April 6, 2012 in Sports

Behar turns attention to Late Models

Doug Pace
 

Stateline Speedway opens up its 2012 racing season on Saturday with the annual Racer’s Jamboree.

While it is a good day to test set-ups and knock some of the winter rust off a driver’s racing line, many eyes will be on the newly formed Late Model division, which will feature some the region’s top young driving talent.

Drivers under 20 years old with varied championship experience include Braeden Havens, Garrett Sawyer, Joey Bird and Blake Williams.

Another driver to keep an eye will be 14-year-old Nicole Behar, who, like Bird, will be spending time behind the wheel of her championship Baby Grand while debuting in the new Late Model class.

Focus on the differences between the smaller scale Baby Grand to its Late Model cousin will be a requirement in 2012, Behar said. Having spent time moving from go-karts to Baby Grands and Fever 4s, Behar is well-versed in the tasks ahead.

“We plan on doing a lot of racing this year again and I do not think it will be challenge for me and the crew overall to get the cars ready,” said Behar. “Baby Grands and Late Model races will be on the same night at times, which will make a lot of work for everyone. We did run two cars last year (the Baby Grand and Fever 4) and managed to do very well. Our plan for this season is to have similar success.”

Many drivers enter a new class with lofty goals only to see them fall short when the year is wrapped up. Behar takes a different approach into her rookie Late Model season.

“Our goals for this year are the same as when we ran the Fever 4 and the Baby Grand last year – get as much seat time as possible,” she said. “We would love to be a contender for wins in the Late Model class. However, the experience and laps are so important for this year that our goal is to finish races strong and look for solid opportunities to contend when possible.”

An eighth-grader at East Valley Middle School, Behar brings a steady thought process to her driving career. She is guided by her father, Mike, a past Inland Northwest Super Stock champion and top-flight crew chief. Having a family member lead her team is not a distraction but a big boost.

“I am so lucky to have my dad as my crew chief,” she said. “With him being a racer, it has made it a whole lot easier for me to pick up a driving style and how to work with the cars. He has taught me to be able to know what the car and I need, and how to decide what the team can do to make things better for a qualifying run or in-race trim.”

Behar brings recent accomplishments to this weekend’s Jamboree. She was awarded several trophies at last weekend’s Auto Boat Speed Show for her electrifying Late Model paint scheme. To receive awards for the design and have fan support is a humbling experience, she said.

“We couldn’t be happier with how the Late Model car turned out and to have that kind of recognition is a great way to start our year,” she said. “Now we have to go to the track and be successful in that environment.”

Stateline Speedway kicks of the Inland Empire asphalt racing season Saturday with time trials at 1 p.m. and racing at 2:15 The schedule showcases 11 racing divisions in an afternoon of racing.

Wednesday Night Fever action starts April 11. The quarter-mile opening for points racing is April 14. To learn more log onto raceidaho.com.

Reach Motorsports Correspondent Doug Pace at racingnewssource@gmail.com.


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