We are firmly entrenched in Washington State and visit two of three asphalt tracks we will be reporting on in this beautiful state. It was a long and winding road getting here, but we’ve made it. Now it’s all downhill so to speak from this point on as we traverse the West Coast.
Our trip from Stateline Speedway down to Wenatchee Valley Super Oval was indeed downhill as we ran the gauntlet through high desert mountain passes and encountered high winds that drove the motorhome sideways at times. We stayed in Ellensburg the week before, just south of Wenatchee, and visited Mount Rainier during the week.
These next two tracks are stand-alone tracks unlike many that we will visit later on that are a part of a county fairgrounds and as such are leased and not owned privately. There is a story to tell in all of the tracks one way or another and our first story does just that.
Wenatchee Valley Super Oval
Wenatchee, billed as the Northwest’s fastest quarter-mile track, is somewhat unique in that it is now to be owned and operated by a racer. The Dells was another track like that in Wisconsin that was a part of our 2012 Tour. It was purchased and operated in 2012 by Wayne Lensing, owner of Lefthander Race Cars.
There is something special about a racer owning a racetrack. In his long and widespread career, Garrett Evans has raced all over the country. He has seen a lot of racetracks and I see where he has incorporated the best of what he’s seen and experienced into WSO. It was just a year ago that Garrett was leasing the track from the owner.
At the end of the season, no agreement could be reached on the terms of the lease and so Garrett decided to walk away from the track. Faced with finding someone else to lease the facility, the owner and Garrett worked out a deal for him to purchase the track. While the negotiations are still underway, we will soon have another racer owned and run track. And that is a good thing.
It speaks volumes about how a track takes care of its spectators when the kids are provide
Here we see Garrett, on the right, speaking with the track photographer while working on h
The track management at WVSO created a special spectator section where smoking and the dri
Garrett just this year wisely chose a race director to manage the race day operations and his name is Dave Tolliver. Dave lived and worked for years back in North Carolina for the NASCAR race teams, tracks, and various sponsors and has accumulated a considerable level of knowledge about managing a racing operation.
Another new addition, Jeremy Anders assumes the role of Marketing Director for the track for 2013. His goal is to “get WVSO back to the roots of racing and family affordable entertainment.” With these two additions, Garrett has greatly improved his odds for making this track a huge success in the years to come.
Wenatchee Valley Super Oval is at the geographical center of Washington State and is owned and operated by Garrett Evans, one of ...
Garrett is still active in his racing as well as managing the racing programs for his son Jan (named after famed Sprint Car driver Jan Opperman) and daughter Stephanie. When he is at the track, his attention is with those family members while his wife, Shannon, and Dave and Jeremy take care of the track business. Smartly, Garrett does not get involved with official decisions on race day.
As for the track, it is one of the most well kept racetracks we’ve been to on the entire Tour. It reminds me again of the Dells. It has a separate family section, a nice, large kids playground right behind the family section of the grandstands and a large bus that the kids can hop into and ride around the track before the races get going.
We like to see women in racing and this gal knows her way around a toe plate. In our trave
The Big Rigs were actual race vehicles complete with enhanced right front camber. They rea
South Sound Speedway hosted a very large crowd to see the Rolling Thunder Big Rigs that we
On this day, the West Coast Street Stock Series was visiting the track and they put on a great show. What I did notice was that several of the cars had the muscle car noses installed. That tells me that the interest in these new, modern body styles is growing and moving west and that the series has allowed them to compete.
This interesting series also runs at State Line, Yakima, Spokane, Evergreen, South Sound and Hermiston Speedways. It gives the low buck racer a chance to travel and become familiar with other racetracks that are configured differently and where a driver can accumulate the skills needed later on should they move up to a Super Late Model traveling series.
All in all, the event at Wenatchee was very well run, there was a large crowd of spectators and the races were managed professionally. If I remember correctly, the racing was over somewhat early at around 10, so that the parents in attendance could get to see the entire show and still get the kids home and to bed at a decent hour.
