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Willow Springs Circuit for Sale (Split)


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#1 Frood

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Posted 11 June 2024 - 12:10

Not exactly IndyCar news, but US racing-adjacent... anyone got a spare couple of million down the back of the sofa?

(If you don't want to click the link – Willow Springs is for sale.)

Edited by Frood, 11 June 2024 - 12:10.


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#2 juicy sushi

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Posted 11 June 2024 - 12:31

So many of my favourite car mag articles were written based on the guys driving out to Willow, running a few laps, and driving home again.  Hope it survives, somehow.



#3 Seppi_0_917PA

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Posted 11 June 2024 - 16:08

RACER article on Willow Spring: https://racer.com/20...es-up-for-sale/
 
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Edited by Seppi_0_917PA, 11 June 2024 - 16:31.


#4 Secretariat

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Posted 11 June 2024 - 16:29

I would not mind seeing Willow Springs evolve into a public version of Thermal Club; akin to public golf courses or some form of trust. It can have some very light development, housing and incorporate ideas/elements from when Paul Ricard was mostly used as a test facility. It is a California Point of Historical Interest, but don't know what sort of protections that designation offers, if any.



#5 red stick

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Posted 11 June 2024 - 16:29

Time for my annual CROWDFUNDING alert! :D

#6 Jim Thurman

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Posted 11 June 2024 - 17:19

It is a California Point of Historical Interest, but don't know what sort of protections that designation offers, if any.

Pretty much none. There are cases where the marker has been moved or placed in front of a later development.

 

The Racer article doubles down on the error that Willow Springs "hosted the first NASCAR race West of the Mississippi" by now adding "first two."

 

EDIT: Props to the Racer team. I contacted them and they've quickly amended the story  :up:

 

There were at least 6 NASCAR races West of the Mississippi before Willow Springs hosted its first (in late 1955). The first was at Carrell Speedway in Gardena, California (Los Angeles County) in 1951. Carrell alone had 4 before Willow Springs.


Edited by Jim Thurman, 11 June 2024 - 18:32.


#7 loki

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Posted 17 June 2024 - 01:07

Emelia Hartford was riffing about buying it.  If anyone in the car influencer sphere could round up the funding she could.  Would have been perfect for the TEN/Motortrend bunch before Warner bought them and ruined it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



#8 STIGG

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Posted 17 June 2024 - 01:21

I've heard rumours that William Storey has put in an offer and will rename it the Rich Energy Ring with plans to host an F1 race from next year.

#9 Beri

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Posted 17 June 2024 - 07:27

Emelia Hartford was riffing about buying it.  If anyone in the car influencer sphere could round up the funding she could.  Would have been perfect for the TEN/Motortrend bunch before Warner bought them and ruined it.

 

 

If I will buy it, do I get the Ivanka Trump look a like with it? Or isnt it a package deal?



#10 IrvTheSwerve

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Posted 17 June 2024 - 07:40

I've heard rumours that William Storey has put in an offer and will rename it the Rich Energy Ring with plans to host an F1 race from next year.

Rich Energy Ring sounds like some kind of medical condition.



#11 Autodromo

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Posted 17 June 2024 - 14:16

If my sophisticated plan (aka, buy $10 worth of tickets) to win that $1B Powerball a while ago would have come to fruition, I'd already own it and would invite you all for an Autosports F1 forums open track.

 

Alas, my numbers didn't come up  ):



#12 BRG

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Posted 17 June 2024 - 15:15

The track(s) is in the middle of nowhere.  There are many roads laid out on the map which were obviously for planned developments but it has never happened.  So it seems unlikely that it will be bought and built over.  In which case, from where are the likely purchasers going to come?  "Influencers" sound almost as dodgy as Big Bill Storey and his Croatian money laundering.  Are there any serious contenders to buy the place?



#13 AncientLurker

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Posted 17 June 2024 - 15:45

The track(s) is in the middle of nowhere.  There are many roads laid out on the map which were obviously for planned developments but it has never happened.  So it seems unlikely that it will be bought and built over.  In which case, from where are the likely purchasers going to come?  "Influencers" sound almost as dodgy as Big Bill Storey and his Croatian money laundering.  Are there any serious contenders to buy the place?

