Racing In The PNW
Have you ever wondered about the origins of racing in the Pacific Northwest? Since the early days of engines, pushing for bigger, faster, and more has been a favorite pastime. Everything from drag racing, limited and unlimited hydroplane racing, road racing, off-road, circle track, and Motocross have been the racing scene's headliners in our lovely PNW. There is a lot of rich racing history in our area!
Pacific Raceways, formerly called Seattle International Raceway (SIR), is owned by a local family. In the '70s, Pacific Raceways was home to incredible events that brought huge crowds and intense entertainment, including side-by-side burnouts. The stands were filled with excited fans of all ages. SIR was host to many races, such as the 64 Funny Cars and the Fox Hunt, the two most significant events in the '70s. Those events eventually evolved into today's Northwest Nationals.
If you are into racing, you know that Autocross is big in the PNW. Evergreen Speedway and Bremerton Raceways are popular facilities for these events. The Pacific Northwest and has produced several national champions over the years. Autocross allows for competition against other cars in a safe environment within thousands of seconds with the vehicles in your class, such as a Z car, a Mustang, M3, or another similar car type. You are racing solo on the track against the clock. It is a rush!
In Washington, unlimited hydroplane and limited hydroplane racing is an intense and viable pastime. With Lake Sammamish, Black Lake, Silver Lake, and Seafair on Lake Washington as an annual event, many come from near and far to participate in hydroplane activities. Many of the H1 fleet considered Seattle their home turf and is the third oldest unlimited race site with over 70 years of history under its belt. Hydroplanes can go upwards of 160 MPH average lap speed with a top speed over 200MPH on the water and are a thrill to see.
As the latest generation of racers grows into their stride, drifting(a racing method started in Japan) is an upcoming pastime that was first seen in our neck of the woods in the 1990s. The Evergreen Speedway is a destination for drift racing on the weekends and can be viewed as a type of dancing with cars as they slide around the track in a controlled state of slide.
Of course, road racing has been around since the beginning of automobiles; it is a legendary pastime. In the early days, it was commonly found at local airports. The Vanderbilt Cup (founded in 1904) was the first of the Grand Prix racing of its type in the US, modeling the races going on in France at the time. Shelton, Arlington, Walla Walla, Bellingham, and Skagit airports got in on the action early and helped cement racing as one of America's favorite pastimes in the Pacific Northwest.
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