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Dirt Tracks Making Comeback In Area

Racing in the Inland Northwest appears to be returning to its roots.

In a time when artificial turf is making way for natural grass in many sports stadiums, it would now appear that dirt is winning out in favor of asphalt on some new area racing facilities.

Empire Raceway, located adjacent to Stateline Speedway, and Tuscor Speedway near Clark Fork, Mont., are two new dirt tracks that come on line for the 1995 season. They join existing dirt tracks in Northport and Republic.

The quarter-mile oval at Empire kicks off its season Sunday at 1 p.m. with a jamboree featuring warm-up competition in each of the track’s classes including mini-sprints, dwarf cars, motorcycles, and quads.

Empire Raceway has been two years in the making. It has been meticulously prepared using recycled barriers from Spokane’s defunct Grand Prix. Temporary bleachers will handle the crowds for now until an earth berm can be built up on the west side of the track and permanent seating added.

The track will provide area short-track motorcycle and smaller scale vehicles a place to race that has been missing since Tribers Stateline Speedway closed prior to the 1993 season.

While the track will feature local pro grams for now, the Spokane market and new track may in the future be perfect for bigger events. The famous World of Outlaws sprint cars tour, which last year had a rebirth of racing in the Northwest, comes to mind.

Tuscor Speedway was finished in time to host a pair of races at the end of the 1994 season, but this year will feature a full schedule, which begins April 29. They will race primarily on Saturday afternoons thru Sept. 9.

“We’ve got a true quarter-mile track,” said Ray Jacoby, who along with his wife Mary, carved the track out of acreage they own near the Clark Fork River at Trout Creek, Mont.

Rogers on tour

Spokane’s Kirk Rogers is busy preparing for his American Speed Association rookie debut April 23 at Columbus, Ohio.

Rogers joins a list of notable drivers who have driven for long-time car owner Jim Daly of Minneapolis.

ASA is considered a prime steppingstone to NASCAR Busch and Winston Cup competition. Former Cup champ Rusty Wallace got his start in ASA racing.

Rogers has just finished four days of classes on the road course at Firebird Raceway near Phoenix in the Bob Bondurant Driving School. This weekend Rogers will take to one of the Midwest short tracks as he gets more seat time in Daly’s 1995 Pontiac Grand Prix.

The 38-year-old machine shop owner will continue to maintain his business interests in Spokane and fly to events on the 19-race ASA schedule.

Pit stops

Spokane Raceway Park will host it’s second week of both drag and stock car racing Sunday. Gates open on both tracks at 10 a.m. SRP got the jump on other area tracks by opening last Sunday… . Stateline Speedway has its opener Sunday with its annual Racers Jamboree featuring all of the track’s classes. Time trials kick off at 1 p.m… . The Western Super Modified Racing Association kicks off its 1995 season Saturday at Tri City Raceway in West Richland… . Northport International Raceway’s season opener is still a couple of weeks away but will host a Fan Appreciation Auto Show and Swap meet April 15 at 10 a.m. at the track located across the bridge at Northport.

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