Neighbors Threaten Legal Action Against California’s Ocean Speedway

Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, California has been in operation since 1957. Since that time the speedway has given race fans a place to see great action and raised a great deal of money for local charities.  Recently the track on the grounds of the Santa Cruz County Fairgrounds has come under fire by a select group of neighbors. This group of about twenty people led by Mr. Max Kelley calls itself the Community Alliance for Fairgrounds Accountability and is seeking to silence racing and other events at the fairgrounds. Kelley’s home where he has lived for over a decade lies only a few hundred yards from the racetrack and he says that he will take legal action against the Speedway if they are unable to cut the noise levels down as he suggests environmental damage is taking place.


image credit: Ocean Speedway Photo Page

We all know that a racetrack is loud but that is just part of the experience you get when you see a race. The only hole in Kelley’s argument is that the track has been there since 1957 before the neighborhoods grew up around it. Reports are that, Kelley actually moved his 19th-century Victorian home from another part of Watsonville to its current location near the speedway.

He should have known that there was a racetrack nearby, and just like a house near an airport, he was going to experience some noise every now and then.  Track operators at Ocean Speedway have already taken steps to quiet the track by putting up sound barriers and requiring all race cars to run mufflers.  However, this is a problem that has spelled the demise of many racetracks before Ocean Speedway.  Racetracks were built just outside of cities and as the suburban sprawl spread out the tracks were surrounded by homes.

Many tracks have been shutdown because of citizen complaints or the land value gets so high that the track is simply sold and torn down.  We all hope that this is not the case with the historic Ocean Speedway but only time will tell.  Those looking to support Ocean Speedway and learn more about it can visit Or by visiting Save Sprint Car Racing’s Facebook Page. Where there is even a petition to sign to support the speedway in their cause. Dirt track fans lets step up and support this local short track before it’s to late!

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Tagged with Ocean Speedway, Watsonville, California