With Saturday night’s thunderstorm playing havoc with the region, even Stateline Speedway’s 15th Annual Idaho 200 was not spared as the high winds blew over a light pole that cut all power to the facility. Officials made the decision to postpone the race to Sunday afternoon.
Canadian Trevor Emond was happy for the delay.
Battling a miss in the engine that had slowed his Chevrolet for much of Friday’s preliminary action while also keeping him out of Saturday’s test sessions, the delay allowed Emond and his crew to get the parts they needed for the motor and make repairs.
Once the work was completed Emond settled his car into a field that included three-time Idaho 200 champion, Gary Lewis and pole sitter Alex Lessor. Both drivers were considered favorites to win the race.
Emond shocked the crowded grandstands and his fellow competitors as he became the first Canadian driver to win the event with a stunning second-half performance over Owen Riddle and Lessor.
Lessor led the early portions of the race before yielding to Lewis near lap 40.
During the break Lewis and his team made a decision to simply bolt on four fresh Hoosier racing tires, fill the car with fuel and go back out without suspension adjustments.
Taking the green flag to start lap 101, Lewis leaped back to the lead over Lessor and held the point through lap 105.
At that point Lewis hung a right hand turn into the pits with a flat tire.
“We ran over something on the track and had to pit to change it,” a dejected Lewis said once the race was concluded.
Lessor took full advantage of Lewis’s misfortune. As the Kalispell native laid down a blistering pace over the next nine laps, he was aware that Emond was creeping closer to the front of the field. Emond moved by Riddle then used an outside pass on Lessor to take the lead on lap 110.
Emond held the point to lap 119 when Lessor reassumed the top spot. Settling into a solid racing groove, Lessor kept his Chevrolet in front of Emond, who had his hands full as Riddle pressured for the second-place position by lap 149.
Using the high side of the racetrack to his advantage, Emond retook the lead from Lessor on lap 164. Riddle pressed Lessor for second-place and finally took the position on lap 177. With the top-3 running a blistering pace, it appeared that Riddle and Lessor would have at least one more chance to catch Emond and challenge for a victory.
Emond had other ideas as he made quick work of the lapped traffic, got out in clean air over the final 20 laps and scored the historic victory.
“The car was pretty good I’d have to say,” Emond said in victory lane. “No, in fact it was awesome. This is the first time we’ve run this car in the season and we’ve been battling electrical issues with it. I’m so proud of my crew for getting it all worked out for us to have such a strong car here at Stateline. I can’t thank the crew enough and the fans for making this so special.”
An exhausted Riddle knew he had been part of an extraordinary race.
“This was a fun show to be a part of. Alex (Lessor) and I had a great race and Trevor had a good car in the second-half that’s for sure,” he said.
Riddle and his fellow competitors battled heat and fatigue in the race, he added.
“I didn’t want to go back out there for the second-half because I was just exhausted from the heat. During the break I got a bunch of water, changed my t-shirt and got back in the car and just went for it. I’m glad the second-half went without a yellow because when you’re racing at speed the airflow through the car is nice. When the yellow comes out it gets hot fast in there. Not having the cautions (in the second-half) really helped me to stay after it in the race.”
Local drivers Shelby Thompson and Braeden Havens rounded out the top-5.