Governor on hand as inaugural Rainier Cup previews Seattle event
Thursday, August 02, 2012

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire was introduced to NHRA Funny Car star Jack Beckman, then saddled up to take a ride with "Fast Jack" in the two-seater dragster from Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School. (Jim Doyle photos)

Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire raced down Pacific Raceways’ historic quarter-mile in celebration of this weekend's 25th annual O’Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries. The governor was among many elected officials and media who participated in Wednesday's inaugural Pacific Raceways Rainier Cup.
The governor rode in a two-seater 160-mph Super Comp dragster thanks to Frank Hawley's Drag Racing School. The dragster was piloted by NHRA Funny Car driver “Fast Jack" Beckman. Funny Car drivers Bob Tasca III and Todd Lesenko also attended the event and offered pointers to the local dignitaries.
Track owner Jason Fiorito was pleased with the turnout of eager participants and emphasized the importance of events such as the inaugural Pacific Raceways Rainier Cup to demonstrate the excitement and thrill of the drag races. Fiorito is confident that after the event, these elected officials have become drag race fans.
In conjunction with Operation Ward 57, the event honored a wounded soldier from Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Tacoma, Wash.
Other local officials who turned out for this unique driving experience were Auburn Mayor Pete Lewis and Kent Mayor Suzette Cooke. The event was sponsored by Epic Seats, Griot’s Garage, Columbia River Advisors, Parker Paint, AAA Washington, Scarff Ford, and Roundup Media.
The event was a prelude to this weekend's 25th annual O'Reilly Auto Parts NHRA Northwest Nationals presented by Super Start Batteries, Aug. 3-5, at Pacific Raceways. Qualifying begins Friday, with racing set for Saturday and Sunday. The entire event will be televised on ESPN2. Gates open at Pacific Raceways each day at 7:30 a.m.