September 10, 2004
To: John Taylor, Coast Racing Association
All interested parties
I would much rather be spending this time helping my daughter practice her soccer. But I agree with you that
we must take a more proactive role in making the truth known. This will make available to all our racers the
truth about the “quest” to save the raceway. Please forward/copy/post to all you feel may benefit. I will also put
it on the Raceway’s website on Saturday.
As far as Carlsbad Raceway’s opinion of the closing of the Raceway, please see the letter presented to the
Mayor, City Manager, and Carlsbad City Council for their council meeting of 8/10/04, just two days after our last
event at http://www.carlsbadraceway.org
Carlsbad Raceway and the Grismer family oppose the “save the raceway” efforts. Carlsbad Raceway and the
Grismer family vehemently oppose any solicitation of funds in any form for this hopeless cause. We hope their
unauthorized use of the name “Carlsbad Raceway” will not give anyone the false impression that we endorse
or condone their actions. The most stunning thing to us about this whole situation is that, as of today, no one
from the “save the raceway” group has ever contacted the Raceway.
We owned the property from 1961 through Dec. 27, 1986 when we sold it. We leased the property from Dec. 27,
1986 through Aug. 9, 2004 when construction began. During this time we had to renegotiate our lease through
three different landowners. The last was with the bank that foreclosed on our former landlord and evicted
us…only to finally acquiesce to what he called our “relentless” pursuit of reopening after 3 months of closure.
We remain on site as caretakers and watchmen for the current property owners. We have lived and breathed
this property as a family business for 43 years. We know the facts; we know the truth. We write this article to
be light to all our racing friends.
Error #1 - Stopping the development of the raceway property will save the Raceway
This is not true. This is a Straw Man argument. The raceway has been closed due to the Palomar Forum
project development. This development has already happened. They have already moved over 700,000 cubic
yards of dirt.
They have already cut a new street South to North all the way through the dragstrip, turned West and have
proceeded to the Oval track. The dragstrip is 11 feet under ground (see the photos at http://www.
carlsbadraceway.org). The dragstrip, being what’s called an “undocumented fill”, was first dug out all the way
down to compaction and then refilled to the new street level of 10.9 feet above prior dragstrip level. This fill is
“gutted” and the sewer is being laid. The sewer pipe is 4-7 feet above the former dragstrip level.
They also dug through the dragstrip pits all the way down to the level of and into the lower MX pits for the main
storm drain installation. Then they refilled it.
This development shares a mutual boundary agreement with the raceway developers. It was negotiated years
ago between the former property owners with the consent of the City of Carlsbad. While the Raceway
development uses the same sewer and pays for the construction through the raceway portion, the Palomar
Forum project will be ready to erect buildings in January. This mandated the timing of the sewer construction.
They already have about 20 acres of rough-cut pads and the pipe is already placed so the sewer cannot be
Error #2 – The dragstrip can be fixed
This is not true. The sewer pipe is several feet above the dragstrip. It is economically ridiculous and
chronologically impossible to move the sewer.
From approximately the 330ft. traps to past the eighth-mile the former dragstrip is 10.9 feet under dirt. Actually
the dragstrip in this area is gone – literally. It has been hauled off site. Have a construction friend read the
grade stake photos on our website (see below.) This stake and locator were about 30 feet past the eighth mile
on the left lane guardrail. Better yet, look at the photos of the street going over the track at http://www.
To “fix” the dragstrip would require raising it 11 feet. Yesterday, on site with the General Foreman of Lusardi
construction, I had him double check my figures on what it would take to raise the dragstrip. I had calculated
about 133,333 yards. He pointed out my ignorance on filling canyons and figured you’d have to move just less
than 200,000 yards! That’s a couple million dollars just to move the dirt – without ancillary costs – but there isn’t
the dirt on site to raise the track so you’d have to spend another half million dollars importing 150,000+ yards of
The cost of relocating the sewer is much greater than raising the dragstrip and cannot be accomplished within
the required time constraints.
