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Doug Clark: Test your boondoggle detection

Thu., Dec. 17, 2009

Hello and thanks for playing today’s quiz, “Know Your Boondoggle!”

This is a fun way to test your knowledge of Spokane Raceway Park. You know, that racetrack out in Airway Heights, the one that county Commissioners Todd Mielke and Mark Richard bought with $4.3 million of public money in 2008.

Back then the two politicians told us what a swell investment owning a racetrack would be.

Of course, that was before the environmental problems were discovered. Then the commissioners had to can the track operator.

And now, six local contractors have sued the county over $1.1 million in unpaid bills.

So circle your answers. Then cut out the quiz and mail to Boondoggle, in care of the Spokane County Commission, 1116 W. Broadway Ave., Spokane 99260.

Mielke and Richard then will cheerfully ignore your wishes, as always.

Let’s begin …

1. Before every raceway event, an announcer can be heard yelling …

a. “Racers, start your engines!”

b. “Drivers, buckle your seat belts!”

c. “Taxpayers, assume the position!”

2. I won the contract to operate Raceway Park and then fell behind on paying contractors. I am …

a. Bucky Austin.

b. Bucky Dent.

c. Bernie Madoff.

3. Commissioners Mielke and Richard couldn’t pass up buying the racetrack because …

a. Airway Heights is such a friendly community.

b. the nearby casino has a yummy buffet.

c. being close to a state prison makes them feel at home.

4. In the recent lawsuit, six unpaid contractors claim the county’s racetrack oversight was …

a. negligent.

b. inept.

c. predictable.

5. Mielke and Richard say there’s nothing better than going to Raceway Park and smelling the …

a. burning rubber.

b. burning gasoline.

c. burning tax dollars.

6. Richard once vowed that this racetrack would prosper …

a. “come heck or high water.”

b. “or my name isn’t Mark Richard.”

c. “when Pontiacs grow wings and fly.”

7. I am the former operator of Spokane Raceway Park. I am …

a. Orville Moe.

b. Orville Redenbacher.

c. Bernie Madoff.

8. Economists say the smartest move for Raceway Park would be to …

a. sell the land and take our lumps.

b. hire an arsonist and claim the insurance.

c. hold a Tiger Woods Escalade Demolition Derby.

9. Name the song that best fits Spokane Raceway Park.

a. “Little Deuce Coupe.”

b. “Hot Rod Lincoln.”

c. “Highway to Hell.”

10. The Spokane Raceway Park fan base consists mainly of …

a. NASCAR lovers.

b. drag strip enthusiasts.

c. Wal-Mart parking lot drivers.

11. You know the race has been won when …

a. someone waves a checkered flag.

b. a driver takes a victory lap.

c. Mielke and Richard opponents get most of the votes.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman- Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by e-mail at dougc@

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