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Keeping Pace

Spokane 200 returns to SCR with plenty of talent in the hunt for victory

Spokane County Raceway has received nearly 50 driver entries for Saturday's Spokane 200 that offers only 34 positions for the starting line-up-proof that the race has built staying power as it heads into its second running.


Doug Pace

The Spokesman-Review

Motorsports Correspondent

 

Spokane County Raceway has received nearly 50 driver entries for Saturday's Spokane 200 that offers only 34 positions for the starting line-up-proof that the race has built staying power as it heads into its second running.

 

With $10,000 up for grabs to the winner, this year's one-day format provides limited time for practice and places an emphasis on being exact with the race car set-up right off the trailer.

 

The entry list includes Garrett Evans and Pete Harding, who between them have five NASCAR touring championships along with past Inland Northwest Super Stock Association championship drivers, Dan Garber, David Garber and reigning champion Braeden Havens. Also expected will be Kevin Richards, Mike Longton, Owen Riddle, John Zaretzke, California hotshoe Eric Schmidt and local young guns Jake Bissett, Garrett Sawyer and Blake Williams.

 

While the race has caught the attention of the West Coast's top late model drivers, the local contingent of talent will be out to prove they belong among the best the sport has to offer.

 

One of those drivers, David Garber, is happy to be competing in this year's event after a year of less then stellar luck on the race track.

 

Garber came into the inaugural Spokane 200 driving a car owned by Dan and Crystal Yonke. The Pontiac had been loaned to him for a late season run at a championship in Montana and runs towards success in high-profile races such as the 200 and the Yakima Speedway Fall Classic. Garber was offered the chance to compete in the Yonke car as his Pontiac had been severely damaged in an accident at Montana Raceway Park.

 

That was last year.

 

In a cruel twist of fate Garber returns to his hometrack this season in nearly identical circumstances. Having damaged his own car in an accident where he narrowly escaped serious injury, the Spokane native again finds himself driving Yonke's car in the season's biggest race.

 

I would not be able to race in this weekend's Spokane 200 without the support of Dan and Crystal Yonke,” Garber said. “As was the case last year, our car was damaged pretty bad in a wreck and the Yonke's offered me a chance to keep our season going with their race car and for me there is no better gesture then that.”

 

After shaking off the dust on the Yonke car while overcoming his own doubts as a driver, Garber is excited to be racing this weekend, he added.

 

I won't lie, there were several moments in the last year with wrecking our own car (on three separate occasions) where I thought about getting a four-wheeler and enjoying the mountains because it crossed my mind that maybe some of the struggles were with the driver. We had a good run in the Yonke's car in Montana earlier this month (where Garber led several laps and finished fifth for his best result of the season) and found some things that have turned our program around.

 

That has given me some confidence and I'm really looking forward to this weekend. We know there will be a minimum of 10 to 12 drivers in the field that can win this race but we believe that the car and the driver are finally on the same page and are ready to compete with those guys for the win.”

 

Spokane 200 News & Notes-

A father's love for his son is an often told story and for Todd Havens, owner of Western Rail Inc. and the Killer “B” Racing Team, his love and support for his son Braeden means giving up his own chance to race in the Spokane 200. The elder Havens will hand the reins of his No. 20 Chevrolet to an outstanding driver in his own right, past Montana Raceway Park champion Bodie Morton, so that a full-court press can be provided to Braeden Havens' team and a run towards potential 200 success.

 

Braeden had asked me to be involved with his crew at the Montana 200 and it paid off as we qualified into the race for the first time after several years of trying. With that on our mind Braeden asked me to help this weekend and I can think of no driver more talented to provide a one-race deal to then Bodie Morton. The guy is stout behind the wheel, has won big races and championships and knows what we expect of him this weekend. It should be a lot of fun to watch,” Havens said.

 

A third Killer “B” car has been entered into the Spokane 200 as the team's ICAR late model Chevrolet will be driven by Ryen Tarr this weekend, Havens added.

 

Ryen drove my car in Montana for their 200 and nearly made the race and we believe he can give this car just as good a shot at making our hometown 200 as anyone. Ryen has a lot of patience and works well with what he has in a race car so it was an obvious choice to put him into our third late model for the weekend.”

 

………………….

 

Erick Hargraves is focused on winning the Spokane 200 and is the defending champion of Spokane County Raceway's late model division, however, the Yakima driver is more interested in keeping a rare dream alive that few in Northwest racing have accomplished.

 

This weekend's race is a points scorer for the SCR division and also for the INSSA series.

 

Hargraves is again atop the SCR late model points standings in his bid for back-to-back championships while also leading the INSSA touring series points championship and if that weren't enough-the leader of Stateline Speedway's late model championship battle. Should Hargraves capture all three titles he would become the first driver in over 15 years to win multiple track championships while also adding a regional title to his resume.

 

Winning all three would put Hargraves among the region's elite driver's who have accomplished the feat including NASCAR's Greg Biffle who back in 1997 won track titles at Portland Speedway and Tri-Cites Raceway along with a NASCAR Weekly Series regional championship.

 

Follow The Spokesman-Review's motorsports coverage online at spokesman.com/blogs/keepingpace. To reach motorsports correspondent Doug Pace email racingnewssource@gmail.com or follow him on Twitter @racingnewsource

 

 

RACING AROUND THE REGION-

 

Spokane County Raceway

spokanecountyraceway.com

Friday 8-6 p.m.

Adare Motorsports (road course)

Friday 6 p.m.

Pony Stocks, Road Runners, Bump to Pass

Saturday 3 p.m.

Summit Series, High School Drags, Street Legal Drags (drag strip)

Saturday 4 p.m.

Spokane 200 late model event (oval)

 

Stateline Speedway

raceidaho.com

Saturday 6 p.m.

Northwest Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, Super 4 Modifieds, Northwest Early Stocks

 

Sunset Speedway at Spokane Co. ORV Park

sunsetspeedway.org

Saturday 6 p.m.

Junior and Adult kart racing

 

SKRA at Spokane Co. ORV Park

spokanekarting.org

Saturday 10 a.m.

Junior and Adult kart road racing

 

Webb's Slough (St. John)

webbsslough.com

Friday 5 p.m.

Pre-Race Inspection/Show and Shine

Saturday 9 a.m.

USSBA Sprint Boat racing


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

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