Angel: NASCAR not a go — yet

The Kitsap County Board of Commis-sioners on Thursday announced that while there is no official plan by the International Speedway Corporation(ISC) to put a NASCAR facility in South Kitsap County yet, the idea is still being considered.

Speaking on behalf of her fellow commissioners, South Kitsap Commissioner Jan Angel said the board met with ISC staff that afternoon to discuss a racetrack site being built in Kitsap County, but added that no new information could be provided other than the company was still interested in discussing the idea.

“It is important to us that people understand where we are in this concept,” Angel said, reading from a prepared statement. “We have no proposal or deadline from ISC, (and) meetings with (them) today provided us the opportunity to ask more questions about what they are looking for and a process that could emerge should ISC proceed with development opportunities.”

Angel went on to say that if ISC does indicate in the future that it intends to proceed with such a plan, the board “will establish a process for public input before it makes any commitments to ISC.”

Angel said the board decided to make the announcement on Thursday to respond to an article in The Oregonian the previous day discussing ISC’s search for a racetrack site in the Northwest.

The last sentence in the article states, “A site in Kitsap County south of the Bremerton National Airport is considered the frontrunner.”

At a board meeting earlier this month, local aviation enthusiasts spoke out against such a project by pointing out the dangers in placing a racetrack so close to an airport.

“NASCAR is known for this, building a track near a rural airport so they could fly their jets right up to the track,” said Don Dicksion, president of the Bremerton Pilots and Tenants Association.

Dicksion said local pilots had known of this problem for several months and decided to go public at the Kitsap County commissioners’ meeting to give the issue a wider visibility.

If NASCAR builds in the proposed site, they said, it would restrict the times the airport was in use (although races occur only a few times a year). These restrictions could seriously impede the airport’s expected growth.

Angel said she had not heard about these restrictions, noting they bear investigation.

Angel declined to weigh the needs of NASCAR against those of the airport, saying “I won’t make that call until there is a proposal from NASCAR.”

North Kitsap Commissioner Chris Endresen also wanted to know the facts before taking a stand. But if NASCAR seriously restricts airport growth, she said, “That will be an issue for me.” 

Kitsap County Writer Charlie Bermant contributed to this report.

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