PUYALLUP, Washington — Trey Starks and his team made a last minute decision to spend one more weekend in California, before heading to the Midwest, and that decision paid off, as the 16-year old was victorious on Saturday, April 7 at Kings Speedway in Hanford, Calif. to earn his first win of the 2012 season.
“It definitely feels good to win,” said Starks, who won his first sprint car race last season at Skagit Speedway in his home state of Washington. “To win this early in the season is great. It took us two years to get our first win, so to win at the beginning of my third year, hopefully that’s a sign of things to come and we’ll have a strong rest of the year.”
The native of Puyallup, Wash. lined up fifth for the main event, which was originally scheduled for 30-laps, but was shortened to 20-laps due to time constraints. The caution flag flew a couple of times before a single lap was in the books. Once the green flag would fly, Starks would battle veteran Tommy Tarlton for the top spot, using the bottom of the 3/8-mile to take the lead, and would not look back en route to the win.
“When you are leading, you really can’t think too much, you just have to hit your marks,” shared Starks. “If you overthink out there, you are bound to make a mistake. The main thing is to just keep driving faster than the guys behind you.”
Starks finished third on March 30 at Hanford, and his win on Saturday night marked his fourth consecutive podium finish at the 3/8-mile. He finished second in the Cotton Classic last fall with the Cancen Oil King of the West Sprint Car Series, and also scored a runner-up finish in April of 2011 with the ASCS SoCal Region at the track.
“Hanford really seems to fit my driving style and I always seem to run well there,” noted the young driver. “Qualifying well and running up front in the heat race always helps there also. The car seems to roll pretty well on the bottom at that track and that’s where I was able to run this past weekend.”
Starks opened the night at Hanford by turning the second-fastest lap in time trials of the 19 cars that were in attendance aboard his Shaver-powered Maxim. He started fourth in the second heat and finished a very close second to Steven Tiner, nearly inching him out at the flagstand, which would put him on the inside of the third row for the main event.
Prior to competing in the two consecutive races at Hanford, Starks raced in five straight events with the World of Outlaws during their early season West Coast swing. He qualified for the feature event in all five of those contests and twice earned the KSE Racing Products Hard Charger Award, which is given to the driver that passes the most cars each night.
“I felt like I had a lot of confidence heading into the race on Saturday night at Hanford,” noted the second-generation driver. “We’ve been racing at an Outlaws level most of this season, so that certainly helps and that experience is priceless. Confidence definitely played a big role in the win.”
Starks and his team will head to the Midwest this week to take part in a practice session at the famed Knoxville Raceway in Iowa on Saturday, April 14. They plan to race in the first two events at the half-mile, including the World of Outlaws visit on April 28, before heading to another legendary venue — Eldora Speedway in Ohio to compete again with the World of Outlaws on May 4–5.
“It will be interesting going to Knoxville,” said Starks. “I’m excited to see the track for the first time and feel it out. I think we’ll have fun and will definitely learn a lot. With how well we are running right now, I kind of wish we were racing this weekend, but the practice day will help us a lot, that’s for sure.”
Trey Starks and Starks Racing would like to thank their valued partners: BR Motorsports, FX Signs, King Racing Products, Masco Petroleum, Northwest Powerdercoating & Sandblasting, Starks Timber Processing and T &C Concepts.
Kings Speedway Results
Start Heat Finish Feature Start Feature
April 7 2nd 4th 2nd 5th 1st