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Doug Pace: Behar on road toward Late Model championship

Fri., Sept. 6, 2013, midnight

She’s one of the rising Late Model stars in the region and Saturday night may be Nicole Behar’s biggest racing moment of her young career.

A strong finish in the Stateline Speedway HyDrive Late Models will secure the division championship for the Otis Orchards teenager.

Behar’s year started off with a track record in qualifying during the season-opening Hermiston Super Oval Super Late Model event. She got her first career start in the Montana 200 and had top-10 finishes in each of her Super Late Model races at Stateline.

In the HyDrive Late Models, a division that offers some limitations on engine packages and a grooved Hoosier racing tire, the East Valley High School student has five wins, five top-five and six top-10 finishes in six starts.

Justin Popple, Behar’s closest pursuer in the championship chase, has also had a stellar season.

The former sprint-car driver has made the move to stock cars this season. Trailing Behar by 29 points, Popple is mathematically alive for the championship but will need to win out over the final two races of the season and get some help in order to overtake the points lead.

Also having a strong season is Russ Osborne, who sits third in the championship standings.

With the HyDrive event being one of the last Inland Empire Late Model races of the season, top drivers such as David Garber and Braeden Havens are expected to take part.

Kart season nears end

With just three races left in the season for the Spokane Kart Racing Association and two of those three set for this weekend, plenty of work is left for several drivers looking to lock down a top finish in the standings or maybe even a championship.

Ryan Krasselt appears on his way to the World Formula title, but the runner-up position is a battle between Colton Schultz and Alan Russell, with one point separating the pair. Schultz, the son of famed Inland Empire Late Model driver Rick Schultz, has topped Russell in weekend points earned in three of five races this season.

In the Jr. Clone division, the top two positions should be wrapped up this weekend as leader Parker Shaw has a big lead over second-place Griffin Lenon that should hold up once racing concludes on Sunday. Positions third through fifth have yet to be settled with Hayden Benefield slightly ahead of Nick Boudreau and Taylor Woodard.

Other championship leaders include Dakota Morris (Kid Kart), Shae Doree (Junior 1 Animal), and Tom Hamilton (Sr. Tag).

Also scheduled to compete on Saturday will be the track’s asphalt oval karters in their final event of the season.

Spokane Karting offers free grandstand admission each day.

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