Mesa Marin Raceway

Bakersfield, CA

Category Former CTS
Type Short Track
Configuration Oval
Length 0.5 Miles
Characteristics Turns Banked 17
Straights Banked 7
Straights Length 700' (Front & Back)
Max Field 31
Truck Qualifying Record Ron Hornaday, Jr. 95.4 mph (1998)
Track Record Dan Holtz 96.618 mph (2003)
Super Late Model
NR2K3 Record (GS) Sterling Marlin 104.09 mph
NR2K3 Track Author(s) PWF
Notes Ran Craftsman Truck races here from 1995 to 2003. Killed by developers

Mesa Marin

LK Does His Mesa Marin Rant

It was only a matter of time--it's always a matter of time. Every place has a history. It is only memorialized and sentimentalized when it is gone. God, sometimes I hate progress. I nearly always hate developers. I worked in construction for 20 years and I hate developers. I don't believe they really build. They destroy. They are always tearing down. And what goes up in the stead of the former occupant is like a cheap, glamorized trinket: it glitters when it's new and when the new wears off it's not worth preserving. It's a throwaway.

The original project was planned and drawn and engineered and finally erected with the sweat of hundreds of manual laborers. I don't think they would have worked with the same pride had they known what the inglorious end would be. I doubt they would have felt that profound sense of accomplishment when looking back at their finished trophy. A years worth of work can be demolished within days. A few months more and there are no physical reminders of what once stood as a proud tribute to man's ingenuity.

But what I wanted to speak of here was Mesa Marin. Tracks fall frequently these days. It's almost impossible to resist the lure of the developer's bucks. Even dedicated track owners must yield to the impulse. They must you know--they have seen the handwriting on the wall. When they built their track in the hills they were far from any settlements; you could see no houses in any direction. But the city expands and the suburbs grow ever closer. The first noise complaint is registered. Sweet Jane Flowers was told by the realtors that the noise would not be that bad. So she moved into that house on Checkered Flag Lane. Now her beagles get upset. She can hear the race in her bedroom at night. She can no longer sit on her patio at dusk and ruminate quietly about her stressful day.

The track owner, at first hint, makes mufflers mandatory at the track. This drops the cars decibel range from 115 to 90. He still feels like he's being a good neighbor--he runs 26 events a year so residents nearby have about 325 race-free days per year. But it's not long and city council wants him to put up a $50,000 sound wall. Track owner is not making enough money to do that. He was here first. But sooner or later he will be confronted with two eventualities--close down or move out. So what owner will be able to resist the lure of the developer's money when looking at those facts?

Thus Mesa Marin joins the ranks of the deposed. The asphalt has all been ripped up and hauled away. Even the plastic bleacher seats are destroyed; the cost of moving them elsewhere isn't worth the trouble. So why cry over it? What's so special about this track? I guess everyone who has ever been a fan of racing has a "home" track, just as drivers always have a home track. It's the track where you saw the best fireworks display ever. It's the place where Hank Williams Jr put on a rowdy, drunken concert (allegedly). It housed the garage where the first Nascar trucks were prototyped and built. Kevin Harvick and Ron Hornaday Jr. raced there. Dave Gilliland, a new hot commodity, won there frequently. That punk Kurt Busch raced there. Tony Stewart, Casey Mears... they've all run laps there.

Ah well. Progress always wins out. Oh, by the way? Did all you folks who gave your blessing to this weigh the revenue losses to the city when you made your decision? Or are you just glad to get rid of another reminder of your redneck heritage? Never mind, carry on...

It's a crying shame that's all.

Radt On Mesa Marin:

What he said. Iff'n ya live in Podunk that's pronounced Muh-'RIN, Dumbass

Mesa Marin Aerial View

And Jane, ya ignorant slut. Did you Google Earth where you're living? There's all that wide open space and there's that one housing development. And how about that, it's right next to the racetrack (link opens in Google Earth). Something smells and it's not gasoline, tires or brakes.

Click on image for wider view

See Also:

Article regarding the closing of Mesa Marin. Nice tribute piece.
Photos of David Gilliland at Marin
The new Kern County Race Track
Photo Gallery of final year by The Bakersfield Californian