Track Improvements Planned for February
(KENT, Wash) – Improvements to the racing surface for both the road course and the drag strip will take place this winter at Pacific Raceways. The scheduled repaving is part of a continual process to upgrade the facility, said Jason Fiorito, raceway President.
Work is scheduled for February to repave sections of the historic road course. Turns 7 through 9 will receive new asphalt, said Fiorito, who added that the problem with standing water during rain events on Turn 10 will also be addressed. Turn 10 is where the road course joins the drag strip.
The quarter-mile drag strip, which hosts the O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals in early August, is a combination of concrete for the first half of the track and asphalt for the final 660 feet and the shutdown area. Fiorito said the asphalt will be repaved through the portion of the shutdown area that encompasses the road course Turn 10. This past spring the raceway poured new concrete for the first 300 feet of the drag strip.
In addition to the repaving project, Fiorito said the raceway will make improvements to the road course run-off areas making it safer for participants.
The upgrades are part of a continual effort to guarantee Pacific Raceways as the premier motorsports facility in the Pacific Northwest. The facility currently hosts a number of racing series such as SOVREN, SCCA, IRDC and the Washington Motorcycle Road Racing Association as well as a number of car clubs, motorcycle groups and the ProFormance Racing School. The road course operates 12 months a year.
Improvements will also aid the raceway in attracting new racing series to the 2.25-mile course that has a history of hosting national events in the 1960s,‘70s and ‘80s featuring a Who’s Who of racing legends such as Mario Andretti, Mark Donahue, Dan Gurney and Dale Earnhardt, to name a few. Fiorito has his sights set on restoring road racing prestige to the Kent track that his family has owned since it was built in 1960. Discussions have begun with national professional sanctioning bodies about the return of professional road racing to the Pacific Northwest.
“We have a tremendous asset that will be improved to benefit the racing community, fans and our regional economy. This is the first step to total improvement and it addresses some concerns that have been noted by racers,” he said.
Earlier this year, the King County Council approved a pathway for the track’s privately financed $130 million improvement and redevelopment plan. When approved, the facility will include a world-class motorsports business park that will create up to 1,000 living wage jobs and tens of millions of dollars in regional economic impact.
The improvements to the drag strip will ensure that the NHRA’s top racing series returns to Kent each summer. Next year’s running of the 26th O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals is scheduled for August 2-4. The drag strip is in operation March through October.
In addition to the national-caliber drag strip and the historic road course, Pacific Raceways operates a motocross track and hosts the PGP operated kart track.