Ontario Motor Speedway

Ontario Motor Speedway was a racetrack that was built by David Lockton and Chuck Barnes, both of Indianapolis. It was intended to be a West Coast version of the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Barnes was a principal in Sports Headliners, a leading sports management firm that acted as agent and manager for most of the Formula One and Indianapolis-style racing drivers. Lockton got bond investment banker John Nuveen & Co. in Chicago as well as Citi Securities Corporation in Indianapolis to underwrite a $25.5 million bond offering to build the speedway, which was designed by architect Walter Ted Tyler with an infield road course, making it a facility for both oval and road course style racing in addition to drag racing. A special, that is first and only ever, IRS ruling was obtained to allow tax deductibility of the industrial revenue, real estate-secured bonds, from the revenues of which the facility built was run by a for-profit company.Constructed in less than two years, the track opened in August 1970 and was considered state of the art at the time, pioneering a private stadium club with annual memberships, corporate suites, crash absorbent retaining walls and safety fences, the first pro-am celebrity race, state-of-the-art modern garage facilities for the race teams, and a computerized timing and scoring system which showed in real-time the positions on the track to spectators during the race. This timing and scoring system was subsequently adopted by the Formula One circuit and ultimately by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway.
Prepped by a multimillion-dollar market research-based marketing campaign of the race track, the Inaugural California 500 was held on September 6, 1970 and was so successful that all reserved seats were completely sold out over six weeks before the race was held, which attracted 178,000 in paid attendance and $3.3 million in gross revenue. California Governor Ronald Reagan presented the trophy to race winner, Jim McElreath, a teammate of car owner, A.J. Foyt.
Located east of Ontario International Airport and proximate to the Interstate 10 San Bernardino Freeway, it was a licensed venue for IndyCar Series open-wheel oval car races; NASCAR 500-mile oval stock car races; NHRA drag races; and FIA Formula One road course races. On February 28, 1971, motorcycle daredevil Evel Knievel made a then-record jump over 19 cars at Ontario Motor Speedway. It later hosted motorcycle races. In 1974 and 1978 it was the venue for the Cal Jam and Cal Jam II rock performance events. The California 500 was held through 1978. Dwindling attendance led to the cancellation of that event. In 1980, Ted Dutton and George Voight purchased the property upon which the raceway sat for $26.64 million and in a 45-day double escrow sold it to the Chevron Land Company, a division of Chevron Corporation, for $35 million. The Chevron Land Company‚Äôs acquisition ended brought to a close sporting events at the venue as the company’s intention was to see the land developed for other purposes.

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