Northwest Region Elma preview

Shawn Miller, Shelton, Wash. (May 18) - If you want to know the quickest way around Grays Harbor Raceway, it's best to ask Jay Cole. The Shelton, Wash., native has won seven championships at the track in Elma, Wash., site of this weekend's ...

Shawn Miller, Shelton, Wash. (May 18) - If you want to know the quickest way around Grays Harbor Raceway, it's best to ask Jay Cole.

The Shelton, Wash., native has won seven championships at the track in Elma, Wash., site of this weekend's American Sprint Car Series Northwest Region two-day show that begins on Saturday.

"The key is trying to figure out what the track is going to do before the main event," Cole said. "Is there going to be two grooves or one groove? Am I going to dedicate myself to run the top or the bottom?

"It's challenging. It fools me every once in a while too, so I feel like that's part of the challenge."

Cole, who began racing at the track in 1993, picked up the most memorable victory of his career at Grays Harbor Raceway in the Evergreen State Sprint Challenge in 2006. Cole worked his way through the field and beat NASCAR star and former Washington sprint car champion Kasey Kahne to claim the $5,000 prize.

"That was my biggest win ever," Cole said.

Cole is one of many stars who routinely race for the track championship and are assumed to be at the track this weekend.

After winning last Saturday's feature, Cole is now leading the track points. Four other drivers in the top 20 made an appearance in the Northwest Region season-opening races two weeks ago, and approximately a dozen others competed within the ASCS last season.

"We've got some pretty good young guns here, and the veterans like Jay Cole," said George Wade, the general manager of Grays Harbor Raceway. "It's a tough field on a Saturday night show. You win there and you beat some pretty good people."

The 3/8th mile, high-banked clay track will host a series-high five ASCS Northwest Region races this season, beginning on Saturday with a Memorial Day Weekend showdown featuring the region's best drivers.

"We started the Memorial Weekend last year to try to build a tradition," Wade said. "That's one of our premium dates. It's just something we've got to build."

Washington natives Jayme Barnes and Seth Bergman won those two races, the first of a series-high seven ASCS events.

Danny Lasoski, Roger Crockett (twice) and Shane Stewart (twice) were the other winners at the track.

"Grays Harbor Raceway has been a fixture in elite Northwest sprint car racing for many years and last year's competitive, elbows-up racing proved that," Northwest Region Director Greg Burgess said. "We look forward to returning to the track, where the best drivers in the region will again put on great shows for the spectators."

The front gate opens at 4:30 p.m. with racing scheduled to begin at approximately 7 p.m.

A ticket costs $17 for adults aged 15 and older, and $5 for children aged six to 14 on Saturday. Those prices are $20 and $7, respectively, on Sunday.

Established in 2008, the American Sprint Car Series Northwest Region has quickly developed into a favorite among drivers, spectators and promoters in the Northwest. In 2009, the tour will visit Oregon, Washington and Montana for 18 nights of action, including four events with the Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Dirt Series presented by K&N Filters. Additional information regarding the ASCS Northwest Region is available at www.ascsnorthwest.com.

-credit: ascs

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Series Sprint
Drivers Danny Lasoski , Shane Stewart , Roger Crockett