With less than a week left until they hit the road, racers and fans are busy talking about the rumors and predictions of the 2003 version of the "U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. Northern Sprint Tour's" "Northwest Speedweek". Getting underway on Monday,...
With less than a week left until they hit the road, racers and fans are busy talking about the rumors and predictions of the 2003 version of the "U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. Northern Sprint Tour's" "Northwest Speedweek". Getting underway on Monday, July 14th, there will be nearly $80,000 on line to be won by competing drivers as the battle rages through five races, in six days, at four different tracks.
Starting on July 14th at Southern Oregon Speedway in Medford, OR, and culminating with the 7th annual "Evergreen State Sprint Challenge" at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, WA on Saturday July 18th & 19th, most of the Northwest's finest drivers, along with several of California's hot shoes, will be vying for a large chunk of the prize money on tap. Drivers from Alberta and British Columbia, Canada, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and California have indicated they are planning to participate in the 2003 version of "Northwest Speedweek".
Among the top Washington drivers are three time NST Champion Shawna Wilskey and 1998 Champion Jason Solwold, both of Burlington and 1997 Champion Rick Fauver of Everett. Other major players from Washington expected to take part include; Jay Cole - Shelton, Chad Hillier -- Sedro Woolley, Jayme Barnes - Everett, Barry Martinez - Lynnwood, Glenn Borden, Jr. - Raymond, Travis Jacobson -- Lake Stevens, and Randy Van Aagten and Steve Walker of Shelton. Also expected to race are veteran Rory Price of Seattle, returning to sprints from the midget ranks, and the hot shoe rookie Mark Torres out of Snoqualmie.
Oregon based drivers with a good shot at the big money are defending and two time Northern Sprint Tour Champion Roger Crockett of Eugene, Dale Smith -- Cottage Grove, Bill Nutter -- Central Point and Jeff Thompson - Harrisburg. Others making the tour will probably include Melissa Yates - Roseburg, Marvin Smith -- Cottage Grove, and T. J. Winningham -- Gold Hill.
The state of Idaho will probably provide it's largest field of participants so far with Shawn Smith, Michael Harris and Randy Price all coming from the Boise area to look for a piece of the action.
Along with Dan Menne and Jason Finley of Ft. Jones, several other Californian possibilities are Steve Kent, Gary Morgan, Steven Tiner, Jonathan Allard, Jason Statler, Andy Forsburg and Stephan Allard. Brent Kaeding will take in the first three races before returning to California for a Golden State race. Although not confirmed at this time Brad Furr, who won all five races of Northwest Speedweek in 1999 and raced wit the World of Outlaws the last two years, is also expected.
Canadian Tony Menard of Nanaimo will head the British Columbia list with Jimmy Carter of Cloverdale and Chris Schmelzle of Victoria also possible entries.
Jeff Hodgson and Dawn L. Morrison, out of the Edmonton area will represent Alberta with Tyler Pincemin and Geoff Beck probable long haul entries, along with Montana driver Joe Ramaker who is planning to run if possible.
With $13,835 on tap each night for the first three races, the top spot paying $1,800, Monday nights opening race action on Southern Oregon Speedway's one-third mile oval will set the pace for the week. Drivers and crews will travel north on Tuesday the 15th, to the quarter-mile bull-ring at Cottage Grove Speedway in Cottage Grove, OR., where the track is usually be tacky and the action fast and furious. Wednesday it's on to the three-tenths mile clay circuit of Willamette Speedway in Lebanon, OR for the third race of the series on the 16th. Thursday, the 17th, will see the drivers and crews take a most likely welcome and needed day off. This will give them time to freshen up their equipment in preparation for the last two nights, the "Evergreen State Sprint Challenge".
After running for the $41,505 available the first three nights, there is still another $32,740 up for grabs on Friday and Saturday, July 18th and 19th, at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, WA. There, the roar of the sprint cars will herald the 7th annual "Evergreen State Sprint Challenge" and put the finishing touch to "Northwest Speedweek".
With that $32,740 up for grabs in the two nights of action, Saturday night's "$5000 to Win" feature event is the place to be on the final night. This will guarantee the preliminary races should all be hot and heavy as only 20 cars will start the feature event and get a shot at the $5000 first place prize.
As an added incentive, 20/10 Products will ad $5,000 to be distributed to the top 10 drivers in accumulated points for the week. Another "win it all" week like Furr had in 1999 could net some lucky driver a $12,400 paycheck for a weeks work.
Sponsorships for the 2003 "U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. Northern Sprint Tour" and "Northwest Speedweek" come from; U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co., 20/10 Products, hy-per-lube High Performance Lubrication, Don Ott Racing Engines, Hoosier Racing Tires, The Sprint Shop, Advanced Sprint Car & Truck Performance Center, JB Enterprise, Ridge Runner Wings, VMac Racing Products, KSE Products and Services and DSR Fuel Injection Systems.
As in the past, racers and fans alike are going to be part of the best in Sprint Car action as the 2003 "U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. Northern Sprint Tour" "Northwest Speedweek" takes to the clay with a week of hot July action.
For more information on the most exciting week of 360 Sprint Car Racing action in the Northwest contact: Brownfield Promotions, Inc., PO Box 556, Snohomish, WA 98291. Phone 360-568-CLAY (2529). For ticket information and race times, contact the individual racetracks. So. Oregon Speedway - 541-772-6264; Cottage Grove Speedway - 541-942-7561; Willamette Speedway - 541-258-8503; Grays Harbor Raceway Park - 360-568-2529 or race days only - 360-482-4374.