by Jaz McKay | October 8, 2009 10:13 pm
First and foremost let me remind race fans that more NASCAR cup drivers come from California than any other state. I could list them but I’ll let you Google them instead.
Last night the 2007 Daytona Champion and RCR driver Kevin Harvick returned to his hometown of Bakersfield, California to resurrect a local racing series that has been near and dear to his heart for many years, The Kern County Youth Racing Series. It was a special one-night event at The Bakersfield Speedway.
The series has been absent from local competition since the Mesa Marin Speedway closed back in 2005.
The Kern County Youth Racing Series was the first of its kind in the entire country that encourages local high school kids to build, crew, and race their own stock cars.
High school seniors working on their cars took turns wheeling the cars every week. At its peak more then a dozen schools in Kern County California were represented from around the Central Valley, with some traveling as far as 150 miles every race night.
While the series has its roots on asphalt tracks, the delay of the new Kern County Speedway has literally forced the kids off the track for far too long for Harvick’s liking.
Kevin tells us, “We’ve been supporting the Kern County Youth Racing Series for a few years now and we want to give these kids the opportunity to race, so we’re coming to the Speedway to help make that happen.”
It just sucks that Mesa Marin closed up because of housing developments that were built up around the track. Those people who moved into those houses should have realized where they were moving and if they didn’t want to deal with the noise they should have found another place to live. And the developers that forced the track out of business can kiss my checkered flag butt.
The New Kern County Speedway at this point is still a victim of the real estate collapse in California and now sits in limbo. Let’s all hope that some money comes along to complete construction and these kids can once again race in Bakersfield.
And let’s not forget that Marion Collins, who was such a pioneer of the Craftsman Truck Series, the High School Racing Series, and the 911 Race For Youth is still hopeful that Kern’s new track, which I’ve seen up close and is 90% complete, will be finished someday soon and the great tradition of Bakersfield racing will one day again lead the country in innovative forms of racing.
This really was a great event last night and we need to thank Larry Collins, Brian Olsen and Scott Schweitzer for all their hard work in making it happen.
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