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Greenwood Denies That Riverside Will Close

Stories and rumors that Riverside International Raceway will close after this season have been categorically denied by Daniel Greenwood, president of the 28-year-old road-racing facility.

“I would like to put an end, once and for all, to all the stories I have heard, and been asked about, that Riverside International Raceway is not going to operate in 1986,” Greenwood said. “We are committed to sales through the entire year, and our contracts with sanctioning bodies, such as NASCAR and SCORE, are firm.”

One national motor sports publication intimated that the Times/Nissan Grand Prix of Endurance last April would be the last International Motor Sports Assn. competition at Riverside, and an East Coast newspaper reported that NASCAR had a provisional schedule for 1986 without races at Riverside in June and November.

“As far as NASCAR is concerned, our 1986 season will end at Riverside, just as it will this year.” said Jim Foster, vice president of the stock car racing organization, by telephone from Daytona Beach, Fla. “They tell us they’re operating through 1986, so we plan to be there.”

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Greenwood, former vice president of corporate relations for the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee, also heads an RIR team that is searching for a relocation site for 1987 and beyond. Last October, it was announced that the new site would probably be in the Prado basin, near Corona, but recent developments have expanded the search.

“We are studying five sites, three in Riverside County, one in San Bernardino County and one in Los Angeles County,” Greenwood said. “The Prado basin site, where we had planned to move, does not look as certain as it did a few months ago.

“At one point, I would have said it was 70-30 that we would build our new facility there, but now I would say it is no better than 50-50. Feasibility studies of Prado are continuing by the county of Riverside, the city of Corona, the (Army) Corps of Engineers and our group, but because of some unexpected problems, we felt we needed to explore other potential new locations.”

The San Bernardino site is in Glen Helen, a regional county park about 10 miles northwest of the city of San Bernardino. The Los Angeles County site is reportedly near Magic Mountain in the Newhall-Saugus area.

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“We would like to remain in Riverside County, to keep the continuity of the name, but our main commitment is to have a major motor sports complex in Southern California,” Greenwood said. “We would like to have an oval, perhaps a mile-and-a-half or two-mile track, as well as a road-race course and a drag strip, plus garage and office space.”

Greenwood said he hoped to have a relocation site determined by Sept. 30, either Prado or one of the others. Plans call for the first race at the new location to be the Times-sponsored IMSA endurance race on a road course in April 1987.

SPEEDWAY BIKES--The Nissan American Speedway Final Saturday night at Long Beach Veterans Stadium, is the first qualifying round for U.S. riders that will ultimately lead to the 1985 World Final Aug. 31 in Bradford, England. Five riders will advance to the Overseas Final July 14, also at Bradford. Favorites among the 16 riders Saturday night are six from the 1984 British League season--Bobby Schwartz, Lance King, Shawn Moran, John Cook, Rick Miller and Sam Ermolenko. King, 21, of Fountain Valley, tied for second place in last year’s world final with Denmark’s Hans Nielsen behind winner Erik Gunderson of Denmark. Other qualifiers include Mike Faria, Brad Oxley, Alan Christian, Keith Chrisco, Mike Curuso, Keith Larsen, Mark Dwyer, Jim Lawson, Gene Woods and two-time national champion Kelly Moran, who has finished fourth in each of the last three world finals. . . . Shawn Moran and Bobby Schwartz qualified for the World Pairs final by winning a semifinal round last Saturday in England. The finals are set for June 15 in Poland. . . . The Speedway Magazine Cup all-scratch championship is scheduled Wednesday night at San Bernardino’s Inland Speedway. . . . John Cook will delay his return to England so that he can ride Tuesday night at Ventura.

STOCK CARS--Jim Robinson, defending Winston West champion and well on his way to winning more money this season than has ever been won in a single year in the 31-year-old series, will be at Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield for Saturday night’s Suncrest Motorhomes 200. The bearded garage owner from North Hollywood has won $12,430 in four races this season and leads Hershel McGriff by nine points and rookie Glen Steurer of Simi Valley by 14. Robinson won the 1982 Winston West race at Mesa Marin and was second to Sumner McKnight last October. . . . Ascot Park has scheduled a quadruple card Sunday night that includes Curb Motorsports pro stocks, Figure 8s, bomber oval cars and a women’s main event. . . . Modifieds will return Saturday night to Saugus Speedway for a 17-event program. Claimer stocks will race Friday night at Saugus. . . . Dick Shepherd and Barry Bradshaw will continue their pro-mod battle Saturday night at Bakersfield Speedway in Oildale.

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SPRINT CARS--There have been 11 different winners in 19 races in the Kraco-California Racing Assn. season. Brad Noffsinger has a 19-point lead over Eddie Wirth, with Mike Sweeney only one behind Wirth, going into Saturday night’s feature at Ascot Park. . . . Bubby Jones, defending CRA champion, will skip the Ascot race to drive in a $25,000 winged sprint event at Baylands Raceway in Fremont, Calif.

OFF ROAD--Roger Mears will use his new Nissan King Cab desert race truck for the first time Saturday in the annual Baja Internacional in Ensenada. It will be Mears’ first desert ride in more than a year. Neil Woolridge, three-time South Africa desert motorcycle champion and winner of the Springbok race, will ride a Kawasaki 500 with Roland Geiger in the 447-mile race that will start, then end in Ensenada after looping across the peninsula to San Felipe. . . . Only three cars left the starting line last Saturday in Anaheim for the North American leg of the 35,000-mile Ameraton. The only American starter was Jim Arnold of Garden Grove. The cars are scheduled to return June 20 and leave for the South American leg.

DRAGS--The SoCal Timing Assn. will hold its June speed trials Sunday at El Mirage Dry Lake. This is the SCTA’s 40th consecutive season. . . . Riverside International Raceway’s monthly program is also scheduled Sunday.

HONORS--Parnelli Jones, Henry Banks, Joe Boyer and Floyd Roberts were added to Auto Racing’s Hall of Fame at the Indianapolis 500 old-timers’ dinner. . . . George Moore of the Indianapolis Star received the Ray Marquette Memorial Award for his “contributions to auto racing . . . as a journalist and humanitarian.”

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