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Irwindale Event Center not closing after all, will continue with new operators

The Irwindale Event Center’s death sentence has been commuted.

Around 7 p.m. PT Thursday night, the facility in Irwindale, California, signed a contract with new operators that will keep it open beyond January 2018, NBC Sports has confirmed.

Bob Beck, the announcer for the facilities’ drag strip, revealed to fans over the PA system and Facebook Live an hour later that the track had signed the deal.

The surprise comes four months after it was announced the track would close after Jan. 31 with the landowners, Irwindale Outlet Partners, LLC, not wanting to extend the lease. It came as a surprise to Jim Cohan, the CEO of Team 211 Entertainment, which runs the facility.

Tim Huddleston, who has three Late Model championships at Irwindale, is involved in the venture with Justice Brothers and the property owners.

The land owners had planned to build an outlet mall.Those plans changed and in late November they approached Team 211 Entertainment about extending the lease.

“Being presented with the right of first refusal, we quickly reached out to Huddleston’s group helping to negotiate a deal that would assure both a smooth transition and the continued operation of the track … It was just the right thing to do,” Cohan said in press release.

The facility, which opened in 1999 as Irwindale Speedway, is home to paved 1/2 and 1/3-mile ovals and the drag strip.

The track has hosted 26 K&N Pro Series West races since it opened.

This is the third time the track has received a reprieve from being closed. It was shut down in 2011 after its owners declared bankruptcy, but reopened in 2013.

In 2015, the track survived after the developers of an outlet mall allowed it to remain open until construction began.