Error #3 – The streets can be stopped
The existing streets are over their planned capacity now. The Palomar Forum project alone will add 8-10,000
cars (or trips) per day to an already overused Palomar Airport Road. Business Park Drive is beyond its planned
daily trip usage. This mandates the acceleration of construction of Melrose and Faraday, both of which are
behind schedule already.
Remember the Vista Economic Development Association and their “Complete Melrose Now” campaign? That
City of Vista organization started in 2001 (see www.carlsbadraceway.org for photos of the postcards they
handed out in the streets).
Drive down PAR and you can see dirt moving is well into the West end of the Raceway. They have already
removed a section of the Christmas Grand Prix track as they take the dirt down for the construction of
Melrose. That dirt is gone.
All interior roads are now rough graded. Lion road has the sewer installed through the Palomar Forum
property. It continues North through the dragstrip and westbound to the old Oval track. Stop it? It’s already
Error #4 – The State has the money
Another straw man argument. The state having the money is irrelevant. Bill Gates has the money too. He
doesn’t have any intention of spending it on the property either. Read the article in the Coast News, Aug 19-25,
2004. When the newspaper investigated this possibility, the state told them that private entities are not eligible
and that having a dragstrip disqualifies it from the fund.
Note: this article quotes city staff as stating the property value at $10 million. That’s about what was owed when
the current owner repossessed the property from our former landlord. The bank had bids in foreclosure
higher than that. The price now for 150 acres with 76 acres useable and final map is closer to $20 million.
Proposed improvements would cost that much more minimally.
A local AMA D-38 club, tried several times to get the state out here…WITHOUT a dragstrip and still couldn’t do it.
The man who spearheaded the group is an actual AMA/off-road motorcycle lobbyist in Washington D.C.
Yes government is getting bigger in the USA but it generally is not in the business of taking private property
from individual citizens to have a facility the city government has always maintained could be open for business
as “interim use only.” Our CUP 94-12(A)x1 is quite clear in that matter.
The state doesn’t force cities to have state facilities that the citizens of the city and surrounding cities oppose.
Fortunately the state can’t just take away private property.
One common sense thought. Why not go to eastern, southeastern or northeastern S.D. County where you can
buy twice the land for half the price and where the development costs would be half or less due to level ground
and no endangered plants and animals in the Coastal Wetland Habitat? You can build twice the facility for a third
of the price without leaving the County (even a politician can figure that makes sense). Furthermore, you won’t
have thousands of houses and hundreds of business as neighbors opposing you due to the noise and dust.
That is why we are investigating those areas.
Error #5 – The Raceway owners didn’t try to keep the Raceway open
This comment jumps past ignorance right to stupidity. If it’s not stupidity, it is dishonesty and malice.
I’d rather spend time with my wife than waste it in a full response to this ad hominem attack. Let the facts
speak for themselves:
*Land purchased 1961 (the year I was born);
*Raceway starts 11/5/64;
*Land sold 12/27/86;
*Month-to-month lease begins 12/27/86– renegotiated lease successfully 12 times;
*First eviction letter 10/87(click here)– renegotiated lease successfully 180 more times;
*Second eviction letter 10/31/02 - evicted by bank due to landlord’s bankruptcy 12/1/02;
*New month-to-month lease begins with bank 3/1/03– renegotiated lease 18 more times;
*Raceway closes due to construction 8/9/04.
Forty years and ten months of a family business that survived start-up capitalization in the middle of nowhere in
the 60’s; the lawsuit craze of the 70’s and 80’s; being sued by the City of San Marcos for noise complaints in
1982, the insurance collapse of 1983+84+85; the selling of the property in 1986; lease termination in 1987 and an
eviction in 2002. Yeah, you got us there…we Grismers are known for just lying down and giving up.
How many racetracks have opened and closed in Southern California in the last 41 years?
