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Former hotel manager to take over at WeatherTech Laguna Seca Raceway

Former hotel manager to take over at WeatherTech Laguna Seca Raceway

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.

Aerial view of the track in 2018 | Laguna Seca photo

“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. 

Vintage IMSA race cars in the Corkscrew | Laguna Seca photo

“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.

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7 Comments

  • Amber zaya
    November 20, 2019, 2:16 PM

    Great Article.

    REPLY
    • Jared Seese@Amber zaya
      November 20, 2019, 4:20 PM

      The problem I see here is that the new management does not have the man power or the experence to run this show! SCRAMP for 63 YEARS has managed, Improved, and ganed the respect of most of the racing public to the point that Laguna Seca has the reputation as always a great show.

      REPLY
  • Walt Bratten
    November 20, 2019, 3:38 PM

    As a former competitor and a former announcer at Laguna Seca, I am shocked at this announcement. SCRAMP has (to my knowledge) always been top notch in it’s dealings and events. Obviously there is some behind the scenes political crap going on Nothing against the new manager (I have never even heard of him), but I hope SRAMP fights city hall on this. I’ll bet Larry Albedi is rolling over in his grave now😖

    REPLY
  • Philippe DANH
    November 20, 2019, 4:27 PM

    I feel sorry for the folks at SCRAMP. This smells of big money…as always.

    REPLY
  • Dick Duncan
    November 20, 2019, 6:29 PM

    Sad day for the iconic Laguna Seca Raceway and motor sports aficionados worldwide. The future of this fabulous community asset built, (on the backs of volunteers), over the last 62 years and operated by a non profit charitable corporation is in danger of being lost forever.

    A fantastic legacy is In danger of being destroyed by the Monterey County Board of Supervisors and the local questionable political environment they choose to operate in.

    Awarding the contract for operating Laguna Seca to a new entity with no operational experience, questionable backing, and no apparent Motorsport industry support or connection is not a recipe for success!

    REPLY
  • John Kerr
    November 21, 2019, 9:13 AM

    As an 18 year-old college kid (lying about my age) I ran in the 1st race at Laguna Seca in Nov. of 1957. I had in hindsight absolutely no business doing it. The car I drove was an ill prepared, bad handling worn out race car. The for purpose formed SCRAMP, with support from Ft. Ord’s commanding General put together a track in 90 days. The track as laid out was designed by world class drivers led by Jack McAfee and Bill Pollack. It was a scary place. So much so that I didn’t return to run on the track for four decades. I’ve raced there ever since. I’ve been amazed how SCRAMP, along with a continuum of of motoring professionals (which included prestigious automotive companies) have managed the facility. I having been involved the challenges of the operation of a a volunteer run non-profit organization understand the concern of the Monterey Board of Supervisors (BOS) . I watched the public deliberation. To me it smacked of the current political culture of "cronyism" and "backroom deals". Rather than throwing in a manager (I’m sure Mr Narigi is a nice fellow)) with no racing background; you folks (the BOS) would be better off to have mandated an onsite independent auditor. Just my "to cents". I think we all (including the BOS) may regret the decision to oust SCRAMP.

    REPLY