GRAHAM, Washington — The ARCA West Circle K Late Model Challenge Series has award seven of its top-10 drivers in the final 2008 championship points standings with cash and year-end prizes totaling over $17,500.
Drivers who ran 80-percent or more of the season’s events were eligible for the year-end awards. Those drivers include 2008 champion Wes Rhodes, 2008 Port City Racecars Rookie of the Year and points runner-up, Jared Vorse, third place and defending Rookie of the Year, Erick Hargraves, Todd Walters (4th place in points), Dan Rhodes (5th), Brent Harris (6th) and Don Vickery (8th).
Vorse captured the season’s most desired award for rookie drivers-a new late model chassis courtesy of Port City Racecars and Chuck Carruthers Industries. Port City and Carruthers’ contribution will be presented to Vorse this fall.
“I am honored to have received this award from Port City for being named the 2008 Rookie of the Year,” Vorse said at the conclusion of 2008’s final event on Sept. 13. “This is a great award and I know it will be something I will always think about when looking back on this season.”
Circle K Stores and Q Racing/Paul Oil Company also contributed towards the year-end cash payouts to drivers with Wes Rhodes picking up the champion’s share of the purse.
“It’s been great running the ARCA West Late Model Challenge Series these last few years and to be their champion this year and to win on the final night makes all of this that much sweeter,” Rhodes said. “I know how hard this race team worked and to have all three cars in the top-5 in season-ending points, the top-2 in the Rookie of the Year standings and two wins as a team on the season is awesome.”
Rhodes also received a generous award from Five Star Stock Car Bodies-a complete late model ABC body package. Vorse added to his winnings with a prize package from Five Star for his runner-up finish.
Hargraves picked up several cash and product awards including a new Chevrolet Impala body from ARP Bodies while Walters was awarded a set of Brodix heads for his fourth place efforts in addition to his monetary earnings.
Harris received a radio package from Frank’s Radio Service to go along with his year-end prize monies.
Vickery and Dan Rhodes netted a combination of season-points fund monies and several product awards from contributors including Mechanix Wear, Bilstein Shocks, Earl’s Plumbing, Hoosier Tires, Sonic/Tilton, Holley, Heatshield, Goodridge and Trick Racing Fuel.
During its nine-race season the ARCA West LMCS had many exciting and historic moments to celebrate.
This season saw the LMCS hold its largest ever purse paying event; the Big Sky 150 Cory Wolfe Challenge which paid $10,000 to the winner with each driver starting the race receiving a minimum of $900.
Vorse picked up his first career Mechanix Wear Pole Award at Sun Valley Speedway in Vernon, BC on June 14 and followed it up with a career first victory in Kalispell, Mont. on July 5.
Hargraves captured his first career pole award at the Pepsi 125 on July 26 at Wenatchee Valley’s Super Oval while Harris set a new track record in qualifying for the series at WVSO with a 12.639-second lap at 71.208 mph done during the Washington 125 held June 21.
The series had just one repeat winner in 2008-its defending champion, Gary Lewis.
A three-time late model touring champion from Snohomish, Wash., Lewis picked up a win in his first trip to Mission Valley Speedway in Ronan, Mont. during Memorial Day Weekend and also grabbed a June victory at Wenatchee Valley’s Super Oval. Despite running a limited schedule on the series, Lewis’ consistency earned the team a ninth place finish in the final points standings.
Vorse led a parade of first time winners with his Montana Raceway Park victory. Other first time winners on the series include Pete Harding (Sun Valley, June 14), Hargraves (WVSO, July 26), Jason Jefferson (WVSO, Aug. 16) and Wes Rhodes (WVSO, Sept. 13).
The ARCA West Circle K Late Model Challenge Series heads into its 10th season of competition in 2009. To learn more about the series, schedules and rules package log onto www.latemodelchallenge.com or contact Series Director, Dr. Jerry Losch, at (253) 312-1080.