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Pace: Blake Williams leads local charge into Idaho 200

Doug Pace

The Idaho 200 has always offered a good mix of top-flight Northwest talent matching wits with Stateline Speedway’s veterans.

Since 2011 two of the race’s last four winners (Blake Williams and Kevin Richards) have come from the Inland Empire.

This weekend 11 drivers with ties to the Post Falls quartermile have their names on the pre-entry list that has grown to 24 total race teams vying for the $8,000 winner’s prize. The check could double if one of the top two qualifiers elects to start from the rear of the field and wins the race.

The 16th annual Napa Auto Parks Idaho 200 marks the first time the event will be run under the Tri-Track Super Late Model Series sanctioning.

Leading the local charge is Williams, the 2013 champion and currently in sixth place in the series standings. He was unable to defend his title last summer due to injuries from an automobile accident, but has been impressive in his last three series starts this season including a June win at Stateline.

Teammates Shelby Thompson and Braeden Havens, who finished just behind Williams in the June race, will also be in the mix this weekend. Both had top 5 finishes in the Idaho 200 last year.

Another local driver, David Garber, has 11 Idaho 200 starts and finished second in 2013. He has two other top 5 finishes. Garber won at Hermiston’s Super Oval this season with the same super late model he will race this weekend.

Other locals to watch include Joey Bird, Jason O’Neil, Garret Sawyer, Corey Allard, Eric Chaney and Jake Bisset.

Outside challengers include Garrett Evans, the 2012 champion. Among the top five qualifiers in the June Idaho Tune-Up 150 race at Stateline, Evans also leads the TTSLMS championship standings and is the reigning champion. The four-time NASCAR champion has had only two career DNFs in 15 career starts since the series inception in 2014.

Evans, Doni Wanat and Mitch Kleyn are separated by 41 points in the TTSLMS standings with just four races left in the season. Parker Stephens is fourth in the standings and won the July 11 series event, but will miss the Idaho 200 for an event on the SRL Southwest Tour. Glenn Knutson, the series Rookie of the Year points leader, is in fifth place.

Stateline’s weekend of racing also includes tonight’s Hobby Stock and Sportsman shootouts followed by Saturday’s Outlaw Compact showdown.

Aaron Nevers won last weekend’s Hobby Stock main event and boosted his points lead over Joel Schrader to 33. Schrader, Matt Miller, Mark Loudin and Aaron Clanton are locked in a tight battle for the runner-up position with Clanton in fifth place just 27 back of second-place Schrader.

For ticket information race fans can stop by local NAPA Auto Parts stores or log onto raceidaho.com.

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