Mesa Marin roars into history

Victor Garcia

The racecars driving over 100 mph at Mesa Marin will soon be replaced by minivans traveling about 25 mph.

The final races at the West’s fastest half-mile were held Oct. 14-16. Fans were cheering their hearts out, and the announcer kept mentioning that these were the final races at Mesa Marin.

Mesa Marin, which opened nearly 30 years ago, was sold to a housing development, and racing in northeast Bakersfield will soon be a distant memory.

“It’s very bad. It’s hard to put in words. It is probably one of the worst things that has happened in Bakersfield. It’s good for residential, for people who want to have home,” said race fan JW Bobbitt.

Bobbitt said he would be working on one of the tracks of housing around Mesa Marin. He said the closing of Mesa Marin was good for him in that regard.

One person in attendance said Bakersfield will lose a piece of its history.

“It feels kind of crappy man,” Devin Radney said. “At the beginning of the year, they’re gonna knock it all down. I don’t see why they should get rid of this. It’s a historic place for Bakersfield. They need places like this.”

One person said he had a bittersweet feeling. “It’s kind of bittersweet, good crowd, a lot of action. It’s kind of sad thinking it’s going to be over,” said Pat Whitmore.

He said there have been rumors of a new track that is to be built somewhere else in or around Bakersfield.

“I’ve heard there has been talk of a new track, so we’ll see. Time will tell,” said Whitmore.

Bakersfield College student Eric Richardson won one of the final races at Mesa Marin on Friday, the late model championship. Famous racers such as Bakersfield’s Kevin Harvick have started their careers racing at Mesa Marin Raceway.

-Sports Editor Alfredo Adkins contributed to this story