He just turned 17 years old, but Blake Williams already views himself as a veteran behind the wheel.
Williams is the 2011 ICAR rookie of the year and his run to last year’s ICAR series championship came with victories at Spokane County Raceway and Stateline Speedway and strong runs in Ephrata, Wash., and Kalispell.
His resume also includes being the youngest qualifier for an Idaho 200, one of the youngest in the Northwest to earn a Late Model touring championship and becoming one of the youngest to win a Late Model race at SCR.
“With young drivers getting into the Late Models like Joe Bird, Nicole (Behar) and others, I don’t really feel that young anymore,” Williams said.
Racing returns to Spokane County Raceway’s oval this weekend as tonight’s schedule features the Zip’s Pony Stocks as the featured division along with Road Runners and the Bump to Pass cars.
On Saturday night the ICAR Late Model Series kicks off its seventh season with a feature on the half-mile that also includes Hobby Stocks and Bump to Pass cars offering support events.
Williams heads to SCR fresh off a main-event victory two weeks ago in Stateline Speedway’s newly formed Late Model series. The win came on his 17th birthday and was the result of a clean sweep of dash, heat and main-event victories.
Veterans approach a season opener with caution as many drivers look to get comfortable and adjust on the fly. Williams has been down this road before and sees the ICAR opener as just another race.
“Our goal this weekend is to go out and set fast time then just aim to win it all like we would at any other race,” he said
Also on Williams’ schedule for the season will be Super Late Model races such as the Montana 200, Idaho 200, Spokane 200 and a stop at the Bullring in Las Vegas for their Fall Classic.
“We don’t have all of our Super Late Model dates set, but those races are things we know of for sure,” Williams said. “I am really looking forward to going back to Vegas (where Williams posted a top-five finish last season and was second in qualifying). That race is one of my personal favorites and we can’t wait to get back there.”
ICAR was not the only traveling series that saw Williams take a green flag.
He made a start in the Spears SRL Southwest Tour behind the wheel of a Joiner Motorsports Chevrolet, again at the Bullring of Las Vegas Motorspeedway, and finished 13th.
Chump cars coming
The ChumpCar World Series, a traveling series made of race cars billed as “North America’s home for $500 race cars” returns to the road course at Spokane County Raceway. The race is sure to be a hit for racers and fans as it features competitors from all walks of life and dozens of types of race cars.
Set for a 16-hour endurance race beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday with the checkers planned for 11:59 p.m., the race is a mix of socializing and competition for the racer who is out to have fun on a budget.
Teams take to the track today with registration set for 3 p.m., followed by technical inspections and a one-hour practice set for 6.