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Sunday, November 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports

Doug Pace: Stateline Speedway hosts Freedom 200 on Saturday

By Doug Pace For The Spokesman-Review

Stateline Speedway continues the string of big-money super late model races to come to the Inland Northwest as they feature the Freedom 200 on Saturday.

Fresh on the heels of last weekend’s $8,000 to win Spokane 200, won by North Carolina’s Preston Peltier, the Post Falls facility offers $5,000 for the winner of its main event.

With only three races in the series, crowing a champion will come from the driver who is fast right off the trailer. The added distances of each race (the series first event went 150 laps with the final race in August set for 250 laps) throws a set-up wrinkle at the teams and with hotter temperatures expected this weekend versus the June race, tire management will be key.

One driver who knows all about saving his equipment for a late-race run is the series first winner – Joey Bird.

Charging to the front early then settling into a long green-flag run, Bird is out to make it two consecutive Triple Crown Series victories in as many starts. Having already won the first race in the series, Bird brings plenty of confidence into Saturday’s 200-lap shootout.

“There’s a lot of momentum (with our team) and especially with this race being at our home track. Stateline is one of my favorite tracks to run so we’re excited to go after our second win this weekend there. To make it happen will take the same approach we’ve always had which is tire management. If you can save the tires it’s a deciding factor to be there at the end. If we can do that we’ll be in the hunt for a win.”

Bird is focused on Saturday’s race, but is settling in for a challenging two-week stretch of competition in two of the most prestigious late model events in the Northwest. Once the Freedom 200 is in the rear-view mirror, Bird will set his sights on the famed Montana 200, scheduled for July 15.

“We’ve had a good car everywhere we’ve been this year and we’re heading to the Montana 200 to get a win out there next weekend,” Bird said. “I’m really excited to get this two-race swing underway.”

Guiding Bird’s race team from the crew chief’s position is his uncle, Jeff Bird, who builds some of the top race engines in the country. He has an accomplished driving career of his own from Modifieds to late models and brings plenty of knowledge on just the right set-up to use from track to track.

“All of the things we’re doing wouldn’t be possible without my Uncle Jeff,” Joey Bird said. “We’re very proud to have him with us and we’re lucky to have his Bird Racing Engines under the hood. This team is looking forward to another great couple of weeks of racing and I’m hoping to do my part to park this Chevrolet in victory lane. I’ve got to thank the crew and our sponsors for getting us to this point in the season and my career where we can go out there and contend week to week with the best.”

Stateline kicks the weekend off with racing this evening featuring their local Late Model class, Legends and Bandoleros.

Dave Garber and Tyler Brown are locked in a tight battle for the Late Model Championship heading into Friday’s main event. Separated by just three points, Brown – last season’s Rookie of the Year – had been atop the points standings but fell back three markers as Garber picked up the division’s most recent main event victory.

In the Legends division, Brock Denney leads Alex Bartlett and Haedon Plybon in the championship chase with Tom Nelson and Broc Nelson rounding out the top five.

Scott Singletary leads Brayden Dodson by 15 points in the Bandolero championship fight with Kaidyn Moran eight points behind Dodson. Maddox Moran and Chase Rothwell hold down points positions fourth and fifth place respectively.

For more information regarding Stateline Speedway’s two-day racing program log onto raceidaho.com

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