I know the concept of influencers buying it sounds a bit ludicrous, but it is a possibility. There are some big car-related YouTube channels out there and it is not unprecedented. Look at what Cleetus has done with the Freedom Factory. Donut use the track extensively, and they seem to be doing very well for themselves on their channel. Maybe they can talk to Emila Hartford and some others and buy it together. I am sure there are others out on the West coast as well that could join in.


Edited by AncientLurker, 17 June 2024 - 15:46.


#14 Autodromo

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Posted 17 June 2024 - 15:48

I know the concept of influencers buying it sounds a bit ludicrous, but it is a possibility. There are some big car-related YouTube channels out there and it is not unprecedented. Look at what Cleetus has done with the Freedom Factory. Donut use the track extensively, and they seem to be doing very well for themselves on their channel. Maybe they can talk to Emila Hartford and some others and buy it together. I am sure there are others out on the West coast as well that could join in.

But could they manage it long term?  Essentially you'd have to hire a small team to do so, I think.  Or just skip the public part and use it exclusively for your own content!


Edited by Autodromo, 17 June 2024 - 15:48.


#15 AncientLurker

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Posted 17 June 2024 - 15:54

But could they manage it long term?  Essentially you'd have to hire a small team to do so, I think.  Or just skip the public part and use it exclusively for your own content!

Ultimately, these huge YouTubers are keen business savvy people. As easy as it is to take a poop on them for 'being YouTubers', they have to be very good entrepreneurs and highly driven to make it to the top of the YT heap. I would 100% rather have someone like her, with her passion, than some business conglomerate buy the track and give it an honest shot. Yes, she will have to hire a whole team, incorporate a new business, etc., but so would any other buyer.

Will she succeed? I have no idea, but I hope she does.



#16 Alfisti

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Posted 17 June 2024 - 16:48

I find this track to be impossibly difficult in sim racing, i just cannot get a handle on it. 



#17 balmybaldwin

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Posted 17 June 2024 - 17:16

Not exactly IndyCar news, but US racing-adjacent... anyone got a spare couple of million down the back of the sofa?

(If you don't want to click the link – Willow Springs is for sale.)

I must admit, I thoguht this was a Gran Tourismo made up track.



#18 loki

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Posted 17 June 2024 - 17:33

The track(s) is in the middle of nowhere.  There are many roads laid out on the map which were obviously for planned developments but it has never happened.  So it seems unlikely that it will be bought and built over.  In which case, from where are the likely purchasers going to come?  "Influencers" sound almost as dodgy as Big Bill Storey and his Croatian money laundering.  Are there any serious contenders to buy the place?

Hartford works with some of the biggest players in automotive aftermarket.  Don’t let the cheesecake/pin up thing fool you or let your generational bias cloud reality.  She’s the real deal.  Here’s a bit about her from Red Bull with whom she has a deal.   https://www.redbull....d Ford Mustang.

 

That area is one of the fastest growing areas in So Cal.  It’s an exurb of Los Angeles. A couple hour commute is common in that neck of the woods.  It’s about the only place left where a young family can afford to buy a home.  If an auto/racing type doesn’t buy the place it will become housing.



#19 balmybaldwin

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Posted 17 June 2024 - 17:43

No doubt it's suffering from people moving in next door and then complaining they live next to a track like most circuits


Edited by balmybaldwin, 17 June 2024 - 17:44.


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#20 loki

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Posted 17 June 2024 - 17:53

But could they manage it long term?  Essentially you'd have to hire a small team to do so, I think.  Or just skip the public part and use it exclusively for your own content!

 

There is a staff that runs it now.  It’s a full time functioning business.  It’s used quite a bit.  If Donut, Hartford, Mitchell (Cleetus) and Beri (Vice Grip Garage) would team up they could finance it themselves.  Any of those individually could get backers.  Automotive content has moved from the realm of Motortrend, Velocity, Power Nation to You Tube.  They make more money on socials, ad revenue, appearances and endorsements than they did on conventional broadcast.

 

One way it could be done is as a mutual benefit non profit like SCCA.  Cal Club the So Cal SCCA region owns the track in Buttonwillow.  Willow would then be a not for profit members based TV production and racing facility.  Like Buttonwillow.



