A race flagger signals the drivers before the start of the Street Stocks race during the Summer Showdown at the Evergreen Speedway on June 30, 2018 in Monroe. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)

A race flagger signals the drivers before the start of the Street Stocks race during the Summer Showdown at the Evergreen Speedway on June 30, 2018 in Monroe. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)

Evergreen Speedway trying to bring national series back

With help from the state, the racetrack hopes to make improvements to lure a national NASCAR series.

MONROE — Evergreen Speedway is looking to get back into the NASCAR big leagues. And now the state of Washington is lending a helping hand.

The Monroe racetrack is planning renovations designed to lure some of NASCAR’s national series back to the track, and the state has pitched in some financial resources to assist in that effort, allocating $150,000 to Evergreen Speedway in the operating budget it passed last month for 2019-21.

The money came following a joint proposal from Evergreen Speedway and Snohomish County. This is the first time the speedway has received funds from the state.

“We’re extremely happy about it,” Evergreen Speedway president Doug Hobbs said. “We’re trying to bring the facility up to standards to get higher levels of NASCAR back to Evergreen Speedway,”

Evergreen Speedway is the only NASCAR sanctioned racetrack in Washington, and the speedway’s aim is to attract one or more of NASCAR’s national touring series, such as the Xfinity Series (one step below the Cup series), the Trucks Series, or the ARCA Racing Elite Series (a new upper-level developmental series). Evergreen Speedway hosted the Trucks Series from 1995-2000, but has not had a national series at the track since. The largest NASCAR touring series that currently races at Evergreen is the K&N Pro Series West, which this year holds its race at Evergreen on Aug. 17 as part of the Bud Crown Series for Super Late Models.

But getting a national NASCAR series to come to Evergreen requires track upgrades. That’s when the county, which owns the track as part of the Evergreen State Fairgrounds, joined the effort.

“It was the county that asked us what it would take to do this,” Hobbs said. “So we worked with NASCAR to figure out what the requirements would be.”

“The goal is to be able to attract even more races, which then attract a larger audience to help in the economic development of the area,” Snohomish County Parks, Recreation and Tourism communications specialist Shannon Hays said. “So it’s not just entertainment. We want to bring in the excitement of bigger races, but we also want to bring in people — even from outside the county — to aid in economic development.”

NASCAR’s requirements for Evergreen Speedway to become eligible for a national series primarily involve safety. The first step is improving the barrier walls and installing new catch fences. The track also needs to repave its 5/8-mile track, which is the longest of the speedway’s tracks — the 3/8-mile track was repaved prior to last season.

The total cost of the renovations are expected to exceed $1 million. When the speedway and county made their presentation to the state they asked for $850,000. It’s possible the speedway could receive further funds from future state budgets.

The hope was to have the track up to NASCAR specifications in time for the 2020 season. However, Hobbs acknowledged that 2021 is a more realistic goal.

Hays said she did not know exactly when the speedway would receive the $150,000.

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