Stateline Speedway hosts an INEX Legend Series qualifying event Saturday night with an added purse that should bring some of the best drivers in the region to the high-banked quarter-mile.
With the potential to win a main event and earn a berth into the National Legends Series finale being held at Atlanta Motor Speedway, the racing will feature action throughout the evening as only a handful of qualifying events are held on the West Coast.
Legend race cars are scaled down versions of 1930s coupes and sedans powered by 1200cc Yamaha motorcycle engines. If the car is handling well, speeds at Stateline can reach well more than 75 mph on an average lap.
Three divisions will be in action – semi-pro, masters and professional drivers. Drivers older than 50 will compete in the masters divisions with entry level participants in the semi-pro ranks and those with several seasons of experience placed in the pro class.
Other classes include the HyDrive Late Models, Northwest Modifieds and Bandoleros.
Blake Williams leads the chase for the HyDrive late model division championship with a nine-point gap over Rick Nelson. Nicole Behar, Rusty Webb and Travis Allen round out the top five.
Northwest Modified Series veteran Chris Ochs brings a six-point lead over Don Webster into the tour’s Stateline stop. Dan Noble and James Spiering are also in the hunt. Spiering, Ochs and Webster finished in the top three at Stateline Speedway last Saturday.
With Frankie Volz Jr. not running a full-time schedule in defense of his Northwest Modified championship, Spiering, Noble and Ochs look to be the drivers to watch this season in the chase for the 2012 crown.
Bandoleros are a small-scale race car tailored for young drivers looking to get their start in racing on a full-size track. The series is a part of the INEX sanctioning group that governs Legend car racing. ICAR Late Model Series driver Thomas Plybon will have two drivers in the field this weekend as his children, Haedon and Leighland, get the chance to run on their home track just one week after capturing top-five finishes at Montana Raceway Park.
Havens at Evergreen
For Braeden Havens, the lone Inland Northwest driver in any of NASCAR’s top circuits, the chance to race at home was nixed when Spokane County Raceway declined to bring the NASCAR K&N Pro Series back this season.
That meant Havens would be racing across the country without the chance to get local fans up close with his Thompson Motorsports team.
When NASCAR released the K&N Pro Series schedule in January Havens found some comfort in the NAPA Auto Parts 150, taking place Saturday at Evergreen Speedway just outside of Seattle.
“I do consider Evergreen Speedway a home track since it is in my backyard and home state,” Havens said. “We tested our Western Rail Chevrolet late model there this year and it went really well. Then we decided to go run the first 5/8 race on the track’s schedule. I made it up to fourth and was battling for third until we broke a piece in the suspension that ended my race 15 laps from the end.”
The race marks the beginning of a grueling stretch of events over a seven-week period that will see the recent high-school graduate compete in four states. Taking some time off to prepare has Havens eager to get back behind the wheel of the No. 61 Western Rail Chevrolet.
“I needed a vacation,” Havens said. “We have run so much since April that it was good to take a week off with the family. Now it’s time to focus on the three 200s (Montana, Idaho and Spokane) and the two big K&N races in the next seven weeks.”