Auto racing fans, start your political engines.
Sen. Brian Hatfield, D-Raymond, is the lead driver on a new bill to build and operate a speedway capable of hosting up to two NASCAR events a year. Hatfield’s legislation will be formally introduced Thursday.
Joining him in the push to get it around the legislative track are Democratic Sens. Steve Hobbs of Lake Stevens, Nick Harper of Everett, Maralyn Chase of Edmonds and Margarita Prentice of Renton. Also on board are Republican Sens. Jerome Delvin of Richland and Joe Zarelli of Ridgefield.
Senate Bill 5856 prescribes creation of a public speedway authority in a county with a population of at least 400,000 people.
This authority would be led by a board of directors with broad powers to guide construction and operation of the raceway, including the ability to levy sales tax and ticket taxes to cover financing.
The bill requires that the lessee of the raceway and its parent company make “good faith best efforts to secure as one of the two major motorsports event weekends hosted annually at the facility a NASCAR Nextel Cup event or an event in NASCAR’s then-comparable successor premier national series beginning in the initial year of operation of the facility.”
None of this is new for lawmakers or race fans. NASCAR proponents thought they were on their way to seeing a track built in Marysville in 2004, and that fell through, and then in Bremerton in 2005 and that effort failed too.
Along the way, a few lawmakers got themselves on the wrong side of NASCAR fans.
Given the lateness in the session for this bill, it seems this one may not reach the finish line either.