SAN BERNARDINO - Orange Show Speedway, whose weekly racing shows have been dormant for nearly a year, will return for one last event on pavement next month.

Starting in 2013, perhaps as early as February, the quarter- mile facility will be turned into a clay track by Dirt Entertainment, which has signed an agreement with the National Orange Show.

By running the Dec. 15 event, the track will mark the 66th season of continuous racing. It opened May 1, 1947, but had been in danger of having its streak end.

Scott Burns and Steve Miller are the principal forces behind the effort to restore racing to the facility, which has eight Indianapolis 500 winners - Bill Vukovich, Roger Ward, Jimmy Bryan, Troy Ruttman, A.J. Foyt, Parnelli Jones, Rick Mears and Al Unser Jr. - on its alumni list.

"I think they have great intentions and seem to have a great business plan," said Dan Jimenez, the National Orange Show's general manger. "I'm encouraged. We had no luck with our last several promoters.

"Try as they may, they simply couldn't get anybody in the stands. I hate to see it go away, but you just can't keep losing money. It's down to economics. It's got to pay for itself.

"Racing's not cheap."

Miller speculated the "pavement mentality" has given way to a new direction. With Irwindale Speedway and OSS dark, the lone paved track in Southern California is I-10 Speedway in Blythe. Dirt racing has thrived at venues such as Perris Auto Speedway, Ventura Raceway, Route 66 Raceway in Victorville and Santa Maria Raceway.

Dirt Entertainment also operates Route 66, and the two tracks will be the backbone of a racing series in 2013.

"We have plenty of supporters, and many racers have given us approval," Miller said. "We've had a strong response from those racers who have been sitting on the fence, waiting for the picture to be more clear."

A big advantage for Dirt Entertainment is the availability of racers familiar with the program in Victorville.

"It'll be more a turnkey operation; we have built-in racers," said Miller. "Inevitably, it'll be a better fit moving forward with dirt."

Jimenez also seems to think so.

"I think dirt racing is more popular; it's highly successful," Jimenez said. "I see the shows on (the television channel) Speed, and it looks like good family entertainment."

OSS was a dirt track until 1964, when it was first paved.

For the final race on pavement, competing classes will include Mini Stocks, Street Stocks, Late Models and Open Comp. Unlimited Sprint Cars and Ford Focus Midgets will be the focus of the clay classes.


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