MONTEREY, Calif. — It appears officials from Monterey County are in the process of finding a new organization to take over management of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
According to a published report by RACER.com Thursday afternoon, the Sports Car Racing Ass’n of the Monterey Peninsula has been informed by Monterey County Assistant County Administrative Officer Dewayne Woods that the county is negotiating with another organization to manage the Laguna Seca Recreation Area, which includes the race track.
The Sports Car Racing Ass’n of the Monterey Peninsula, otherwise known as SCRAMP, has managed WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca for 62 years.
In a statement posted on WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca’s Twitter account, SCRAMP CEO Tim McGrane expressed surprise at the news.
“This news comes as a surprise to the SCRAMP organization,” he said. “We were starting to make real progress on getting the facility and the raceway operations turned around and poised for the future, but it appears at this time we may not have the opportunity to see these plans through.
“As the existing facility operator, we were stunned by the fact that we were not provided the opportunity to discuss our proposal with the ACAO. The entire process has been unconventional, ranging from the bypassing of the County’s usual Request For Proposal (RFP) process, the announcement in mid-October requesting proposals from any interested parties with only two weeks’ notice, and complaints that SCRAMP had not met deadlines to submit a proposal when in fact a submission date had been agreed upon in May, and subsequently met, has been challenging.”
This is not the first time that Monterey County has tried to end its relationship with SCRAMP.
According to the Monterey Herald, in 2016 county officials began searching for a company to take over management of the facility when officials found out SCRAMP was having serious financial issues.
At the time two other groups – Long Beach Grand Prix founder Chris Pook’s World Automotive Championship and Friends of Laguna Seca, submitted bids to operate the facility. Friends of Laguna Seca, which included local motorsports supporters Gordon McCall and Bruce Canepa and longtime motorsports attorney Lauri Eberhart serving as general manager, were selected to begin exclusive negotiations with the county to operate the track.
However, a deal between the two entities never materialized and SCRAMP was suddenly back in the game. Eventually SCRAMP secured a three-year contract to remain as the managers of the facility, but the county acquired SCRAMP’s remaining interest in the race track as part of the arrangement.
“We have been in this position before with the County administration, but we, our fans, racing series and teams, do have to look at the possibility of the era of SCRAMP operating Laguna Seca Raceway coming to an end,” McGrane said.
In October, county officials again opened the bidding process for the management contract. By the Oct. 31 deadline county officials said they had received four proposals to take over management of the facility.
None of the candidates to take over management of the facility have been identified by the county.
WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca has hosted a number of major motorsports events throughout history, with the NTT IndyCar Series and IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship both competing at the track this year.
SCRAMP’s full statement can be found below.
SCRAMP has issued the following press release regarding the current state of their management at Laguna Seca: pic.twitter.com/4YFqdsqDQi
— WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca (@WeatherTechRcwy) November 15, 2019