YAKIMA, Wash — B.J. Tidrick, using lessons learned throughout two solid days of racing at Yakima Speedway, held off the West Coast’s hottest late model driver, Gary Lewis, for his first ARCA West Circle K Late Model Challenge Series victory of the 2008 season.
Taking the lead as Lewis was forced to gather his car after contact with lapped traffic exiting turn No. 4, Tidrick’s International Parking Management Ford Fusion race team made the right adjustments during the 100-lap break and led nearly three-quarters of the races 150 laps for the win in the NAPA Auto Parts 150.
Following Lewis’ Sunbelt Rentals Chevrolet Impala to the stripe was Mike Longton, Yakima’s late model points leader in the highly competitive local division, current ARCA West LMCS points leader, Wes Rhodes and current ASA Northwest Tour points leader, Brad Stanwood.
Tidrick’s win netted the Yakima native over $2,300 in prize money as he earned a bonus put up by seven West Coast engine builders in the 3rd annual LMCS Engine Builders Challenge. Tidrick’s Ford is powered by famed Cope Brothers Machine Shop technology as it bested engines in the field from the likes of A.C. Nutter, Somers Machine Inc., Jeff Bird Racing Engines, Freight Train Racing Engines, T-Mac Performance and Powerhouse Machine.
Adding to an emotional gathering for the Tidrick family in victory circle was the fact that Sunday’s win marked his second strong performance of 2008 at his home track.
Back in April Tidrick lost his mother just days after wining the 43rd Annual Yakima Speedway Apple Cup over a strong field that included Longton and 2007 ARCA West LMCS Rookie of the Year and fellow Yakima standout, Erick Hargraves.
With his father, Brad Tidrick, nervously pacing in the pit area as he fretted on a fading battery underneath his young son, B.J. calmly matched Lewis and Longton line for line around the famed .500-mile en route to the victory.
Longton, behind the wheel of his Nob Hill Auto Sales Ford Fusion, jumped out to an early lead over Jay Sauls, but could not hold off Lewis who moved to the point by lap 10. By lap 40 Tidrick had disposed of Longton and settled in behind Lewis as the two began to lap traffic by lap 50.
Shelby Thompson, who led the most laps of the weekend’s first main event, the NAPA 125 for the ASA Northwest Tour, grabbed the Mechanix Wear Pole Award and based on a six-car invert, weaved his way through traffic to the fourth position by lap 48.
As lap 50 near completion, Lewis came to the tail end of the lead lapped cars. Battling for position and the chance to stay on the lead lap, Todd Walters and Brad Rhoads made contact that sent Walters into the side of Lewis’ car with both sliding sideways down the front straight. Tidrick was able to clear the sliding Lewis for the lead just as the yellow flag came out and maintained the point for the remainder of the evening.
Yakima Speedway challenged many drivers during the course of the day as breezy conditions and fall-like weather hampered set-ups and mechanics of several cars.
2008 Port City Racecars Rookie of the Year and current second place points holder, Jared Vorse, spent most of his afternoon changing a motor on the Knight Fire Protection Chevrolet, barely making the final 15 minutes of the day’s practice sessions.
Vorse’s teammate Rhodes, struggle with gear problems during the first 45-minute practice session and was forced to spend considerable time behind the wall for repairs before making it out for the 15 laps of the second afternoon practice run.
Both drivers recovered for top-10 finishes setting the table for a winner take all showdown in the season’s final race. Vorse has locked down the Rookie title over his teammate, Dan Rhodes, but will be out to close a nearly 50-point lead on Wes Rhodes over the course of the season’s final 200 laps of racing.
The ARCA West Circle K Late Model Challenge Series returns to action on September 13 at Wenatchee Valley’s Super Oval for their annual Wenatchee 200 weekend and the conclusion of the 2008 season. Drivers expected to challenge local stars Garrett Evans, Marty Wason, Todd Walters and Brent Harris include ARCA’s most recent winner at WVSO, Jason Jefferson, Josh Roberts, current points leader, Wes Rhodes and many more.
For more information log onto www.latemodelchallenge.com
No. 72 B.J. Tidrick, IPM/Tidrick’s Quality Transmissions Ford Fusion:
“Oh man I hated to keep running all those caution laps there at the end with a battery going dead. And with that they threw the red flag and I was hoping just get it started. While I was sitting there I started praying to my Mom and asking her to help me get through to the end and here we are.
“I knew Gary was going to make it tough on us but we were able to get it done at the end and get the win.”
