Miami-born Armando Perez — AKA "Mr. Worldwide" or Pitbull — has added his name to the list of more than 10,000 local celebrities, car enthusiasts, residents, and leaders desperately trying to save Palm Beach International Raceway (PBIR).
With more than 50 years of history, the racetrack located off the Bee Line Highway in Jupiter is currently being considered for demolition for distribution and warehouse space. The iconic track was built in 1964 and is an unusual gem in the industry with a beautiful, sunny location ideally suited for year-round events. The facility has a 2-mile road course, an IHRA sanctioned drag strip, rallycross, mini motard, skid pad facilities, quarter-mile drag strip, 7/10-mile kart track, as well as mud racing tracks.
The raceway was recently put up for sale, creating concern from area residents and racing enthusiasts that it means the end for the local racing venue. To date, more than 15,000 people have signed the Change.org petition to ask that South Florida’s Palm Beach International Raceway stay open as a race track. The petition suggests that Walmart has purchased the 200-acre property with plans to turn the racetrack into a distribution center or Super-center. Purchase details remain unconfirmed, although Amazon and Walgreens have both purchased nearby large plots of land for similar use.
Perez, owner of NASCAR Trackhouse, hopes efforts to save the track will result in transforming the park into a first-class facility the entire community can enjoy.
"It's a true honor and an amazing opportunity to help in this important effort to save Palm Beach International Raceway," said Perez. "Bringing together community and culture to create generational experiences is priceless. We look forward to making history in West Palm Beach like we’ve done in music, NASCAR, and education."
Al Guibord, who owns Formula Race Promotions, is one of the bidders interested in buying the property.
“I think we’re the only bidder that wants to keep it a track. All the other bidders were looking to turn it into industrial warehouse space," Guibord told The Town Crier.
Located just 20 minutes from Palm Beach International Airport, if saved and renovated, PBIR would serve as one of South Florida’s premier destinations and economic drivers with race events, special and charitable events, live entertainment, and more. A revamped raceway would infuse tens of millions of dollars into Palm Beach County in tourism and taxes, and provide more than 150 seasonal and year-round jobs.
For now, the track is still up and running. Next month, the track's popular Speedy Saturdays Test n Tune Drag Day will take place on Saturday, October 2. The track is still open to the public.
Others supporting the Save Palm Beach Raceway initiative include Indy 500 champion, Danny Sullivan; Zak Brown of McLaren Racing; champion race car driver Tommy Kendall; John Oates from Hall & Oates; Palm Beach County Mayor Dave Kerner & more.