Doug Pace: May brings region traveling race series
May is here, and for many of the region’s traveling series it brings with it the start of their race seasons.
The ICAR Late Model Series is the first to get under way with its twin main-event format, the highlight of Stateline Speedway’s program Saturday night.
ICAR mandates several rules to keep teams’ costs under control and create an equal playing field, according to series director Corey Juhnke. One such rule is the number of tires (eight) a team can purchase to start the season. It also uses an Edelbrock manifold rule that contains engine costs and horsepower.
Entering its sixth season of competition, this will be the second year of the Appleway Parts Center crate motor contingency program that awards a new race engine to a driver that runs the entire schedule and finishes within the top five in points. Darryl Carrillo won the engine package last year and will debut it this weekend.
The series had more than 25 drivers earn points last season. When the dust settled, 12 of the first 13 teams had attempted each of the 12 scheduled events. Shane Blakesley (15th place) missed only one weekend.
That kind of car count is a hopeful sign for the series as it continues to seek race dates outside of its hometrack at Stateline. This year the series travels – for the second straight year – to Ephrata Raceway Park, and a return to Spokane County Raceway is set for August. Also, an inaugural race at Montana Raceway Park will be held on Labor Day weekend.
To enhance its show for the fans, ICAR will introduce in-car communications that will be heard by the fans. Similar to the features used on radio and television broadcasts of NASCAR, the system will allow the fans to hear questions asked of drivers while under cautions, and the real-time answers will come over the public address system. The feature will debut Saturday night during the Twin 50 format.
Defending champion Dan Garber will be out this weekend, but he’s focused on having his son – and teammate – Colton running in the front for victories and the 2011 championship. Colton will be driving his father’s championship race car this season in his quest to be a third-generation champion from the Garber family.
Also back this season will be an entry from the Killer B Racing Team, being shared by the father/son duo of Todd and Braeden Havens. Saturday night it will be Todd behind the wheel as his son celebrates his prom night.
Reigning ICAR rookie of the year Blake Williams is scheduled to run several of the series events again this season, while also concentrating on the Inland Northwest Super Stock Association schedule and high-profile races across the region, including the Idaho 200 in early August.
Another driver fans will be watching throughout the season is 2007 champion Andy Brown, last season’s fourth-place driver in the final standings. The veteran enters the new season with high hopes for a bounce-back season after setbacks plagued him in three consecutive races late last year.
Also on the schedule for Stateline will be the Northwest Early Stocks, the West Coast Vintage Racing Series and the Golden Wheels Association. For ticket and other information, visit www.raceidaho.com or call (208) 773-5019.
Racing returns to Northport
Northport Raceway, located 9 miles south of the Patterson border crossing with Canada, hosts its second weekend of the season on Sunday with a special Mother’s Day program, including the Marie Steep Memorial. On the schedule will be the Hobby Stocks, Fever Fours, Trucks, Super Stocks, Hornets and Modifieds.
Pat Bradeen (Trucks), Jason Warren (Fever Fours), Ron Merrill (Super Stocks), Brendon Prough (Hornets) and Walter Miller (Modifieds) all earned main-event victories during the April 17 season-opener and will be out to make it two straight in their respective classes.
For more information go to www.northportraceway.net or make the trip up Lake Roosevelt where the track is located, 35 miles north of Kettle Falls.