No. 73 Gary Lewis, Sunbelt Rentals/Frontline Security Chevrolet Impala:
“We got two second place finishes here at Yakima this weekend to a couple of great drivers. B.J. had a good car tonight and I want to congratulate him on the win. A big thank you to our fans who came out here to Yakima to support this team. We had a good car all weekend and we’re working to get ready for the Fall Classic so we may just pull our shock package out and set it aside until then because the car was pretty good.”
No. 37 Mike Longton, Nob Hill Auto Sales/Jackson’s Sports Bar Ford Fusion:
“We know that having home track advantage can help us here at Yakima but lately it seems like where ever Gary Lewis goes that’s a home track for him as well because of how well he’s been running this year. He and B.J. had really good cars tonight and we know we can come back in here for the Fall Classic and see what we can do with them at that race.
“We can only savor this until 6 a.m. then it’s back to harvesting the hops.”
–Longton is a hop farmer by trade and last week signaled the start of harvesting season. The East Valley High School graduate worked 14 hours on Saturday during harvest then returned to the race shop to complete preparations for Sunday’s race.
–Tidrick ran a Northwest Modified on Saturday night during the NAPA Labor Day Spectacular and finished second to Shane Mitchell.
–Owen Riddle, the 2007 Yakima Speedway late model champion. Made his series debut a success. Riddle, who is a crew member for fellow Naches, WA native, Jeff Jefferson, used all the advice Jefferson could provide over the radio to bring his Better-Haul Auto Transport Fusion home to a 10th place finish after qualifying in 12th.
– Rhodes’ seventh consecutive top-5 finished allowed the driver of the Knight Fire Protection Chevrolet to extend his points lead heading into the season finale in just two weeks.
–Korbin Thomas was the field long-haul driver of the weekend. A regular on the ARCA West Mac’s Series, the Williams Lake, BC native pulled over 625 miles to the South in just over 12 hours to bring home a 6th place finish in his second start of the 2008 season on the ARCA West Circle K Late Model Challenge Series.
–ASA Northwest Tour points leader and Rookie of the Year champion, Brad Stanwood, made his ARCA debut a success with a 5th place finish after qualifying 7th. While making a strong run through the field to contend for the win, a fill plug on the top of the transmission came loose. Luckily for the Portland, OR native the crew was able to replace the plug under a yellow flag and not lose a lap to the field.
–Saturday’s race marked the 89th event in ARCA West Late Model Challenge Series history. To date over 310 drivers have participated in the program in its nine-year history with over 60 drivers earning points in 2008.
|NAPA Auto Parts 150|
|1) (4) 72 B.J. Tidrick, Yakima, WA, Ford 150 Running|
2) (3) 73 Gary Lewis, Snohomish, WA, Chevrolet 150 Running
3) (2) 37 Mike Longton, Moxee, WA, Ford 150 Running
4) (8) 6 Wes Rhodes, Yelm, WA, Chevrolet 150 Running
5) (7) 20s Brad Stanwood, Portland, OR, Chevrolet 150 Running
6) (14) 19 Korbin Thomas, Williams Lake, BC, Chevrolet 150 Running
7) (5) 51 Erick Hargraves, Toppenish, WA, Pontiac 150 Running
8) (11) 21 Jared Vorse, Olympia, WA, Chevrolet 149 Running
9) (16) 93 David Garber, Spokane, WA, Pontiac 149 Running
10) (12) 10 Owen Riddle, Naches, WA, Ford 149 Running
11) (17) 4 Todd Walters, Wenatchee, WA, Chevrolet 149 Running
12) (9) 9r Dan Rhodes, Yelm, WA, Chevrolet 148 Running
13) (18) 00 Brad Rhoads, Pasco, WA, Chevrolet 148 Running
14) (15) 9 Josh Roberts, Ephrata, WA, Chevrolet 147 Running
15) (13) 7 Mark Sundberg, Seattle, WA, Ford 147 Running
16) (22) 96 Joe McNeil, Seattle, WA, Ford 146 Running
17) (19) 6c Jarrod Crum, Kennewick, WA, Chevrolet 145 Running
18) (21) 37 Marty Wason, Chelan, WA, Chevrolet 142 Running
19) (6) 3 Shelby Thompson, Mead, WA, Chevrolet 121 Mechanical
20) (10) 34 Scott Walker, Prosser, WA, Chevrolet 113 Mechanical
21) (20) 15 Don Vickery, Seattle, WA, Chevrolet 113 Mechanical
22) (1) 20 Jay Sauls, Puyallup, WA, Chevrolet 34 Mechanical
23) (23) 5 Chris Walters, Wenatchee, WA, Chevrolet 23 Mechanical
24) (24) 50 Pat Walters, Entiat, WA, Chevrolet 11 Mechanical
Fast Time: Shelby Thompson, Valley Bowl Chevrolet, 18.756-sec., 95.969 mph