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Driver and PE teacher from Hillsboro gets chance at NASCAR series race on home track

Published: May. 30, 2022 at 5:34 AM PDT
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HILLSBORO, Ore. (KPTV) - For the first time since 2000, NASCAR is making a tour stop in the Pacific Northwest. The Xfinity series takes over Portland International Raceway on Saturday for the Pacific Office Automation 147 as part of the Rose Festival.

Nick Krupke recently went in the garage of a Hillsboro-based racing team where an elementary school PE teacher is getting behind the wheel outside of the classroom.

Darren Dilley just sounds like a race car driver.

“Doesn’t it?” Dilley said. “Yeah, it sounds like a really good name.”

Dilley is also an elementary school PE teacher at both Hillsboro’s Atfalati Ridge and North Plains.

“Some of the kids are very excited and some of the kids are, ‘that’s just our PE teacher,’” he said.

Dilley’s passion project goes back to 1990.

“We’re going to do this together,” he said. “But we are going to do this as cheap as we can, and we are going to go as fast as we can.”

Cheap Fast Racing was the mastermind of the engineer in the garage, Darren’s dad and fellow Beaver alum, Bert Dilley.

“It’s a hobby that we are hooked on and I know no cure for it,” Bert Dilley said. “Once you get the race car disease, it’s infectious.”

Bert Dilley, 84, wrenches around the works of their Oregon State orange rides on the Sports Car Club of America circuit.

“I hope they are as proud as I am to have gone this far from a very meager start,” Bert Dilley said.

On Saturday, the 55-year-old Clackamas High School 1985 grad will be running with the big boys at the track he grew up going to as a spectator, Portland International Raceway.

“It was super fun just to be around that,” Darren Dilley said. “The sights, the smells. That’s what kind of drew me in.”

Dilley will be driving the number 38 Willamette Valley Hops car for Ryan Sieg Racing during the Pacific Office Automation 147 on the NASCAR Xfinity series at PIR.

“My marketing director, Jeff Hanken, saw a Facebook post that they were looking for drivers for road course racing and I am a road course specialist,” Darren Dilley said. “That was a great opportunity because Portland is my home track, so they were really excited to have a road course racer who had experience at Portland. Because they don’t get to practice at Portland at all and we have thousands of laps.”

The accomplishment is three decades in the making for Darren Dilley and the whole Cheap Fast Racing crew.

“I have not slept in a week and I won’t sleep for another week until this thing starts,” Scott Hanken with Cheap Fast Racing said. “I have been running it through my head.”

The physical education instructor has the endurance to stay safe and stay fast on the track for all 75 laps.

“I think it will be exhilarating but also a culmination of all the hard work that we have put in for 32 years,” Darren Dilley said.

Dilley said he has an idea of how he might celebrate if he wins.

“If I ever got in the winner’s circle and it happens this weekend?” Darren Dilley said. “I am going to the East Bank because that is where I grew up watching the races out on the East Bank so that is where the car will park, and we will celebrate together because that’s the people that matter most to me.”