Monterey, CA — After considerable discussion and consultation, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca’s new management team has canceled the 2020 Monterey Motorsports Reunion. The difficult decision was made to ensure the safety and well-being of entrants and guests resulting from COVID-19 conditions and its impact on large public events. All entrants and ticket purchasers will receive full refunds of their entry fees, camping, parking and ticket purchases.
“The highest priority is for the health and safety of race participants, crews and their families, as well as guests and our Monterey County residents,” said John Narigi, president and general manager of WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. “As was our plan, we waited until June after weighing all the options and different scenarios before making a final decision. No matter how much we hoped, no one can fully anticipate what state mandates will be in place that will affect public events and social gatherings.”
Rolex, the longtime sponsor of the event, withdrew its support for the Reunion, along with all of its other major sporting sponsorships for the year, in reaction to the coronavirus. And in another twist, the immensely powerful and influential Reunion Selection Committee, comprised of some of the biggest names in vintage racing, which was responsible for choosing the 500-plus entries for the event, resigned last month after encountering ongoing philosophical differences with Mr. Narigi and the committee’s county-appointed overseer.
In addition, WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca’s new management team has hit a snag with its all-important base of volunteer workers as they have terminated contract negotiations. The former SCRAMP volunteers, united as the new Laguna Seca Volunteer Association group (LSVA) led by Dennis Farber, entered into negotiations with A&D Narigi in April. In a letter sent by Farber Thursday morning to Monterey County assistant county administrative officer DeWayne Woods, who orchestrated the change from SCRAMP to A&D Narigi and directs the property on behalf of the county, the LSVA announced it has broken off talks with the county, and its chosen race track manager, after two months of unsuccessful negotiations.
Without a timely resolution, A&D Narigi, LLC, could struggle to operate the Monterey County-owned road course once large gatherings and major sporting events are allowed to resume following the statewide COVID-19 shutdown.
While large public events and gatherings are not permissible under current state mandates, the County of Monterey Health Department has approved WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca’s reopening plan for private track rentals that have strict health and safety protocols.
Following private track rental guidelines, a “Driver Appreciation Weekend” has been created for Aug. 8-9 to allow the significant number of entrants who have expressed interest in still running their cars on the challenging circuit the opportunity to do so.
“The Driver Appreciation Weekend is designed to thank participants for their ongoing support, feedback and patience during these challenging times,” Narigi said.
The weekend will have a closed paddock to follow current protocols established for private track rentals. Cars will be accepted on an individual basis based on their existing entry into the Monterey Motorsports Reunion and placed into corresponding groups.