Get ready for flying dirt, the smell of exhaust and all the sounds, sights, smells and excitement that only a dirt racetrack can bring. Racing fans planned to hit the track at Grays Harbor Raceway for opening night on April 29, but our endlessly wet spring forced a delay. Opening night is now May 6 with races planned throughout the season, ending September 30. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. and races start at 7:00 p.m. Races typically end around 9:30 or 10:00 p.m. making for a full night of racing fun. Be sure to bring along jackets or blankets since nights can get chilly at the track.
Steve Beitler, the promoter for the Grays Harbor Raceway, notes several highlights for the season giving the community plenty to look forward to. “Races will include sprint cars, modifieds, street stocks and midgets,” he shares.
Fans can expect three big fireworks shows this season. “On Memorial Day we’ll have a big fireworks show and mid-season there will be another fireworks show during the mid-season championship,” Beitler says. “Then, there will be another big fireworks show for the championship race on September 30.”
Fans also have some national races to look forward to. “There will be a classic race on June 30 and July 1, which is a national. And July 29 brings the Modified nationals.”
Beitler shares that the Raceway will also host some new and exciting events this season. “On August 19 we’re going to have a Big Rigs race and on September 4, we’ll have World of Outlaws. We also have Monster Trucks coming to the Raceway on September 16 and 17,” says Beitler.
Grays Harbor Raceway draws fans from throughout the region. For those visiting specifically for racing events, there are several options for lodging. Both the Lucky Eagle Casino, and the Little Creek Casino are 15 to 20 minutes away from the Raceway, and are great options for a place to stay. The Stay Beyond Inn and Suites is another option in the heart of Elma and is pet friendly, including an outdoor run for Fido. Just down the road in Montesano the newly refurbished Guesthouse Inn and Suites by Red Lion offers pet friendly rooms, free breakfast and wi-fi all for a surprisingly low nightly rate.
Camping is also available for those making a visit to the Raceway a weekend-long affair. The nearest option is at the Grays Harbor Fairgrounds. Be sure to visit the Fairgrounds website for camping rules and reservations as well as specific pricing and details for big racing dates. Camping is also available in the many campgrounds throughout Grays Harbor including Montesano’s Lake Sylvia State Park, Elma RV Park and Friend’s Landing. GraysHarborTalk offers more ideas for remote sites or parks full of amenities.
For food, Elma has plenty of restaurant options, such as the Rusty Tractor or El Ranchon for a sit-down dining experience. The Eagle’s Nest and Smitty’s In & Out are perfect spots for a local burger drive-thru. Clark’s Restaurant in Artic is just a 23-minute drive from Elma and has great food (voted best burger in the region) and wonderful homemade ice cream. For more restaurant options, Montesano and Aberdeen are within a 30-minute drive with a wide variety of dining and entertainment options.
At the Raceway itself, a variety of food and drinks are also available during races. “People always look forward to the taco bar,” Beitler says and standard sweet and salty treats are available.
A visit to the Grays Harbor Raceway can be a fun night out with the family or a group of friends. Pricing varies for special event races, but regular adult tickets run $13 with kids over seven, military and seniors an affordable $9. Kids six and under are free. Add a pit pass for $30 – $40, depending on the event, for an upclose and personal raceday experience. Families can take advantage of savings with the Family Pass. For just $34, two adults and up to 4 kids can enjoy a night at the races. And, for the ultimate race fan, season passes are available for access to all races, May through September. Full pricing details can be found online for special events.
Be sure to check out the Elma Auto Racing Hall of Fame, where past and present meet. Grays Harbor has a rich history in auto racing, and a group of passionate volunteers are committed to preserving the history of racing in Grays Harbor through the Elma Auto Racing Hall of Fame. Recently, local racing legend Al Lytle was inducted to the Hall of Fame. Read Al’s story here as he transitioned from driver to owner and is still an active part of Grays Harbor Raceway’s tradition.
Head down to the Grays Harbor Raceway this season and make dirt racing a part of your own family history and memories too. For a full schedule, tickets, and more information, visit Grays Harbor Raceway online.