River City Speedway in St. Helens will begin its 37th season of stock car racing June 5 at 5 p.m. at the Columbia County Fairgrounds facility.
A large group of drivers participated in the first and only practice session May 22 on the quarter-mile clay oval track in preparation for the season.
The Columbia County Racing Association, under the direction of president Darren Rye, has 14 events scheduled throughout the summer and the popular motorsports series will conclude Sept. 25. Upcoming events are June 12 and 26, July 10 and 24 and Aug. 7, 14, 21 and 22.
"We've had lots of interest from many drivers and there's been lots of people that have helped work on the track to prepare it for racing, so we're looking forward to having a really good season," said Rye, in his fourth-year as CCRA president. "I love this job, it's awesome and I'm having a lot of fun. We changed our rules so that I could continue having this position year after year. Hopefully, things will be a little more normal compared to what things were like last year when we didn't have any fans. Everything is going pretty good this year."
A couple of major changes will take place this year that race fans will surely enjoy. First and foremost, fans will be allowed to attend the speedway for the first time since 2019. However, since Columbia County is currently in the OHA's high risk level of COVID-19, no fans are allowed to attend. Fans will be allowed when the county is moved to moderate risk, which Rye says he's hoping that will happen by June 5.
The speedway held races last year, but because of COVID-19 restrictions, no fans were allowed. Also, drivers will be awarded points in the seven CCRA division standings so that they can win a championship this year. Last year, drivers were not eligible to win championships because points were not awarded in any divisions.
Four different motorsport classifications will be competing in the first race. They include the Northwest Dwarf Cars, Pure Stock, Micro Sprint Cars and Four Cylinders. There are no ticket sales at the facility. The can be purchased online only at the website listed on the River City Speedway Facebook page.
Local drivers considered as top contenders for a CCRA title this year include Bob Berg of St. Helens, Dick Gaboury of Rainier and Terry King of Warren. Other top drivers that will also compete at the track include Phillip Rowland of Vancouver, Clyde White of Longview and Devon Reed of Woodland. Reed's son Martin, 16, will compete in the Tracer Division (youth class) and he's considered a contender for the division title while driving a 2003 Ford Focus.
Other drivers who will likely be frontrunners on the track include Lance Landis of Milwaukie, who is one of the top drivers in the Four Cylinder Division with his Ford Focus. His brothers Myke and TJ are also top drivers in the Tuner Division and they'll also be driving a Ford Focus.
The River City Speedway is located at 58892 Saulser Road in St. Helens.