IRG Sports + Entertainment acquires Cordova Dragway Park; Laura Gardner named Corporate Director of HR
IRG Sports + Entertainment™ (IRG) announced that it has closed on the transaction to acquire Cordova Dragway Park, and has assumed control of the facility’s operations effective today. The motorsports venue has been renamed Cordova International Raceway™ (CIR), joining sister tracks Palm Beach International Raceway in Jupiter, Florida; Memphis International Raceway in Millington, Tennessee; and Southwestern International Raceway in Tucson, Arizona.
IRG has named Bobbi Jo Cox as the new General Manager for CIR. Cox has 16 years of experience at the facility, serving in many roles over that period. She will take over the day to day operations from Scott and Laura Gardner, as they both have transitioned to new roles within the IRG family of companies.
Located in Cordova, Illinois on 190 acres, CIR is a 1/4-mile Championship Drag Strip with a Compulink Timing System, on-site camping and Musco stadium lighting. IRG had disclosed in October, as part of a major financing deal with TPG Specialty Lending (NYSE:TSLX), that CIR will soon receive capital improvements including new Compulink fiber optic timing and LED scoreboards, additional grandstands, and the resurfacing of the Drag Strip. CIR will remain an IHRA Member Track, and it will host the IHRA’s Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series on May 29-30, 2015.
“Cordova International Raceway is well known for its popular World Series of Drag Racing which celebrated its 61st year in August 2014. We are pleased to have such a highly regarded and successful venue as part of our family of race tracks,” noted IRG CEO Jason Rittenberry, CFE.
As IRG takes over the day to day management of CIR, previous co-owner and Vice President & General Manager of Cordova Dragway Park, Laura Gardner, has been named as the Corporate Director of Human Resources and Training for all of the IRG companies including CIR. After a successful career in the banking industry, Laura and her husband Scott operated Cordova Dragway Park for 19 years. Last year, Scott was named the President of the International Hot Rod Association. In her new role with IRG, Laura will be responsible for human resources and training across all companies in the IRG portfolio. She will report directly to the Chief Financial Officer of IRG, Peter A. Evanofski, and will work out of the Norwalk, Ohio offices. Laura assumes her new role with IRG immediately.
“I am excited to have Laura join us at the corporate level of IRG. She will be an integral member of our corporate management team,” stated Rittenberry. “She will be a tremendous asset to us in recruiting top notch staff to our company owned tracks and improve the onboarding process of new employees.”
For more information on CIR, visit www.RaceCIR.com.
About IRG Sports + Entertainment™
IRG Sports + Entertainment™ (IRG) is a leading purveyor of sports and live entertainment experiences and is the privately-held parent company of International Raceway Group™ (IRG), IRGSE Productions™, and the International Hot Rod Association™ (IHRA). IRG owns and operates Palm Beach International Raceway™ (PBIR), Palm Beach Driving Club® (PBDC), Memphis International Raceway™ (MIR), Southwestern International Raceway™ (SWIR), and Cordova International Raceway™ (CIR). Located in Jupiter, Florida, PBIR is the company’s flagship and home to PBDC, a private members-only club for automotive enthusiasts. The facility features a challenging 2.034-mile asphalt Road Course, an exciting 1/4-mile concrete Drag Strip, a thrilling 8/10-mile Kart Track, and a 250-foot-long Mud Bog. Acquired in January 2011, MIR is a highly acclaimed motorsports facility located in Millington, Tennessee, featuring a formidable 1.8-mile asphalt Road Course, a riveting 1/4-mile Drag Strip, and an enthralling 3/4-mile Tri-Oval Short Track. Added to the IRG portfolio of brands in August 2013, SWIR is a 110-acre venue located at the Pima County Fairgrounds, 10 miles from downtown Tucson, Arizona. The track features a dedicated quarter-mile Drag Strip and first opened in August 1997. CIR is a 190-acre venue in Cordova, Illinois, featuring a 1/4-mile Drag Strip. It hosts the popular World Series of Drag Racing and frequent street drags and bracket racing programs. Owned and operated since January 2013 by IRG, IHRA is the second-largest drag racing and fourth-largest motorsports sanctioning body. The 44-year-old organization manages two national touring series, the Nitro Jam Drag Racing Series™ and Sonic Rush Tour™. With headquarters in Norwalk, Ohio, IHRA sanctions more than 110 motorsports facilities in the U.S. and Canada and has more than 12,000 racers of all skill levels as members. IRG’s subsidiaries now promote more than 800 motorsports, live entertainment and corporate events annually at its venues and series. IRG is also affiliated with Miami’s Auto Museum at The Dezer Collection, Palm Beach Grand Prix, Super Chevy Show Series, Fun Ford Series, and Mega Mopar Action Series.