The closest races to declare champions in over a decade will be decided Saturday at Evergreen Speedway at the Fairgrounds in Monroe. In a battle of second generation warriors in the Speedway Chevrolet Super Late Models, Mike Holden, son of many time Evergreen Speedway champ Rob Holden holds a slim 10 point lead over Tyler Tanner, son of two time NASCAR NW Tour champ Kelly Tanner and Evergreen NASCAR Mini Stock champ LeAnne Tanner. Holden needs a top five finish to secure the title, with a the tie breaker going his way on the strength of five victories to date in the 2014 season.
At the same time, young Trenton Moriarity is going into the final event tied with Bobby DeYoung for the Foster Press mini stock championship. Moriarity has the Rookie of the year honors locked up, but is trying to make it Year of the Rookie by closing out the overall championship as well, while 20 year veteran DeYoung seeks to secure his first. Andrew Schukar remains in striking distance after leading a sizable portion of the season only to have some tough luck in the closing weeks.
Roger Drake essentially has the Les Schwab Street Stock title locked up with 8 wins in 12 starts and only one finish any lower than fourth in a dominating performance for the 2014 season. Chad Fitzpatrick is the only other driver to pick up more than one win so far this season. Likewise, the Interstate Batteries Hornets is seeing Scott Hunt turn in an impressive performance in his sophomore season behind the wheel of a big car. He’s captured 6 main event wins so far in 2014, securing him the top spot by taking the green flag for Saturday nights finale.
The following Saturday is Championship Night #2 at Evergreen with the Outlaw Figure 8′s, Super Stock Figure 8′s and Stingers all taking to the arena to decide their 2014 champions. They’ll be joined by the Renegades and the Columbia River Legends as they close out their seasons.
In one of the most exciting nights of pavement sprint car racing in recent memory, Matt Hein charged past King of the Wing Champion Jojo Helberg in heavy traffic to claim his fifth Rory Price Memorial in a row! Ending the race on lap 29 of 40 under light mist, the drivers agreed it was unsafe to continue and Hein collected the $5000 win.
The night started off with Helberg rolling out first for qualifying and absolutely shattering the all time track record on the 3/8 oval by clocking a 13.682 on his first lap. The rest of qualifying was a formality as no one could come close to the recent winner at the high banks of Speedways Winchester and Toledo. The white hot Helberg claimed Davey Hamilton’s King of the Wing Midwest leg championship before heading to Evergreen to lay down the ultra fast lap. Heat race action saw a full invert for two races as drivers jockeyed to claim their starting positions for the 40 lap eighth running of the RPM race and a $500 reward for winning the 12 lap sprints. Second quick Matt Hein at a 13.971, claimed heat 1 and Helberg took home heat 2, but not before getting passed by Scott Aumen. Aumen suffered a flat tire the following lap, setting up the top two qualifiers out front to slug it out in clean air for the opening laps of the main event.
The Rory Price Memorial got started under threatening skies and took three tries to complete the first lap, with multi car tangles in turn one for the two initial attempts, thinning the field by 4, including fan favorite Billy Kennelly. When racing finally commenced, Helberg darted to an early half straightaway lead. The clean air for the leaders didn’t last long as the duo began lapping cars in earnest by the end of the third lap. The two diced through slower cars and were quickly lapping top 10 runners when Hein made his move in heavy traffic to lead lap 16. The rocket men had third place a lap down by lap 25. The torrid pace was slowed when Aumen made a daring three wide attempt entering one with all four wheels below the white line and clobbered the infield tire. The restart attempt was called off when Shawn Rice spun in turn two and light mist started to fall. Hein never looked back and the race ended under caution when the drivers notified officials that the surface was too damp and unsafe to continue.
RPM8 ended under a series of controversies. Darren Yates and Jake Mann, who had been running third and fourth a lap down, left the surface before the final yellow fell, and Shawn Rice, who had been running third at the time he spun, brought out the final caution, creating a great deal of confusion as to who rounded out the top five. Then later, after being informed of post race inspection involving the engine pump, the Helberg crew loaded up quickly and rolled out the back gate, saying they had a plane to catch on their way by!
