Spokane 200 has competitive field

FRIDAY, AUG. 24, 2012

Spokane County Raceway has received nearly 50 driver entries for Saturday’s Spokane 200, which offers 34 positions for the starting lineup.

Not bad for just the second running.

With $10,000 up for grabs to the winner, this year’s one-day format provides limited time for practice and places an emphasis on being exact with the race car setup right off the trailer.

The entry list includes Garrett Evans and Pete Harding, who between them have five NASCAR touring championships. Past Inland Northwest Super Stock Association championship drivers Dan Garber, David Garber and reigning champion Braeden Havens will also race. Others include Kevin Richards, Mike Longton, Owen Riddle, John Zaretzke, California hotshot Eric Schmidt and local young guns Jake Bissett, Garrett Sawyer and Blake Williams.

While the race has caught the attention of the West Coast’s top late model drivers, the local contingent of talent will be out to prove they belong.

One of those drivers, David Garber, is happy to be competing after a year of bad luck on the race track.

Garber came into the inaugural Spokane 200 driving a car owned by Dan and Crystal Yonke. The Pontiac had been loaned to him for a late-season run at a championship in Montana and the Yakima Speedway Fall Classic. Garber was offered the chance to compete in the Yonke car as his Pontiac had been severely damaged in an accident at Montana Raceway Park.

That was last year.

In a cruel twist of fate Garber returns to his home track this season in nearly identical circumstances. Having damaged his own car in an accident where he narrowly escaped serious injury, the Spokane native again finds himself driving Yonke’s car in the season’s biggest race.

After shaking off the dust on the Yonke car while overcoming his own doubts as a driver, Garber is excited to be racing this weekend.

“I won’t lie, there were several moments in the last year with wrecking our own car (on three separate occasions) where I thought about getting a four-wheeler and enjoying the mountains because it crossed my mind that maybe some of the struggles were with the driver,” he said. “We had a good run in the Yonke’s car in Montana earlier this month (where Garber led several laps and finished fifth for his best result of the season) and found some things that have turned our program around.

“That has given me some confidence and I’m really looking forward to this weekend.”

Follow The Spokesman-Review’s motorsports coverage online at blogs/keepingpace. To reach motorsports correspondent Doug Pace email racingnewsource or follow him on Twitter @racingnewsource


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