The "hy-per-lube Northern Sprint Tour" kicks off it's sixth year of bringing the best in Sprint Car racing to the fans of the Great Northwest with a double header opener this weekend. Opening night will be at Washington state's newest track, State...
The "hy-per-lube Northern Sprint Tour" kicks off it's sixth year of bringing the best in Sprint Car racing to the fans of the Great Northwest with a double header opener this weekend. Opening night will be at Washington state's newest track, State Fair Raceway in Yakima, on Friday, May 11th with the drivers and crews moving southwest to Portland Speedway's half-mile oval in Portland, OR on Saturday the 12th.
The first of 17 races at six different tracks on schedule for the upcoming season, Friday night's program at State Fair Raceway is expected to put 35-40 hard charging sprints on the three-eighths mile clay oval as they start the race for the 2001 points championship.
Most drivers have already been behind the wheel at various tracks around the northwest, some doing well already in the new season. Defending and three time Northern Sprint Tour champion Shawna Wilskey of Lake Stevens, WA comes into the opener with three wins in five outings to her credit. Everett, WA's young lion, Jayme Barnes, has two wins chalked up and was well on his way to another when engine woes ended his night. Roseburg, OR hot shoe Scott Adams also has a win.
Other top Washington drivers ready to take to the clay in Yakima are 1997 NST champion Rick Fauver of Everett, Shelton's Jay Cole, Jason Solwold out of Burlington, Rick Smith of Mt. Vernon, Marysville's Tim Levin, Barry Martinez of Lynnwood and Montesano's Donny Fry.
Oregon will again be providing their best to thrill the crowds as Springfield's Greg Brown and Kevin Journey, Cottage Grove's Dale Smith, Cale Carder of Central Point, Harrisburg's Jeff Thompson, Kirk Haefs of Boring and Central Point's Bill Nutter are among those expected to be putting the pedal to the metal in 2001. Dan Menne of Ft. Jones, CA will return, along with the hard charging youngster Roger Crockett of Rio Linda who will pilot an Oregon based car for the season.
Two other youngsters joining the "hy-per-lube Northern Sprint Tour" full time for the season are Melissa Yates of Roseburg, OR and Gary Taylor of Snohomish, WA. The 17 year old Yates had 6 years of racing in micro sprints before stepping into the full sized sprint car last year. Nineteen year old Taylor has 13 years of racing and a Quarter Midget national Championship to his credit.
Action a plenty is expected on the State Fair Raceway oval, which has already proved to be smooth and fast in two previous shows this year.
The difference between Yakima and Portland is taking the racers from fast to faster as Portland Speedway tore up the asphalt and laid on the clay mid-season in 2000. The half-mile track is coming in good for the sprint opener and should provide the Portland area fans some great fast racing. Dan Menne won his first Northern Sprint Tour race at Portland last year and he would love nothing better than to start his year off with a repeat win on Saturday night.
The hy-per-lube Northern Sprint Tour's next action will be hosted by Willamette Speedway on Friday, May 25th and Riverside Speedway on Saturday the 26th.