Local sports car racing group’s contract not renewed after 62 years
Television station KSBW in Salinas, California, has reported that the Monterey County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously (5-0) to end the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula’s 62-year management of what now is known as WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca.
Expected to replace the sports car group is a new organization headed by former Monterey hotel manager John Narigi.
Tuesday afternoon, Tim McGrane, a well-liked manager who brought decades of experience when he became chief executive of SCRAMP 18 months ago, confirmed the TV report in a posting on Facebook.
“For the past 18 months it has been my privilege to be the COP of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca and SCRAMP and to be associated with such an exceptional and dedicated group of people and this iconic Raceway,” McGrane posted.
The track was built in the 1950s on a military base on the Monterey Peninsula. The facility was owned by the country but managed by SCRAMP.
The Monterey Herald reported Monday that the supervisors would vote Tuesday on a new four-year management contract with A&D Narigi Consulting. In its proposal, Narigi Consulting said it would rehire current staff and would “look forward to the opportunity to meet and work with the volunteers, who for the last 62 years have been the heart and soul of the race track and its operations.”
With the SCRAMP contract expiring at the end of this year, the county issued a call in October for proposals from potential managers.
“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,” McGrane was quoted in a SCRAMP news release on November 14.
“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.”
In 2015, the county negotiated a possible management arrangement with the NASCAR-affiliated and Florida-based International Speedway Corporation and also considered an alternative to SCRAMP the following year.
SCRAMP noted that in 2018, Laguna Seca drew an attendance of 263,888 and generated $84.4 million in direct spending during seven major racing events, and in 2019 it negotiated the return of the IndyCar series to the track. Those events at Laguna Seca include the Rolex Monterey Reunion races during Monterey Car Week.
SCRAMP, a non-profit, was founded by local business owners and civic leaders to construct a permanent racing circuit at Ford Ord to replace the road races that had been held in the Del Monte Forest at Pebble Beach.