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Keeping Pace

Just Sharp Enough-Rocky Mountain Challenge Series driver hangs on for INSSA win

Zan Sharp got the Idaho 200 underway at Stateline Speedway with a thrilling victory over David Garber, Jonathan Gomez and Andy Brown in the 100-lap "Duel for the 200" on the Inland Northwest Super Stock Association.

Doug Pace

The Spokesman-Review



STATELINE, Idaho (August 1, 2009)-Stateline Speedway kicked off the 10th Annual NAPA Idaho 200 weekend with a barn-burner as Rocky Mountain Challenge Series veteran, Zan Sharp, held off two-time defending Inland Northwest Super Stock Association champion David Garber in INSSA’s Friday Night “Duel for the 200” main event.



Sharp and fellow RMCS driver, Jonathan Gomez (3rd) showed the strength of their series with Andy Brown (4th) joining Garber as INSSA’s second top-4 driver.



ASA Northwest Late Model Tour Rookie of the Year contender, Amanda MacDonald not only led laps but also became the first female driver to record a top-5 main event finish in the Idaho 200 weekend of racing.

Fin. Car # Driver Hometown Status Laps Comp
1 84 Zan Sharp Wellsville, UT Running 100
2 93 Dave Garber Spokane, WA Running 100
3 22 Jonathan Gomez Twin Falls, ID Running 100
4 41 Andy Brown Spokane, WA Running 100
5 76 Amanda MacDonald Ephrata, WA Running 100
6 11 Greg McKinley Spokane Valley, WA Running 100
7 1 Agni Howell Kalispell, MT Running 100
8 15 John Gamble Spokane Valley, WA Running 100
9 40 Dylan Caldwell Nampa, ID Running 100
10 7 Jessie Taylor Clayton, WA Running 100
11 52 Mike Zamora Kennewick, WA Running 100
12 88 Rusty Webb Deer Park, WA Running 100
13 83 Braeden Havens Spokane, WA Running 99
14 09 Thane Alderman Las Vegas, NV Running 99
15 12 Jim Wulfenstein  Pahrump, NV  Running 98
16 86 Jeff Fenton Spokane, WA Running 97
17 9 Josh Roberts Ephrata, WA Running 94
18 49 Christian Roeder Ephrata, WA Mechanical 76
19 69 Jim Johnson Orting, WA Mechanical 70
20 9b Chris Baker Pasco, WA Mechanical 48
21 25 Kirk Hennefer Missoula, MT Mechanical 26
22 23 Corey Allard Sagle, ID Mechanical 23

1 49 Christian Roeder Ephrata, WA Advance to A 22
2 1 Agni Howell Kalispell, MT Advance to A 22
3 09 Thane Alderman Las Vegas, NV Advance to A 22
4 40 Dylan Caldwell Nampa, ID Advance to A 22
5 18 Kit VanBuskirk Cheney, WA Running 22
6 38 Mike Hoover Spokane, WA Running 22
7 17 Ryen Tarr Spokane, WA Mechanical 18
8 73z Andrew Zimmer Spokane, WA Mechanical 7



All five drivers along with sixth place Greg McKinley (INSSA) are locked into Sunday’s NAPA Idaho 200 based on Friday night’s finishing positions.



Montana Raceway Park regular, Agni Howell, who won the 2008 INSSA season championship event at Stateline, finished seventh and will have to qualify into the Idaho 200 based on running sixth place or better in Saturday night’s RMCS 100-lap main event or earn a spot by being on e of the top-6 fastest driver’s in Sunday’s qualifying session



Past Idaho 200 champion, John Gamble, finished eighth with Dylan Caldwell ninth and Jessie Taylor 10th.



Christian Roeder won the preliminary INSSA B-Main in a car owned by Brian Standow. Roeder had no laps in the car until INSSA’s heat racing portion of the program as he serves as a consultant on MacDonald’s car. The former Montana 200 champion made the most of his drive with a solid win in the transfer race then moved as high as eighth in the 100-lap main event before retiring for the evening with a mechanical issue on the Chevrolet.



MacDonald and Chris Baker led the field to the 100-lap green flag with MacDonald leading the first lap of the event. The Ephrata, Wash. star held the point through the race’s first 15 laps before Sharp took the high-side groove and passed for the lead entering turn No. 3.



Garber started tenth just behind Sharp but struggled early with the handle on his Pend Oreille Mechanical Pontiac then fell back to the tail-end of the field as a result of a caution. INSSA’s defending champion thrilled the fans with a strong run to the front just behind Gomez with less than 15 laps to go. Brown ran a solid night backing up a win in the Trophy Dash with a great drive that saw the Zip’s Chevrolet never stray outside the top-5 running order.



With the laps winding down the Sharp’s Transportation Chevrolet began to suffer from a exhaust problem that staved power in the No. 84 with Gomez, Garber and Brown closing the one-second lead to just a few car lengths with five laps to go.



On the white flag lap Sharp was visibly struggling to maintain speed as Garber tried the low side with Gomez and Brown powering up on the outside. Sharp used momentum in the corners to maintain power at the checkered flag by .14-seconds over Garber with Gomez just .16-seconds behind the winner.



Sharp promptly lost all power entering turn No. 1 on the cool-down lap but had claimed a spot in Sunday’s Idaho 200 and will begin work today on the exhaust issue with the RMCS points race set for tonight at 9 p.m.



“The exhaust tip came loose somewhere towards the end of the race and it robbed us of about half of our horsepower. I know that if this race had gone one more lap we’d have been done because it died on me just past the checkers,” Sharp said from victory lane. “They told me on the last caution (with ten laps to go) that the exhaust was going to start giving me trouble but I was real surprised at how much power we began to lose with (Garber) coming on so strong there at the end and Jonathan (Gomez) having a strong run as well we’re pretty lucky to have got the win.”



Gomez, who has run a partial 2009 schedule on the NASCAR Camping World West Series, showed his young talent can adapt to new tracks as the Friday INSSA laps were his first at Stateline Speedway.



“This is a fun track to drive but it sure beat the crap out of my car with all the hard racing we did tonight,” Gomez said. “We got into some scrapes there early and the body damage on the right side got my car real tight and I found that it worked real good in the high groove so we tried to stay up there as much as we could. This is our back-up car and I know our primary car will be real good (Saturday night) and for the 200 on Sunday and I just can’t wait to keep racing here this weekend.”



While Garber may have lost the race he did move closer to taking the INSSA points lead for a third straight championship. To go from the back of the 22-car field to second place is something the Spokane native will file away for the rest of the weekend, he noted.



“We’ve been struggling a bit lately with a motor problem there in Kalispell (during the Montana 200) and at our last INSSA race (at Spokane County Raceway). We plan to keep racing this weekend just like we always do during a 200. Our car should be good for (Saturday) and the 200 with some more adjustments.”



Racing continues Saturday night with qualifying at 6 p.m. and opening ceremonies set for 7:30. For more information on the NAPA Idaho 200 log onto

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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.