Champion Raceway’s first street legal, test & tune event of the drag racing season happened on Saturday, April 6. Despite grey skies in the morning, the race drew a sizable crowd of competitors and spectators alike, so it was easy to tell people were excited.
At the driver’s meeting, track official Mark Unger thanked everyone for attending and also made a special note of appreciation to the track managers, Kirk Hobson and Michelle Husel. Hobson and Husel, with the help of several volunteers, have recently put forth a serious effort to clean up and improve the grandstands, tower, and conditions all around the track.
“A lot of people say this track is a diamond in the rough,” Unger said. “And I think we’re finally starting to polish that diamond.” Mark Unger went on to express his hope that these new improvements will attract larger NHRA racing events to the beautiful and sophisticated Champion Raceway.
The first passes down the strip began soon afterward. Competitors in all classes went through two preliminary trial runs, with only minor delays due to on and off, sprinkling rainfall. Everything was proceeding well, until a few wet spots on the track created some handling difficulties for the drivers and their vehicles. Always one to make the safety of his staff and competitors a top priority, track manager Hobson decided to cancel the rest of the race.
A quick end to the opening event of the season may sound like a disappointment, but Hobson remained optimistic and explained that he was pleased with everyone who attended. “We had a great turnout, we had good food, everybody had a good time,” Hobson said. “We didn’t have one complaint, so I’m very happy.”
The race schedule on championraceway.com shows the next street legal race will take place on Saturday April, 13, but this event has actually been canceled to allow Champion Raceway to participate in the 60th Annual Pear Blossom Festival on the same date. Their Lithia Toyota Safety Truck will pull a float in the parade, and the Champion Raceway ambulance will also give away candy and prizes to the crowd.
Following that, the next street legal race at Champion Raceway is scheduled for Friday, April 19, at 5 pm. Champion Raceway always appreciates their sponsors, Advantage Tire, Lithia Toyota, and Southern Oregon Signs; and they invite all to come join the excitement!
By Michael Stephens
For the Independent