By Polly Keary, Editor
The Evergreen Speedway has just won a top national award, and things are only going to improve from there, say Doug and Traci Hobbs, who operate the speedway.
At an annual NASCAR awards banquet in Charlotte, N.C. this month, the Evergreen Speedway was named one of the top 10 home tracks in the nation.
The track, the only one of its kind in Washington and one of about 60 nationwide, has been getting ever busier in recent years.
There are five racetracks at the speedway, and the Hobbs recently added a dirt motocross track, as well as created an indoor course in the horse barn on the fairgrounds.
That means the track is versatile enough to serve a lot of different groups.
Racing’s up-and-coming drivers appear in Monroe a lot, as the speedway is one of 15 tracks in the country to host the NASCAR Pro Series West.
“It’s the beginning level of NASCAR,” said Traci Hobbs. The series will come back to Monroe Aug. 17.
Perhaps the largest draw at the track is the relatively young sport of drift racing.
“It’s crazy,” said Hobbs. “I wouldn’t do it on a bet. It’s mostly import cars, and there are these kids that will come screaming around the edge of the track at 100 miles per hour in a controlled slide. And they are judged on style and how much smoke they produce, and their speed and precision.”
Formula Drift will be back July 20, which Traci said is something of a coup.
“That to me is an amazing feat,” she said. “This is a tour series that has eight stops in the world. Dubai is one of them, and Monroe is one of them.”
The reason Monroe is such a draw for drift racers is the speedway’s 5/8 mile track, a fairly long course for a home track. In fact, so much do drift racers like the track that, of all the sites in the world they could have chosen, they came to Monroe for the Formula Drift 10th Anniversary party.
The speedway even has a drift school; this month about 40 students turned out. Some will go on to pro careers.
“We are the number one feeder in the world for Formula Drift,” said Doug Hobbs. “There are 10 licensed drivers in Formula Drift that are from here.”
Each year, when Formula Drift comes to town, they take up virtually every inch of the 71 acres of the speedway, filling them with vendors, booths, and lots and lots of people. Last summer, the Hobbs estimate there were 13,000 people there, in a stadium in which 10,000 is standing-room-only.
But in between all those high profile events, there are lots of local attractions, including drag racing, vintage car racing, motocross, demolition derbies, and more.
In all, between March and November of next year, so far the Hobbs, whose company is called High Road Promotions, have scheduled 214 nights of entertainment.
The Hobbs have yet more plans for the future. They are reaching out to the quarter midget racers, kids who have their own track next door to the fairgrounds, and are inviting them onto the 1/5 mile track for special events.
And they hope to start a high school racing program.
“It gets them off the street racing and to the track,” Traci said.
More concerts and rodeos are planned, and the annual 4th of July fireworks show is going to get bigger, said Doug.
“We keep ramping up,” he said. “Our 4th of July show will be the biggest fireworks show in the county.”
The NASCAR recognition is one more proof that the Hobbs, who took over management of the track in March of 2011, have been a good addition to the county, said Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon.
“High Road Promotions continues to bring energy and enthusiasm to the racetrack at the fairgrounds,” said Reardon. “It has been a great partnership and we’re pleased for them that they have received this honor from the racing industry.”