Doug Pace: Spokane drivers hit track in Monroe

THURSDAY, AUG. 14, 2014

NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series returns to the Northwest this weekend with the running of the NAPA Auto Parts/Toyota 150 at Evergreen Speedway in Monroe, Washington. With a 22-car field set to take the green flag on Saturday night, the race will have a distinct Spokane touch as three drivers from the area will be part of the field and a total of four drivers from the Evergreen State set to tame the best drivers on the West Coast.

Factoring in one Montana driver and an entry from Idaho and the region is well represented in the weekend’s affair.

Braeden Havens, who scored his first career NASCAR K&N Pro Series pole position when the series visited Stateline Speedway on July 12, returns to the site of his best career finish on the series (4th place) looking for more when the green flag drops on Saturday night.

“This season our team has been really strong each time we compete. The run we had in our first NASCAR race this year (at Stateline) shows that our K&N program is able to run with the top teams in the series,” Havens said. “If we can keep things going our weekend in Monroe should be another good outing that’s for sure.”

Nicole Behar will be making her second start on the series this weekend. The Otis Orchard teen ran as high as third place in the late stages of the Stateline event before being shuffled back to sixth at the checkered flag. While her car had some slight cosmetic damage after her first foray into a NASCAR event, Behar’s team has made repairs and looks to improve on a series best finish for a female driver.

Daniel Moore, who is Evergreen Speedway’s reigning late model division champion, will make his NASCAR K&N Pro Series debut this weekend behind the wheel of the No. 36 Grocery Outlet Toyota owned by John McCarty.

“We are hoping to have a good solid finish with our debut race, Moore said. “The car that we have is an old Michael Waltrip Racing Toyota. It is a real solid racecar and looks like we will be able to do pretty well with.”

Moore will also race his late model in the Toyota 100, which will make for a maddening day at the track, he added.

“It is going to be a chaotic day running between the different sessions but I’m excited. I have been real busy already prepping the K&N car and also preparing our late model for this weekend.”

Stateline heats up

With a mere four weeks left in the season for racing at Stateline Speedway, the competition has begun to pick up this month in each of the track’s divisions.

One of the tightest battles for a season championship is in the Dr. Pepper Ten Late Model division. Rookie of the Year points leader, Corey McGuire, who scored his first main event victory on July 12, backed it up two weeks later with a second win then posted a top-3 finish last weekend to move atop the championship standings by a mere point over Justin Popple.

The pair will race it out next weekend for the title, with Popple looking to break through for the championship one year after running second to Nicole Behar. Should McGuire break through for the championship he would become the first driver to win the rookie crown and points title since the track began hosting a late model class back in 2012.

Also looking to settle their championship next weekend are Hobby Stock drivers Reesen Tarr, Aaron Nevers and Gerald Nash.

Each has held the top spot in the standings at one point with Tarr on a hot streak of late. Nevers, who trails Tarr by just three points, will have one more night to challenge his rivals for the championship, but Nash, who had been the early season points leader, will be out to spoil both drivers chances when championship night gets underway.

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