A recent memo from the operator of Firebird International Raceway in Chandler, Arizona is being refuted by news reports and statements from Tom Compton. The facility published a memo quoting Charlie Allen in lamenting the fact that this would be the 30th and final season of Firebird International Raceway. The language of the memo left little to doubt that the place was to be shuttered and closed once Allen’s lease on the land runs out in April 2013. News has surfaced today that completely contradicts that sentiment.
In a report published on AZCentral.com NHRA president Tom Compton is quoted as saying, “Based on our discussions with the Gila River Indian Community, we are very optimistic that the venue will be on the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series schedule in 2014.” Compton, whose media presence has always been measured at best, is not known for making statements that don’t pan out. If he’s saying that the NHRA is “very optimistic” about having the facility on the schedule, we’d say it is a virtual lock. This could not be further from what Allen published in his release, which read, “After 30 years, it is incredibly sad to know that we are looking at the end of Firebird International Raceway.”
This could be a case of the tribe basically keeping Allen at arm’s length regarding their future plans, but on the flip side, Allen has been involved with the sport and with the major player in NHRA management for decades. We’re not sure how there could be a loop he’s out of so it makes us questions the motivations of his press release, especially the doom and gloom tone that the track was essentially going to be bulldozed. Was this a parting shot at the Gila River Indian Community? Did Allen really now know that the tribe and the NHRA have been talking for some time and the facility is going to continue on with new management?
We have had other trusted sources verify that the Bob Bondurant driving school will remain at the facility as well. So the good news is that despite Allen’s release claiming that the facility is beginning their,”30th and final season”, it isn’t…at least is sure seems like it.
Stay tuned. We’re going to keep on this one and see if we can dig up some inside dirt!
Link: AZCentral story