In other action, Mike Steltz claimed his first Outlaw Figure 8 win since returning to competition, Duane Schoesbeck claimed the win in the Street Stock main event, FSCRA saw John Grosvenor sweep the Evergreen events this year with his second win at the historic facility in 2014 and Jason Majors took home top honors in the Pro 4 Trucks. Next up is Super Late Model Championship night for 100 laps on the 5/8 oval in an exciting close battle for the NASCAR championship.
It was an exciting night of racing at the Evergreen State Fair as all the main events produced dramatic results. Tyler Tanner cruised to a two car length win Saturday at Evergreen Speedway over Shane Harding and Andy Sole, who matched his best run this year. Every bit as crucial as his second win of the season, Tanner picked up 22 points on leader Mike Holden who exited to the pits early for lengthy repairs. The pair go into championship night with a mere 10 point spread. The battle is far from over, as Tanner historically has been superior on the big 5/8, but Holden picked up the first win of his career on the track just one week before. Only a top 5 finish will secure the title for Holden if Tanner carries his momentum to the close of the 100 lap finale.
Doni Wanat and Molly Helmuth brought the field down for the green for the final time on the 3/8 oval for 2014. Wanat surged into the lead with Brandon Scheiber in hot pursuit to close out lap one. Despite a couple strong challenges from the Genie Chevy of Shane Sawin, Wanat held the point through an early caution that collected Helmuth and her Frontier Communications Late Model into the front stretch wall. On the restart, Sawin grabbed the lead by a nose, but couldn’t hold it through the first turn and Wanat came roaring back down the back stretch. Meanwhile Tanner, Holden and Harding were working their way through traffic after the 8 car invert. Tanner took over third on lap 6 and Holden got by for the spot 10 laps later. Holden didn’t waste any time and driving like there’s no tomorrow, set his sights on Sawin, who was already applying heavy pressure to Wanat for the lead. Sawin looked inside for several laps before connecting with the back edge of Wanats bumper, spinning him out of the lead as they came down to complete lap 22 of the 125 lap grind. Sawin received a black flag for his aggression, but was headed to pit road anyway to repair a rear tire flattened by Holden, who also collected the front stretch fence in the melee.
With the top 3 now out of the picture, Tanner inherited the lead with Harding in tow and never looked back. After starting dead last, Andy Sole made his way through the early carnage to settle into the top five, eventually disposing of Peter Link and Jason Kooy for third. Sole took over second from Harding for several laps after a lap 75 restart, but wasn’t able to hold it to the finish as Harding slipped back by to complete lap 90. Harding kept Tanner in his sights but never mounted a serious challenge and they crossed the line a couple car lengths apart with Sole right behind. Joe Constance and Kooy rounded out the top 5.
In other action, Trenton Moriarity held off Bobby DeYoung for his fourth win in his rookie season in the Foster Press Mini Stocks and the two head into championship night tied for the lead in overall points. Lance O’Grain outdueled Jessica Gray in the closing laps of the Stinger 8 main to secure his first win of the season. The two traded the lead several times in the final three laps, with O’Grain squeaking by on the inside of the final turn for the win. In Vintage Modified action, Jim Palmer ran last for 29 straight laps, then slipped by everyone for the win coming out of turn four! First Bobby Wheeler Jr. and Kyten Jones got together for the lead in the closing laps, then on the final turn, Robert Rux collected leader John Mustered. Tom Smitham couldn’t avoid and the trio gathered up Rux who was charging back through the field. Mike Clother and Jones slowed to avoid and Palmer slipped by everyone to collect the victory! Next up is Championship night for 100 laps for the Super Late Models on the 5/8 oval along with the Street Stocks, Mini Stocks, Hornets and the Pro 4 Trucks.