My dad and I have personally tried to make this a permanent world class facility by attempting joint-venture
partnerships with the following companies – all of which expressed interest by coming to us with their ideas:
first was with Husqvarna in 1972, then Suzuki, then Honda, then AMCI & Chrysler, then Nissan, then AMCI &
Petersen Publishing Co., then Nissan & Honda, and lastly in 2002 KTM & Dunlop. We feel this is a sufficient
representation of the large corporations of the world to say, “we tried.”
Error #6 – God help those who don’t support “save the raceway” efforts
This seems a little judgmental and personal to us. Suppose someone is pushing the idea that the government
buy and refurbish a shooting range. Would it be fair for that person to then blame every specific incidence of
gun violence on those who disagreed with the plan?
The death of any human being is tragic and we pray to Christ Jesus to comfort the families of those who have
suffered losses due to the accident on I-5. We don’t know the details, only that there was a fatality accident that
apparently involved street racing. We abhor and are repulsed at any using of this tragedy to market one’s
cause. How about some compassion? We prefer, “God, please help the broken hearted families suffering
such incalculable loss.”
If street racing were involved these are the facts: 1- breaking the law caused the accident, not the closing of
Carlsbad Raceway; 2- Barona dragstrip is open in S.D. County as an avenue to keep racing off the street.
About two years ago I was subpoenaed to testify in S.D. County court regarding the fatal street racing accident
that involved one of our regular drag racers. The accident happened on a Saturday that we were having drag
races. The raceway was open and the accident still occurred: it was not that the Raceway was closed (it was
open) but that someone chose to break the law. Obeying traffic laws will stop 100% of street racing fatalities.
Racing at Barona will get us the rush we racers are looking for.
Error #7 – “I” am the new owner of Carlsbad Raceway
The use of our corporate name for their name recognition is admittedly irritating to us. Carlsbad Raceway
Corporation is in good status with the State of California Commissioner of Corporations and has been since its
incorporation in 1967. I own and have owned the corporation and business since purchasing it from my dad in
We want to apologize to the surrounding businesses for the gentleman who is presenting himself as the “new
owner of Carlsbad Raceway.” He is not speaking truth and we are sorry for any inconvenience.
We went public 8/10/04 at the city council meeting and let all our racer friends know that we feel the efforts to
“save the raceway” are misguided. We are shocked to see the solicitation of funds for this quest.
We ask all the racers again: If you liked Carlsbad Raceway please allow her to close with honor, dignity and
integrity. Rather than going to the city and threatening the council that “they won’t have their jobs”, rather than
a few guys molesting morning traffic and a job-site with a couple of banners, try thanking the City of Carlsbad
that let us operate for nearly 18 years on a temporary basis. Try making the racing industry look good in the
public’s eyes rather than making us look bad. Remember it is the people of Carlsbad who voted into office the
councilmen being threatened – this stands in opposition to the citizens of Carlsbad.
We thank the Palomar Forum developers for structuring their schedule in such a fashion as to allow the
raceway its maximum life span.
We thank our landlord for allowing us to operate even after his land-risk department stated motocross was an
unacceptable risk and they should have twice the insurance coverage on the dragstrip. Our landlord went to
bat for us and we scored 18 extra months. (Thanks Matt)
We thank all the friendly, loyal racers who kept us in business over 40 years!
We thank the drag racer (by e-mail) and motocrosser (in person) who contacted me and simply asked, “what is
really happening?” That is the heart of this article. We want you to know what’s really happening. We tried to
avoid getting involved with this, but they’re soliciting money now, and you racers deserve the truth.
Above all, the Carlsbad Raceway, the raceway Staff, and the Grismer family want to thank God Almighty. Without
Him the raceway would have closed in 1967. We have always maintained that as long as God wanted the
raceway open, it would be open whether a Grismer was running it or not. And that when God’s purpose for the
raceway was fulfilled there would be nothing we could do to keep it open. We believe that time is now and, for
giving us more than 40 years of racing with the safest accident record in the United States, we praise the Lord.
On behalf of Carlsbad Raceway and the Grismer family,