MARYSVILLE, Washington — On Saturday and Sunday June 27 & 28 the iRacing American Speed Association Northwest Late Model Tour starts the second half of the 2009 season. The second annual NOS Energy Drink ‘Road Course Challenge’ at Pacific Raceways in Kent, Washington will be a turning point for many of the series regulars. With two days of turning left and right on the 2.25-mile, 10-turn course, the drivers in the championship chase will be tested mentally and physically.
With five races remaining in the 2009 ASA NWLMT season the road course will be very pivotal towards the fist ever series championship. The predominate circle track series has many in this seasons chase heading onto a road course for the first or second time in their respective racing careers.
With three 50-minute practice sessions on Saturday prior to qualifying there will no time for errors. For the first time road course racers their time will be spent learning the track. While those with some experience at PR will still have to spend time re-familiarizing themselves to the tricky undulating course.
Sunday starts with a 50-minute practice session followed by the 40-lap feature. This year’s feature will be divided with the first portion being 30-laps. Teams will go to work on adjustments and adding fuel for the final 10-lap shootout.
Gary Lewis (Snohomish, WA) winner of last year’s rain delayed and darkness shortened ASA Northwest Tour feature at PR is returning to defend his road racing prowess. Lewis has won twice at PR and once on the road course at Portland International Raceway during his tenure as a Super Late Model Stock Car driver. A win for Lewis will bode well in his quest for the ASA NWLMT championship. Lewis has won NASCAR & ARCA West championships during his storied career.
Last years second place finisher of this event Jason Fraser (Snohomish, WA) started his racing career at Pacific Raceways albeit on a Speedway Motorcycle. Fraser turned to stock car racing six years ago. During the first half of the six years it was a big learning curve to overcome. Once Fraser got over the hump his racing skills started to take over and the top finishes also started. Fraser has more laps on the 2.25-mile course than any of the regular stock car drivers. He felt after last year’s race that if it was not shortened due to darkness he had something for event winner Lewis, “I was getting faster with each lap. If we were able to go all 40-laps I definitely had the car to beat him”.
A regular circle track racer with road racing experience is entered. Pete Harding (Surrey, B.C.) has the many laps on the 10-turn circuit. Harding has struggled this season at the circle tracks the series has raced at. Harding is coming off a win this past weekend in an ARCA West Late Model race on the .500-mile oval at Vernon, B.C.
The 2009 season point leader Brent Harris (E. Wenatchee, WA) is among those with little road course knowledge. Harris is still looking for that elusive win. His goal this weekend is survive and finish in the top five maintaining his point lead.
Joining Harris in the little experience category is second in points Mike Longton. Longton hopes to parlay his two victories this season into a win at PR on Sunday. Longton trails by just 12-points in the season’s championship chase.
Many of the Northwest’s elite Super Late Model Stock Car racers are entered. Mark Sundberg (Seattle, WA), Brad Stanwood (Portland, OR), Jeff Holden (Everett, WA), Mike Kenyon (North Bend, WA), Kelly Mann (Monroe, WA), Shane Biles (Woodinville, WA) and Jody Tanner (Portland, OR) to mention a few of the many pre-entered.
The battle for the coveted Port Cities Racecars ‘Rookie Challenge’ has three newcomers to Super Late Model racing and with no experience on the road course. Current leader for the title Joey Tanner (Portland, OR) was a late model dirt racer until this season. Amanda MacDonald (Ephrata, WA) is a student at Central Washington University studying to become an educator. Alan Cress (Albany, OR) is in the midst of the learning curve of racing with a traveling series.
It all starts on Saturday June 27 with backgates opening at 7:00am with the first of the three practice sessions scheduled for 10am. The practice sessions will be intermingled with practice for the US National Extreme Karts. Qualifying for the NOS Energy Drink ‘Road Course Challenge’, will end the day.
Sunday June 28 the action starts with backgates opening at 8:00am. A 50-minute test session is followed by opening ceremonies at 12:30pm. Always popular with fans is an autograph opportunity that will be at 12:45pm. The 40-lap NOS Energy Drink feature will follow the Kart feature at approximately 3:00pm.
The weekend will be full of activities for the race attendee, with live music on the Car Toys Aftershock Stage, vendor booths and great food.
For track and event information contact Pacific Raceways at 253-639-5927. For ASA NWLMT information contact 253-312-1080.
Pre-Registered Racers as of 6/24/09
Gary Lewis (Snohomish, WA)
Brent Harris (E. Wenatchee, WA)
Jason Fraser (Snohomish, WA)
Mark Sundberg (Seattle, WA)
Jason Fiorito (Seattle, WA)
Kelly Mann (Monroe, WA)
Ken Sleveland (Spanaway, WA)
Ed Thompson (Pasco, WA)
Don Vickery (Seattle, WA)
Jody Tanner (Portland, OR)
Shane Biles (Woodinville, WA)
Brad Stanwood (Portland, OR)
Alan Cress (Albany, OR)*
Ricki Machin (Eugene, OR)
Joey Tanner (Portland, OR)*
Mike Longton (Moxee, WA)
Pete Harding (Surrey, B.C.)
Mike Kenyon (North Bend, WA)
Amanda MacDonald (Ephrata, WA)*
Harold Raczynski (Duvall, WA)
Jeff Holden (Everett, WA)
Joe McNeil (Sumner, WA)
*2009 Port Cities Racecars ‘Rookie Challenge’