It’s been a five-year journey for Matt and Amanda Webb, who own and operate Webb’s Slough in St. John. As their 10th race on the popular United States Sprint Boat Association gets into high gear this weekend, the Webbs will work hard right up to the opening of the pits on Saturday morning, just as they have prior to the previous nine stops of the series.
“Webb’s Slough is a favorite among fans and racers because of the time and maintenance that is put into the venue and our event planning. This work is easy to see when the fans and racers arrive and we’re not resting or savoring that,” Webb’s Slough’s chief promoter, Amanda Webb, said. “Our 10th race is just as stressful as our first. In fact, we think it’s more so. There are more elements and we know our fans expect bigger and better each time they come to the slough.”
Sprint boat racing pits a two-person team and its boat on a race course with the goal of being the fastest in their class. The clock is the nemesis as each team gets little practice time and only a few runs, similar to drag racing, to make the finale.
The unique style of USSBA racing is a draw for any sports fan, Webb said.
“If someone hasn’t been to a race, they need to log onto our website, check out the pictures and videos then get in the car and drive down here to St. John and take it all in,” she said. “You really don’t have to be a motorhead to enjoy a sprint boat race.”
An added feature this year is a spectator area that is user-friendly for those in the pit area.
“The new viewing in the pits was created over the winter in part from discarded materials from a local road project,” Webb said. “We call it the Beaver Lodge and it provides an elevated area for fans and racers to watch the action and their favorite team without having to cross over the busy launch road to get to our main viewing points.”
One piece of the slough’s success is its volunteer staff, the Slough Crew, which numbers well more than 100 people of all ages who assist with parking, ticket-taking, line-ups and concessions.
USSBA action kicks off tonight in downtown St. John with the annual prerace Show and Shine event, featuring competitors going through technical inspections and final preparations.
To learn more about this weekend’s USSBA event at Webb’s Slough log onto webbsslough.com.
Late Models in spotlight
The Inland Northwest Super Stock Association brings its second race of the season to Stateline Speedway with many of the region’s top Late Model drivers set to again be part of the action.
Led by points leader Erick Hargraves, who claimed last season’s Late Model championship at Spokane County Raceway and has championships from Yakima Speedway to his credit, the series will also have multiple title-holder David Garber, Montana’s Ryan Wells and others doing battle with locals such as Todd Havens and Andy Brown.
“Our plan is to run for the INSSA championship and we’ve had good success at Stateline so this should be a good weekend for our team,” Hargraves said.
For Havens, the battle will be to stayed focused on the task at hand while his son and current NASCAR driver, Braeden, takes on the best of the ICAR Late Model Series at Spokane County Raceway.
“With the two tracks hosting Late Model cars on the same night it makes it tough for us, but Braeden needs to continue working on his big-track driving style which is helping him on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series,” Todd Havens said.
“We’ll go out to Stateline and do our thing and his ICAR team will head to SCR. We all hope that at some point the scheduling works where there are no conflict dates, but for now it is what it is.”