Penfold makes good on youthful vow to own, promote Oregon’s Willamette Speedway

LEBANON, Ore. (April 7, 2022) – As a 12-year-old, Cory Penfold made the bold statement that he’d someday own and promote Willamette Speedway. 

Thirty-six years later, he does.

Penfold and wife Sandy have purchased the big 1/3-mile clay oval at Lebanon from Jerry Schram and Jimmy Schram. They’ll be in charge of Saturday night programs that feature four IMCA divisions starting with opening night on April 16. 

“I believe that hands down, this is the best facility on the West Coast,” said Penfold. “I grew up here and started saying when I was 12 years old, when it was still owned by Clair and Evelyn Arnold, that I was going to own it.”

“I have two passions in life – racing and football. When I became owner of this track, I compared it to when a college player hears his name called in the NFL draft,” he continued. “We did a lot of work to get here. When your dream comes true, it’s an amazing feeling.” 

IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Northern SportMods and Mach-1 Sport Compacts all return to weekly shows at Willamette while IMCA Sunoco Stock Cars are back after a two-year hiatus.

A $5,000 to win Stock Car special is on the schedule for July 30. The Class Too Tough To Tame is sponsored locally by Stock Car driver Donald Schott’s Checkered Flag Asphalt & Paving while former Modified track champion Grey Ferrando’s GO Plumbing sponsors the 4-cylinder class.

Sixty-one cars took part in an early April practice session at Lebanon. 

“We have three good tech guys and we like the fact that IMCA rules keep everything competitive. There are always going to be drivers with more money but with IMCA, talent in the seat is the biggest factor in getting to victory lane,” said Penfold. “Another benefit of going with IMCA is that our drivers can go to any other sanctioned track and race because the rules are the same.” 

Also the founder and owner of racing media company Moxie Media & Promotions, Penfold previously ran a 1/10-mile go kart track.

“I was actually thinking about walking away from racing and setting up a nice little clothing shop in Hawaii. If it wasn’t for my wife, we wouldn’t be here. She told me I wasn’t walking away,” Penfold said, “and later the same day I got the phone call that started the sequence of events that led to promoting Willamette.” 

“There were a lot of highs and lows after that, but here we are. It’s unbelievable.”

This will be the 10th consecutive season Willamette sanctions its Modified division with IMCA. The final night for points will be Sept. 24.