By Rich Myhre Herald Writer
A large field of drivers from the United States and Canada will gather at Monroe’s Evergreen Speedway this weekend for the third annual NASCAR Summer Showdown, one of the premier auto racing events in the Puget Sound area this season.
Saturday night’s 200-lap race for super late models on the 5/8-mile oval has a $20,000 first-place prize, making it the richest race for its class on the West Coast.
The Summer Showdown is also the second largest NASCAR short track (less than 1-mile) event in America, according to Evergreen Speedway president Doug Hobbs.
“This is definitely our marquee event,” Hobbs said. And with more than 60 super late model cars competing for 36 spots in Saturday’s starting field, “the competition is going to be fierce,” he added.
The competitors representing 13 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces in the Saturday night finale include Pete Harding of Langley, B.C., who won the inaugural Summer Showdown in 2012; Jay Sauls of Puyallup, who won the 2013 race; Garrett Evans of East Wenatchee, a four-time NASCAR Northwest Tour champ; Ron Eaton of Tacoma, a three-time Northwest Tour champ; and Gary Lewis of Snohomish, who has two Northwest Tour championships.
Several other racing classes will join the weekend party, with everyone seeking shares of a total purse that is upwards of $100,000.
Friday’s schedule, which begins at 1 p.m. with practice and qualifying, includes 30-lap main events for mini stocks and street stocks, and qualifying heats for the Summer Showdown after the 6:30 p.m. opening ceremonies.
Saturday’s practice session begins at 11:30 a.m., with Pro 4 qualifying at 2:30 p.m., last chance Shootout qualifying at 3:45 p.m. and 4 p.m., a 40-lap Pro 4 main event at 5 p.m., and a 6:45 p.m. start for the 36-car Summer Showdown.
The Grand Marshall for the Summer Showdown is NASCAR legend Hershel McGriff, a member of the Motorsports Hall of Fame who raced for many years at Evergreen Speedway.
Grandstand tickets are $15 for Friday and $25 for Saturday with youngsters ages 6-11 $10. Pit passes are $80 for two days and $40 for one day.
For more race information or to purchase tickets, go to www.evergreenspeedway.com or call 360-805-6100.