An end of an era will officially come in January, although the writing is already on the wall.

After 51 years of stock car racing, Yakima Speedway's 1/2 mile 'paperclip' racetrack and it's 46 acres will be sold to a group of developers known as the Sun Square Yakima group. The price is expected to be in the $10 million dollar range. The track was most famous for hosting the springtime Apple Cup Late Model Race, and the Fall Classic in October.  Dozens of late model drivers from 4 states and Canada would come to the two big races, which book-ended a spring and summer of street stock, local late model and other racing events. The number of late models often approached 75 or more competitors.

Owner Ted Pollack had seen a number of lean years, as the demise of NASCAR on a national scale took it's toll on local and regional facilities. In it's heydey of the late 80's and early to mid 90's Yakima, like it's counterpart Tri-City Raceway near West Richland, hosted prestigious events and saw such drivers as Derek Cope, Kevin Harvick, Mike Skinner, Ron Hornaday and Greg Biffle (2-time TCR late model champ in '95 and '96) cut their teeth. They ran with such groups as the old NASCAR Northwest Tour, Winston West and others.

It was called a paperclip for it's resemblance to Martinsville, VA, one of the NASCAR Winston Cup and now Monster Energy Cup's most famous facilities. The group plans to build a 120 room hotel, multi-story office tower and a variety of mixed-use buildings and a family activity facility that will include an NHL-sized ice rink, according to the Yakima Herald.

Yakima follows it's Northwest sister tracks Portland International Raceway (the oval at PIR) and Tri-City Raceway in shutting down. After opening in 1969,TCR was purchased by Paul Alderman in 2002, briefly had a year or two of great success including hosting a Winston West Race, but then he closed it and sold it in 2006 to the Port of Kennewick. Despite an impressive list of development ideas including wine center and other plans, the track remains a tri-oval of crumbling asphalt overgrown by weeds with no developments in the last 11 years.

Now retired NASCAR Legend Greg Biffle tried to buy TCR in 2006, but his efforts were rebuffed by Alderman, reportedly over financial issues.