Washington Governor Chris Gregoire raced down Pacific Raceways historic quarter mile in celebration of this weekend's 25th annual OReilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries. The governor was among many elected officials and media who participated in Wednesday's inaugural Pacific Raceways Rainier Cup.
The governor rode in a two-seated 160-mile per hour Super Comp dragster thanks to the Frank Hawley Drag Racing School. The dragster was piloted by NHRA Funny Car driver Fast Jack Beckman. Funny Car drivers Bob Tasca and Todd Lesenko also attended the event and offered pointers to the local dignitaries.
Track owner Jason Fiorito was pleased with the turnout of eager participants, and emphasized the importance of events like the inaugural Pacific Raceways Rainier Cup to demonstrate the excitement and thrill of the drag races. Fiorito is confident that after todays event these elected officials will become drag race fans.
In conjunction with Operation Ward 57, the event honored a wounded soldier from Joint Base Lewis-McCord in Tacoma.
Other local officials who turned out for this unique driving experience were Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis and Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke. The event was sponsored by Epic Seats, Griots Garage, Columbia River Advisors, Parker Paint, AAA Washington, Scarff Ford, and Roundup Media.
The event was a prelude to this weekend's 25th annual O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries, Aug. 3-5, at Pacific Raceways. Qualifying begins Friday, with racing Saturday and Sunday. The entire event will be televised on ESPN2. Gates open at Pacific Raceways each day at 7:30 a.m.
Pacific Raceways is the 15th stop in the NHRA Full Throttle Drag Racing Series, the only major automobile racing series to run in the Pacific Northwest. It is also the third race in the grueling three-week Western Swing, that also included stops in Denver and Sonoma, Calif. The Full Throttle race features professional classes of Top Fuel, Funny Car, Pro Stock and six sportsman categories in the Lucas Oil Series. Qualifying takes place on Friday and Saturday with final eliminations on Sunday.
Located on 320-acres in unincorporated King County, Pacific Raceways is the largest motorsports facility in the state. In addition to its national event drag strip, the raceway has a 2.25-mile road course, a karting facility, and a motocross track. The King County Council recently approved a pathway for the raceways privately financed $130 million improvement and redevelopment plan. When approved, the revamped facility, including a world-class motorsports business park, will create up to 1,000 living wage jobs and an additional tens of millions of dollars in regional economic impact. Locally owned by the Fiorito family since 1960, Pacific Raceways is conveniently located off SR-18 at the SE 304th Street exit.
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