Liberty Lake’s Tom Manfred recently picked up his 10th career victory on the NHRA. While the number may seem small, winning a “Wally” – the trophy named after NHRA founder Wally Parks that is presented to regional and national event winners – is one of the most difficult feats to accomplish in all of motor sports.
That Manfred has netted the total behind the wheel of a Ford Mustang that was built more than 30 years ago makes the double-digit figure that much more impressive, he noted.
“I first bought the car off a car lot for $600,” Manfred said. “I’ve been pretty amazed by how the car performs in the all these years I’ve had it. It works really well when sometimes the driver isn’t and there are times when I’ve bailed the car out when it’s not performing so hot. It’s a fun car to drive.”
At the age of 66, Manfred still enjoys racing, the camaraderie and competition.
“I did go through a few lean years and was beginning to think that it was time to get out of (racing) but I’ve felt good and keep on trucking,” he said. “I’ve heard from quite a few of my competitors who thought that (reaching win No. 10) was pretty special. Hopefully that shows I’ve earned their respect, and they know I still do this because of the many friends we’ve made over the years of NHRA racing.”
While many of his victories have come away from Spokane, Manfred is hopeful of continuing his winning ways whether it’s at home or on the road.
“We don’t race much here in Spokane, that’s for sure,” he said. “A lot the wins do come on the road and sometimes in front of just a few fans, but that’s OK. I’ve had my fair share of big wins in front of a crowd. We were in Seattle once for a night race and won and there was a huge crowd and something like 25 people in the victory picture. It was pretty special.”
With his 10th win secured, Manfred is ready to chase the next victory beginning July 11 in Woodburn, Ore. The Mustang driver is motivated to score an actual double-digit Wally win total, he said.
“I told my wife that it says we’ve gotten 10 wins but I don’t count zero as the starting point in my sequence so we need to go out there and earn win No. 11 to be sure we really have gotten to double-digit victories.”
Stateline Speedway busy
Stateline Speedway has been a busy place over the last week as a half-dozen NASCAR K&N Pro Series teams have been in and out of the quarter-mile facility in preparation for their race on July 12.
Among those testing was a good mix of veterans of the series and newcomers looking to dial in their race cars for the Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts 150. The series’ No. 3 driver in the championship standings, Brandon McReynolds, who is the son of Fox Sports commentator and past NASCAR crew chief, Larry McReynolds, posted some of the top speeds during his one-day test.
Also taking to the track were two local drivers, Nicole Behar and Braeden Havens. Behar will be making her series debut while Havens was shaking down a completely rebuilt Chevrolet.
“We had a good test and to see how the facility is preparing for NASCAR is awesome,” Havens said. “Our lap times were consistent with everyone else that has been out to Stateline and we know there’s more to tweak between now and next week. With NASCAR’s testing policy (teams cannot run on a track one week prior to an event) getting out to (test) Stateline was a big goal of ours with this Western Rail Chevrolet.”
The exposure for the track is important leading up to the event, according to track promoter Larry Bertrand.
“We’re excited about the race. These are the feature stars of NASCAR and we have some hometown kids that are going to do great,” Bertrand said. “We expect attendance to be good and I definitely think the audience will be as big as an Idaho 200.”
For more information regarding the upcoming NASCAR K&N Pro Series race at Stateline Speedway, log onto raceidaho.com