The month of September crowned several champions at Evergreen and featured some notable performances from first time winners and veterans alike as the fabled speedway wrapped up its 60th season. The year was highlighted by several marquee moments, including a teenager leading all 200 laps of Summer Showdown, and the all time track record shattered on the 3/8 oval to a blistering 13.682. But the Saturday Night hot shoes were the real story as Evergreen Speedway stars broke records and laid down impressive performances to keep the fans on their feet all year long.
Arlington’s Roger Drake, a veteran of more than 20 years, dominated Les Schwab Street Stock action with 7 wins in the 13 race season. The championship was the second in a row for Drake after collecting his first NASCAR championship with a similar performance in 2013. Roger also established a new track record of 18.683 on the 3/8, a time that would have been good enough for fast time in the Late Model (the Super Stock) division in the early 80′s. Mike Marthaller took top rookie honors after advancing from the Mini Stocks with a fine first year performance that included leading many laps and a couple second place finishes. A win is just around the corner for the racer from Everett along with a bright career in racing. Three time champ Dave Lund appeared to have his new Camaro straightened out and took the win championship night in convincing fashion.
Quenton Borreson of Aberdeen capped off a brilliant Super Stock Figure 8 season with his 8th main even victory in the 10 race season in the expertly prepared Ford of Dave Brandenburg. The One Arm Bandit narrowly missed matching his father, Carl Zaretzke for most consecutive wins at 8 at Evergreen on August 31. He finished second by a bumper to Steve Schoenfeldt in a chaotic race that saw Borreson have to restart from the rear after suffering a flat while leading halfway through, the result of a collision at the intersection with Bruce Wilson. The Brandenburg crew returned Borreson to the race without losing a lap and Borreson led briefly near the end, but came up a mere six inches short of matching the mark that has stood for over 40 years as Schoenfeldt muscled his way back by on the final turn of the final lap.
Interstate Batteries Hornet saw second season standout Scott Hunt of Seattle and wily Mark Hubbard battle many nights for the top spot on the podium, the duo taking the top two positions 7 times in the 14 race season, the sophomore besting the 30 veteran of Bothell on four of those occasions and picking up two other wins for a total of 6 and the overall season championship. Young Cody Hoopes claimed his first ever win in the season ending main event, holding off Hunt in the closing laps. It was a sweet victory for Redmond’s Hoopes, as his last shot at a win ended with his car upside down after a tangle with a lapped racer just a lap and a half from crossing the stripe first. The always gracious Hunt congratulated Hoopes on the podium for his much deserved triumph. Seattle’s Justin Brave secured Rookie of the Year with a couple heat race wins and two third place finishes for an early taste at the podium in his young career.
Finally, the Buzz Inn Steakhouse Stinger 8′s featured another Year of the Rookie as second generation racer Toby Jenkins bested the hyper-competitive field with a couple wins, the championship and top rookie honors to go along. Kirkland’s Jessica Gray racked up 6 wins but it wasn’t enough to match the consistency of the freshman racer from Monroe. Jenkins father, Mark Jenkins of Seattle and a notable Figure 8 racer himself in the 70′s and early 80′s, joined his son on track for the championship night event in a new racer of his own, bringing it home to a podium finish in third, one spot ahead of his championship winning son! Hopefully we see more of this father son duel in 2015.
The Speedway’s 60th season winds down this weekend with the Truck Mania demolition derby and wraps up October 25th the season ending Pumpkin Smash 300, an enduro for Hornet type cars. All are invited! Check out EvergreenSpeedway.com or call the office for more information.
“The Outlaw” Mike Steltz came out of a 15 year retirement in 2013 with outstanding equipment, support and focus in a renewed drive to be the best of the best on Figure 8 racing. What he experienced in the following 16 months was frustration and disappointment. Not be deterred, Steltz turned it around in the closing weeks of 2014 and secured his first A Main victory since returning to the arena and followed it up a few weeks later with his first season championship. He came into championship night the underdog and snatched top honors from the defending champion.
The night started with Ricky “The Kid” Deitz holding a scant 2 point margin over Steltz. The Outlaw out-qualified The Kid, setting himself up for the possibility of gaining more passing points and a better shot at the title. In the heat race, Steltz, starting sixth, got the jump on Deitz who started fifth at the start and held the advantage 8 laps later behind Mr. Excitement Steve Cox and Chris Curtis in Liberty. The tally after the heat showed Steltz with a one point lead going into the 60 lap main event.
After an aborted attempt, the main got started with Cox getting the jump on pole sitter Zach Larson, but not for long as Curtis took firm command by the end of lap three. Curtis (pictured below) was never seriously challenged, and had a shot at the championship as well, but the story was a few spots back, as Deitz looked to defend his title. All The Kid needed was a finish in front of The Outlaw to claim the prize. The duo worked their way through traffic, securing second and third by lap six, with Steltz never leaving the bumper of Deitz. Cowboy John Carlson and Doug Wilkinson completed the top five and they stayed that way past halfway. Steltz got into the bumper of Deitz a few times in traffic and showed the patience of a veteran in letting him go, quietly waiting for a better opportunity to move past and make a bid at the championship. In the closing 15 laps, Cowboy started applying considerable pressure to the championship contenders, slipping by Steltz on lap 48 and then past Deitz, who appeared to be struggling, three laps later. Deitz was now clearly having mechanical difficulties as the rear end appeared to be locking and releasing unpredictably, allowing Steltz by a lap after Carlson. Deitz had an opportunity ruin The Outlaws first championship hopes going into the North turn on lap 53, but showed professional restraint, and backed off allowing Steltz to gain the breathing room he needed as Deitz would lose sight of him as his car continued to slow.
