10:00 PM PST on Monday, January 25, 2010

By IMRAN GHORI
The Press-Enterprise

San Bernardino County is proposing to continue its sponsorship of activities at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, but at a reduced level.

The Board of Supervisors will consider today an almost three-year agreement, paying $350,000 a year to market the county through billboards and other signs around the racetrack, which hosts two nationally televised NASCAR races each year.

That amount is about a third of what the county spent in its previous three-year agreement that expired at the end of 2009. As part of that $956,000-a-year deal, the county used the speedway to network with businesses and attract developers with access to luxury suites and naming rights to a race.

Under the new agreement, which lasts through Oct. 31, 2012, the county would continue naming rights to the Opportunity California FanZone entertainment center near the grandstands and would have access to an outdoor cafe for a special event.

But the county would no longer sponsor a race or use the luxury suites, said Paul Herrera, spokesman for the county Economic Development Agency.

“We’ll be focusing on tourism, the same Opportunity California theme, and trying to use (the speedway) as a megaphone to keep the county visible within the event,” he said.

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