The completion of the annual Spokane Auto Boat Speed Show last weekend is the signal to motorsports enthusiasts that the start of the racing season is just around the corner.
Spokane Raceway Park will take the lead in launching the area’s 1996 season when it presents the year’s first event, a drag racing and stock car doubleheader this Sunday with gates opening at 10 a.m.
The Easter opener is the first of 42 drag dates which are highlighted by the AHRA World Finals (Aug. 9-11) and the return of five-time world champion John Force. Two other drag racing staple events include the 21st Lilac Funny Car Championships (May 18) and the 18th annual Fox Hunt and Jet Car Show (July 13).
The popular high school drag racing series opens May 3 with the first of eight events, three more than in previous seasons.
SRP’s half-mile oval will host 24 events and two new classes, Super Streets and Mini-Trucks. The Super Street’s will be all late-model bodied cars.
For drag and stock car teams the wait to race has been just six months.
Sports car competitors, however, have waited more than 20 years to try out the SRP road course and it looks like they’ll finally get their wish.
Preparation and paving appear to be on schedule for its first race, May 11-12. The International Conference of Sports Car Clubs (ICSCC) will inaugurate the 2.6 mile layout with its third series race and then plan a return for race seven July 27-28.
The road course, which was originally designed to incorporate features of some of the world’s most famous race tracks, has been in place since the track opened in 1974, but was never paved.
A Little improvement
Chad Little hopes to finally get his Busch Grand National season pointed in the right direction Saturday at the .375-mile Hickory (N.C.) Speedway.
Little has yet to record a top-10 finish in his John Deere Pontiac after last season’s six wins and a runner-up finish in points.
Some improvement was seen last Saturday at Bristol, Tenn., where Little nabbed the pole but still finished a disappointing 12th.
Stateline has slight wait
This Sunday will be a day of rest at Stateline Speedway. So will the next. The Idaho oval will stage its first event April 21 with a racers jamboree.
The regular season begins April 28.
All seven regular classes from last year are back, including Hobby Cars, Sportsman, Street Stocks, Super Four Modifieds, Compact Streets, Fever Four Hobbies and Figure-8s.
Popular traveling shows like the open-wheel Northwest Modifieds open on May 11th. The Northwest Mini-Supers, Columbia River Open Wheels (CROW) and Northwest Super Fours return throughout the year.
Stateline also has some new events scheduled, including the Interstate Super Stock Racing Series, a combination of cars from the Northwest Late Model Superstocks and All-Star series. The late-models visit Stateline for the first time on May 4. The ISSR cars return June 1 and 22, July 13, and Aug. 10 and 24.
Stateline will host a series of demolition derbies, including the popular Independence Day demo - this year to be held July 3.
The adjacent quarter-mile dirt track, Empire Speedway, is still trying to satisfy Kootenai County officials so that it can get approved for a 1996 racing program.
ORV oval track to open
Last summer Darrell Triber came out of retirement when he was appointed by Spokane County to manage its Off-Road Vehicle Park in Airway Heights.
What Triber, a longtime local motorcycle racer and event promoter, has accomplished in his nine months on the job is pretty good.
Triber’s not only saw to it that the park was spruced up for the 1996 season, but he also finished the final phase of the ORV Park plant, a fifth-mile dirt oval track.
The new oval will help bring back, among other things, flat track motorcycle racing which has been on hiatus since Triber sold and closed his Stateline Track four years ago. The motorcycles opener is May 5.
The official opening event at the track will be an appearance by the Northern Light Sprint Cars on April 21
Many people wonder if Tuscor Speedway in Trout Creek, Mont., is open or closed this year.
The quarter-mile dirt track shows up on the schedule of the Northern Light Sprint Car series, but attempts to receive a schedule and information have been futile. Phone calls result in a recording for a disconnected number.
If someone knows the status of racing there, please give us a call.
Sunday also kicks off the ORV Park motocross schedule with a Hare Scramble. Contact Steve Peters of Mark One Productions, (509) 927-8087, for further information… . Ephrata’s State Central Speedway opens its regular points season Saturday night with regular weekly classes. … Northport International Raceway opens April 14 with a work and play day at 10 a.m… . Clarkia, Idaho’s Fossil Bowl, begins its 25th season of motocross racing April 14.