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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Doug Pace: Sunset Speedway caps season with championship event

By Doug Pace For The Spokesman-Review

Sunset Speedway, the region’s only clay oval specifically designed for go-kart racing, closes out its 2017 season with Saturday’s championship event.

Featuring action in adult and junior ranks with an emphasis on fun-filled family time, the track offers something for racers and fans alike. In a show of fan appreciation, grandstand admission is free for this weekend’s race.

Saturday’s schedule of events is sure to provide close racing as one adult division features four drivers vying for a championship with several youth classes providing close competition throughout the afternoon.

In the Adult LO206 class, points leader Diane Perry comes into the weekend with a two-point edge over Steve Morris, who leads third-place Will Krasselt by one point. Adam Morris trails Krasselt by 23 markers.

Krasselt and Morris tied in total points earned in Sunset’s most recent event while Perry came out on top for the first time in the season. Perry’s strong day moved her to the top spot in the championship chase after Krasselt held the position during the summer.

The top two points positions in the Adult Clone engine class are locked up, with Rod Hamilton besting Rick Hamilton for the championship. Still up for grabs are the third- through fifth-place points positions.

Larry Petross comes into the weekend with the third-place position in hand, but young gun Jared Storer looks to close a 52-point gap while Larry Wheeler trails Storer by 33 points.

Junior class championships have been locked with Molly Wethered (Jr. I) and Calvin Griswold (Jr. II) clinching their respective titles in August.

Yakima features Fall Classic

Yakima Speedway has long been the hub of asphalt racing’s season opener with its annual Apple Cup and the region’s finale with the traditional Fall Classic. The 30th annual version of the fall event takes place this weekend at the famed half-mile known for high speed and close racing.

Offering competition in the Super Late Model, Mini-Stock, Hobby Stock and Late Model divisions, drivers from across the West Coast flock to Central Washington for the finale.

The Inland Northwest will have a strong presence in each class with one driver, Terry Armstrong Jr., eager to chase the Mini-Stock checkered flag this weekend.

Armstrong, a regular on the Northwest Mini-Stock Tour, heads to Yakima with no points on the line and the simple goal of surviving the grueling two-day schedule.

“My strategy is to get through all the racing the class is doing on Saturday (qualifying, trophy dashes and heat racing) so Sunday’s main event can go smooth,” Armstrong said. “Once we take the green flag (on Sunday), I plan to settle back a bit at the beginning so in the late stages we can lay it all on the line and let the cards fall where they may.”

The Fall Classic comes at just the right time for Armstrong, who has spent more than a year working to improve his car in the highly competitive touring Mini Stock group.

“This season has been a little bit of a struggle with all the work we’ve put into the car to be more competitive,” he said. “When you make big changes, sometimes it can take some time to get back to where you want to be.”

It takes a tremendous amount of effort to get to the Tour races and the Fall Classic, Armstrong said.

“It takes a lot of people to make all of this possible,” he said. “I’m blessed to have a great support group around the team and me. My wife Mindy is a true rock star with supporting me at the shop and the track, and I have a cousin that drives to each race from his home in Graham, Washington, and we’re lucky to have him.”

Mini-Stock racers are also fortunate to have Yakima Speedway, which recognizes their contributions to regional racing.

“Having Yakima add the Mini Stocks has given the class a chance to show that we put on a good race,” Armstrong said. “Hopefully, more tracks will add big-money races for Mini Stocks because they’ve got a good car count that comes out. It gives the drivers the chance to feel like the tracks understand that we are putting on the same type of big show as Super Late Models and other high-dollar classes.”

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