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Richard Piatt ReportingA first class race track good enough for the world's fastest cars is one step closer to being built in Utah's Tooele County. The track would be another venture for Larry Miller, who is a big auto racing fan.
Auto racing is the fastest growing spectator sport in this country. But a lot of people want to participate too. And there’s not much they can get in Utah right now. But that might be changing.
Jack Brittan would love to put his Porsche through its paces more often, but he rarely pushes the pedal to the metal outside a proper race track. And there aren't any in Utah.
Jack Brittain, Porche Club of America: "They're high performance cars, and people want to have an opportunity to take them out on the track and test them out."
High performance street cars would be just one use for an international class race track. All kinds of auto and motorcycle racing could take place on a four mile loop to be built on land leased to Tooele County near the Deseret Peak Sports Complex.
Cows graze on the site right now; the county considers the land underutilized. That's one reason the commissioners took the first step to making the track a reality today, approving a zoning change for the land.
Matthew Lawrence, Tooele Co. Commissioner: “I have faith in the project.”
Dennis Rockwell, Tooele Co. Commissioner: “We need to join as a community and support these things and make them the best that we can.”
Supporters of the project still have to obtain a conditional use permit and work out a lease deal with the county before the track can actually go in.
The track would mean a drastic change to the area -- noise, crowds, pollution all are reasons several neighbors are objecting.
Terry Matthews, Lives Near Track Site: "All it's going to do is make more problems for the residents of Tooele, especially us who live in the vicinity of that place."
Margaret Miner, Lives Near Track Site: “I like it quiet and that’s why I live out here.”
Still, race track developers are holding out an irresistible offer, a big money maker on a sport with pent-up demand in Utah.
Tom Mabey, Sahara, Inc. "There have been efforts literally going on for years to build a facility like this in Utah and it just hasn't happened before. And a lot of people really interested in it."
The initial phase of the project is expected to cost 5.7 million dollars. But they could be racing as soon as fall of next year.