Is War Brewing Over Laguna Seca?

Back in 2014, the contract between Monterey County and the Sports Car Racing Association of the Monterey Peninsula (SCRAMP) came to an end. This long-term contract defined how Madza Raceway Laguna Seca was to be managed, and so the county and SCRAMP moved to a month-to-month contract while they negotiated new terms. However, turmoil between the two entities has kept management at the legendary racetrack balancing on the edge of a knife. 

Has the War for Laguna Seca Finally Come to an End? 

A 2014 audit reported some disturbing news about the Laguna Seca Raceway. SCRAMP—the nonprofit that has run the track since it was built in 1957—was struggling with a $4.8 million deficit. To top it off, the county was also alleging that the nonprofit owed it $650,000. SCRAMP denied the debt and so Monterey County began searching for a new management concessionaire. 

The International Speedway Corporation, Friends of Laguna Seca, and World Automobile Championship of California all entered negotiations for the contract. Many feared that these organizations might take motorcycle racing off the table for the racetrack because of previous crashes and lawsuits. Yet these groups couldn’t reach an agreement with the county. This kept Laguna Seca’s management hanging in limbo, and with the 60th anniversary season of the track looming in 2017, the county needed to act fast. 

County Supervisor Dave Potter was replaced by Mary Adams in January. She saw this looming conflict approaching, and made a move to end the stalemate. The county negotiated a new three-year deal with SCRAMP, which will keep the nonprofit in charge of the racetrack’s day-to-day functions. The deal includes the county paying SCRAMP $1 million, and SCRAMP paying the county $687,956. The exchange should settle all the groups conflicts, allowing SCRAMP to pay its debt with the county while the county takes possession of the track’s intellectual property rights, internet domain names, naming rights and sponsorship rights. 

This new deal should supply stability through Laguna Seca’s 60th anniversary racing season, and it somewhat protects motorcycle racing at the historic track. But many are wondering if SCRAMP will still be in the running when this three-year deal expires. 

What do you think? Should management be switched out after three years, or should Monterey County stick with SCRAMP? Tell the attorneys who ride at the Metier Law Firm what you think on Facebook and Twitter. 

Tom Metier

Tom Metier

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