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NHRA's future at Firebird International Raceway in question
There's a "1,000 percent" chance the 2013 Arizona Nationals will be at Firebird International Raceway. But, after that, it's increasingly likely there won't be an NHRA Full Throttle Series event in the state until 2015 -- and at a new location.

Raceway President Charlie Allen told The Republic, "I still don't know" if he'll be successful in exercising a seven-year option on his current lease with the Gila River Indian Community. The Community owns the land where the track is located, near Chandler, and the lease expires next spring. Allen said the early season 2013 NHRA weekend will happen "1,000 percent."

"We're constantly after them," Allen said of Gila River leaders. "We're communicating, our attorneys, their attorneys."

In case no deal is reached, however, Allen already has been studying a new site. He declined to reveal the exact location, other than to say, "It's south of here (Firebird), on the freeway, a little over 15 minutes away, before Casa Grande."

Allen said a new facility likely would include a road course and lake for drag boats. But it wouldn't be ready before 2015, meaning no race in 2014. Allen said he'd make a go/no-go decision on the project before next year's Arizona Nationals, "based on the economy."

Graham Light, NHRA's senior vice president of racing operations, said Sunday no one other than Allen has made a recent, serious proposal for an alternate track.

"I pray Charlie will go down the road and build another racetrack," said 15-time Funny Car champion John Force, who has a record eight Firebird wins. "We cannot lose this market." AZCentral

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