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Did the Spokane County Raceway Oval Cancel Its Season?

 

Greg Biffle-seen here at Tri City Raceway-ran Spokane a few times
(newstalk 870 file image)

The Pacific Northwest racing world has been buzzing since a cryptic message appeared on the Facebook page of Spokane County Raceway Super Oval early Monday.Spokane County Raceway is a 30-plus-year-old oval near the Spokane Airport in Airway Heights. The track did not operate in 2010 due to safety issues but reopened last year under new leadership. The track had been attracting many late-model drivers (cars that look like the cup cars on television) with big payday invitation races — so much so that many drivers stopped racing at Yakima Speedway,  Stateline Idaho and Wenatchee Valley Super Oval to only run the big events in Spokane.

Yakima cancelled the rest of their late model season a few weeks ago but continues to run other classes.  Columbia Motor Speedway in Hermiston has not been affected (their late-model classes have been relatively unchanged).

While a number of  Mid-Columbia-area drivers have made trips to SCR Super Oval to compete and hundreds of Tri-Cities fans have gone to watch, those days appear to be over. The following statement appeared on the raceway’s Facebook page early Monday, reportedly from the Tarr family that promotes and operates the facility:

For Immediate Release:It is with great sadness that I inform you the remainder of the 2012 racing season at Spokane County Raceway Super Oval has been canceled.

As many of you know, this has been an extremely challenging season at our oval track. We have put every ounce of time and money we have into making our track a place that is enjoyable for both the fans and drivers. Unfortunately, no matter how much hard work you put in, sometimes circumstances make it impossible to succeed. Our relationship with the dragstrip started out rocky and has continued to deteriorate as the season has progressed. Craig Smith, the general manager of the dragstrip sent us a letter from his attorney demanding that all rent be paid in full no later than tomorrow, August 26th, or our lease for the oval track would be terminated. Even though we had a very successful Spokane 200, our first obligation is to pay our drivers and employees. After all expenses for the 200 have been subtracted, we simply do not have enough cover rent. We have tried to negotiate a discounted rent with Craig, and allow him to sell beer at our oval track, but he has been uncooperative. Without the revenue from beer sales, we cannot afford to pay the rent that Craig is forcing us to pay. This rent was agreed upon when we believed we would be able to sale beer like we did last season. The loss of beer combined with the dragstrip cancelling all of their Friday night races (That were supposed to be double headers) have made it impossible for us to make it. We are out of money, out of options, and out of energy. Thank you for all of your support the last two seasons.

We will miss you race fans and drivers,

Sincerely,

The entire Tarr family

However, according to Northwest Cable Newsa spokesman for the track says the season is not cancelled.
Northwest and Eastern Washington race fans saw the Portland Speedway go under a few years ago. It has since been bulldozed and re-utilized. In 2005, Tri-City Raceway in West Richland closed its gates for good. The Port of Kennewick has refused to consider proposals to bring back stock cars. Yakima has had struggles over the last few years. All of this means the new information from Spokane got racers’ and fans’ attention. We will continue to monitor  the situation.

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