Portland, OR. The new era of dirt racing at Portland Speedway-"The Dirt Track" begins Friday, April 6 with the KUPL-FM Opening Night NASCAR Friday "Bud Bowl" featuring the Grand American Modifieds, Shortrack Sportsman, Street Stocks, and Bumpin ...
Portland, OR. The new era of dirt racing at Portland Speedway-"The Dirt Track" begins Friday, April 6 with the KUPL-FM Opening Night NASCAR Friday "Bud Bowl" featuring the Grand American Modifieds, Shortrack Sportsman, Street Stocks, and Bumpin Bombers. Portland Speedway enters its 18th season in 2001 as a NASCAR Weekly Racing Series track where drivers compete for local, regional, and national honors in this prestigious NASCAR short-track series.
The 2001 season will mark the first time the speedway has featured a weekly dirt- racing format in more than fifty years. This new format, called NASCAR Friday "Bud Bowl", will be contested on a new third-mile clay oval that replaces the old asphalt quarter-mile track.
The new configuration will bring the action closer to the fans and provide for three-wide racing on all corners. In addition, a new state-of-the-art MUSCO Lighting system will illuminate the speedway, a system that is utilized by many NASCAR Winston Cup tracks.
Veteran Portland competitor Dan Obrist will return in 2001 to compete for the Grand American Modified championship. "I think going to dirt was the best move Craig Armstrong (speedway promoter) ever made, " said Obrist, the 1993 track champion. "Dirt racing can be less expensive, and fans will see real competitive racing."
Obrist, who won the 1993 Winston Invitational in Florida where he competed against all the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series regional champions, said that the speedway's new dirt track will produce some intense rivalries. "The competition this year will be as tough as any, but I would say that Eric Sayre is going to be the guy to beat," Obrist said. "He has a lot of experience on dirt. My only experience on dirt was a few years ago when I went to Lebanon (Willamette Speedway). I rolled off the trailer and set fast time with no practice. I won the dash, heat race, and was leading the main event when the track point leader and I got together. He crashed and I left immediately. This year I intend to win."
Joining Obrist this season will be his younger brother Mike, the 1996 track Late Model champion. Also returning after several years will be "Tiger" Tom Pinkowsky, whose battles with Dan Obrist in the early 90's were some of the fiercest in track history.
Pinkowsky, the 1991, 1992, and 1994 track champion, has spent the last several years competing on the Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series, NASCAR Touring division, where he collected a win in 1999 at Wenatchee Valley Raceway in Washington.
"The most fun I ever had was racing Jalopies twenty-five years ago. Then it got serious, " Obrist said. "I've raced the NASCAR Winston West Series for several years and have done real well, but I love racing at Portland on Friday nights because I can have the rest of the weekend off."
Portland Speedway-"The Dirt Track" will feature a line-up of 20 NASCAR Friday "Bud Bowl" events, paced by the Grand American Modifieds (an front-end open wheeled stock car), full-bodied Sportsman Stock Cars, Street Stocks, and the ever-popular Bumpin Bombers. Joining these divisions on alternating Friday nights will be the Figure 8 cars, and a brand new all-women's division called WAR!, for Women's Auto Racing, in Street Stock and Sportsman cars.
Ticket prices for NASCAR Friday "Bud Bowl" are $10 for adults, $5 for juniors (11-17), and kids 10 and under are free. For all NASCAR Friday "Bud Bowl" events, front gates will open at 5 PM, with racing starting at 7 PM. A complete 2001 schedule and information about Portland Speedway- "The Dirt Track" is available by logging on to Portland Speedway's official website, www.portlandspeedway.com.