Luinil - Traveling with the Blue Star


2015 — Oregon Raceway Park
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Copyright © 2017 Larrie Easterly

Spinout — Photo Gallery

I have always liked watching auto racing be it NASCAR, Indy Car or the LeMans Series. This probably came from when I was a boy and my grandfather who would take my brother and myself to the local stock car races on the 1/8 mile dirt track at the county fairgrounds.

In 2009 we were were picking up one of our cars from our mechanic and noticed a bunch of photos of a racetrack under construction on his wall. He said that he was one of the partners that was building Oregon Raceway Park (ORP) in Grass Valley. The track is a 2.3 mile road course that follows the contours of rolling hills in that part of Oregon. He invited us to come up and see it. A couple weeks later I was making a photographic road trip to eastern Oregon and stopped at the track. The Audi club of Portland was there and I asked my friend if I could take some photos of them on the track. He said yes and I have been going out to the track about six times a year to photograph the different events ever since.

At first I was only shooting still images of the race cars. Then I moved to shooting both stills and standard definition video. Now I shoot stills but have moved on to high definition video from both ground level and in the air. Thats right I have have a drone. You can see my work at my other website.

Many different types of events are held at ORP for a broad range of vehicles including street cars, race cars, motorcycles, go carts, and all electric race cars.

ORP Owners Club Track Day — Photo Gallery

Local car clubs hold track days where their members drive on the track with other members of the club. The average person can also sign up for open track days. All you need is to pay the entry fee, bring your car and racing helmet to drive the track. If you do not want to drive your own car an option is to rent a car and helmet at the track. You can also get one on one driver training while at the track.

For a more advanced driving experience there are endurance races. These races typically last eight, 12, 24 or 36 hours. The cars are driven by teams of four drivers that each drive a two hour stint while wearing full racing suits, gloves and helmets. To make the races competitive the organizers have rules about how much the base car can cost, typically $500, and how much can be spent on upgrades. Safety equipment, like roll cages, fire extinguishers, and special fuel tanks are also required to be added to the car. If you do not know anyone that races but would like to be on a team, no experience necessary, you can contact the race organizers or ORP to see if a team needs another driver. This is an inexpensive way to get into racing.

The next step up are organized race series that are put on by local sports car clubs like Team Continental. These clubs hold races at different tracks during racing season and points are awarded for finishing positions. These races typically have different classes of race cars and divide the groups up between type of car and experience of the driver. Most drivers own their own cars and the races are typically 20 minutes in length. Multiple practice sessions are held for each group before the actual races.

Turn 13 — Photo Gallery

If you are a biker there are also several different motorcycle organizations, like PSSR, Class Rides and Motofit Group, that put on track/training days as well. They typically divide up the riders into classes from novice to experts. Instructors are available to provide one on one riding training in each class to help the riders improve their skills.

ORP is located about 25 miles south of the Columbia River. The staff at the track are very friendly and you are welcome to come out and watch the races. Sherman County is covered with wheat fields and wind mills and U.S. Highway 97 goes through the heart of it. Winds typically are in the five to ten MPH range but I have been there when they are blowing at 30 MPH with higher gusts. Other than when the electrical vehicles are running, the track can be very noisy from the cars going around it.

Yes I have been on the track in a race car on a track day and really enjoyed the experience. Am planning on doing more track days in the future. It is great fun.

Till next time.

Larrie

Past Travels
282 feet below sea level

282 feet below sea level

Summer Lake Hot Springs

Summer Lake Hot Springs

Twin Rocks

Twin Rocks