EL CAJON, Calif. -- Nearly seven years after Cajon Speedway was torn down, the site it used to occupy remains vacant while San Diego County tries to push through plans for an expanded airport hangar for neighboring Gillespie Field.
The racetrack closed amid ownership problems and an expiring lease with the county.
Environmental review is the main reason nothing has happened at the 70-acre site.
"If we don't see something soon," joked Gillespie Field Manager Peter Drinkwater, "Probably goats, chickens and cows will be next."
In reality, one of the main holdups was cleaning the site. More than 40 years of racing left behind deposits of oil and other pollutants.
Endangered ambrosia plants were also found, which have to be moved to Mission Gorge.
Drinkwater said ensuring federal funding is also an issue.
"I think our chances of project qualification for the project are very good," Drinkwater said.
The Cajon Air Center is expected to cost $32 million in federal grants. There is a waiting list of more than 100 parties for hangar space at the new hangars. Drinkwater said it could be up to five years before the property is developed.
Meanwhile, racers who used to speed around Cajon Speedway wonder if there was a way to save the track after all.
"As much as it was a love-hate relationship, I would love to go back running on Saturday nights," said former racer Ty Tipton.