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Sign of the times

The next big thing at California Speedway is a newly installed 105-foot-high electronic display with an LED screen and plenty of advertising space

February 22, 2007|Martin Henderson | Times Staff Writer

The next big thing at California Speedway won't add anything to the on-site experience, but it should help guarantee that you don't miss your exit.

It will be hard to miss the speedway's newly installed 105-foot-high sign on Interstate 10 between Etiwanda and Cherry avenues. The marquee has a 20x40-foot LED screen that will display messages on both sides. NASCAR driver Carl Edwards took part in the illumination ceremony Feb. 13.

"I've never been to a PR event where I had to wear a hardhat," quipped Edwards, who will compete in all three races at the track this weekend.

The pylon required 373 1/2 tons of concrete to secure its base. It has two 12x20-foot sponsor panels, and 1,950 square feet of advertising space.

"California Speedway is a crown jewel of San Bernardino County, and the sign is representative of something that has such monumental impact," said Gillian Zucker, track president. "We're big and grand and loud and fun and the sign is all those things. It's our 105-foot statement."

The sign isn't quite as tall as the signature water tower that stands in the track's infield and tops out at 136 feet. That tower, the last remnant from the Kaiser Steel Mill, has been rigged with lights that turn it into a nighttime entertainment feature. Other projects have included the Opportunity, California FanZone, which features a sea lion exhibit; the Wolfgang Puck restaurant Apex, the Impulse retail store, the Motorola Town Center and an entertainment stage.

The most recent changes to the track were subtle, but will be noticeable to many. The infield RV area has been reconfigured. The speedway moved 157 front-row RV spaces back 50 feet, and moved the second row elsewhere. The track has about 1,800 RV spaces.

That reconfiguration will improve sight lines for about 40,000 in the lower level of the grandstands. Previously, there were obstructed views up to Row 23, but now Rows 12 and higher will have unobstructed views of the backstretch.

Two large video screens have also been added along the backstretch to improve viewing for the RV crowd.

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