Mesa Marin Raceway
|Location||Kern Canyon Road (CA 184), Bakersfield, California|
|Closed||October 16, 2005|
|Length||0.8 km (0.5 mi)|
Mesa Marin Raceway was an 0.5-mile (0.80 km) paved oval race track, which opened in 1977, owned by Marion Collins, who owned the track during its entire existence. The Collins family helped start the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (then-Craftsman SuperTruck Series) in 1995, and hosted eight races at the new track between 1995 and 2003. The track also hosted 45 races for the Winston West Series and for NASCAR's Southwest Tour until 2005. The last race was held at Mesa Marin on October 16, 2005, as the track was sold to a housing development to be constructed on the site.
Many of its events were broadcast on television, including the 1995 Craftsman Truck Series race on ABC's Wide World of Sports, and also airing the NCTS on The Nashville Network and later ESPN, and featuring local races and both the NASCAR West Series and Southwest Tour (sanction of that tour changed to SRL in 2007) on Speed Channel and HDNet.
It ran NASCAR-sanctioned local racing, including the NASCAR Camping World Series West, United States Auto Club open-wheel racing, the NASCAR Southwest Tour, and other notable local racing. Nearly 4 million spectators attended Mesa Marin Raceway over the original track's 28-year lifetime.
Marion Collins announced on June 8, 2005 that he would sell Mesa Marin Raceway to a local developer, who wanted to build new houses on the site of the speedway, similar to the fates of Ontario Motor Speedway and Riverside International Raceway (now the city of Moreno Valley). Collins stated that he and his family wanted to change routes after 28 years of owning the track. The last races would be held at Mesa Marin in October, which included participation by NASCAR driver Kevin Harvick. The track was replaced by Kern County Raceway Park, located a few miles west of where Mesa Marin had stood.
In 2011, the Bakersfield Park District opened Mesa Marin Sports Complex on the site where the raceway had stood, which as of 2015 includes four ASA/USSSA regulation softball fields and is zoned for more facilities to be added at a later date.
Role in Craftsman Truck Series formation
Mesa Marin was critical to the formation of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Mesa Marin was the site for design, construction and testing of the prototype NASCAR Craftsman Trucks. Track owners son Gary Collins (a former racer) led the team of designers and fabricators who built the first truck.
- "Mesa Marin Raceway To Close". KERO-TV. June 8, 2005. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
- Garcia, Victory (October 19, 2005). "Mesa Marin roars into history". The Renegade Rip. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
- Glick, Shav (November 27, 1995). "California 500 Dreaming : It Was Fun While It Lasted at Ontario Motor Speedway (1970-1980)". The Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
- Soifer, Jerry (November 5, 2010). "Raceway Reunion to take its first lap". The Press-Enterprise. Retrieved May 14, 2013.
- "Mesa Marin Raceway". Racing-Reference.com. Retrieved May 14, 2013.