Racing is back on Oahu but not without some controversy

Kalaeloa Raceway Park
Kalaeloa Raceway Park
Michael Kitchens
Michael Kitchens
Jeanette Grace
Jeanette Grace

By Tim Sakahara - bio | email

KALAELOA (HawaiiNewsNow) - Race car drivers like to be in control, but off the track this week has been a wreck.

"This is really giving us heartburn, serious heartburn," said Michael Kitchens, Oahu Motor Sports Advisory Council.

The heartburn isn't coming from the racing, it's coming from the landlord.  Kalaeloa Raceway Park is owned by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, which has leased it to a company called Save Oahu's Race Tracks for the past three years.  In August the company says it got the green light to start various types of racing like sand drag races and an off road course.  Since then they've held two events with as many as 4,000 people in attendance.

But on Monday the racing company was told to hit the brakes and was slapped with an eviction notice.  Now Hawaiian Home Lands issued a statement saying, "There was a miscommunication. In speaking with the party, DHHL has rescinded the termination notice. We will be meeting with them to discuss this further."

"It just kind of goes with the inconsistencies of the department of what we've been facing this whole time where one person will say this and somebody else will say that," said Jeanette Grace, Save Oahu's Race Tracks.

"I think maybe they did it with a certain intent and then as soon as it hit maybe there was a lot of public pressure maybe some people thought it wasn't such a great idea after all," said Kitchens.

Save Oahu's Race Tracks says it has no idea why they would have been evicted, although they do admit being about $12,000 behind in rent at one point but now claim to be caught up.

"You know that may have been an issue but when we talked to the people at Hawaiian Homes they said that was not a problem, that's something we can work out, which we did," said Grace.

"I don't want to slam DHHL because they are giving us this land to use, it is because of DHHL that we have been able to get this far," said Kitchens.

And they want to go farther saying racing on Oahu is nowhere near the finish line.

"We just want the people to know this is just another speed bump and we're going to get over it," said Grace.

The dirt and sand will be kicking up again this Saturday at Kalaeloa Raceway Park. Organizers hope to fill the bleachers again. There is a link to the race information on this web page.

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