Sprint Cars Christen New Surface at Portland Speedway By Derrick Shannon Portland, Or. August 1. The hy-per-lube Northern Sprint Tour rolls into town Friday, August 4 for the inaugural dirt-racing event at the historic Portland Speedway, as ...
Sprint Cars Christen New Surface at Portland Speedway
By Derrick Shannon
Portland, Or. August 1. The hy-per-lube Northern Sprint Tour rolls into town Friday, August 4 for the inaugural dirt-racing event at the historic Portland Speedway, as Baxter Auto Parts and Auto Value present the Grand Re-Opening. Since closing the racetrack on July 5 after the final asphalt event, construction crews have been working virtually non-stop, transforming the old asphalt surface into a new half-mile clay-racing venue.
More than 5,000 cubic yards of clay have been hauled in to replace the worn out pavement. The old asphalt has been recycled and used to repair access roads and the competitors pit area. Supervising the clay project is Bill Arnold, who among his many other dirt track projects, maintains Willamette Speedway in Lebanon, Oregon. In addition to the new clay, speedway officials have installed several hundred feet of new catch fencing in turn 4, as well as extending, by three feet, the top overhang of the fence along the entire length of the spectator area. Spectators and competitors will have a better view of the action as a new state-of-the-art MUSCO Lighting system will be installed in time for the August 25-26 Pennzoil World of Outlaws events. Craig Armstrong, Portland Speedway General Manager, cannot seem to contain his excitement. "We are so thrilled the way things have gone," Armstrong Stated. "Bill Arnold has done a fantastic job preparing and shaping the oval. Returning to a dirt racing format and hosting sprint car racing is an exciting evolution in the history of Portland Speedway."
Christening the new clay will be the hy-per-lube Northern Sprint Tour. This traveling series boasts a roster of more than 50 drivers from all over the Western United States, competing in a 21-race schedule May through September. The cars of the NST are essentially the same as a Pennzoil World of Outlaws Sprint Car except for a smaller 360 cubic inch motor rule and a right rear tire specification. These winged sprint cars on a half-mile track can reach speeds of over 130 mph on the straights, while their top-mounted wings hold the car to the racetrack as they maneuver through the corners racing side by side. Fred Brownfield of Brownfield Promotions, promoter of the Northern Sprint Tour, offers, "We are extremely excited to add another half-mile track to our schedule. The Portland event gives us the opportunity to showcase our series in a larger venue, our drivers are looking forward to the race." As the parent company of the hy-per-lube Northern Sprint Tour, and a promoter of Pennzoil World of Outlaws events in the Northwest, Brownfield Promotions is also the managing company for Grays Harbor Raceway Park.
Joining the NST on Friday, August 4 will be the Pro-Four West Modifieds. This touring series of stock bodied racecars has a 16-race schedule that competes on both dirt and asphalt. The Pro-Four cars are similar to IMCA or Grand American Modifieds in that they are "open wheel" front-end stock cars. "These cars are plenty fast," stated Red Van Dyne, Co-President of the club. Van Dyne continues, "At a recent event in Hermiston, we ran the entire 50-lap race without a caution, there were several lead changes, and it only took 12 minutes to complete the race."
In addition to the Grand Re-Opening event, Portland Speedway and Baxter Auto Parts have signed a three-year sponsorship agreement to bring the Pennzoil World of Outlaws to Portland. This popular, nationally televised series is an exciting venture for locally owned Baxter Auto Parts. "The sponsorship will give us an opportunity to be part of a national series, as well as enable us to gain heightened exposure," said Vice President, John Baxter.
Portland Speedway's NASCAR Weekly Racing Series action will resume in April of 2001 with a new dirt format. "We have a good 'Friday-night' formula right now," said Armstrong. "I think we can maintain most of what already makes it a good show for the fans, and fun for the competitors, while introducing a new and exciting element." This fall Speedway Officials plan to continue converting the quarter mile oval into a D-Shaped clay track that will be used for the weekly racing divisions. The historic North Portland facility has entered the new millennium with the roar of sprint car racing and a new era of dirt track racing for area race fans.
<pre> WHAT: Portland Speedway Grand Re-Opening presented by Baxter Auto Parts/Auto Value featuring the Hy-Per-Lube Northern Sprint Tour winged sprint cars on the new clay half-mile oval, plus the Pro-Four West Modifieds.
WHEN: Friday August 4. Gates open at 5pm, with racing at 7pm.
WHERE: Portland Speedway, 9727 N. MLK Jr. Blvd, Portland, OR. (Just East of the Portland Meadows Horse Track)
SANCTION: Brownfield Promotions (The Hy-Per-Lube Northern Sprint Tour); Pro-Four West Racing Association.
PROMOTER: Western Speedways, Inc. President-Craig Armstrong Portland Speedway Business Office: 503-285-2883 Media Information: Derrick Shannon 208-890-7078 Ticket Information: Call 503-285-2883 EVENT HOTLINE: 503-285-9511 Tickets available at all Ticketmaster locations, at the Portland Speedway box office, or online at www.portlandspeedway.com.
ADMISSION: $19 for Adults, $15 for Seniors over 62 and Military w/ID, $9 for Juniors 13-17, $5 for Kids 6-12, under six are FREE. A Family Package for two Adults and up to four Kids ages 6-12 is $39. Reserved seating is $36.
DIVISIONS: Hy-Per-Lube Northern Sprint Tour, Pro-Four West Modifieds
NOTES OF INTERESTS:
This is the inaugural event on the new clay half-mile oval. The new racing surface has been widened, and the corners have been raised for smoother transitions
The NST boasts a roster of over 50 drivers. The Portland event is race #15 in the 21-race schedule.
Two-time and defending Northern Sprint Tour champion Shawna Wilskey leads to point standings by 35 markers going into the Portland event.
DISCOUNT: Race Fans can save $2.00 off their ADULT Admission with a discount coupon available at all Baxter Auto Parts locations.