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Old Race Cars Bring Variety To Stateline

A glimpse of the past and the present of open-wheel racing will greet fans Saturday at Stateline Speedway.

The past will be represented by the Golden Wheels, a group of vintage midgets and sprint cars, while the present will feature the Northwest Modifieds and the Northwest Formula Indy’s. Time trials begin at 6 p.m.

“The vintage race cars - and some of the drivers - are holdovers from an era where talent on dirt tracks got a driver to Indy,” said series spokesman and historian Don Radbruch of Sagel, Idaho.

Local drivers on the Golden Wheels tour include Frankie Volz in his Solar Midget, one of 100 produced just after World War II, and Don Dotson at the wheel of a Jim Tipke Sprint Car, also owned by Volz.

“Our cars are truly museum pieces in action,” said Nita Volz. “Our car is a 1947 Solar. It’s 95 percent original, including the engine,” Volz said. The Northwest Modifieds should be heading into their fourth race of the season, but Mother Nature has intervened, postponing two shows. Defending champion Jeff Zimmerman won the only completed race three weeks ago at Stateline.

Friday the Hobby Cars, Sportsman and Compact Streets kick off the weekend with a 6:30 p.m. start.

Road bikes tackle SRP road course

Last week, this column reported that the Washington Motorcycle Road Racing Association would make its debut on Spokane Raceway Park’s 2.5-mile road course.

Unfortunately, that report was a week early. The WMRRA bikes don’t run at SRP until this weekend.

“This is the first motorcycle road race ever run in the Inland Northwest,” said SRP president Orville Moe. Racing will begin both Saturday and Sunday about 8 a.m. and run until 4 p.m. Saturday, they’ll finish in time for SRP to run its weekly bracket drags.

The bikes will hit speeds up to 190 miles per hour by the time they get to the end of the half-mile of drag strip and enter the road course portion of the track.

If last fall’s testing session is any indication, SRP could surpass Portland International Raceway as the fastest track on the WMRRA circuit. Riders had their bikes at top speed with still more straightaway to go. “They had to gear their bikes higher,” Moe said.

Word of the track’s speed potential has generated a lot of interest, according to Moe. “I’m told that they (WMRRA) expect 240 riders,” he said.

SRP will also run its regular oval track program on Saturday featuring Street Stocks, Hobby Stocks and Fever Fours with gates opening at 4:30.

Pit stops

The Pro Outlaw Kart Racing Association lost two dates to rain last week and will try again tonight at the Spokane County ORV Park. P.O.K.R.’s “Little 500,” presented by Tuscor Speedway, will be re-run on Thursday, July 17… . Lakeside High of Nine Mile Falls will take the point lead into Friday’s third race of the Mountain Dew High School Drag Racing Series at Spokane Raceway. Both previous King-of-the-Hill races have been all Lakeside finals… . Rain washed out both local late-model racing programs last Saturday night. Neither the Interstate Superstocks racing out of Stateline, nor the Northwest Late Models at SRP has announced a make-up date.

The NASCAR Northwest Tour now has two races to work into the schedule after last Saturday’s second straight rainout at South Sound Speedway. Hopefully the weather will cooperate this Saturday for the “Mr. Transmission 125” at Tri City Raceway. Time trials begin at 7 p.m. in West Richland… . Racers at Northport International Raceway probably are working overtime to get cars ready to run again this Sunday, beginning at 1 p.m. N.I.R. ran a rain make-up race last Sunday where Monte Zema of Colville in the Modifieds, Dwayne Ramey of Ione, Wash., in Superstocks and Rick LaFors of Ford, Wash., in the Fever Fours picked up victories… . The Spokane Kart Racing Association will run its fourth points race Sunday at the ORV Park, allowing drivers one more warm-up prior to the Region Seven Gold Cup next Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Spokane.