#21 loki

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Posted 17 June 2024 - 17:56

No doubt it's suffering from people moving in next door and then complaining they live next to a track like most circuits

Not yet.  It’s a few miles out.  It's going to cost tens to hundreds of millions of dollars to get utilities the scale of what’s needed for that many houses.  Eventually though it's likely to be surround by a community.



#22 Alfisti

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Posted 17 June 2024 - 18:31

Looks like it hasn't had rain since 1982, sounds like a perfect place to set up housing. 



#23 loki

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Posted 17 June 2024 - 18:35

Looks like it hasn't had rain since 1982, sounds like a perfect place to set up housing. 

Over half a million people live in the area.  It’s the western Mojave Desert.  :rolleyes:



#24 Autodromo

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Posted 17 June 2024 - 19:13

Over half a million people live in the area.  It’s the western Mojave Desert.  :rolleyes:

And the state is rapidly running out of water



#25 PayasYouRace

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Posted 17 June 2024 - 19:25

I must admit, I thoguht this was a Gran Tourismo made up track.

 

Similar happened to me with Lime Rock and Sports Car GT.



#26 BoDarvelle

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Posted 17 June 2024 - 20:00

There is a staff that runs it now.  It’s a full time functioning business.  It’s used quite a bit.  If Donut, Hartford, Mitchell (Cleetus) and Beri (Vice Grip Garage) would team up they could finance it themselves.  Any of those individually could get backers.  Automotive content has moved from the realm of Motortrend, Velocity, Power Nation to You Tube.  They make more money on socials, ad revenue, appearances and endorsements than they did on conventional broadcast.

 

One way it could be done is as a mutual benefit non profit like SCCA.  Cal Club the So Cal SCCA region owns the track in Buttonwillow.  Willow would then be a not for profit members based TV production and racing facility.  Like Buttonwillow.

 

No idea where Donut is located, but why would Cleetus or VGG have any interest in track 3000 miles away from their locations? 

 

eta-Especially when their fanbase is drag racing, circle track and burnouts.

 

Hoonigan is more in the area but they don't seem to have much interest in road racing either. Maybe drifting.


Edited by BoDarvelle, 17 June 2024 - 20:31.


#27 Jim Thurman

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Posted 17 June 2024 - 20:03

And the state is rapidly running out of water

Which hasn't stopped rampant development. Neither has what we know about heat islands, but development continues at the most ridiculous pace I've ever seen. Ask loki about development and lack of water in Las Vegas.

 

Only Phoenix has pressed pause (sort of).


Edited by Jim Thurman, 17 June 2024 - 20:51.


#28 Jim Thurman

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Posted 17 June 2024 - 20:04

Over half a million people live in the area.  It’s the western Mojave Desert.  :rolleyes:

Yep, I live about 30 miles from Willow Springs. I can see the balcony in the distance.

 

The population in this area has grown by about 100,000 since I've been here.



#29 Jim Thurman

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Posted 17 June 2024 - 21:40

No idea where Donut is located, but why would Cleetus or VGG have any interest in track 3000 miles away from their locations? 

 

eta-Especially when their fanbase is drag racing, circle track and burnouts.

 

Hoonigan is more in the area but they don't seem to have much interest in road racing either. Maybe drifting.

WSIR has hosted drag racing and drifting and has three circle tracks (two paved, one dirt). It's a multi-track facility.



#30 AncientLurker

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Posted 17 June 2024 - 23:26

No idea where Donut is located,…

Donut are in LA I think. I know they are running at the track all the time though. They run just about everything they work on there.

#31 loki

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Posted 18 June 2024 - 01:27

No idea where Donut is located, but why would Cleetus or VGG have any interest in track 3000 miles away from their locations? 

 

eta-Especially when their fanbase is drag racing, circle track and burnouts.

 

Hoonigan is more in the area but they don't seem to have much interest in road racing either. Maybe drifting.

 

Hoonigan was sold a few years back before Block died.  The company rebranded Wheel Pros to Hoonigan.  Most of the OG are gone and now Daily Driven Exotics

have the building Block made famous.  Donut is owned by Recurrent in FL but shoots out of Inglewood last I heard.  Pretty apparent they shoot in So Cal.

 

At one time there was an oval at Willow.   It’s big enough to drag.  More than road racing out there.

