'Gentleman, start your engines!': Indy racing in Pima County?

Kevin Keen

'Gentleman, start your engines!': Indy racing in Pima County?

CREATED Jun. 6, 2013
PIMA COUNTY, Ariz. (KGUN9-TV) - It'd be a dream come true for race fans across Southern Arizona: indy-style racing just outside Tucson. Pima County gave the green light to start the engines on the proposal, but there still are a lot of bumps in the road ahead.
 
“It's way more fun to watch,” one racing fan in Tucson said. “It's way more intense.”
 
The county board recently directed staff to look in to what it would take to have an indy-style racetrack.
 
It'd go just south of the fairgrounds off I-10, where there are already several other tracks on county land.
 
“We have a circle track out there,” said Tom Moulton, economic development and tourism director for the county. “We have an OHV track. We have a professional cart track. We have a drag strip.”
 
But, Moulton said, the area does not have a track for indy-style racing like the kind the American Le Mans Series does. Technically, he explained, it would be for single-seat, open-wheel racing. The course would be multi-use and versatile.
 
“It would be designed with multiple track configurations,” Moulton said, describing the initial idea the county has in mind. “Also, it would be designed to have over a three-mile track.”
 
Moulton said there already groups interested, and staff are exploring what it would take to start a bidding process for one of them to basically lease county land.
 
“We don't see this costing the Pima County taxpayers anything because the bid package will specify that the bidder is responsible for all costs associated with the building and the operations of the track,” he said.
 
“It'd be a good investment because more people like racing,” one Tucsonan said.
 
“Why not enhance our community?” one woman added.
 
“You can never go wrong with having more people coming into town,” one man said. 
 
The county board could still put the brakes on the new proposal. But, if it's a smooth ride, we could see checkered flags in three years, Moulton said.
 
The possible new track could look like these ones in other states, Moulton said:
- Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Cali.
- Road America in Elkhart, Wis.
- Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio

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