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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Kopp keeps busy with AMA, track improvements

Joe Kopp has a big AMA-style race planned for Spokane Speedway on July 17 and news regarding Spokane County Raceway's curtaiing of racing is being dealt with in the region.

Thompson captures Lucas Oil 50 at Spokane County Raceway

Rick Thompson unloaded one of the fastest cars in the afternoon practice sessions only to lose an engine just six circuits into his run. Using most of the remaining time in pre-race activities to swap motors, Thompson got little more then shakedown laps to prepare for qualifying.

NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series returns to Inland NW

This week's Keeping Pace, which hit the newstands on Friday, highlght's the return of the NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series and the Northwest Pro 4 Alliance all competiing at Spokane County Raceway.

Unlimited All-Stars karting series comes to Sunset Speedway

Sunset Speedway hosts its first big event of the season beginning today and wrapping up Saturday night with the Unlimited All-Stars karting series on the one-fifth-mile clay oval. Offering cash prizes in four divisions, the race has already sparked a solid entry list from across the Northwest.


Also, SCR gets underway this weekend and Brycen Tarr lands on his feet.

Inland Empire Late Model Touring Series Ceases Operations

The region's touring late model division, ICAR (Inland Championship Auto Racing) has announced it will not operate a series in 2013 citing schedule conflicts.

NASCAR returns to Inland Empire in 2013

NASCAR's premier series on the West Coast, the K&N Pro Series West, celebrates 60 years in 2013. Spokane County Raceway will be part of that celebration as the series returns to the half-mile oval for only the second time in over 35 years. Eric Holmes was the winner of the 2011 race and will be back to defend that victory on August 24. The race will be one of two series events to be held in Washington state as Evergreen Speedway just outside of Seattlewill be up first on Aug. 17.

County racetrack financials in question. Again

Spokane County Raceway has an oval track, on which people drive very fast in circles, record mileage and wind up where they started.

Which seems a pretty apt metaphor for the raceway since the county bought the property in 2008. The original operator, Bucky Austin, got into trouble with renovations and contractor payments in 2009. The county had to find a new operator and settled with contractors in 2010 for $850,000. 

The new operator, Raceway Investments, went through two iterations in ownership/management, and this year's new managing partner said they were going to give the facility a new image. Raceway Investments leases the oval to Full Blown Promotions and this week, as colleague Mike Prager reports in today's Spokesman-Review,  Raceway Investments said Full Blown is behind on its rent and said the rest of its season was cancelled. The county announced the change in management for the oval at a press conference Monday.

Most notable line from the press conference goes to Commissioner Todd Mielke: "I stuck my neck out to save racing."

Spokane 200 returns to SCR with plenty of talent in the hunt for victory

Spokane County Raceway has received nearly 50 driver entries for Saturday's Spokane 200 that offers only 34 positions for the starting line-up-proof that the race has built staying power as it heads into its second running.

Densham returns to driver’s seat at SCR

The annual Night of Fire drag racing event invades Spokane County Raceway on Saturday night and features NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series Funny Car star, Gary Densham.

Brown takes lead into ICAR event

Andy Brown holds a 26-point lead over Bart Hector Jr. heading into the ICAR Late Model Series 75-lap shootout on Saturday night at Spokane County Raceway.

Riddle takes Sunkist 100 at Spokane County Raceway

Naches, Wash. native Owen Riddle rode into Spokane County Raceway's Dr. Pepper Late Model Series season-opening Sunkist 100 with momentum on his side. Winning this year's Yakima Speedway Apple Cup, then running strong in Wenatchee's 200-lap late model opener set the table for Riddle to show the Spokane faithful his talent. He did not disappoint!

Dr. Pepper Late Model Series set for Saturday at SCR

The Inland Empire late model season gets underway on Saturday night as Spokane County Raceway hosts the Dr. Pepper Late Model Series featuring NASCAR champions Pete Harding, Gary Lewis and Garrett Evans along with defending series champion Erick Hargraves.

Spokane County Raceway shuffles staffing

With Cindy Gibbs’ departure, the upcoming season will have no ties to Bucky Austin’s management that reopened the facility three seasons ago nor of the Roger Hodgeson and Charlie Allen operational group that had been at the helm since 2010.

Hot August Nights On Tap At Spokane County Raceway This Weekend

Hot August Nights gets into full swing Saturday at Spokane County Raceway. Featuring Jet Cars, Pro Mods and the Summit Racing Series, drag racing fans are in for a real treat this weekend.