 

ETA thanks Jim, didn't realize there was still circle track out there.


Edited by loki, 18 June 2024 - 01:31.


#32 loki

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Posted 18 June 2024 - 05:30

Yep, I live about 30 miles from Willow Springs. I can see the balcony in the distance.

 

The population in this area has grown by about 100,000 since I've been here.

My dad lives in Tehachapi and they go to the Costco in Lancaster.  I figured a couple-few hundred thou out there.  I Googled before that post and it’s almost 600k.  Yowza!



#33 Peat

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Posted 18 June 2024 - 07:08

On gmaps, I can see a huge grid of roads mapped out all the way up to the track, but seemingingly nothing built. Is the imagery old or is that how development goes in the US?



#34 Beri

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Posted 18 June 2024 - 07:29

#DirtRoadsAreRoadsToo



#35 PayasYouRace

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Posted 18 June 2024 - 08:04

On gmaps, I can see a huge grid of roads mapped out all the way up to the track, but seemingingly nothing built. Is the imagery old or is that how development goes in the US?

It does seem strange that there is such an expansive network of roads in an undeveloped area. Remember that in the UK public roads must be paved so complete networks of unpaved roads look strange to us.

 

Maybe some resident or California can shed some light on it. It might just be the equivalent of the Bxxxx country lanes that cross cross our countryside.



#36 Nathan

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Posted 18 June 2024 - 12:12

On gmaps, I can see a huge grid of roads mapped out all the way up to the track, but seemingingly nothing built. Is the imagery old or is that how development goes in the US?

 

Looks like chopped up farmland. The area originally was good for cattle and had a small gold rush.  In central/western U.S. and Canada rural areas are typically in 1 mile by 1 mile blocks (a section, or 640 acres) with roads on all sides, and were typically divided into quarter sections (160 acres) and sold.  From there you can see how those squares get divided in half, into 4, into 8 etc.  This is why western U.S/Canada agriculture plots can typically be found in acerages of 640, 320, 160, 80, 40, 20 and 10.  When you look around this area you see that pattern in the grid.  Also, when you go on Google Satellite you see most of those roads don't exist, or just became dirt roads.


Edited by Nathan, 18 June 2024 - 12:12.


#37 PayasYouRace

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Posted 18 June 2024 - 13:00

I’ve just realised that I’ve never had any practical idea of how big an acre is, and I assumed it was much larger than it actually is.

#38 Nathan

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Posted 18 June 2024 - 13:02

43,560 sq.ft.  Roughly 208'x208' (63.6m).  2.5 acres per hectare.



#39 Brackets

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Posted 18 June 2024 - 13:17

43,560 sq.ft.  Roughly 208'x208' (63.6m).  2.5 acres per hectare.

The bolded can't be right when an hectare is 10000m2. Google tells me there are indeed ~2.5 acres in an hectare, so an acre should be roughly 10k/2.5=4000m2.

 

I evidently could have googled that furhter, and indeed I did  :lol: , and it's 4,047 square metres, according to Brittanica no less.

 

[ETA]Or never mind all that if you meant the side of a square acre is 63 meters  :rotfl:

 

(I need a vacation)


Edited by Brackets, 18 June 2024 - 13:18.


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#40 PayasYouRace

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Posted 18 June 2024 - 14:31

[returns from google] An acre isn’t even square FFS! It’s 66 x 660 feet.

Point is, the wood where Winnie the Pooh lived is a hell of a lot smaller than I imagined.



#41 Nathan

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Posted 18 June 2024 - 15:15

I think we are now getting in regionality definitions.  An acre can be whatever shape, its just a unit of area.  I do notice in Quebec, Ontario, Europe, farm lots are often very long sided rectangles, so I ponder if ag regions were subdivided by the acre and that's the end result.  660 is divisible by 5280 in the most ideal length to practically minimize street frontage.


Edited by Nathan, 18 June 2024 - 15:18.


#42 Grippy

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Posted 18 June 2024 - 17:55

[returns from google] An acre isn’t even square FFS! It’s 66 x 660 feet.

