Grand Prix Opens Up County’s New Race Track

AIRWAY HEIGHTS — Time trials kicked off Thursday afternoon for the Spokane Grand Prix, the first racing event at the county’s newly opened
Spokane County Motorsports Park

The park, purchased this spring by the county, opened Thursday after they closed the deal for the track and land surrounding the race course Wednesday.

Thursday Spokane County Parks and Recreation Director Doug Chase opened the park for the Spokane Grand Prix, a three-day event hosted by the
Northwest Motorsports Club
of Spokane and will include up to 100 drivers racing on the two-and-a-half mile track.

As racers are running time trials for the Grand Prix the county is laying out its plans for the 314 acres of land and what it plans to do with it all. As commissioners discussed earlier this spring there is discussion about building a 50 to 60 acre sports complex as well as a law enforcement training center.

Community leaders say taking over ownership of Spokane Raceway Park – which the county subsequently renamed Spokane County Motorsports Park – was a homerun for the county and many gathered outside the courthouse Thursday afternoon to talk about the future of the property.

Among them was Spokane County Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich, who is interested not only in building a training center on the grounds but also sees the race track’s operation as being critical to keeping the streets of Spokane safer.

“Our teens can drive vehicles in a controlled, safe environment rather than down Division where you and I and our family drive on a regular basis,” he said.

So far fourteen different track days have been scheduled this summer and six days have been reserved for law enforcement training.

No improvements are planned for the race track until the end of the season and the County Parks and Recreation Department will manage the race track until the first of October, when a long-term operator will be selected for the 2009 season.

Meanwhile, there are nine days left for critics to appeal the sale of Spokane Raceway Park to the county. According to Spokane County Commissioner Mark Richard the deadline is July 26th.