LAKE STEVENS, Washington — In the inaugural season for the IXL Metal Conditioner NorthWest Wingless Tour, if you saw the No. 50 midget car belonging to Evan Margeson in the pit area during the afternoon, you were looking at the car that would win the main event that night.
Because of weather, the NWWT midgets only ran six events in their inaugural campaign and Margeson, out of Tacoma, Wash. was forced to miss one of those races due to work commitments. In the five races he did show up to, he won all five main events and went on to become the first midget car champion in the NWWT’s short history.
Driving his family’s No. 50 Esslinger-powered Beast, the mild mannered Margeson was racing midgets on the dirt for the first time in 2009. A former champion of the Washington Midget Racing Association on the pavement, Margeson’s past success easily translated to the dirt as he was rarely challenged and gave a handful of dominating, jaw-dropping performances.
The NWWT’s 360 sprint car division went at it alone on April 25th, so it was not until May 23rd that the NWWT midgets got their start at Cottage Grove Speedway. Margeson’s presence made a bit of a stir, with many people wondering how he would do on the dirt. The 21-year-old showed everyone he would be a force to contend with as he proceeded to sweep the entire evening, setting quick time in qualifying, winning his heat race and dominating the main event.
On June 6th, the NWWT midgets had company as a number of potent cars from the Bay Cities Racing Association visited from California, including the legend Floyd Alvis and champions John Sarale and Justin Grant. Margeson wasn’t near as dominant as he was in the prior race, but was still up to the challenge as he held off the very strong Grant to win the main event.
On the 4th of July, while the NWWT was taking some time off, Margeson went down to Placerville Speedway to race against the BCRA itself, and won again. Margeson also continued racing from time to time with the WMRA on the pavement four times, winning three main events - May 16th at South Sound Speedway, June 13th at Ephrata Raceway Park and June 20th at Agassiz Speedway in British Columbia.
On Labor Day weekend, when Cottage Grove Speedway looked it would rain out for sure, which it did, Margeson also ventured down to race with the USAC Western States midgets at the two-night Louie Vermeil Classic at the half-mile monster known as Calistoga Speedway. Despite never racing on a dirt track that big and fast before, Margeson did just fine as he came home with fourth and third place finishes.
Back on the NWWT trail, Margeson was at it again on July 18th, as it was only ignition issues in his heat race that kept him from completing another sweep. Starting fifth in the main event, Margeson only needed two laps to take the lead and never looked back from there, winning the race by more than half a lap. That dominating performance gave him a 51-point lead in the NWWT standings after just three races.
Margeson was forced to miss the August 15th race due to work commitments, and his points lead disappeared as Mitch Hoffses completed a clean sweep of his own. On September 12th, Margeson was back in full force, making a second clean sweep that included his fourth NWWT main event win. Margeson was only able to cut his deficit to Hoffses to five points though with the October 3rd finale at Willamette Speedway remaining.
Though most people still favored Margeson to win the NWWT championship despite being five points back of Hoffses, Margeson caught a break when Hoffses crashed out in a non-NWWT event at Cottage Grove Speedway on September 26th and was unable to get his car back together in time for the finale, virtually handing the championship to Margeson.
At Willamette Speedway’s Fall Classic, Margeson again set fast time and blew away the field in his heat race. With the 21-car field being the largest for the NWWT midgets this year, the NWWT threw in some bonus money into the event for the midget car division, making it $600 total to win the main event. With the championship locked up, Margeson was told he would earn another $100 if he started at the back and could still win it. Being the competitor he is, Margeson decided he would try to put on a show for the fans and accepted the challenge.
Margeson got part of the way through the field, had problems and had to return to the tail end of the field. Margeson was unfazed by the mishap and proceeded to drive back up to second place. Margeson then had to deal with Seth Hespe, Grays Harbor Raceway’s Ford Focus midget champion and a winner of five main events himself this year. The very talented Hespe put up a strong fight with his less powerful Ford Focus motor but Margeson was eventually able to get around Hespe and win the race, giving Margeson a $700 payday.
Margeson’s win that night was his fifth with the NWWT and at least his ninth total in 2009, a season in which he and his very potent No. 50 were rarely beaten. Margeson won races in three U.S. states and one Canadian province this year.
This Saturday night, October 24th, Margeson will be recognized as the first NWWT midget champion at the IXL Metal Conditioner NorthWest Wingless Tour’s banquet at the Holiday Inn in Wilsonville, Ore. With the NWWT schedule likely to be bigger next year with increased car counts, many are anxious to see if Margeson’s success will continue in 2010.
More information on the IXL Metal Conditioner NorthWest Wingless Tour can be found online at http://www.nwwinglesstour.com.
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IXL Metal Conditioner NorthWest Wingless Tour
Top 10 points - midget car division
1. Evan Margeson, 413 - 2009 NWWT midget car champion
2. Steve Dickenson, 388
3. Mitch Hoffses, 342
4. Glenn Bittrolf, 315
5. Doug McVae, 305
6. Tyler Steenslid, 294
7. Mike Gehringer, 269
(tie) Dallas Melby, 269
9. Peter Bittrolf, 268
10. Steve Veltman, 246
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IXL Metal Conditioner NorthWest Wingless Tour
Where: Holiday Inn - Wilsonville, Oregon
When: Saturday, October 24th
Master of ceremonies: Andrew Kunas
Cocktails: 6 p.m. to 12 Midnight, no host bar
Dinner: 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Awards scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m.