The art of the start: Evergreen Speedway highlights summer with a “showdown”

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This weekend, out in the country, under a robin’s egg blue sky, a light breeze will rustle brightly colored pennants and the words will be shouted over the roar of the crowd, “Drivers! Start your engines!”

And, the 6th annual Summer Showdown will begin at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe.

My Edmonds News received a luncheon invitation from speedway owners Traci and Douglas Hobbs to interview race track drivers and hear what circling a 5/8-mile racetrack 200 times might be like – and, of course – we accepted!

The luncheon, held Thursday, was attended by Snohomish County Councilmember Sam Lowe, who presented Hobbs with Snohomish County Resolution 17-026 designating this “Speed Week” in honor of the positive impact that the speedway has on the county’s tourism.

Answering a series of questions during the luncheon were national circuit drivers Jeff Knight of Monroe (car #70); Derek Thorn of Bakersfield (car #43); Trenton Moriarty, track points leader driving car #40; plus four time NASCAR winner Garrett Evans who is driving car #64 for the Summer Showdown; and Preston Peltier from Bakersfield who will be driving car #48 this weekend.

If auto racing is about reflection and regrets, Preston Peltier led with his comments on a mechanical failure that took him out of the points competition last season. “It was a heartbreaker. If we would have had a shorter red flag, maybe. . .” his voice trailed. “It’s a matter of testing yourself and your team.”

Asked about his approach to how he will manage his place in the field of Summer Showdown participants Peltier revealed, “I find my own line. If I pre-plan a strategy to follow someone else, I put myself in a box.”

Possibly the oldest driver who will be participating in the Summer Showdown is Garrett Evans at 61 years old. What does finishing 200 laps mean to someone “of his age” he was asked as nervous laughter ripped through the crowd of media reps, elected officials, and race track dignitaries. “I don’t think about my age. Racing is my sanctuary. Maybe I have to be helped in and out of the car. . . okay, I’ll admit that,” he added good-naturedly.

Evergreen Speedway is a track for which accommodations have to be made by the drivers. Derek Thorn noted, “What’s good about Evergreen Speedway is that drivers have a different way of looking at an older track. The bumps [on the speedway] add to the dramatics of the race.”

In his remarks to the 2017 Summer Showdown kick-off luncheon, president and owner of Evergreen Speedway Douglas Hobbs looked back on his six years as owner, explaining that his objective is to “restore the dreams and heritage of Evergreen Speedway.”

Take a new look at an old tradition: Evergreen Speedway.

For family-priced tickets go to their official website.

Car 18, Sponsored by Interstate Tire sits track side at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe (14405 179 Ave. SE, just off Hwy 2 and 27 miles from downtown Edmonds)

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