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Drivers and racing enthusiasts gather for the annual Nitro Nights Under the Lights at Renegade Raceway in Wapato, Wash., on Friday, July 3, 2020.

A year after having its shortest, most challenging season on record, Renegade Raceway is poised to potentially have its best season ever.

The drag strip off Highway 97 north of Wapato has 31 dates of racing planned for its seven-month season, starting with the first two Auto Max USA Gamblers Series events on Saturday and Sunday.

Last year's racing season started several months late due to the COVID-19 pandemic and when it did start fans weren't allowed. A limited number of fans restricted to tailgating were allowed late in the season.

Track manager Derek Snelson, whose crew has been running the facility for a decade, said this week the track is currently allowed "up to 400 spectators" with social distancing still in effect.

What is expected to bolster business, particularly in car counts, is that eastern Washington's only other drag strip — Spokane County Raceway — canceled its season in February.

The 10th annual Dee Adams Memorial Fire & Thunder show over the Memorial Day weekend will include the track's 50th anniversary celebration, which it was unable to stage last year.

Some of the early season events, including the Spring Classic later this month, will be contested over an eighth-mile strip instead of quarter-mile while repairs and upgrades are being made.

Once again the summer schedule will be centered around two big shows — the Nitro Nights event the first week of July will draw the big Jet and Funny Cars and Hot August Nights is slated for Aug. 18.

The season concludes with two mainstays in October, the Trick or Treat Shootout followed by the Northwest Reunion Drags.

Last year's track champions included Bob Bundy (Super Pro), Dustin Brewington (Pro, No Box), Terry Holloway (Sled/Bike, Street Bike, Box), Devin Froud (Sportsman), Dutch Winters (Street Legal), David Denning (Mopar) and Toby Febus (AFX).

Delaney Russell was the 2020 High School winner with Junior titles going to Katie Froud (Thunder), Sahara Wendt (Lightning), Joey Stanton (Street) and Michelle Brown (Box).

• At last weekend's event, Terry Holloway was the Cash Bash winner with Morris Boggess runner-up. Ellie Brown won the Junior Dragster division with Corban Allen runner-up.

For schedule updates and times, check the track's website at www.renegaderaceway.com

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APRIL

10-11 — Gamblers Series No. 1-2.

24-25 — 8th annual Spring Classic, Summit Series No. 1-2, Top Comp, Land of Leaders No. 1.

30 — Diesel Truck Drags.

MAY

— High School Drags No. 1, Street Legal No. 1, Grudge, NW Nostalgia, Jet Cars, Funny Cars.

Can’t recall when your school won that state title? Need to settle a bet? One place for decades of Valley sports.

— Auto Max USA Gamblers Series No. 3, NW Nostalgia, Jet Funny Cars.

28-29-30 — 10th annual Dee Adams Memorial Fire & Thunder, Summit Series No. 3-4, Street Legal No. 2, AFX Shootout No. 1-2, Land of Leaders No. 2, NW Nostalgia, Jet cars.

JUNE

11 — Street Legal No. 3, Car Club Drags.

26-27 — Summit Series No. 5-6, Land of Leaders No. 3, Rubin Brost Memorial foot brake race.

JULY

2-3-4 — 12th annual Nitro Nights, Street Legal No. 4, Gamblers Series No. 4-5, Funny Cars, Jet Cars, AFX Shootout No. 4-5, NW Nostalgia.

9-10 — Battle in the Desert, Door Slam Jam, Heads-up Grudge, Speed for all Wallys, Club Bike Drags.

30 — Street Legal No. 5.

AUGUST

— Hot Rod Drags, Gassers.

18 — 11th annual Hot August Nights, Jet Cars, Box-No Box, Juniors, Grudge.

SEPTEMBER

10-11-12 — King of the Track, NHRA.tv Challenge, Summit Series No. 7-8, Land of Leaders No. 4, Cash Bash, NW Nostalgia, Fluiatt Checkbook Race.

17-18 — Street Legal No. 6, King of the Valley, Volkswagen Drags.

OCTOBER

1-2-3 — 8th annual Trick or Treat Shootout, NHRA Super Quick, Junior Championship Series, Gambler 1/8-mile Shootout.

9-10 — 9th annual Northwest Reunion Drags, Gamblers Series No. 6-7, AFX No. 6-7, NW Nostalgia, Stock/Super Stocks.

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