It was Seattle International Raceway or simply “Kent” when I first attended with the Group 44 Jaguar team in 1977 and again as a fledgling journalist and gopher on the late Bill Alsup’s Pro Super Vee team. I remember it as a challenging track with more than 120 feet of elevation changes and a gently arcing lower back “straight” threading through a lush green forest — a wonderful track for spectators and much-enjoyed by the Trans-Am and Super Vee drivers, although I remember very little now about the races and their outcomes.
Opened in 1960 as Pacific Raceways, Kent/SIR reverted to its original name when the original owners reacquired the track in 2002. Over the last 20 years, members of the Fiorito family have been planning an extensive, $200 million dollar renovation to the aging facility which through its six decades has hosted everything from SCCA club races to NASCAR on the 2.25-mile road course and NHRA Nationals on its dragstrip front straightaway. The track remains in regular use and is currently the base for the ProFormance Racing School.
On August 19, more than 100 notables including elected officials and King County representatives, sponsors and fans gathered to officially break ground on the extensive expansion plans which will begin with the $25M buildout of the Pacific Innovation Center and Pacific Motorsports Park.
The former is one of four “Projects of Statewide Significance” designated by the Department of Commerce. A business park featuring five separate buildings located just a short walk from the start/finish line will offer a total of 200,000 square feet for use as garages, workshops, and/or retail space. Miles Resources began laying the groundwork in 2019, and already 75 percent of the space in the first two buildings has been pre-leased by Milt Reimers of CBRE.
Track president Jason Fiorito, whose family has owned and operated the track since 1959, explained, “We are going to continue to be a racetrack, and now this transition redefines the infrastructure to include a test bed for transportation industry innovation and that solidifies the sustainability of racing in our region.”
In his keynote address, Fiorito also acknowledged the previous generations of his family for their unwavering commitment to the sport, the track and the racing community, and expressed gratitude to the many elected officials in attendance for their support of the project and the years of work to get to this point.
Next, track partner Ron Erickson spoke of the importance of the designation and how the expansion will house innovative automotive companies, ambitious startups, and act as a hub for critical industry research for future automotive technologies.
King County Council Member Pete von Reichbauer brought the program to a close, applauding this project as an example of how King County and the cities of Auburn and Kent are bringing more living wage jobs to their communities.
Later, attendees also got pro sports car track rides and laps on the infield kart circuit.
For current information on Pacific Raceways, click HERE.
For updates on the expansion project, click HERE.