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Profile of a Season: 1965

What better way to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of figure-8 racing at Evergreen Speedway than with a brief, but in depth look at the 1965 season. 
 
What began as the brainchild of the late Dick & Tina Norton, only became a reality through the tenacity of Tina and son Rick, following Dicks sudden death in the spring of 1965.  Dick saw figure-8 racing purely as a novelty act, but Tina recognized the classes' potential for drawing a crowd.
 
Rick, then 21, who had just recently returned from a stint in the military, was forced to not only assume management of the Aurora towing, the family business, but also assist with the weekly operation of Evergreen Speedway. Using his fathers' rough layout plan and lots of donated help including Joe Carter, Don Perry, and Jens Kloster, a figure-8 course was prepared on the existing rodeo arena.  Meridian Pavers provided the grader.  The original paved 5/8 track pit area became the figure-8's north corner, and the front straightaway of the 5/8 track was used as the exits to both the north and south corners.  The rest of the course was dirt.  The area behind the present 1/5 mile oval back straightaway was occupied at the time by rodeo chutes and an announcer/scorekeepers booth.  Announcer Howard McFadden and the scoring crew used this booth until facilities were set up at the main grandstand.
 
Friday evening, June 24, 1965 was the first official weekly figure-8 event.  Friday nights were chosen so as not to conflict with the Sky Valley Speedways Saturday night programs.  Sundays were reserved for the Welscar, Modifieds, and Western Grand National shows on the 5/8 oval.  Roughly ½ dozen cars made that first show, 5 of which were built at Aurora Towing.  The class quickly gained a following, not only by first time drivers, but several from the Welscar oval division also.  By seasons end, around 30 cars were competing.  1965 was the only year that the Evergreen State Fair pre-empted figure-8 racing, being that the track surface doubled as the fairs rodeo arena.  Hal Shukar led the points lead for weeks only to lose his championship bid to second place Ed Petersen and his 1952 Ford Coupe on Championship night.  And so it was in 1965...
 
Many thanks to the late Tina Norton and son Rick for a humble beginning, that happily 40 years later, still hasn't found an end!!

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