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.
Douglas County Speedway
There was a strong group of Late Models running at Douglas County. The numbers overall for
DCS is an asphalt track that is located in Roseburg, Oregon, just off the Interstate 5 highway at the Douglas County Fairgrounds. The track is 3/8-mile with moderate banking. And for our visit, we were welcomed by Vic Bridges and the Old Time Racers of Oregon who put on a wonderful luncheon for all of the racers and Karen and me.
The guys with OTRO even saved us a pit stall which we backed our Tour bus into, put our awning out to shade our neighbor racer, and generally had a front row seat to the action. Each of the OTRO cars has a sticker that said, “Welcome Circle Track Magazine.” It made me realize that maybe some of these racers out there really do follow this Tour of ours.
What amazed me was how competitive the OTRO drivers were. And best of all, they all got along and enjoyed each other's company. Getting these older cars to handle and perform takes just as much attention as trying to get a Super Late Model or Sportsman car to go fast. It's still all about the balance.
There were a decent number of Late Models present, as well as four-cylinder classes, which can be very good competition and make for a good race. There were also a surprising number of spectators in the stands.
All of the races were great, there were few cautions and it ended at a decent hour, which was good for us because we had to be at Coos Bay Speedway the next day for some innovative dirt racing close to the Oregon Pacific coast. It was only 76 miles, but we needed to travel over one of those mountain roads that we have come to know and love. But that's a story for a future issue.
And so we said goodbye to Vic and friends, spent the night in the parking lot, and left not too early the next morning for the coast. We had changed our plans the week before to include a stay near the famous dunes, just north of Coos Bay. We're sure glad we did.
The donut neck collar popular with karting and Quarter Midget racing is not adequate for b
Yes, that is a Volkswagen Karmann Ghia racing in the four-cylinder class. It looked like a
The track at Coos Bay is wide and low banked with makes for great two and three wide racin
Chuck Prather, Sr., the promoter at Coos Bay rents out these Sprint Cars. All the driver n
The sportsman class were required to run asphalt slicks with 8-inch wide wheels. It seems
The Mini-Sprints were racing at Coos Bay and this youngster posed for me next to his ride.
Coos Bay Speedway
Coos Bay is out in the sticks, nice and attractive sticks that is, but not too far from the town of the same name and North Bend. There are lots of loggers and fishermen around these parts and having a dirt track show just seems like home to these people.
Chuck Prather, Sr. runs the track here and at Southern Oregon Speedway, our last stop in Oregon before moving on to California. He has developed a unique plan where he owns and rents out Sprint Cars that race both here and at SOS. They compete for the Southern Oregon Sprint Car Tour points.
This speedway sign at Coos Bay was one of the nicest and coolest we’ve seen. A nice sign u
I wondered early on how well these renters would be able to handle a Sprint Car, it is after all a tricky business making one of these go fast and not look like a fool. But I soon found out that all of the cars were driven by experienced Sprint Car drivers, and not just wannabe's, and the racing was very good.
The other classes at this track include Hornets, Mini Outlaw, Street Stocks, Sportsman, and Late Models. The facility is diversified too. Chuck runs an NHRA dragstrip event that is situated between the grandstands and the dirt oval. This is a Saturday afternoon and Sunday event throughout the summer. And also on Sundays, there is a mud drags event out by the highway and away from the dragstrip.
The dirt track is 3/8-mile in length and medium banked. It is wide and has a concrete wall around the outside, but with the width, the wall usually does not come into play for the races. The night I was there, the Mini-Sprints were racing and it was fun to watch these very fast, winged cars negotiate the track while never lifting most of the time.
I would get to see more of the renter Sprint Cars later on at Southern Oregon and we'll tell all about that in the next installment next month. Meanwhile, we have the next week to explore southern Oregon where we will pan for gold, seek out old gold rush towns and hunt for unique restaurants. And at this point, we are just half way through the 2013 AMSOIL Great American CT Tour. There's a lot more to see and do, so stay tuned.
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