Our hats are off to Garrett, Shannon, Dave, Jeremy and the entire crew at Wenatchee Valley Super Oval. As they move forward with further improvements with the confidence of ownership, this track can only get better. If you decide to travel out west to Washington, you can’t do better than to race here like my east coast friend Jay Fogleman did recently.
South Sound Speedway
Located in Rochester, Washington, this track is another non-fairgrounds facility that is owned by Butch Behn and run by Nick Behn. Nick also runs the racing parts business located on the grounds of the speedway. It is billed as the fastest 3/8-mile track on the West Coast.
The technical inspection team at South Sound was very thorough. They went car to car and d
Here is what a Big Rig looks like. The engines are modified, some of them have wings and a
Being in this region for a while, I saw lots of logging trucks and the company that sells
We have been staying in the town of Port Angeles on the Olympic Peninsula right on the Strait of Juan De Fuca. This is a wonderful area to see and has exceptional weather year round. It was just a short trip south to this stop and soon we will be heading north to visit racetracks above Seattle.
On our way down, we stopped in Olympia to get our mascot Yorkie, Xena, serviced at PetSmart and also have lunch at Fish Tales, a “dive” we had seen featured on the Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives tv show. It was all it was cracked up to be with a great brunch offered up on this Saturday morning. Hey, why not? We devote four months of our lives to this Tour, we’ve gotta have a little R&R, right?
For our visit, we happened to pick a night when the Rolling Thunder Big Rig racing series were running at South Sound. These converted semi tractors attract quite a following. When we arrived in the early afternoon on July 20, we parked our Tour bus at a convenient place at the far side of the large parking area in full view of anyone coming in.
As race time approached, I noticed that the entire area was being filled to capacity and the fans were still coming in. By the time the heat races were over, there was little room for any more cars and our bus was surrounded.
Sometimes, a racetrack has to have these types of special shows that will draw spectators who don’t normally think of going to the races. This is just that kind of event. And who knows, some of these first timers might just return to the regular Saturday night shows that follow after being introduced to circle track racing action.
Word got out that we were coming and I was approached by several CT readers who wanted to talk racing tech. One guy had traveled 150 miles just to visit with me and discuss racing in general.
The other divisions that made up the show for our visit include the Mini-Stocks, Hobby Stocks, and the Bumble Bees, which are just what they sound like. All of the classes put on a good show, but I was surprised that the trucks don’t just ride around, they really raced hard and fought for position.
South Sound also hosts Pro 4 Trucks, Pro Nationals (formerly Baby Grands), Stinger 8s, Outlaw Compacts, Legends cars, Super Late Models, the WMRA (midget racing), Vintage Modifieds, and the West Coast Street Stock Series that we saw last week at Wenatchee.
This is another track that is obviously well run and cared for. The grandstands were clean, the numerous food concessions were great and it seemed that the entire crowd was very much enjoying themselves.
I got the feeling that a large percentage of the crowd were regulars. We would have preferred to attend a normal Saturday night show, but our schedule does not necessarily allow us to pick and choose. We have to make due and keep moving in a logical progression through the West Coast states. Later on we will run into this situation again with big Sprint Car shows.
Our next stops are, as I stated, at three tracks near and north of Seattle. And after that, it’s off to Oregon for more racetracks and a visit to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area where we were allowed to roam free in a rented Razr along a 50-mile stretch of dunes reaching heights of 100 feet or more. Hey, it’s all part of the job.
Don't forget to check out the rest of our series on The 2013 AMSOIL Great American CT Tour!
Atomic Motor And Rocky Mountain Raceways
Meridian And Stateline Speedways
Wenatchee and South Sound Speedways
Skagit and Deming Speedways
Evergreen, Douglas County, and Coos Bay
Calistoga, and Silver Dollar Speedways