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Havens will ride at Lake Havasu Speedway

NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series, which ran at Spokane County Raceway in 2011, makes its 2012 short- track debut on Saturday at Lake Havasu Speedway in Arizona and will feature a drivers list that includes defending Inland Northwest Super Stock Association champion Braeden Havens.

Havens will be behind the wheel of Thompson Motorsports No. 61 Chevrolet with support from Western Rail Inc. and Power Systems International. Havens will take the wheel seven times while Brett Thompson, who started the season opener in Phoenix in February, is scheduled to run the remainder of the 15-race season.

Havens took his first laps in his Chevrolet last week in Twin Falls, Idaho, and came away happy with his team’s preparation.

“This is one of the team’s newer chassis with all new parts around it,” Havens said. “It is a car Brett raced last year successfully at the short tracks so it is well-prepared and ready to rock. The team has worked very hard over the winter to give me good race cars and with Brett coming to all the races to help with pointers and set-up it will be huge for our season-long goal of running in the front and building towards solid finishes.”

Much of the winter was spent with Havens shuttling between Spokane and the team’s headquarters in Jerome, Idaho. Working with the team has already built a solid foundation for the season, according to Havens.

“Being able to spend time with the team over the winter was a big help as we got to talk racing and things that I like in a car,” he said. “Thompson Motorsports is very well-organized, and when it comes time for us to get down to business this weekend the car and I will be ready.”

While in-shop learning is helpful, Havens noted that the Twin Falls test was a big benefit to preparing for Saturday’s race.

“It was good to work with the team at the track in an environment that did not have the pressure of race day but did have some expectations for improvement lap after lap,” he said. “The car was fast and I think I made a good impression on the team by showing I can drive the K&N car consistently. Havasu has a brand-new surface which will make our car even faster, we hope. All in all we’re excited to be heading to Arizona with a good test under our belt and a good team around us.”

For his part, Thompson sees potential in his teammate and is eager to unload on Saturday.

“Braeden is really smooth and easy on the gas,” Thompson said. “He is going to be fun to watch and I believe he is going to do really well in the series. We are looking forward to Havasu this weekend.”

Racing continues in April for Havens as he will head to Stateline Speedway on April 21 for their season-opening event in the Late Model division and then it’s off to Evergreen Speedway for testing on the famed five-eighths mile followed by racing on the tighter three-eighths-mile track on April 27 and 28.

Havens is eager to try his hand at Evergreen Speedway.

“The staff at Evergreen Speedway have been very supportive as they’re allowing us to test on the big track with our Late Model, then let us stay over and run their local Late Model event the next day,” he said. “The test will be a big help for preparing for the K&N race there in July and we’re excited to be on a fast track like the five-eighths mile. We have good success on the bigger tracks and I can’t wait to get out there and test and then try our car out against their best drivers on the tighter track the next day.”

Fans can follow Havens progress this weekend on the team’s Killer “B” Racing Facebook page. The Speed Channel is scheduled to televise the Lake Havasu race on May 3.

Follow racing coverage online at spokesman/blogs/keepingpace. To reach Doug Pace email or follow on Twitter @racingnewsource