Greetings from Yakima, Washington
From the travels and adventures of the “World’s #1 Trackchaser”
Central Washington State Fairgrounds Raceway – permanent dirt oval –
Lifetime track #432
I’m one lucky trackchaser. You’ll have to read this report and the one that follows to see exactly HOW LUCKY I was with today’s racing. The schedule called for me to attend the special Friday night racing card at Yakima Speedway in Yakima, Washington. This was to be track #432. I arrived at Yakima Speedway parking lot about 5:30 p.m. for the 7:30 p.m. program. Since I’d never been to Yakima, Washington before I decided to take a tour of the small agricultural town with a special eye out for a Chinese restaurant.
The above photo was taken from the top row of the Yakima Speedway (asphalt track) grandstand. In the left upper center of the photo you can see the covered grandstand, next to the Yakima Valley SunDome, for the Central Washington State Fairgrounds Raceway. That’s how close these track are!
After driving a very short distance I came upon the Central Washington State Fairgrounds. On the marquee was a notice about some upcoming auto racing. Low and behold, the sign said they were having a special modified race TONIGHT! My TRACKCHASING mind went into overdrive salivating over the possible double. I’ve never been a big fan of going to a track for a race or two and then leaving to catch another track or even more during the same evening, even though trackchasing rules allow this strategy. I prefer to watch a complete program and that rarely leaves time to get to another track in the same afternoon or night. Nevertheless, the property lines of these two racetracks are 26 SECONDS apart when driving the posted 35 MPH speed limit. Not only are they that close but also there is a minor league baseball stadium BETWEEN the two racetracks.
On this night the Yakima Bears (Los Angeles Dodger farm club) were playing Vancouver. That’s a lot of entertainment in a very small area in a small town on the same night.
The track at the fairgrounds is called the Central Washington State Fairgrounds Raceway. As I approached the ticket window the potential ticket taker announced the races were being cancelled because only 7 cars had shown up. It turns out all of these cars were from the state of Oregon. She did say they were going to run hot laps and a special 10-lap race. There would be no admission charge. She was Debbi Brownfield, wife of Fred Brownfield who also promotes the Dirt Cup in Skagit, Washington. Debbi was very apologetic.
Although I had wanted to see more racing that this, their plan fit very well into my schedule. No admission charge and just having to stay for one race worked perfectly into my 26 second commuting plan over to Yakima Speedway. I’d have to catch the minor league baseball game on another day! Here’s the rundown on CWSFR,
Highlights: This track is situated at an old horse track. They had pari-mutual horse racing here as recently as a couple of years ago. It seems the Indian casinos made that a losing proposition. The grandstand is a multi-level one with part of it having enclosed class seating befitting its former wagering status. Following long delays to dry the track the 10-lap late model race, featuring just four cars began. There were no yellows and the race wrapped up at 8:50 p.m. just four minutes after it began. The announcer was one of the most professional I’ve ever heard. The PA system was great. He recognized me over the PA system as being in attendance. He wondered aloud to the crowd “how do these trackchasers keep track of their tracks!?” They had some major league refreshment crews set up to serve a much larger crowd with your standard horse track food fare. Since the crowd was only about 200 the 20-30 food servers didn’t have many people to serve.
Lowlights: They had four late models and three hobby stocks. This was only the second event ever at this track. The first event held two weeks ago had 42 sprint cars but was very dusty because of the sandy surface. They’re planning to bring more clay in soon. The track was very wet and it took them forever to run it in. While they were doing this I went over to Yakima Speedway and bought my ticket. Standing on top of the YS grandstand and looking back I could keep tabs on the track drying process. This was a graphic reminder that asphalt tracks do have some major benefits over dirt tracks in the preparation stage. While time trials were going on at Yakima they finally got the track dried at CWSFR. During hot laps two of the three hobby stocks slowed with engine trouble. This was now beginning to resemble a Guy Smith attended champ kart race where they had only one contestant and the event wasn’t a countable track. Even with this small field it still took them until 8:46 p.m. to start their race. I can only imagine how long it might have taken with a larger field of cars.
Summary: I give the racing a one. No cars, a rutty and gritty surface after just one four car, 10 lap race was a bad sign. They drug out even this kind of show. I’ll give the facility i.e. grandstand, announcer, no admission price, etc. an 8. It also featured a view of Yakima Speedway off of turns 3 and 4. I felt very lucky to sneak in a track that wasn’t on the schedule, on a typical “off” night for both Yakima tracks that were just 26 seconds apart!!
Do you have any memories of the racing at the Central Washington State Fairgrouds Speedway?
If so, please feel free to share them in the comments section below. If you have any photos from back in the day, send them to me at Ranlay@yahoo.com. I’ll try to include them here.