NASCAR & Auto Racing

Racing returning to Pikes Peak track

After nearly three years without checkered flags or burning rubber, Pikes Peak International Raceway once again will have cars racing on its track.

The National Auto Sport Association will hold races at the Fountain raceway on Labor Day weekend, Revkah Balingit, one of the association's regional directors, said Thursday night.

KOAA television first reported PPIR was reopening and had been sold to promoter and track manager Arden Weatherford.

PPIR has been closed since November 2005, but on its Web site there is a scrolling message that reads, "The Track is Back!!!"

''We had actually heard a couple of rumors," Balingit said. "We did some digging, found Arden, contacted him and it just fell into place."

International Speedway Corp. purchased the approximately 1,000-acre track in 2005, and the deal was structured so that any buyer would be prohibited from spectator events. After a reported $12 million sale failed in early 2007 because of an issue with Colorado Springs Utilities, a broker for ISC, Stew Mosko, said he thought ISC would make the contract less restrictive for the next sales attempt, excluding only NASCAR events. He said the price would also be dropped into the $8 million to $10 million range.

''They want to get this sold," Mosko said at the time.

PPIR has about 40,000 grandstand seats, most of which are visible from Interstate 25. The track previously held Indy Racing League and NASCAR events, among others. The races during Labor Day weekend won't be at that level.

The NASA organizes and promotes "racing activities for both the aspiring and accomplished racer," according to its Web site. Balingit said the NASA does racing and high-performance driving education.

''We were just astounded in the fact that we were fortunate enough to sign up to run on the reopened track," Balingit said. "It's really fabulous. We're so psyched."

Balingit said the track is in better condition than most expected but that they need to do some weeding.

''They need about a million gallons of Roundup, the weeds are out of control," she said. "But it's really not too bad."