Like three other race tracks in Southern California this past winter Perris Auto Speedway promoter Don Kazarian announced after Saturday night's race that there will be no auto racing at the at the famous Riverside County clay oval after the 2012 season. Beginning in early 2013 he will convert the track to a horse racing facility.
"One night I was laying in bed staring at the ceiling and thinking how I could make the track better," Kazarian said. "I asked myself how many sprint cars are there in Southern California? Then I asked myself how many dirt track stock cars are there in California? The numbers are pretty small. Then it hit me, there are millions of horses and mules. This is a no brainer and we are going to go for it."
The horses are going to race on the existing half-mile track while the mules will run on the track's inner quarter-mile. All of the racing will be sanctioned by USHAC (United States Horseman's Association Club).
"One of the bigger headaches with auto racing is all the fussing and hollering about cheating," Kazarian stated with a shrug. "Tires, engines, fuels, weight, somebody is always accusing someone else of having a cheater car. We tech the cars and are always finding infractions which immediately sets off a chain reaction of squawking. With horse and mule racing, tech will be a breeze and there will not complaining as the only rules we will have will be a horse or mule has to have four legs, a tail and be able to navigate in a forward movement."
When queried as to why they would have to have a tail, Kazarian said, "aerodynamics."
One person who is very excited with the news is 2007 USAC/CRA Sprint Car champion Tony Jones of Orange, California. "I thought I was done racing until I heard about this," an excited Jones said in while standing in the drizzle after Saturday's USAC/CRA Sprint Car race. "My wife was glad I quit racing so I am not to sure what she will think about me racing horses instead of cars now."
Jones continued on, "When Donnie Kazarian told me he was thinking about this in early January, I thought to be competitive with guys like Lafoot Pinkay, I figured I had better lose about 140 pounds. I have been working out diligently for three months now and have dropped nearly four pounds so I am doing OK. Earlier tonight I was told Rickie Gaunt plans on racing as well. If that is true and he is going horse racing, I guess I will not have to lose as much weight as I first thought."
When Jones was asked if he had ever ridden a horse before, he added, "When I was a kid, I had one of those things that is like a broomstick with a plastic horse head on it. So, I figure that is a start. Racing a real live horse cannot be that hard, can it?"
Kazarian stated that the configuration of the track will not change including the banking in the corners. "Just like sprint car racing, the fastest horses and the bravest jockeys while ride around the top. I would not expect to see many geldings up there."
One difference in the surface will be the plastic dirt Kazarian purchased for the half-mile oval about ten years ago. It has been stored ever since the day he bought it and with so many horse tracks running on synthetic surfaces now days, he plans to put it to use. "We were going to use it for auto racing, but we found out it was very combustible," he said in a frustrated tone. "If a car had caught fire, it would have set the whole darn track ablaze. The smoke generated would have attracted desert racers from all over the western hemisphere." Kazarian then added with a grin. "You know what? I just thought of something. With horses and mules, we will not have to pay for tow trucks."
In closing, Kazarian said, "I sincerely want to thank every single person from fans to drivers, owners, officials and sponsors who has been a part of making the auto racing a success at The PAS every year since we opened. We plan on making the last year a memorable one." He then added with a wink and a grin, "I hope all of them have a happy April Fool's day, too."
The entire PAS final schedule of auto racing at The PAS is listed at the end of this release.
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Perris Auto Speedway wants to thank its corporate sponsors for the 2012 season. 1-800LoanMart, 777 Racecars, Aaron's, Ahern Rentals, All Coast Construction, Amsoil, Ayers Hotel and Spa, Budweiser, Champion Towing, City of Perris, Comfort Inn, Day Construction, Daytona Boat & RV Storage, Frazee Paint, Hoosier Tires, K&N Engineering, P.I.P.E., Pepsi-Cola, Pick-A-Part Auto Salvage, Prolong Super Lubricants, Snap-on, Soboba Casino, Square H, Swedish Speed, Temecula Valley Pipe & Supply, Trench Shoring, US Foods, Valley Auto Salvage and Zanzabuku Sports Lounge.