Community Sports

Bergman returns to stomping ground eyeing Dirt Cup title

Sprint car driver Seth Bergman grew up on the local tracks in Deming and Skagit. He had dreams of racing on the big circuits, of winning the big races, of being a big name in the sprint car racing world while he worked his way up from kart racing.

Bergman, who grew up in Snohomish, has since lived his dreams.

He jumped from Deming Speedway’s mini sprints to Skagit Speedway’s big track at the age of 16 before making his way to the sport’s top circuit — the American Sprint Car Series, where he has climbed the ranks each year and is now in contention for an ASCS title.

He’s now one of the top names in sprint car racing and he’ll be back at the track where he first got started this weekend to compete for a title that’s always been at the top of his list of races he wanted to win — the Dirt Cup.

“I want to build this team and be a contender at big races,” Bergman, 27, said in a phone interview. “Dirt Cup happens to be one of those big races and this weekend, I want to accomplish that.”

The 44th running of the Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup will start on Thursday, June 25, at Skagit Speedway in Alger and conclude on Saturday, June 27. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. each night and racing starts at 7 p.m.

For the first time in Skagit Speedway history, the event will be part of the ASCS circuit, where Bergman currently sits third in the points standings. With his experience at the track, which includes two main event wins in 2014, Bergman and his No. 23 car have to be considered one of the favorites to not only take home the Dirt Cup title but win each night of racing.

“Our goal is to win Dirt Cup. That’s why we’re here,” Bergman said. “I won’t be happy unless we leave with the Dirt Cup title. We have three realistic chances to win this week. We’re going in trying to win races every night. Whether it sounds a bit cocky or whatever, we’re going to try to start out with a win Thursday and Friday and cap it off on Saturday.”

Bergman says Skagit Speedway can be tricky and trip up some of the top names in the sport but Bergman had no problem coming back to Skagit Speedway last season. In his three races at Skagit last season, he finished first, second and then topped it off with a Summer Nationals win in his final appearance.

Coming back to the Northwest, though, is what makes this weekend so special for Bergman, who says he’s “a Northwest guy.”

“I love coming home and racing,” Bergman said. “It’s good to see everybody. It’s not only nice to come home and race but it’s nice to race in front of them.”

While Bergman hopes to continue elevating his name and winning bigger races as his team continues to grow, he first has to check Dirt Cup off his list and he’ll get his chance this weekend.

Reach Joshua Hart at 360-715-2238 or joshua.hart@bellinghamherald.com.

Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup

Thursday, June 25-Saturday, June 27

Time: Gates open at 5:30 p.m. every night; Racing starts at 7 p.m.

Cost: $23-28 for adults; $75 for three-day adult pass

For more ticket info, visit skagitspeedway.com.

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