When a trip to the Grays Harbor area comes to mind, you probably think beachcombing, kite flying, razor clams, or maybe just a stop on the way to rainforest hikes and escapes to Olympic National Park. There is one other attraction in Grays Harbor that deserves more than a small mention.

May 6 marks the beginning of this year’s season of dirt racing at the Grays Harbor Raceway. A trip to the raceway promises a full night of fun, excitement, tasty food, and even some fireworks shows on special nights for friends and families. The raceway has a long tradition in the Harbor area, and brings a lot to our little community.

Grays Harbor Races
Races are a blast for families or groups of friends, young and old. Photo credit: Grays Harbor Raceway

“The raceway brings the community something to be proud of,” says Steve Beitler, promoter for Grays Harbor Raceway. “Grays Harbor Raceway is a first-class facility, nicer than 90% of the racetracks across the country. The raceway also provides a safe, clean and affordable night out for families to spend quality time together. It also has many families that have racecars and seeing them work together is awesome. The raceway also employs many local high school age workers that gain valuable experience in the working world that they will use the rest of their lives,”

Beitler also shares the season’s noteworthy dates. “On August 19, we’re going to have a Big Rigs race and on September 4, we’ll have World of Outlaws. We also have Monster Trucks coming to the Raceway on September 16 and 17,” says Beitler.

Along with the special events, there will also be old favorites. “Races will include sprint cars, modifieds, street stocks and midgets,” Beitler says.

Big rig races
Big Rigs are scheduled to race this summer. Photo credit: Grays Harbor Raceway

There will be three fireworks shows this season. “On Memorial Day, we’ll have a big fireworks show and mid-season there will be another fireworks show during the mid-season championship,” Beitler says. “Then there will be another big fireworks show for the championship race on September 30.”

For those coming from the South Sound area and wanting to make a weekend trip out of the races, there are many places to stay. Both the Lucky Eagle Casino and the Little Creek Casino are 15 to 20 minutes away, and are great options. Other hotels are the Stay Beyond Inn and Suites in the heart of Elma and the newly refurbished Guesthouse Inn and Suites by Red Lion in Montesano. Both are pet friendly.

Grays Harbor is a fantastic destination for camping enthusiasts, and what better way to enjoy a full weekend of racing than to include camping on the agenda as well. The nearest option is at the Grays Harbor Fairgrounds. Be sure to visit the Fairgrounds website for camping rules and reservations as well as specific pricing and details for big racing dates. There are several other campgrounds throughout Grays Harbor including Montesano’s Lake Sylvia State Park, Elma RV Park and Friend’s Landing. GraysHarborTalk offers more ideas for remote sites or parks full of amenities.

Grays Harbor Raceway
According to Beitler, the best way to get started with racing is to work with the crew. Photo credit: Grays Harbor Raceway

Elma is a wonderful small town with great dining options, such as the Rusty Tractor and El Ranchon. The Eagle’s Nest and Smitty’s In & Out are perfect spots for a local burger drive-thru. Clark’s Restaurant in Artic is just a 23-minute drive from Elma and has some of the region’s best burgers and homemade ice cream that can’t be beat. For more restaurant options, Montesano and Aberdeen are within a 30-minute drive with a wide variety of dining and entertainment options.

The Raceway itself offers food and drinks as well. “People always look forward to the taco bar,” Beitler says. Standard sweet and salty treats are available.

Regular adult tickets run $13 with kids over seven, military and seniors an affordable $9. Kids six and under are free. Add a pit pass for $30-$40, depending on the event, for a particularly special experience. The raceway has a great deal for a Family Pass. For just $34, 2 adults and up to 4 kids can enjoy a night at the races. And, for the ultimate race fan, season passes are available for access to all races, May through September. Full pricing details can be found online and ticket prices vary for special events.

Add Elma to your list of destinations this summer, and be sure to visit Grays Harbor Raceway online.


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