From Dick Jordan
Elma, WA — The United States Auto Club and Great Northwest Promotions, the operators of Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, Washington, jointly announced today that starting in 2011 USAC will sanction the track’s Ford Focus Midget racing program. Today’s announcement signals USAC’s first Northwest sanctioned series in 25 years and the first USAC sanctioning at the fabled 3/8th mile high bank dirt oval located at the Grays Harbor County Fairground facility.
The races will be the first for USAC in the Evergreen state since Damion Gardner and Jayme Barnes won USAC/CRA Sprint races at Skagit Speedway in 2006. A total of 37 USAC events have been conducted in Washington, beginning with Dan Gurney’s back-to-back road racing victories in 1962 at Seattle International Raceway. Mario Andretti and Al Unser won a pair of Indy Car outings at the Kent, Wash. Road course seven years later and Midgets and Sprint cars have competed in Washington in the ensuing years. In 1985 and 1986 USAC sanctioned a Washington Supermodified championship, with Blaine Sneva and Mike Ehlers emerging as the champions.
“Grays Harbor Raceway is excited to partner with USAC in our Ford Focus Midget program,” said raceway promoter George Wade, “Mike McCluney has done an outstanding job bringing credibility to the Ford Focus program and we are very happy to be on board. The National recognition that USAC can bring to our program is huge in terms of marketing for all our drivers, especially our young competitors who have aspirations of moving up to higher ranks in their quest for national stardom.”
“We are honored that George Wade and his shareholders at Grays Harbor Raceway have chosen USAC to sanction their Ford Focus Midget racing program” said Mike McCluney, USAC Western Developmental Series Coordinator. “George has done a spectacular job developing the Focus Midget program at Grays Harbor Raceway and we at USAC are excited about working with him and his competitors to further develop the program and to offer them the national recognition they have earned,” he said.
“The United States Auto Club is very excited that it’s Western Operations will be enhanced by the addition of a new program in the Northwest,” added USAC VP/Western Operations Tommy Hunt. “George Wade and his associates at Grays Harbor Raceway have assembled a sizeable participant group and presented an entertainment package in this division that USAC is honored and proud to be part of.”
The USAC Ford Focus Midget drivers and car owners will be competing for a USAC Northwest Championship as well as accruing points towards the USAC Western States Championships and earning eligibility to compete for the USAC National Ford Focus title and a permanent place on the Henry Ford Sweepstakes Trophy.
The USAC sanction will also bring some additions to the existing program that will include the USAC Young Guns division that allows experienced drivers aged 12 and up to participate in a separate class with the same Ford Focus engines that are restricted to 120 horsepower.