Sunset Speedway hopes to start 2018 season Saturday, April 21

Banks- Sunset Speedway Race Director Justin Thomas said plans are to hold the season opening races this Saturday, April 21, but of course it depends on the weather.

“We’ve still got some we spots and we need a little more (dry weather), but yes, we are opening this Saturday,” Thomas said.

If you’ve never been to the Sunset Raceway, it’s a tucked away gem for racing fans right here in the Washington County.
Several racing classes will all hit the track with qualifying heats starting at 5:30 p.m — the doors open at 4 p.m. and Thomas said cars will begin entering the track at 5 p.m.

“It’s a family-friendly environment, and we encourage people to bring the kids out,” Thomas said.

The schedule includes dwarf cars, micro cars — both restricted and open — street stock cars, newbies and 4bees.
For those not up to speed on racing terminology, here’s a short primer:

•Dwarf Cars:  These look like miniature 1950’s-style sedans, or little hot rods. Each car runs between 50-60-miles-per-hour.

•Micros:  Also miniature cars, but micros are sprint-style cars that run on a GSXR motorcycle engine — same as the dwarf cars. What makes this heat interesting is the drivers range in age from teenagers to seniors.

•Street Stock Cars:  These are the traditional, NASCAR-type race cars — full bodied camaros and the like.

•Newbies:  Just what it sounds like — drivers who may not have raced previously, and younger people who are just getting into racing.

•4bees:  Essentially the same as Newbies, except 4bees run four-cylinder cars only.

This is Thomas’ first year at the helm as race director at Sunset Speedway. He worked his way up from a tow-truck driver to a racer to a flagger to a racing official to director. A shoulder injury sidelines Thomas from driving, and it just happened that at the same time the raceway was looking for a new director.

“It just sort of fell in my lap,” he said.

Sunset Raceway has full food vending on site. Water may be brought inside in already-sealed containers only. And Thomas said it’s a good idea to bring a blanket and warm clothing.

“Once the sun goes down it still gets pretty cold out there, so be prepared,” he said.

Tickets are available at the racetrack ticket booth. The price is $13 for adults 18 years old or older, $10 for those in the military and senior citizens, as well as juniors — those who are 13-17 years old — $5 for anyone between the ages of 6 to 12, and children 5 years old or younger get in free.

Thomas said after the qualifying heats wrap up, racing begins at about 6:30 p.m. and typically ends between 9:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.

Sources and more information: 
Sunset Speedway Race Director Justin Thomas
For more information visit the Sunset Speedway on the internet at

Daniel Pearson

Daniel Pearson holds a bachelors in journalism and an MBA in marketing. He’s a10-time, Oregon SPJ award-winning journalist, a two-time winner of an ADDY (advertising) for copywriting, and a one-time award winner for fiction for the NW Coastal Writer’s Series. Email: Twitter: @rosecitywriting