At the finish it was Curtis with a five second margin over Carlson, Steltz, Deitz and Wilkinson rounded out the top 5. Steltz (above) secured his first Outlaw Figure 8 championship in a remarkable turnaround in performance over the last few races of the season, with Deitz winding the season up second and Curtis, Pat Clark and the Boney Brothers owned Liberty taking third.
Jeff Harris Photos
Second generation driver Trenton Moriarity of Monroe, son of seven time Evergreen Speedway champ Tom Moriarity, claimed his first championship, Rookie of the Year honors and a Clean Sweep to finish a brilliant first season that included five main event wins and established himself as a dominant force for the future in north west motorsport. Going into the night tied for the lead in the Foster Press Mini Stocks with Darrington’s 20 year veteran Bobby DeYoung, whichever driver finished in front of the other would claim their first championship.
Trenton started the night off by setting fast time in qualifying, the results of which placed both drivers in the same heat race. Moriarity blew by DeYoung on the second lap and led the heat race to the finish. No relief from the pressure was to be had however, as DeYoung crossed the line second, giving up only a single point. Not enough to alter the outcome of the main event, each driver knew beating the other was the only path to an overall season victory.
The final main event of the season got underway with Kyle Schukar taking the point from the pole for the opening laps. It wasn’t long though before Moriarity asserted his dominance and took control on lap two and never looked back. Driving like a man possessed, Moriarity sailed past the first seven cars from his fourth row starting spot in about a lap and a half. DeYoung gave chase, settling into second with Andrew Schukar of Bothell in third until lap 13 when Andrew made a move on DeYoung with Nat Barber of Monroe in tow. Barber made an aggressive attempt to pass underneath and collected his good friend DeYoung going into turn three, seriously diminishing DeYoung’s title hopes in the process.
DeYoung got started again and blended in fifth behind Monroe’s Brad Thomas and Bothell’s Scott Burby while Barber was issued a black flag for his efforts and served a stop and go penalty under yellow. Back under way, Morarity moved out to a three car length lead over Schuker, who mounted a challenge in the closing laps, but came up short as Moriarity would not be denied a perfect Hat Trick, setting quick time and leading every possible lap but two on the final night of his first Championship season. Leaving nothing on the table, Moriarity claimed Best Appearing as well. Schukar and Burby rounded out the top 3 with DeYoung finishing fourth and Thomas fifth. Post race inspection found all competitors to be legal and young Moriarity could enjoy his night with pride and confidence, free from rumor and innuendo. 2014 was truly Year of the Rookie.
Jason Fraser redeemed himself from early season controversy by executing brilliant tire management skills and closing out the 2014 Evergreen season with a win in the 100 lap season championship main event on the 5/8 mile oval, becoming the only regular season race winner running the full 2900lbs with a spec head engine. Meanwhile, Mike Holden secured his first ever Speedway Chevrolet Super Late Model championship on the strength of a fourth place finish and five main event wins for the 2014 season.
The night started with Gary Lewis setting fast time with a blistering 22.304 qualifying lap. Rookie Gracin Raz impressed the heavily talented field with a second quick 22.333 in only his second outing on the big 5/8 in a full size race car. The race for season long top honors started with championship leader Mike Holden on the pole with challenger Tyler Tanner starting right behind in third. Tanner needed a win with Holden finishing outside the top five to have a shot at the championship. Taking no chances, Holden brought the field down for a quick clean start under Troy Drapers green flag. John Bender got the jump from the outside and paced the first five circuits before Naima Lang blew by the field from his outside fourth row starting spot to claim the point by the end of lap six. Holden steadily fell back, avoiding any conflict and saving his tires while Tanner did everything he could to give himself the best possible shot at glory.
Lang held the point until lap 28 when an ailing Ron Eaton had an internal engine problem and oiled down the surface for two full circuits bringing out the yellow, but not before Tanner found the dry spots and sailed into the lead while Lang fought for control. He remained there through a lap 34 caution when John Zaretzke got together with the the 30 of Canadian rookie Tyler Baker. Lewis worked his way up from his third row starting spot after the six car invert and briefly took over the top spot. Lewis’ reign as the leader was short lived as Fraser applied just enough fuel to squeeze by two laps later. The trio of Fraser, Lewis and Tanner traded the top three spots several times in a thrilling display of speed and skill over the next 30 laps, with Tanner flexing some muscle and retaking the lead on a lap 49 restart, then falling back to third in a tight race with Lewis, then back up to second as the laps wound down. Holden made a late race charge at a podium finish to cap off his championship season, but had to settle for fourth as a late race caution set up a green/white/checkered finish favoring the superior horsepower of Lewis.
Fraser took top honors with Tanner second, Lewis third, Holden fourth and Jason Kooy rounding out the top five. That closed out the 60th season at Evergreen Speedway. 2015 will mark the 35th consecutive year running a regular Super Late Model division at the historic speed plant. Many competitors will be heading to Yakima Speedway for the annual Fall Classic and $10,000 to win and later, in February, to the new Kern County Raceway for the first running of Winter Showdown, to be run in conjunction with Evergreen’s annual Summer Showdown. The Kern County affair will pay $25,000 to the winner and a whopping $125,000 purse. Look for more announcements coming very soon about exciting Late Model racing coming to the West Coast. Full stories on the rest of the action from Championship Night #1 coming shortly.
Photos by ME Wright Sports Photos 253-226-5937
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.