Arrow-right Camera

NHRA drag racing offers up-close viewing

High-stakes drag racing returns to Spokane County Raceway this weekend as the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series makes its annual stop at the Airway Heights speedplant.

Competition begins at noon today with qualifying rounds set to wrap up at 10 p.m. with the final round timing for the Alcohol Funny Car and Nostalgia Top Fuel cars. Qualifying continues all day Saturday with elimination rounds set for the Alcohol Funny Cars and Nostalgia Top Fuelers late in the afternoon and wrapping up with a final session at 10 p.m.

Elimination racing for the Lucas Oil Series competitors is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Sunday.

The weekend features a unique opportunity for race fans as an admission to the event also provides access to the pit area where action is as fast and furious as the runs on the quarter-mile strip. Fans will be able to follow their favorite drivers down the strip then follow them to their pits and take in the changes the teams make to the cars for another run of qualifying and racing. This opportunity is a feature of NHRA racing, one of the few motorsports that offers a close-up view of crew work during an actual race day.

Another draw for NHRA racing this weekend is the nighttime qualifying sessions in the Alcohol Funny Car and Nostalgia Top Fuel divisions. With flames pouring out of the header pipes lighting up the night’s sky, the sessions are an awesome site that also make for great pictures.

When it comes to on-track action, fans will want to keep an eye on two of the series hottest drivers. Joey Severance (Top Alcohol Dragster) and Steve Gasparrelli (Top Alcohol Funny Car) look to continue their strong starts in their march toward back-to-back championships. Both drivers have wins in the current season.

Other drivers to keep an eye on are Jeff Lane (Comp Eliminator), Jackie Alley (Super Stock), Brad Burton (Stock) and Micheal Dalesman (Super Gas) as each has final-round victories in 2012 with Lane and Dalymple coming to Spokane as defending race winners.

For tickets and other information log on to or or call (509) 244-3333.

Double dose at Sunset

Mother Nature’s curveball of rainouts has presented Sunset Speedway with a rare two-day race schedule that will see racing on Saturday night followed by a daytime event on Sunday.

The 1/5-mile clay oval located on the grounds of the Spokane County ORV Park provides kart racing action in four divisions. For those attending the NHRA event down the street at SCR, this weekend’s event is a great way to see oval racing. Grandstands admission is free.

The two-day format will go a long way toward determining championships with a double-points race set for later this summer added into the schedule.

In the Junior I class only four points separate first-place Alex Bartlett and second-place Haedon Plybon. Daniel Watkins is in third, just six points from the lead. Rounding out the top five are Riley Ayala and Leighlend Plybon. A total of 28 points separates the top five.

Dan Watkins and Larry Christen bring a one-point difference into their chase for the Adult Modified championship. Watkins holds the top spot with Christen and Ed Flatt (11 points behind Watkins) pushing for multiple main-event victories in the two-day show.

Rusty King (Adult Clone) and Jimmy Lasswell (Junior II Clone) will look to continue their dominant seasons as each has earned maximum points in three previous starts.

Racing starts at 6 p.m. Saturday. Sunday’s action starts at noon.

To learn more about this weekend’s two-day event at Sunset Speedway, go to

Follow The Spokesman-Review’s racing coverage online at Email Doug Pace at or follow him on Twitter @racingnewsource.