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CHANDLER, ARIZ. -- There may still be a future for a Valley race track.

Firebird International Raceway owner Charlie Allen said in a written statement on Wednesday that the Gila River Indian Community will not extend or renew the track's lease. The statement said that the track -- located on Interstate 10 south of Chandler -- will close in April.

But the National Hot Rod Association is trying to save Firebird. "

We have been in discussions with the Gila River Indian Community," said NHRA Vice President of Racing Operations Graham Light. "It's certainly our hope that they can somehow keep the facility open."

Light said that not having races in the valley would be a disappointment.

"The Phoenix market is important to us and our sponsors," he said. "For the last 29 years, it's been one of our favorite spots on our 24-race NHRA series."

Light said the NHRA hopes to come to an agreement with the community and have an announcement about the track's future before the Mello Yello drag racing event that will be held at Firebird in February.

Bob McClay, Reporter

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