Point is, the wood where Winnie the Pooh lived is a hell of a lot smaller than I imagined.

https://thehistoryja...d-measurements/



#43 Jim Thurman

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Posted 18 June 2024 - 20:13

Hoonigan was sold a few years back before Block died.  The company rebranded Wheel Pros to Hoonigan.  Most of the OG are gone and now Daily Driven Exotics

have the building Block made famous.  Donut is owned by Recurrent in FL but shoots out of Inglewood last I heard.  Pretty apparent they shoot in So Cal.

 

At one time there was an oval at Willow.   It’s big enough to drag.  More than road racing out there.

 

ETA thanks Jim, didn't realize there was still circle track out there.

Three circle tracks! They are still racing monthly at the 1/4 mile paved oval. The 3/8 mile dirt oval - named Walt James Stadium - has fallen into disuse after being the original oval at WSIR (c. 1989-90). The annual vintage circle track meet used to take place on the dirt track. They paved a track in the infield of the dirt track, but it's just been for testing and such.

 

My dad lives in Tehachapi and they go to the Costco in Lancaster.  I figured a couple-few hundred thou out there.  I Googled before that post and it’s almost 600k.  Yowza!

One can find several figures, and it depends on what is considered the Antelope Valley. So, it can range from 440,000 on up. I don't count Rosamond, but just between Palmdale, Lancaster and Quartz Hill the population has increased by about 115,000 just since I moved here  :|



#44 Jim Thurman

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Posted 18 June 2024 - 20:23

It does seem strange that there is such an expansive network of roads in an undeveloped area. Remember that in the UK public roads must be paved so complete networks of unpaved roads look strange to us.

 

Maybe some resident or California can shed some light on it. It might just be the equivalent of the Bxxxx country lanes that cross cross our countryside.

I know you don't have deserts in Britain, but that was a common deal in California and Arizona. A real estate scam where they'd carve out roads and tout all the amenities coming soon to this "planned community." This went on from, oh I don't know how far back and really gained momentum in the 50s, 60s and early 70s. Entire planned communities were laid out and never built, although some bought land. There are times where the real estate men wound up in jail. Then there are times where even the ambitious communities somehow did spring up, sort of. See California City and Lake Los Angeles. California City has just recently gotten around to actually growing, while Lake Los Angeles has sort of gone the other direction, despite housing tracts being built there 30 years ago.

 

Really not that different historically. Some of the original development in this area came from unscrupulous real estate developers pitching open land for farming to German and Swiss immigrants, who soon found the land inhospitable and either returned to Europe or moved to Los Angeles. Similar happened with a developer pitching farm land near Bakersfield to get British citizens, untrained in farming, to relocate to a utopian colony called Rosedale. The distinctive Rosedale Palms, which lined the road into the community, still stand. though under threat.



#45 Jim Thurman

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Posted 18 June 2024 - 20:25

Oh, and dirt roads are a thing all over the U.S., especially in drier areas.

 

Heck, I recall an unpaved street less than a mile from where I lived in San Diego, and they are all over out here in the desert.



#46 loki

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Posted 18 June 2024 - 20:32

Quite a change from in the 70s when Stockdale Estates was considered the swanky part of town.



#47 Jim Thurman

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Posted 20 June 2024 - 16:41

Quite a change from in the 70s when Stockdale Estates was considered the swanky part of town.

Indeed. That and the Country Club Estates were the swanky parts of Bakersfield. Despite its reputation, there are many good things to be said about Bakersfield. Not the terrible air quality, the stifling heat, the Winter fogs or the dust storms, but otherwise... 


Edited by Jim Thurman, 21 June 2024 - 04:05.


#48 loki

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Posted 21 June 2024 - 02:46

Indeed. That and the Country Club Estates were the swanky parts of Bakersfield. Despite, its reputation, there are many good things to be said about Bakersfield. Not the terrible air quality, the stifling heat, the Winter fogs or the dust storms, but otherwise... 

When we lived there it didn’t go much to the west past New Stine Rd and Union Ave to the east.  And of course the White Front on California and the Zody’s on Ming.



#49 FLB

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Posted 24 June 2024 - 16:32

Video about the whole thing.

 



#50 Kaiser

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Posted 24 June 2024 - 16:38

No doubt it's suffering from people moving in next door and then complaining they live next to a track like most circuits

 

You've never been to willow, have you?