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New Season Roars to Life at Shasta Raceway

Variety is the headliner at Shasta Raceway Park in Anderson this season, as the fairgrounds facility has scheduled everything from late model stock cars to open-wheel super modifieds to motorcycles. There’s even a weekend for monster trucks.

The season kicks off this Sunday, March 20 – rain or shine – with a 200-lap enduro race. The front gate opens at 3 p.m., with racing at 4 p.m.

“We strive to have variation in the entertainment we bring to town,” says raceway promoter Rick Faeth, who recently signed a five-year contract renewal with the Shasta District Fair to operate the three-eighths-mile asphalt oval.

The lightning-fast super modifieds return to Shasta this season.

Back in the good ol’ days, short tracks like Shasta could simply run the same three or four classes of racecars week after week, all season long. For a number of reasons – the financial inability of local racers to run every week, waning fan interest – those good ol’ days are mostly over.

So Shasta’s 24-event schedule has a bit of everything. Among the highlights:

• Special events for the late models on April 9, May 7, June 18 and August 6. The April and June dates are part of a new California versus Oregon series in cooperation with Douglas County Speedway in Roseburg. The May and August dates are sanctioned by the Airport Auto Brokers series that travels to four Northern California tracks.

• The Tri-Track Challenge Modified Tour on May 14 and August 20. This brand new six-race series for modified racers is a joint effort of Shasta, Ukiah Speedway and Redwood Acres Raceway in Eureka.

• A Super Moto USA motorcycle event on Labor Day weekend, September 3 and 4. The two-wheelers will use an improvised track that includes part of the asphalt oval and dirt jumps in the infield.

• U.S. Auto Club sprint cars on April 23 and October 8. The first event is part of a new Western Classic series that kicked off last weekend at Chico’s Silver Dollar Speedway with an impressive 29-car field. U.S. Auto Club Ford Focus midgets will join the sprint cars for both races.

• The Bay Cities Racing Association midgets on April 2, the Anderson Explodes fireworks show of July 3, and the Pops Porter Memorial on September 24.

• The return of the Super Modified Racing Association for the first time in several years on May 21. The low-slung, high-horsepower super modifieds turn the fastest laps on the oval track by far.

• The Win-River Casino-sponsored open show for seven classes of racecars the weekend of September 30 through October 2.

• Monster trucks on June 10 and 11.

Shasta’s strengthened ties with other short tracks in the region are exemplified by the late model and modified series that exist only because of promoter cooperation. The Tri-Track Challenge is the first touring series for modifieds in Superior California in some time.

Modifieds head down the back straight at Shasta Raceway Park

“It gives the modifieds a legitimate traveling series,” says Faeth. “I believe there was a void that needed to be filled, and this fills it.”

Nadine Strauss, the former promoter at Lakeport Speedway who has helped put together the Tri-Track Challenge, said the series may provide the best way to keep alive the modifieds. The class grew from cars built of scrap yard parts to custom-built racecars over the last 20 years. That made the cars faster and more professional appearing, but also much costlier, causing participation to slip and forcing promoters to reconsider the modifieds as part of every week’s racing program.

“A lot of these guys have been asking for a series like this,” Strauss said. “Rather than having six or eight modifieds at your track each week, you can have 20 cars at six races.”

Sunday’s 200-lapper featuring enduro cars is sanctioned by West Coast Enduro, an organization that brought more than 20 cars to a similar event last fall. Enduro cars are the only ones that race in the rain at Shasta. Three other 200-lap enduro races are on the schedule later in the season.

The Shasta Raceway Park website has many more details.

Paul Shigley is senior editor of California Planning & Development Report, a frequent contributor to Planning magazine and a racing fanatic since the good ol’ days. He lives in Centerville. Paul Shigley may be reached at pauls.anewscafe@gmail.com.

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