Gibbs-Arias takes charge as SCR works to reopen

Charles Allen and Ronald Hodgson were selected Feb. 23 to operate the Airway Heights facility for the next 10 years and have been in final contract negotiations that wrapped up this week. Each brings a wealth of experience, but they have entrusted Cindy Gibbs-Arias with the task of getting SCR back on its feet.

Contractors sue county

Six Spokane area contractors are suing Spokane County over unpaid bills from the county’s West Plains racetrack.

In the latest move in the ongoing dispute over the track’s management by Austin Motorsports, the six contractors say they are owed a total of $1.13 million for worked performed earlier this year. Austin lost his contract to manage the track earlier this year because of the unpaid bills, and for failing to follow certain rules of the agreement, which required him to get a performance bond for the work being done there.

He didn’t obtain a bond, and last summer blamed one of the prime contractors, who he claimed was responsible for such details as the project manager.

The lawsuit asks for the court to order the county to pay the bills and attorneys fees. It notes that when the county bought the racetrack in 2008 at a foreclosure auction, two of the commissioners touted its economic potential.

Commissioner Todd Mielke said the purchase gave the county a chance to consider other recreatonal possibilities, the suit notes, while Commissioner Mark Richard said the track “would be a positive venture ‘come heck or high water.’”

Could someone check the water levels on the West Plains?

Jefferson guides No. 97 team to SCR late model championship

Dave Garber won the final late model divisional race at Spokane County Raceway with Jason Jefferson and Colton Garber rounding out the top-3. Jefferson’s car, owned by Dean Boever, won the season championship by virtue of the runner-up finish.


Spokane County Raceway hosts drag racing on the quarter-mile and an exciting program on the half-mile oval this Saturday night.

Spokane County Raceway Inaugural Nitro Nationals Set For This Weekend

This event is slated to be one of the largest events of the season at Spokane County Raceway, with racing action including Nostalgia Nitro Funny Cars, Pro Mods, A/Fuel Dragsters, Nostalgia Alcohol Funny Cars and Jet Cars.

Spokane County Raceway motors on despite rumors

Spokane County Raceway’s oval track manager, Larry Bertrand, took a vacation last week, only to return and face a firestorm of rumors he’d been dismissed and the oval was facing closure.

Austin: Track to stay open, contractors to be paid

The operator of the Spokane County Raceway insists he has no plans to shut down the track or shorten the racing season, and all contractors will be paid for work done at the county-owned facility.

Bucky Austin met Monday with County Commissioner Todd Mielke, plus county legal, finance and parks staff, to discuss complaints of nonpayment from contractors and the failure to purchase a performance bond required by his operating agreement. Two large contractors, T.W. Clark and Winkler Concrete, filed notices of liens with the county late last month totaling more than $1 million.

Austin will provide some form of collateral by early next week to protect taxpayers while the bills are examined and payments are sorted out, Mielke said.

In an interview with The Spokesman-Review after the meeting, Austin said he “overspent” by doing construction projects during the first half of 2009 that were required in the first two years of his lease.

About $2 million worth of construction has been done at the track, and about half has been paid, he said. That includes DiPaolo Painting, a contractor mentioned in a June 30 story, who was sent the second half of his payment by overnight mail after the story ran.

Austin said he hopes to work out payment schedules for the rest with the remaining contractors. Some invoices are “barely 30 days old” and the bills average about 45 days. Some bills were delayed in the mail because the racetrack’s address has changed three times since the county acquired it; a change in personnel also meant the track’s financial operations recently moved from the raceway park to his home office in Fife.

“Our intent is to pay them, and to pay them as quickly as possible,” Austin said. Outstanding invoices have to be checked to insure the work was done properly and he wasn’t double-billed. He said he expected to make regular payments and to pay all legitimate claims “no later than Nov. 1.”

John Black, an attorney for Clark and Winkler, called Austin’s promise of payment “good news – if it happens.”

But he was concerned about Austin’s suggestion that contractors might have to wait more than three months for some payments for work already done: “They’re contractors, not bankers.”

Hot Rod Nationals Invade Spokane County Raceway

This weekend is also Military Appreciation Weekend, where all active military can buy 1 adult ticket and they get another 1 free.

Spokane County Raceway Completes Two-Day ET Racing Event

Spokane County Raceway’s drag strip was open for business for two exciting days of side-by-side racing action. Complete results of both days provided.