The Larry H. Miller Group of Cos. released a statement Friday afternoon announcing that it would not renew its lease on the 500-acre property nestled between Tooele City and Grantsville.
Owner Gail Miller said: "On behalf of my family, I would like to thank all of those who have supported the track over the years, both locally and worldwide, for their enthusiasm and use of the facility."
Miller Motorsports Park opened in 2006 and has been hailed within the auto-racing community as one of the finest facilities in the country.
When it was built, the park attracted a variety of high-profile events with national and worldwide followings. But all of them, including the FIM Superbike World Championship, the American Le Mans Series and the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series, failed to gain a foothold and left Utah between 2010-2012.
Tooele City Mayor Patrick Dunlavy had noticed the decline in events but still was stunned by Friday's news.
"It is disappointing," he said. "We were very proud of the fact that Mr. Miller built that state-of-the-art facility out there."
Dunlavy worries that the closure will result in a big hit for the area's businesses, particularly restaurants and hotels. He received no advanced notice of the impending closure and neither did any of the other public officials in the area.
Tooele County Commissioner Shawn Milne had scheduled a meeting with Miller executives for later Friday evening, which he thought was to introduce the company to Wade Bitner and Myron Bateman, who just joined the commission. Milne said the meeting took four months to lock down, and he anticipated getting the results of a study showing just how valuable the motorsports park is to the area's tourism.
"We wanted to work with them and be better partners with them and serve the community interests," he said. "The racetrack is top notch, and we appreciate the tourism it brings in."
Milne said the county has a strong relationship with the staff at the motorsports park, but no regular interaction with the Millers' top people.
"I don't know if the prison conversation strained things for them," he said.
The Millers don't own the land under the motorsports park. They lease it from the county, but they do own 900 acres next to it. The state has identified that land as one of five potential spots for a new state prison, a controversial project that is opposed by the commission, area mayors and an active community group.
The Millers presented the land to the state, and Milne wondered if they did so knowing that they would soon shutter the motorsports park.
Dunlavy says he doesn't believe there is any link between the two.
"In my opinion," he said, "this is a business decision that has nothing to do with the prison."
State Sen. Jerry Stevenson, a co-chairman of the Prison Relocation Commission, said he doesn't expect the closure to impact the way his group reviews the Miller property. The Layton Republican said the decision instead will largely come down to the cost of the land and how difficult it will be to supply it with electricity and water, which is still being explored.
Meanwhile, race car driver Michael Self, 24, lamented the facility's impending closure. He started his racing career on the Kart Track at Miller Motorsports Park. He raced full time on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West circuit in 2013 and soon hopes to make the jump to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Click here to see the original article from the Salt Lake Tribune
The park will continue to be open until the end of October so check out the incredible classes, activities, and events while you still can. Check out a list of things to do on the website www.millermotorsportspark.com/