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Keeping Pace

Sun., May 31, 2009, 11:32 p.m.

Yakima Speedway site of ASA NWLMT third race of 2009 season

 (The Spokesman-Review)
(The Spokesman-Review)

Brent Harris leads three-time Northwest late model champion Gary Lewis by 13 points but all eyes will be on local stars Mike Longton and Erick Hargraves heading to Yakima Speedway on Saturday, June 6.

Courtesy: Scott Ellsworth, ASANWLMT Media Relations

Marysville, WA (May 31, 2009): The American Speed Association Northwest Late Model Tour continues its trek around the northwest with a stop at the fabled .500-mile oval of Yakima Speedway in Yakima, Washington. On Saturday June 6 the best super late model stock car racers will be in the heart of the state as their chase for the championship resumes.


The two former series that formed the only northwest premier super late model traveling series have both raced extensively at Yakima Speedway throughout the years. The Late Model Challenge Series and the Northwest Tour merged forming the new ASA NWLMT. The drivers will be racing at a track they all know well.


The 2009 point’s chase for the first ever ASA NWLMT championship is as expected very tight. The Yakima Speedway race will be the fourth of eleven scheduled races for the series this season. There has not been a repeat winner so far. That could change.


This will be a home coming for Mike Longton (Moxee, WA) the tracks 2008 Late Model Champion. Longton is the tour’s most recent winner. Winning the series largest winner’s check of $10,000.00 at Mission Valley Speedway in Polson, Montana Longton will be considered the favorite to win the Better-All Auto Sales 125.  Currently fifth in points Longton is a mere 33 points out of the lead.


Longton’s task will not be easy. The four drivers ahead of him in points all have won races at Yakima Speedway during their careers.


Another driver heading to his home track Erick Hargraves (Toppenish, WA) is fourth in the chase just 28-points out. In addition to the two locals are the series point leader Brent Harris (E. Wenatchee, WA), 13-points back in second is Gary Lewis (Snohomish, WA) and third in points Kelly Mann (Monroe, WA) only 18-points in arrears. Having all proven they can master the tough .500-mile oval. 


The ‘New Thunder in the Northwest’ the ASA NWLMT brings a new format of relines during the Better-ALL Auto Sales 125. Something not seen at Yakima Speedway is the commit cone style of restarts. On each restart following caution periods the drivers will encounter a cone placed in the middle of the track on the front stretch. Each driver has the option to go below or above the cone. Once they make that decision they are committed to restart from that line of cars. The double file restarts have been a crowd pleaser and drivers are never out of contention.


Something else that is new this season is the ‘Free Pass’. Prior to any restart the driver that is the first, a lap or more down gets a lap back.


Another large and strong contingent of the best in the northwest is already pre-registering for the June 6 race.


For more information contact Yakima Speedway at 509-248-0647 or the ASA NWLMT at 253-312-1080. Pre-registration is open through Wednesday June 3 via the tours web page ASANorthWestLateModelTour dot com.

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Keeping Pace

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