bergman

Snohomish County's Seth Bergman is the defending Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup champion.

ALGER — A large field, including last year’s champion, is ready to rev its engines as Skagit Speedway’s signature race gets underway.

Returning champion Seth Bergman and several other dirt track luminaries will take to the track Thursday at the 48th annual Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup.

The three-day event is the most famous of Skagit Speedway’s races.

Snohomish County’s Bergman is a familiar face to Skagit Speedway fans, and thrilled many of them last year as he roared to the 40-lap A Main victory on the final evening of Dirt Cup.

He looks to be as dangerous this year, having set a qualifying-time track record earlier this season and having finished second at the John Carroll Classic.

He also won a Summer Thunder Sprint Series race earlier this month at Grays Harbor Raceway.

“I’m putting that pressure on myself. I was passionate about winning the first Dirt Cup and thought I’d be satisfied, but now I have this crazy desire to back it up,” Bergman said in a news release.

If he does, Bergman will have to fend off a large, star-studded field. Skagit Speedway owner Steve Beitler said there are 51 cars signed up to race, with that number likely to grow when the first day arrives.

“It’s been really good the last few years with the weather and the racing has been phenomenal,” Beitler said. “The fans are having fun and the race teams are having fun.”

The field in the American Sprint Car Series event features locals Jason Solwold and Colton Heath, and two-time winner Sam Hafertepe Jr.

The Sunnyvale, Texas-based driver, who won Dirt Cup in 2016 and 2017, is leading the ASCS points standings.

The sprint cars won’t be the only attraction, with the focus midget class also slated to run.

Beitler said that class also has a robust field, with more than 40 cars slated to compete.

Reporter Trevor Pyle: 360-416-2156, tpyle@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Sports_SVH, Facebook.com/bytrevorpyle

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