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Tri City Raceway Not Returning Anytime Soon

Greg Biffle racing at Tri-City Raceway, 2003
(Photo by Poynors Images – Chris Poynor)

Over the winter, some news for local race fans, Tri City Raceway not returning to form…

There was a buzz circulating among race fans in the Tri Cities over an attempt to revive the now defunct Tri City Raceway just outside West Richland.  A group of local citizens, racers,  and former track officials petitioned the Port of Kennewick about obtaining the parcel of land that contains the 1/2 mile tri-oval, where the likes of Derrick Cope, Ron Hornaday, Chad Little, and current NASCAR Sprint Cup Star Greg Biffle raced.    The group included former race car driver and owner of Atomic Screen Printing in Kennewick, Greg Walden.  Greg’s father, Wayne, successfully operated the track for several decades before it was sold to former Ellensburg car dealer Paul Alderman.  However, the Port of Kennewick, at it’s December 14th meeting, voted against allowing  the group to lease or purchase the parcel of land on which the actual track sits.  The former race site is actually several times larger than the track and parking lot itself.   According to minutes of the Dec. 14th meeting, “…the port has a fiduciary responsibility to look at the property for a higher use than a race track.”   Port officials believe it would be better served for industrial, light industrial or retail purposes.   They also pointed out to the race group members in attendance that former owner Alderman sold off or removed virtually all the necessary infrastructure from grandstands, to the lights, concession and restroom buildings and more.  The Port purchased the entire property upon which TCR sits a number of years ago from Alderman as he claimed it was a seldom used facility.  However, during it’s last full season of operation in 2003, TCR nearly set records for number of racers, attendance, and did break the all-time single event crowd record when 3,997 standing room only fans watched the NASCAR Winston West race that season.  Prior to selling the track to the Port, Alderman turned down several offers from individuals who wanted to purchase and operate the facility, including NASCAR Driver Greg Biffle.  TCR was insturmental in his rise to stardom, he won the Late Model Division title at TCR in 1995 and 1996.   It appears for another year, the only “local” racing venue will be Columbia Motor Speedway in Hermiston.

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