schedule:
- March 20 - IMCA Modifieds, Sport Mods, Stock Cars, Bombers
- March 21 Motocross
- March 27- Mud Bogs and Sand Drags Finale
- March 28- Motocross
- April 3- Final Motocross
- April 3 The Last Dance - Sprint Cars, Modifieds, Sport Mods, Stock Cars, Bombers
The decision to close the facility has been met with anger and outrage from many members of the public. The company's Facebook post has more than 1,500 comments about the closure. Fans call it a "landmark venue that brought happiness to racers and fans alike" and a place that has "left an indelible mark on the community."
Other comments include personal memories and stories, including:
I have lived about 3/4 of a mile from this facility for over 15 years. In fact when we built just west of this facility, we were excited to see the lights and hear the engines roar on race nights! We would go as far as opening our windows to hear it better.
I live in Ironwood Crossing and LOVE hearing the events happening and watching the fireworks. This is not fair and not right!
In fact, one fan has started a petition on change.org to save the speedway. Although the organizer states that while it might be too late to save the track, the public and fans of the Arizona Speedway can still "send a message to the State Land Department and Governor Doug Ducey that what’s being done is wrong." Click HERE to see the petition.
For husband and wife Leslie and Rocky Silva, racing is something that happens on a dirt track behind the wheel of their two-winged car.
“We just love that track, and to hear that it was closing is a real disappointment,” said Leslie Silva.
The couple, who are from Hawaii, even bought a home near the popular facility.
“A lot of people all over the world come to this track. So it didn’t make no sense for them to develop around the track; it was there already,” said Silva.