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Speedweek set to kick off Monday at S.O. Speedway

SHELTON, Wash. — Six days, five races, four tracks and one worn-out champion.

The American Sprint Car Series Northwest Region Speedweek, which pits most of the west coast's best sprint car drivers against each other for a full week of competition, kicks into gear Monday at the Southern Oregon Speedway in White City.

Gates open at 4 p.m. Monday, with racing scheduled for 6. Tickets are $15 for adults and $12 for children ages 7 to 12 and people 60 and older.

"This is the week everyone circles on their calendars each year," Northwest Region Director Greg Burgess said. "The Northwest Region Speedweek champion will be someone who best adapts to the challenges each night and this year we have a new element — some of the best national sprint car drivers in the country."

Adding to the excitement is the first-ever visit to the Northwest by the Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Dirt Series presented by K&N Filters, which will meet up with the Northwest Region for the final two days of Speedweek July 17-18 at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, Wash.

"The Northwest Region is pretty tough anyway, so it'll be a pretty good deal," ASCS national coordinator Tommie Estes, Jr. said.

Estes Jr. said 22 of the top 23 drivers in the National Series' points are slated to show up, including former Northwest drivers Gary Taylor and Seth Bergman, both from Snohomish, Wash.

Bergman, who won a race and finished in the top 10 last year in the Northwest Region points, is looking forward to returning to a familiar track in his home state. He is currently 22nd in points with the National Series.

"Just because we've been there," Bergman said. "I know how to get around those places and I kinda know the basic setup. All these places we're seeing now we've never been to. It's hard when you just show up to a track never being there. I'm looking forward to coming home."

The final race of Speedweek will be a busy one. With the National Series in town and a Speedweek crown on the line, it is also the final day of the Fred Brownfield Memorial. Named after the late sprint car promoter who developed the Northwest into its current success, the race will pay $10,092 to win.

Sandwiched between visits to Southern Oregon Speedway and Grays Harbor Raceway is a pair of races in Oregon. On Tuesday, the drivers will compete at the Cottage Grove Speedway before driving north to Willamette Speedway in Lebanon for a showdown on Wednesday.

Last year, Roger Crockett of Medford, won four of the six Speedweek races en route to the title. With the addition of the National Series for two of the events, Crockett welcomes the challenge.

"The best part about it is you get to bring some of the best 360 drivers in the country to one place to have Speedweek," Crockett said. "The downside of it is it's that much tougher.

"I can't imagine somebody is going to come out here and kick everybody's butt."

Heading into Speedweek, Crockett is one of four drivers within 28 points of first place in Northwest Region points. All five of the Speedweek races count toward Northwest Region points, including those with the National Series.