Mark Bisset set an offseason goal of making Legend car racing in the Inland Northwest a consistent class at Stateline Speedway.
Legend cars have run at the Idaho quarter-mile for many years but without a local class to offer for area drivers. This year the Valleyford native is willing to put equipment, resources and a tremendous amount of work into the effort to make that goal a reality.
Legend cars are powered by a 1,200cc Yamaha motorcycle engine and are a relatively inexpensive class. The cars are scaled versions of late 1930s and early 1940s sedans and coupes with speeds approaching 75 mph in the Stateline straightaways.
Experience is an important part of entering a Legends car series, Bisset said.
“The only requirement for racing in the Legends series is that a driver must be a minimum of 14 years old,” he said. “Classes are sanctioned by a national organization (INEX/600 Racing) and are based on experience levels. Most drivers start in the Semipro class and move on to Pro and finally Masters. We tell people not to underestimate a Legend car as they’re difficult to drive. A background in karting, (INEX) Bandoleros or even sportsman-type cars is recommended to a person interested in the class.”
This weekend Bisset’s work should bear fruit for the Post Falls facility that plays host to the first of four Stateline events this season.
“We’ve put another car together that our team is willing to lease, rent or even sell,” Bisset said. “For Saturday’s race we have Montana Raceway Park late-model champion and former Legends Thunder winner, Alex Lessor, behind the wheel and we’re considering other drivers to put into that car as the season goes along.”
Lessor won’t be the only big-name driver in Saturday’s main event. The field also features Jake Bisset, last year’s champion of Stateline’s four-race series and the reigning Montana Raceway Park Legends champion.
Ron Custer, Kelly Thelen, Joey Bisset and Scott Eldredge are just a few of the local drivers who will be out to stop Lessor and Bisset. They’ll be joined by drivers from as far away as Boise, Western Canada and Oregon for what is shaping up to be a strong season-opening field.
“There should be a solid group of drivers out here this weekend,” Bisset said. “I know we’ve got commitments from Oregon’s Kenny Mayne, Donnie Sanderson from Canada, Sarah Henry from the Boise area and a few more from Southern Idaho.”
Fans have embraced the group when they make appearances at Stateline.
“When we’ve been out at Stateline, everyone tells us they love to watch the Legends run,” Bisset said. “People that have never watched the class swear they’ll come back because of the close action and the replica look to cars of the past. We’ve had fans tell us they’ve watched Legends race on television but never knew they ran here at Stateline, and want to learn more about when we’re coming out to put on another race.”
Creating an added buzz in the region was one reason for building another car and allowing drivers with name recognition to race fans an opportunity to get behind the wheel, Bisset said. The car is open for future races and Bisset has been contacted by local stars eager to have some fun in the Legends series.
“We have talked with Shelby Thompson, Dave Garber and Andrew Zimmer about jumping in the car sometime this season, but we’re also trying to sell it to add another full-time driver to the class, so we’ll have to see what pans out over the next few weeks,” he said. “Drivers have approached us about the car, which is nice, but our goal is to grow the class and have a group of drivers from Montana come here to race and get the Stateline group to go up there consistently.”