Before car racing, checkered flags were used only as symbols of surrender following skirmishes between chess clubs. Revel in full-throttled flag waiving with today’s GrouponLive deal: for $20, you get one general-admission ticket to the NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways in Kent on Friday, August 5 (a $41 value). Gates to the track open at 7 a.m., and races kick into gear as early as 9 a.m. Today's Groupon is not valid for admission on Saturday or Sunday.
Pacific Raceways hosts the high-octane conclusion to this year’s three-race, three-state “Western Swing” of the NHRA’s Full Throttle Drag Racing Series. Nestled at the tree-lined base of Mount Rainier, the scenic drag strip is among the fastest tracks in the Northwest, and races can last for just seconds at a time, making each one an ideal opportunity to test experimental new blink-proof eyeglasses. From their general-admission vantage point, fans can watch famed drivers such as John Force and Tony Schumacher attempt to out-motor other racers as they fight for the bragging rights all carburetors need for survival.
The NHRA’s 2011 season holds special significance as it marks the esteemed hot rod association’s 60th anniversary. Fans can celebrate the event in style with an autograph session with two-time Top Fuel World Champion Gary Beck as well as a peek at Pacific Raceways’ display of vintage dragsters. Loaded with pro stock car and funny car races, Friday’s daylong schedule compassionately caters to anyone nursing a debilitating need for speed.
When Dan Fiorito Sr. opened Pacific Raceways in 1960, he wanted to create a safe environment for auto racing. That simple wish lead to the founding of a site that would eventually become one of the largest outdoor spectator venues in the state. Mario Andretti, Al Unser, and Jerry "The King" Ruth all foot-pedaled their way around the tracks, and the crowds flocked to watch them.
Decades later, the raceway continues to welcome thousands of fans as they watch regional and national races featuring renowned drivers. The quarter-mile drag strip remains a main attraction, hosting weekly races as well as a junior dragster series. The 2.25-mile, SCCA-approved road course, with its challenging nine-turn circuit, makes it an ideal location for year-round competition. In between scheduled events, regional law-enforcement agencies and high-performance driving schools—such as ProFormance Racing School—use the course to practice maneuvers.