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Pacific Raceways improvements planned for February

SOVREN is among the many car clubs that visit Pacific Raceways each year. The road course, which is scheduled for repaving and other improvements, operates throughout the year.   - Shawn Skager/Auburn Reporter
SOVREN is among the many car clubs that visit Pacific Raceways each year. The road course, which is scheduled for repaving and other improvements, operates throughout the year.
— image credit: Shawn Skager/Auburn Reporter

Improvements to the road course and drag strip surfaces at Pacific Raceways are scheduled to begin this winter, according to track officials.

The scheduled repaving is part of a continual process to upgrade the facility, said Jason Fiorito, raceways president.

Work is scheduled for February to repave sections of the historic 2.25-mile road course. Turns 7 through 9 will receive new asphalt, Fiorito said, who added that the problem with standing water during rain events on Turn 10 – where the road course joins the drag strip – also will be addressed.

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.

Raceways crews poured new concrete for the first 300 feet of the drag strip last spring.

In addition to the repaving project, Fiorito said the raceways will make improvements to the road course run-off areas to ensure better safety for participants.

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 also will aid the raceway in attracting new racing series to the mile course that has a history of hosting national events. 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 Northwest.

"We have a tremendous asset that will be improved to benefit the racing community, fans and our regional economy," Fiorito said. "This is the first step to total improvement and it addresses some concerns that have been noted by racers."

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 motorsports business park that will create up to 1,000 living wage jobs and tens of millions of dollars in regional economic impact, track officials and supporters estimated.

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 Aug. 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.

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