Dan Brockett’s Nissan Silvia drift car. (Courtesy Photo)
UPDATE: Brockett announced it will be called the Suika Circuit. Suika is the Japanese word for Watermelon.
Sandia Speedway, the old raceway by I-40, was bought by the three local car enthusiasts: Dan Brockett, Jim Guthrie and Mike Ossell.
Brockett, who is famous to car enthusiasts from his Whiskey Garage Drift Series and his local drifting events, acquired his passion at the Speedway.
“My first run and my first drift were on Sandia Speedway. If we didn’t buy it, it would have closed for good. I had to do it,” he said.
The speedway opened in 2001 and originally had a board of directors running the show. Brockett says over time, the board stopped caring about the future of the track and it became a tax write-off for them.
While New Mexico has its fair share of dirt tracks and drag strips, the speedway is the only full raceway that is close to Rio Rancho.
Guthrie is the main partner as he owns all the Car Crafters in the Albuquerque area and has the financial capability to keep the track open.
Brockett and Ossell also pitched in, but their main purpose is to run events.
Rio Rancho’s Cafe Bella coffee shop owner and car enthusiast Michael Gonzales is glad Brockett and his partners bought the speedway.
“The racing and marketing experience of this new ownership team should position the track in favor of a very large number of track users and enthusiasts. The slated name change will be fantastic and provide a real fresh opportunity for the track to attract a new following that can enjoy upcoming events for years,” he said.
Gonzales says Brockett is a local hero and is super active in a wide range of motor enthusiast events outside of his race series.
“Dan has been doing this thing for a very long time and this is now the tip of the iceberg for even greater things,” he said. He hopes to partner his car enthusiast group New Mexico Motor Events with the new and improved management.
Gonzales and many car enthusiasts believe the drift events and race events have been lacking in recent years because the track has become so run down. The sad truth, according to Brockett, is the speedway hasn’t had proper maintenance in years. “I can usually get about 40 laps out of my tires on a drift. At the speedway, I am lucky to get two laps in because the condition is so bad,” he said.
Last weekend, though, was the first cleanup day of many to come.
According to Brockett, the team they got together cleaned up 23 tons of trash and old tires.
Brockett and the other new owners are requesting volunteers help clean up the place.
“We need everything to get this place up and running in time for the upcoming racing season,” Brockett said.
What Brockett says they really need, though, are more sponsors.
“We asked for help from the city of Albuquerque, but they didn’t want to have anything to do with it,” he said.
The incentive for the improved raceway, according to him, is it allows people to race their cars legally with other people.
“It keeps people off the streets. Not only is that illegal, but it is also dangerous for people to drift or race out in public,” he said.
So far they have drift events, race events, community outreach and much more planned for the raceway.
Cleanup is not all the speedway is getting, either. It will get a new name and new logos.
Brockett announced it will be called the Suika Circuit. Suika is the Japanese word for Watermelon.
For updates on the next cleanup days and information about plans, Brockett says people can follow his Facebook.
There will be a test and tune day at the track on March 4.