Sports

Keeping Pace: He hits the road to hit the road

A youth movement exists in Stateline Speedway’s Fever 4 division, with Central Washington University student Justin Lovitt leading the way.

In a class that features high school- and college-aged drivers including Blake Williams, Cam Kellogg, Corey Husk and Chris Kellogg – plus drivers as old as the elder statesman of Inland Empire racing, Bruce Garber – it’s Lovitt who may have the most unique approach to his Wednesday Night Fever drive.

Lovitt, who hails from Duvall, Wash., and attends CWU, makes the weekly drive from either his school home or his mother’s house in Western Washington, depending upon the time of the year. In either case, he definitely logs the most miles in one night of racing Stateline’s popular midweek series.

“During the school year I go to class until 1 p.m. then hit the road for Stateline, go racing until about 10 o’clock then get home about 1 a.m. and go to class at 9. It’s a lot of fun racing here and that’s one of the big reasons I make the drive from Central or my mom’s house in Duvall,” Lovitt said.

While school and racing are a big part of Lovitt’s life, he does find time to run triathlons, including the Coeur d’Alene Ironman.

“I went into this year’s (Ironman) looking to finish, kind of like when I first got behind the wheel of the race car,” he said. “The Ironman is definitely harder then racing, that’s for sure, but I like both because of the competition.”

Lovitt is often asked why he makes the long drive to Stateline or faces the grind of running marathons and his answer is always the same.

“I just want to take myself as far as I can go in racing and life,” said Lovitt, who has a double major in psychology and business management. “When I was a kid my dream was to be on TV (as a racer) and here I am out there driving each week trying to make it happen. My dad (John Lovitt) and my crew guys (Ken Cahoon and Sean Gunton) live here in Spokane and they take care of the car each week so I can train and go to school, and all they ask me to do is come in here and drive, which is really cool.”

Running, be it at Stateline or for a triathlon, comes with a set of goals and Lovitt has plenty this season.

Lovitt sits inside the top five in his chase for the 2009 Fever 4 championship and has two wins in a one-week span (July 31 and Aug. 5) coming in only his second season of racing.

Lovitt dreams of progressing to the top in the near future.

“I’d like to get into modified or sprint car racing after we’re done running the Fever 4,” he said. “If I had a choice that’s where I’d like to go next, but even running a late model would be fun because all three get around the track pretty fast and that’s what I like to do when I’m on the racetrack.”

Lovitt has already had plenty of chances to test his skills against some of the best Inland Northwest late model drivers.

“It’s crazy because sometimes at our races I’ll look over and there will be Andy Brown, or Bruce (Garber) or even Rusty Webb and I know those guys run the late models, but they bring a Fever 4 car out to play and I can race against them in my class knowing that next week they could be running in something like the Idaho 200.”

With two months of racing left, Lovitt is focused on his current duties and not allowing too much time to be spent on future racing plans.

“Our car has gotten better lately, especially at the Idaho 200 (where Lovitt won one of two main events),” he said. “We had a slow start to the season, but here lately things have been going much better. Without a great sponsor like Inland Northwest Consultants behind us, we couldn’t even be out here having the kind of season we’re on.”

Follow Doug Pace’s blog for area racing news at spokesman.com/ blogs/keepingpace


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