Portland, Oregon. August 20. "The Greatest Show on Dirt", the Pennzoil World of Outlaws rolls into Portland, Oregon Friday, August 25 for the inaugural Baxter Auto Parts and Auto Value Classic at the new Portland Speedway clay half-mile ...
Portland, Oregon. August 20. "The Greatest Show on Dirt", the Pennzoil World of Outlaws rolls into Portland, Oregon Friday, August 25 for the inaugural Baxter Auto Parts and Auto Value Classic at the new Portland Speedway clay half-mile oval.
Formed in 1978, The World of Outlaws enter their 23 season of competition criss-crossing the country from February to November, racing a demanding 95-race schedule at 35 facilities in 23 states that keep competitors on the road most of the time. Drivers in the series race for more than $10 million in purses, contingencies, and point fund awards. These winged warriors pilot 800 horsepower, 1,200 lbs., fuel injected, open-wheel vehicles. The WoO sprint car utilizes a 25-square foot top mounted wing to hold the cars to the track as they race side-by-side at over 130 mph.
Leading this traveling series into Portland is Steve Kinser, the undisputed "King of Sprint Car Racing," with over 430 victories and 15 WoO series titles. Kinser, of Bloomington, Indiana states, "Any time we can get around to markets with more population -- anytime we can get to a new race track -- it helps the series, wherever we go, we draw from a three-state area. The Pacific Northwest is an area that we don’t get to do a lot of racing in. Having another track there keeps a lot of people from having to drive a long way to see us race. It’s a real exciting sport and it has a good following. So, it’s nice to make it a little easier for the fans to get to us."
The Portland event marks the first race of a three-year sponsorship agreement between Portland Speedway and locally owned Baxter Auto Parts. “The sponsorship will give us an opportunity to be part of a national series, as well as enable us to gain heightened exposure,” said Vice President, John Baxter. Founded in 1936, Baxter Auto Parts is a family operated business with eight stores located throughout the Portland and Vancouver Metro area. Baxter Auto Parts has the largest variety of automotive-related merchandise of its kind in the Pacific Northwest.
In preparation for this landmark event, Portland Speedway officials have contracted Bill Arnold to supervise the project. Arnold, who among his many other dirt track projects, maintains Willamette Speedway in Lebanon, Oregon. More 10,000 cubic yards of clay has been hauled in to transform the historic North Portland facility. Additionally, a state-of-the-art Musco Lighting System has been installed to allow for better visibility for drivers and spectators. Speedway officials have also installed several hundred feet of new catch fencing in turn 4, as well as extending, by three feet, the top overhang of the fence along the entire length of the spectator area.
The World of Outlaws event will give Portland Speedway the marquee race that has been missing since the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series departed in 1998. “Securing the Pennzoil World of Outlaws Series has been the most important factor in converting to dirt racing surface. The phones have not stopped ringing since we announced the race date,” stated Craig Armstrong, Portland Speedway General Manager.
Portland Speedway's NASCAR Weekly Racing Series action will resume in April of 2001 with a new dirt format. "We have a good ‘Friday-night’ formula right now," said Armstrong. "I think we can maintain most of what already makes it a good show for the fans, and fun for the competitors, while introducing a new and exciting element.” This fall Speedway Officials plan to continue converting the quarter mile oval into a D-Shaped clay track that will be used for the weekly racing divisions. The historic North Portland facility has entered the new millennium with the roar of sprint car racing and a new era of dirt track racing for area race fans.