We'll be visiting three tracks in this installment of the 2013 AMSOIL sponsored Tour. Our final race in Washington is at one of the most successful tracks we've seen in a while, Evergreen Speedway. We then travel south to southeastern Oregon where our base camp KOA is located near Medford. From there we traveled to Douglas County Speedway for a Friday night show, then on to Coos Bay Speedway near the coast the next day.
Since we do have time to explore during our travels, I just wanted to say a little about this part of Oregon, just in case you might be thinking about coming here. It's a wonderful place if you like the wonder of nature. We were in easy driving distance of Crater Lake National Park, which we visited. It was wonderful and quite unique.
Besides observing how tracks are managed and what the class structure is, we look at the safety aspects of each track and for the participants
We also stayed on the coast at a KOA campground that is situated right next to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. The actual dunes area is about 1.5 miles wide and a total of 40 miles long. The heights reach upwards of 100 feet high and anyone with a cheap permit can drive all over the area.
We rented a Razr off-road vehicle for the two of us to enjoy and later I rented a Honda 400EX to ride by myself too. We even lowered the air pressures in my Jeep Wrangler tires to 12 pounds and it did a great job of getting through the sugar sand dunes and down the beach, which is accessible from the park.
The Coos Bay itself is a salt water port, opening to the Pacific and the commercial fishing provides a lot of fresh sea food for those who like that, and we indulged ourselves. And it's relatively cheap from what we are used to in places where it must be shipped long distances.
And on our way back to Medford, we took a different northerly route that brought us alongside the Umpqua River, one of the most beautiful rivers I have ever seen. It's flanked on each side by steep mountain slopes and the water is incredibly clear.
Well, so much for my advertisement for southern Oregon, but I just wanted you to know that along the way over these four years, we have found, seen, and experienced parts of this country that are truly best kept secrets. If we can pass information along about some of these, it might help you, should you be in a position to enjoy them some day like we have.
Evergreen Speedway, obviously sanctioned by NASCAR, is a large track with smaller tracks w
This large half-mile track is NASCAR- sanctioned and sports a smaller quarter-mile track inside the larger one, as well as a figure-8 track that is very entertaining. Doug Hobbs is the promoter here at this fairgrounds facility in Monroe, Washington, and we were treated to a Sprint Car show that included fullsized Winged Sprints as well as the Non-Winged Midgets.
Both would provide ample excitement, as well as very fast speeds. I'm not sure if a half-mile asphalt track is right for these types of cars though. The speeds were upwards of 150 mph and my concern, concerns how well those frames could take an impact with a concrete wall at those speeds.
Fortunately, we saw widespread use of containment seats and head-and-neck restraints. And this is a subject that relates directly with our goals for this Tour. Besides observing how tracks are managed and what the class structure is, we look at the safety aspects of each track and for the participants.
One thing I liked at Evergreen was allowing all of the race cars to display on the front s
The other factor with this track's length is the speeds related to gearing. A few teams showed up with too low a gear for the speeds that would be reached at the end of the straights and one blew a motor early in practice. And the setups would necessarily need to change to accommodate for the higher speeds and higher g-forces.
We noticed that on the faster Winged Sprint Cars, the wing angle was set lower and that made sense. Showing up at a track that is longer than you are used to does require a change to gearing, setup, and wing angle. The cars with the high wing angles were slowed by all of that drag and didn't do so well.
Before the races started, the track had all of the participants line up on the front straightaway so the fans could come down and see the cars and drivers up close and get autographs if wanted. I like this plan better than doing this after the races are over. Most times, families with kids need to get them home soon after the events are over. This way, the introductions take place while the kids are still awake.
Probably the most entertaining races were the figure-8 races where the cars criss-cross each other and need to time each pass precisely. You could definitely tell the veterans from the newer drivers. Horsepower is king in this type of racing and the winning car showed a lot of punch when needing to quickly accelerate through a small hole.
We are seeing more and more use of full containment seats in Sprint Cars. At this track, t
Our arrival at Douglas County Speedway was a surprise. A large sign welcomed us and it jus
The OTRO had reserved a pit stall for our Tour bus and we backed it up and settled in for
With Evergreen having special events like those we saw on our visit, it attracts new and different fans and families. The chances for those new attendees to return for a regular racing event is good and that is how you grow your audience.
Each racetrack we visit is unique in some respect. This one is fortunate to be located near a large metropolitan area. Monroe is less than 25 miles from downtown Seattle. So, the bedroom communities that extend northward from there are even closer. That closeness to population can make for a very profitable operation.