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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The racing season at Coos Bay Speedway takes the green flag on 2017 on April 1, and for the first time, the track will race under the NASCAR banner.
Coos Bay is a .387-mile high-banked dirt track in western Oregon. Located 2 ½ hours southwest of Eugene and less than 20 miles from the Pacific Ocean, the multi-purpose venue also features an eighth-mile NHRA drag strip and hosts yearly Mud Drag events.
“Coos Bay is a tremendous place to race and joining the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is a great opportunity for fans and competitors,” said track owner and manager Drake Nelson. “We are looking forward to the 2017 season and are really excited about all the great racing Coos Bay has to offer.”
Drake and his wife Kimberly bought Coos Bay in November from long-time owner Chuck Prather. Drake Nelson is a third-generation promoter and has been involved in a number of race tracks in the Midwest and Pacific Northwest. His brother Adam is part of the ownership group that operates Meridian Speedway in Idaho, which joined the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series last year.
“With Meridian being part of the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series, we were really able to see up close the value of having a track be part of the program,” said Drake Nelson.
“Drake Nelson and his family bring a wealth of short-track experience to Coos Bay and NASCAR is pleased to welcome the track into the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series,” said Kevin Nevalainen, NASCAR director of weekly racing. “The opportunity is now there for drivers to compete for the track championship as well as bragging rights in Oregon with the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series state championship.”
U.S. state and province champions are determined by the best 18 finishes at tracks within the respective state or province. The national championship is determined by a driver’s best 18 finishes overall for Division I, and best 14 finishes for Division II-V.
The Super Late Models will be the track’s Division I under the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series banner. The Sportsman Late Models will be Division III, with Street Stocks as Division III and Hornets as Division IV.
The oval track runs on Friday nights through Sept. 9, with the Super Late Model Tidal Wave 50 highlighting the summer on July 29.
The practice of crowning U.S. state and Canadian provincial champions dates back to the earliest days of NASCAR. Bill Counts won the Oregon Sportsman title in 1967, while the Late Model Sportsman title was awarded for the state from 1978-80.
Established in 1982, the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series is NASCAR’s championship program for weekly short track auto racing with paved and dirt tracks throughout the United States and Canada.
Connecticut-based Whelen Engineering is the series’ title sponsor. Whelen Engineering is a leading manufacturer of automotive, aviation, industrial and emergency vehicle lighting. NASCAR tracks and pace cars across North American are among many showcases for Whelen products.