The wait is finally over for Medical Lake’s Braeden Havens as the 20-year-old heads to Evergreen Speedway this afternoon for his 2013 debut on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. Having run a partial schedule for Thompson Motorsports last year, earning a third-place finish in the Rookie of the Year standings, the 2011 Inland Northwest Super Stock Association champion will jump behind the wheel of his family-owned Chevrolet on the NASCAR circuit for the first time this season.
If things go well the team plans to run next weekend at Spokane County Raceway as the K&N Pro Series returns to the Inland Empire after a one-year hiatus. For Havens, the focus is only on Saturday’s race in Western Washington, he said.
“We’ve been working on our Western Rail Impala during the season to get ready for Evergreen. Our plan right now is one race at a time. It’s going to be great to have the NASCAR K&N Pro Series back in Spokane but we have Saturday’s race to get through and we’re going out there to run in the front (at Evergreen) and not worry about next weekend until the checkers fall tomorrow night.”
Havens’ team has had their K&N Pro Series car since it was purchased in the offseason from former Indy Car driver Billy Boat, who’d been having his son Chad drive in the NASCAR division. With a schedule this year that is heavy on Late Model racing, Havens explained that the K&N Chevrolet has been worked on during the team’s spare time for weeks to get ready for the Monroe track.
“Up until about four weeks ago we’d spent a day or so each week working on the car. Once the 30-day window opened up to be ready for Evergreen we picked it up and have been pretty much nonstop, except for getting through the Idaho 200 (where Havens earned a top-10 finish after running as high as fourth). I am so excited to see all of our team’s hard work with this car pay off by getting out there this weekend and racing on the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. Last year in Monroe we ran in the front most of the night after qualifying inside the top-10 and I earned the Rookie of the Race award. This year our crew chief Chuck Carruthers has put a car together that we’re confident can run that good or better.”
Nitro Night at SCR
Spokane County Raceway hosts its annual Nitro Night of Fire this weekend with an unusual twist to the racing program: Track operator Craig Smith will also be one of the drivers taking part in the event.
Smith won the track’s 2006 AHRA World Finals in the Top Fuel division but has made few appearances as a driver in recent years as he’s focused on his business interests and as SCR’s operator for the last two seasons.
Sliding into his Top Fuel dragster that is capable of running the quarter-mile in under five seconds, Smith will race against Ron Smith (no relation) in a one-on-one battle to see who is the fastest of the weekend.
Having won five of six AHRA World Finals between 2000-06, Smith is comfortable with the Top Fuel dragster’s ability to be a threat to win the grudge match on Saturday night.
“You have to acquire a feel in the seat of your pants of how the car reacts; you have to have the reactions to stay ahead of the machine. We will be making half-pass test runs on Friday in order to get the new tuneup dialed in (for the dragster).”
Also racing will be the NHRA Summit Racing Series along with Funny Cars, Pro Comp dragsters and much more, according to Smith.