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NWWT joins Big E Weekend at Grays Harbor for two nights in 2011

From Andrew Kunas

ELMA, Wash. – Grays Harbor Raceway is shaking things up a little bit for the 2011 season as it announced the track’s annual Big E Weekend will return to its original weekend in late August. The IXL Metal Conditioner NorthWest Wingless Tour will be on hand for both nights of racing on Friday and Saturday, August 26 and 27 as part of a triple-bill with the ASCS Northwest Region winged sprint cars and the local Ford Focus midgets.

In its inaugural season, the NorthWest Wingless Tour first joined Big E Weekend as its opening night event on Saturday, September 5, 2009 with the inaugural Big E Non-Wing Challenge, which was Grays Harbor Raceway’s first ever non-wing sprint car event, won by Seth Bergman. After that successful first event, the NWWT ran three events at Grays Harbor Raceway in 2010 with Shawn Rice winning the Big E Weekend opener again on September 4.

Grays Harbor Raceway announced at their banquet last Saturday that Big E Weekend would be changing. Wednesday saw Grays Harbor Raceway announce on its website the Big E Weekend’s return to its original month of August, and the new kick is instead of 410 sprint cars being the headline there will be lots of 360 sprint cars with and without the wings circling the big 3/8-mile, high-banked clay oval.

The IXL Metal Conditioner NorthWest Wingless Tour, the Pacific Northwest’s premier non-wing sprint car tour, looks forward to sharing the bill with the region’s winged sprint car tour, the ASCS Northwest Region, on August 26 and 27. With the Ford Focus midgets also on hand, the weekend full of openwheel dirt track action promises to be a great one for fans at Grays Harbor Raceway.

Big E Weekend in the past has been a major event for the small city of Elma, located about a half-hour drive west of Olympia. A parade through downtown Elma on Saturday afternoon was a major highlight of the weekend even. Go-kart and 1/4-midget races were also held at the small track at the Grays Harbor County Fairgrounds, where Grays Harbor Raceway is located. Plans are in the works by the speedway, fairgrounds and the City of Elma to make Big E Weekend a bustling one again.

Big E Weekend moved to Labor Day weekend in 2008 with Sunday and Monday events. Saturday was again on schedule with the addition of the NWWT in 2009. Weather, however, has not been kind on that weekend recently as in 2009 the NWWT event on Saturday barely got finished before the rain started pouring and the ASCS and World of Outlaws races on Sunday and Monday never had a chance of running. This past season, the World of Outlaws were again rained out on Monday and their attempt to run Tuesday was also thwarted. This prompted Grays Harbor Raceway to take their new direction for 2011.

Three other IXL Metal Conditioner NorthWest Wingless Tour events have been tentatively been scheduled at Grays Harbor Raceway for 2011. For the second year in a row, the NWWT will open the Fred Brownfield Memorial weekend with a Thursday night stand on Thursday, July 14, this in addition to events on Saturday, May 14 and Saturday, September 17.

The rest of the 2011 schedule for the IXL Metal Conditioner NorthWest Wingless Tour is being finalized and the NWWT hopes to release it in the coming days. More information on the IXL Metal Conditioner NorthWest Wingless Tour can be found online at http://www.nwwinglesstour.com. The Grays Harbor Raceway press release about Big E Weekend hosting two nights of NWWT and ASCS Northwest Region action can be seen at their website at http://www.graysharborraceway.net.