Improvements include moving pit road to Turn 2, lengthening the straightaways, and redoing
All American Speedway started the '08 season with a problem most tracks would love to have: It ran out of seats.
The track's opener featured the NASCAR Camping World West Series, formerly Winston West. It was the first time in 25 years the series had run there. Renovations completed in early 2007 earned the track sanctioning by NASCAR, making it possible for the West's oldest series, as well as the NASCAR Whelen All- American Series, to compete at the 1/3-mile oval. The opening event in late March featuring the West Series sold out two days in advance with a capacity of 3,500.
"Bringing in a large touring series to a packed house means a lot," says Bill McAnally, promoter of the event.
Located at the Placer County Fairgrounds in Roseville, California, the track is about 16 miles northeast of Sacramento. Like other tracks in the West, it began life as a quarter-mile dirt oval and rodeo stadium in 1955. In 1972 it was paved and renamed All American Speedway.
McAnally was instrumental in the recent renovations. Bill McAnally Racing (BMR), based in Antelope, California, won three championships in the West Series and has three drivers competing in the series this year.
"It started with Stockton 99 Speedway closing," McAnally says. "As part of the Drive for Diversity program, we (BMR) had to fall into a NASCAR track. Looking at our options, Altamont (Speedway) is 85 miles away and Madera (Speedway) around 160. All American Speedway is only five miles up the road. I raced my first Bomber race and won my first Late Model championship there."
The season opener played to a full house. JUNE BOONE
McAnally started looking at what it would take to make the track eligible for a NASCAR sanction. "I talked to the fair board. They said if you can raise the money, go ahead," he says. "Over 30 local businesses helped. In all, there's an investment of 1.2 million dollars."
"The renovations are mainly safety improvements," says Dennis Gage, director of operations at the track. "Turns 3 and 4 had been hit by two or three very heavy racecars and were pretty badly damaged. The same area had both the on- and offramps. So you couldn't stage the cars and the offramp went into the crowded pit area.
"We tore out all the walls, moved the pit area, and made it about four times bigger," Gage adds. "The offramp was moved to Turn 2 and the onramp is at Turn 3. There's a new staging area. We now have the ability to stage two events. The offramp isn't perfect, but it's a lot better."
Other improvements include entirely new fencing, new areas for seating, better drainage, new retaining walls, and new public address and lighting systems.
Also included is fresh paving, increasing the track to 1/3-mile at the outer edge.
"We have a longer straightaway and the corners have more banking," says McAnally. "You can race two wide now. It's easier to pass."
Eric Holmes, a BMR driver who won the inaugural Camping World West Series race, competed at All American Speedway 11 years ago. "All I remember was thinking how small it was," he says. "They did an excellent job on the track. The pits are nice and the track is really racy. It's a fun track."
Holmes says two very different turns give it its good characteristics. "You can't be overly aggressive in Turns 1 and 2. You have to be patient, but you can really drive aggressive in Turns 3 and 4. It's a little difficult to learn, but it's a great racing training ground."
Modifieds are a regular part of the show. JUNE BOONE
Another change at All American Speedway is a shift to unleaded gas for all classes.
"Two of the classes were already using unleaded gas," Gage says. "The city built right up against us. We are constantly vigilant about sound. The people who complain about noise tend to be concerned about the environment too."
In response to community concerns about noise, the track has implemented a two-phase plan.