If you ask Valleyford’s Jake Bisset, the high school senior will say that there is no such thing as being a bridesmaid to the winner of one of the region’s big late-model races. To be runner-up in Bisset’s eyes means that his team was knocking on the door of victory, as was the case in Yakima Speedway’s 25th annual Fall Classic last September.
Now on the eve of the Northwest’s oldest and most prestigious late-model event, the 47th annual Apple Cup which is also held at Yakima Speedway, Bisset heads to the half-mile brimming with confidence.
Lurking in the top-10 running order for most of the Fall Classic before springing to second late in the going, Bisset has that momentum and a victory last season at Spokane County Raceway as building blocks for his race team.
Part of the team’s success has been in choosing to run a General Motors factory-sealed engine over high-dollar compression motors. Promoters across the region have offered a weight break for this type of engine which has helped teams find success on the bigger tracks.
“We like to run the half-mile tracks that’s for sure,” Bisset said. “Our team may not qualify as strong as someone running an open-compression motor but we know that our crate-engine car will be there at the end, especially on the bigger tracks like Yakima and SCR.”
Adapting a car to save its tires is key for anyone running a crate-powered race car, Bisset noted. That is exactly what his team has accomplished with their Chevrolet.
All of the recent success will be an afterthought for the team as they’ll debut a new car for this weekend’s Apple Cup, he explained.
“The car we’re taking has some newer technology on it. You have to keep up with all the changes in the racing world but we haven’t said the new car is our primary and the one we used the last two years is a backup. Having two cars that are very similar allows our notes to transfer well between them so we’ll try the new one and see how it does, but we may decide to bring out the other one when we head to Wenatchee Valley Super Oval at the end of the month for their Apple Blossom 200.”
Leading Bisset Motorsports has been Jake’s father, Mark, who serves as crew chief and engine tuner. That was until older brother Joe stepped away from his own driving duties to focus on his University of Idaho studies and become crew chief to his sibling. The transition has been seamless for all three, Jake said.
“My brother has really jumped in and taken over for my dad. He’s become the brains behind our cars. We’re all working hard on the cars but Joe has even been taking the time to come home on the weekends to keep up with everything because these cars are his baby.”
With two cars to work with this season, a family-based crew that burns the midnight oil and support from RON General Contractors, the year should be exciting as the team heads into its season-opener, said the Freeman High School student.