Spokane Grand Prix Debuts At Raceway Park

SPOKANE — It was the first racing event held at Spokane Raceway Park since the County took the keys to the park’s gates.

Ownership of the raceway has been up in the air for several years. That is until this week, when Spokane County took full ownership of the 315 acre Raceway Park.

100 cars are spending four days testing their speed on this 2.5 mile course at Spokane Raceway Park.

“Some of the cars here will approach 200 miles at the end of the straight away before going on to the rest of the road course,” said Scott Adare with the Northwest Motorsports Club.

Car enthusiasts from across the region are here for the Spokane Grand Prix. Jeff Bizzelle brought his 1983 Mazda RX-7 from Portland just for the course.

“I just like the layout. It’s got lots of hills, there’s lots of blind turns. Just that up and down, It’s different than other tracks,” said racer Jeff Bizzelle.

Up until this week, organizers who made plans back in November didn’t know if the race would happen.

“My thought was if I leave it on the calendar, we do less harm canceling last minute then not being able to come out here and do anything,” said Adare.

The raceway cost Spokane County $4.2 million. That deal became official three days ago.

“First of all, I want to start off by thanking all of you for being here,” said County Commissioner Todd Mielke as he addressed the crowd gathered at the raceway. “When you look back, I want you to remember that you guys were the first ones to run this track under county ownership.”

County Commissioner Todd Mielke says this is a long-term investment with plans for a law enforcement training center and sports complex. But he admits a lot needs to be done, including $800,000 in improvements and finding a long-term operator.

“This gives us the opportunity to look 20 to 30 years out, start securing property when it becomes available, and start planning for further down the road,” said Mielke.

“It’s a place where adults can get out and play,” said racer George Doran.

The county hopes to find a long-term operator for the raceway by October 1st. It’s also planning a community clean-up here in early September.