9:33 PM AKST, January 16, 2013
What happened to the races at the fairgrounds, like the dirt bike races they would have? It was really good. I’m just wondering since I don’t see any of that anymore. Nowadays you have to go out to the desert to race and it’s not that good. They should really bring it back. I raced there when they had it, other cities have tracks and the Valley doesn’t. If you need a donation, I’ll even consider it. — Race Fan, Calexico
We’re not certain about any dirt bike races at the fairgrounds, but there probably were. There have been races for decades involving all sorts of different vehicles, from sprint cars to modified stock cars, and probably some others we don’t even know about.
Unfortunately, consistent race events, especially during the run of the California Mid-Winter Fair & Fiesta, have all but been nonexistent for the last five years, since the Southwest Racing Association stopped operating at the Imperial Valley Expo track.
But that dry spell, we’re pleased to say, almost ended this year, and certainly could end as soon as the fall.
We spoke with Imperial City Councilman Geoff Dale, who is working with a partner, Joseph Dhalliwal, to bring back racing to the track.
There was almost an event scheduled this year. In fact, there would have been if a gentlemen’s agreement had the binding power it used to, Dale said. He didn’t want to get into what happened, but said the timing didn’t work out.
Now, the next racing event could be in the fall and for sure, next year.
We believe Dale, as he comes from stock with racing in its blood. Geoff is son of Jim Dale, and Jim Dale Promotions had successfully run sprint car races out of the fairgrounds from 1986 to 1995 as a family affair.
While this isn’t the rebirth of Jim Dale Promotions, Geoff said he is working with Dhalliwal pro bono, trying to do something with the track at the request of the independent fair foundation established more than a year ago to fundraise and enhance the fair in the era of major funding cuts to the fair from the state.
“The Dale family has run better than 158 races at the fairgrounds,” Geoff Dale said. Current Indy 500 and NASCAR big deals Parnelli Jones and his sons P.J. and Page, Kenny Schrader, Jeff Gordon and Robby Gordon have all raced sprints cars in Dale events.
Geoff Dale said there is good management and a good board attached to the fair, and he thinks that will mean good things for the future.
Copyright © 2013, Imperial Valley Press