Introducing the Northwest Region

ASCS Northwest Region set to launch (May 20, 2008) -- Memorial Day weekend is traditionally a big one for auto racing. That will indeed be the case this weekend in places like Indianapolis and Charlotte . Not to mention Elma , Wash. The...

ASCS Northwest Region set to launch

(May 20, 2008) -- Memorial Day weekend is traditionally a big one for auto racing.

That will indeed be the case this weekend in places like Indianapolis and Charlotte .

Not to mention Elma , Wash.

The ASCS Northwest Region launches its inaugural campaign this Saturday and Sunday at the famed 3/8-mile speed plant known as Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma.

The track, rebuilt by the late Fred Brownfield for 2004, has been hailed as one of the top dirt tracks in the country, and is the fitting track to kick off the newest of the 14 American Sprint Car Series regions.

Until his tragic death in 2006, Brownfield ran the Northern Sprint Tour for 360 Sprint cars in the Northwest, the spiritual predecessor to the new Northwest Region.

George Wade, the Northwest Region director, is thrilled to be associated with the series started by Emmett Hahn.

"I think it's a huge honor," Wade said. "It's the biggest Sprint car association in the country. It's huge. Emmett Hahn had a vision, Fred had a vision, and I think both are right on track."

The ASCS Northwest Region finalizes the vision Brownfield had for his series.

"Fred saw how well the ASCS worked, and that was his ultimate goal," Wade said.

That vision is seen most notably in regards to engine and tire rules. Starting a series under the ASCS banner means the cars that will race this year in Washington and Oregon match those racing under the ASCS flag around the country.

"To me, it makes sense," Wade said. "It unites everybody. You can take a car from Grays Harbor and go to Knoxville , or any other ASCS region. You run the same tire and engine. It puts everyone on the same playing field with the engines. It's pretty clear cut what you can and can't do."

Even with the new banner, the series will feature many drivers and teams familiar to Northwest racing fans.

"It's the same drivers, and we're back to the old Northern Sprint Tour officials," Wade said.

With the exception of Evan Funk, who is currently a crew member at Tony Stewart Racing, the top drivers from a year ago will be back. The list is headed by Roger Crockett, who won the Northwest Sprint Challenge Series title last year to go along with his four NST titles.

Other top drivers back include Mitch Olson, Travis Rutz, Seth Bergman, Robby Vaughn, Jay Cole, Rob Held, Shane Forte' and J.J. Dishneau.

Races on both Saturday and Sunday in Elma are scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m., and are the opening weekend of a 15-race schedule.

The ASCS Northwest Region makes its Oregon debut two weeks later with another doubleheader, this time at Willamette Speedway in Lebanon , Ore. on Saturday June 6, followed by Cottage Grove Speedway in Cottage Grove , Ore. on Sunday June 7.

The drivers and teams get some time off after that, which will be needed to get machines ready for Northwest Speedweek , featuring six races in as many nights.

Speedweek starts Monday, July 14 at Southern Oregon Speedway in Medford , Ore. The next three nights are in Oregon as well: Cottage Grove July 15, Willamette Speedway July 16 and Sunset Speedway in Banks, Ore. July 17.

The week concludes in Elma with another two-night show July 18 and 19 with the Evergreen State Sprint Challenge.

ASCS Northwest Region competitors travel to Knoxville Raceway in Knoxville , Iowa for a non-point Brodix Tournament of Champions invitational Aug. 3.

Teams return to Elma Aug. 31, running the night before the World of Outlaws Sprint Car Series takes to the GHR clay.

Elma hosts one more ASCS Northwest Region weekend Sept. 19-20 with the second Fred Brownfield Memorial Sprint Challenge. In honor of Brownfield, a former racer who ran No. 92, the Sept. 20 main event pays $10,092 to win.

The ASCS Northwest Region championship weekend is another two-day show, taking place Sept. 26-27 at the Central Washington State Fair Raceway in Yakima , Wash.

Tickets for this weekend's doubleheader are $15 per night for adults, $5 per night for juniors (ages 5-14) and free for children 5 and under. A family pack of two adult tickets and four junior tickets is $35 per night, while premium seats are available for $22 per night.

Wade is expecting upwards of 30 cars for the first weekend, and can't wait for the dirt to be kicked up.

"I really look forward to it," he said. "Everyone's worked hard to put the program together."

-credit: www.ascsnorthwest.com

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Series Sprint
Drivers Roger Crockett , Mitch Olson