“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.
by BZ ZELLER
MONROE, WASH., — Momentum and Matt Hein are meshing. Fresh off his hometown win in Roseburg, Hein dominated the NSRA Speedfest Main Saturday night at Evergreen Speedway.
Hein began the program as the quick qualifier with a 19.191 lap turned in on the longest (5/8 mile) track on the tour. Later he went from back to front to win his respective Heat. And, after a pill draw placed him on the inside of Row 2 in the starting grid of the 30-Lap feature, he darted to the front on Lap 4 and led by more than a quarter mile during most of the race.
“We were definitely quick tonight,” Hein said. “Our car was super fast. The crew did a great job of giving me a fast car. It was a lot of fun out there.”
Johnny Giesler, Meridian, Idaho, started second in the Main, led the first four circuits and finished runner-up to Hein. Ryan Burdett, West Jordan, Utah, had the Speedfest pole and finished third ahead of Beck and Ron Larson respectively.
While Hein’s fortunes flourished, other top entrants experienced heartaches.
Season points leader Sierra Jackson, Middleton, Idaho, had mechanical issues following the practice sessions, in which her 25J was the fastest on the oval. Jackson was only able to record one lap time of qualifying and then struggled with the car after every subsequent Main green flag.
“We had a nozzle break during qualifying and blew a spark plug during the Heat,” Jackson said. “Then during the Main the car was just crap.”
Jackson, the former tour champion, entered Monroe with the season points lead, but now trails Hein by nine points as the tour heads to Canada in two weeks. She finished ninth in the Main, but did win her Heat.
The nationally ranked Jackson wasn’t the only victim of mechanical failure Saturday. During a practice session, reigning NSRA champ, Andy Alberding blew the motor in the 76 car, ending his bid to compete at one of his favorite tracks before it started.
“We won’t know until we take it apart what exactly broke,” Alberding said. It could be a rod, but regardless, whatever broke was supposed to. We were unsure about racing in Canada, now it looks like we really might not make it.”
There were 14 entrants at Monroe, with only eight running in the Main when Hein captured the checkered flag. Monroe’s own John Tharp and Jake Mann both experienced engine issues as did Greg Middendorf, Snohomish. Richie Larson, Prince George, BC. also didn’t start the Main.
Matt Mansell, Victoria, British Columbia, drew the only yellow flags of the race. He spun his No. 14 car on Lap 11 and then tagged the rear of Robert Beck, Redmond, on the backshoot of Lap 26 and sent himself into a night-ending spin.
Giesler ranks third in points ahead of Burdett who leapfrogged Alberding in the standings. Bryan Warf, who was in the top five, didn’t compete at Monroe.
Main: 1. Matt Hein; 2. Johnny Giesler; 3. Ryan Burdett, 4. Robert Beck; 5. Ron Larson; 6. Billy Kennelly, 7. Todd Coleman; 8. Sierra Jackson; 9. Greg Middendorf; 10. Matt Mansell; 11. Jake Mann.
Heat 1: Jackson; Kennelly, Ron Larson; Giesler; Mann; Richie Larson
Heat 2: Hein; Coleman; Mansell; Beck; Middendorf; Burdett; Tharp
Hog Heaven for Evergreen Speedway winners during Harley Davidson night
MONROE, Wash. (July 26, 2014)-A first-time winner in the late model division, with racing down to the wire in several of the night’s main events provided an action packed thrill during Evergreen Speedway’s Emerald City Harley Davidson Night at the Races presented by Central Welding Supply held Saturday night.
Providing the biggest moment of the evening was teenage late model sensation, Brandon Scheiber, who scored his first career NASCAR Whelen All-American victory in the Emerald City Harley Davidson Super Late Model division. The division’s Rookie of the Year points leader, nabbed the lead early in the second of two late model 50-lap main events. Once in front Scheiber held off the challenges of John Bender and Jeff Knight en route to the victory.
Late model championship points leader, Mike Holden, scored the win in the night’s first main event. With the victory Holden stretched his championship lead on Daniel Moore and Tyler Tanner heading into the big 100-lap race on August 16 as part of the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West stop at Evergreen Speedway.
Carl Davidson led over 20 laps of the Les Schwab Street Stock’s main event only to be overtaken by the hard-charging Roger Drake. Once Drake cleared Davidson it opened the door for Mike Marthaller and Steve Ptacek to move by as well with all three closing out the night atop the podium.
Scott Burby stormed through the Foster Press Mini Stock field en route to his main event victory. Burby, who pulled double-duty on the night as he posted a ninth-place finish in the Interstate Batteries Hornet division, saved his best for last in the Mini-Stock show by posting one of the race’s fastest laps while holding off Andrew Shukar on the white flag lap. Kyle Shukar, Bobby DeYoung and Trenton Moriarty rounded out the top-5 running order.
Zach Bristol scored the Hornet main event victory over JJ Kooy with Justin Brave also in the mix for much of the night before he settled for third-place. Bristol took the lead near the race’s midway point then set sail towards the checkered flag in a lighting quick fashion. Gary Rarden and Cody Hoopes came fourth and fifth place respectively.
Steve Schoenfeldt navigated his Buzz Inn Steakhouse Stinger 8 car to victory on he action-packed course as he staved off countless challenges from his competitors including runner-up Jessica Gray and third-place runner, Lance O’Grain.
Evergreen Speedway continues its racing season on Saturday, August 2 with the running of the annual NSRA Winged Sprint Car Speedfest presented by the Angel of the Winds Casino. Also competing during the evening will be the Les Schwab Street Stocks, Foster Press Mini-Stocks, Columbia River Legends and the Northwest Pro 4 Truck Series.
For tickets and other information log onto evergreenspeedway.com or call (360) 805-6100.