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'I'm on cloud nine': Hillsboro driver to race in NASCAR Xfinity Series

For the first time in more than two decades, NASCAR is back in the Pacific Northwest. Local racer Darren Dilley will make his debut this weekend.

PORTLAND, Ore. — It's an exciting time for race fans in the Pacific Northwest with NASCAR's return to the region after more than 20 years. It's especially exciting for Darren Dilley, a local teacher from Hillsboro and amateur racer who has set to compete in the Xfinity Series at Portland International Raceway (PIR) on Saturday. 

"I'm on cloud nine," he said at a pre-race party at Kenton Station on Saturday. "I really am. This is a great opportunity for us. Thirty-two years in the making."

Dilley has raced for more than 30 years and PIR is his home track. Even though he'll be in a different car on Saturday — in the No. 38 Ford for Ryan Sieg Racing — he believes his experience on this track will give him a competitive edge. 

"We're very excited to represent the Northwest. We are going to give it our best shot. It's our first time in an Xfinity car," Dilley said. "We race rain or shine. There's definitely a rain line around there, so if you have some laps around there, you have the advantage."

Whether or not his team ends up in victory lane, Dilley hopes this even marks the first of many more NASCAR races to come to this region. 

"I think [NASCAR is] going to move up this way and put up a Cup Series,
 he said. "That's what they're doing right now. They're trying to dip their toe in to see if there is enough interest and I think this week will be a good showing, and I think that the crowds are coming from all over the Northwest to support it."

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