PUYALLUP, Washington — Trey Starks has traveled thousands of miles by ground and tens of thousands of mile by air this year, as he has visited 10 tracks in five states, traversing as far south as Arizona and as far east as Ohio, with the majority of those starts coming in the state of California. The 16-year-old made his shortest trip of the season last Saturday night — a mere 62 miles, as he paid his first visit of the year to Grays Harbor Raceway Park in his home state of Washington.
The native of Puyallup, Wash., ran third, which marked his third podium finish of the season. Dating back to last year, Starks has finished sixth or better in four of his last seven starts at Grays Harbor, including a pair of Top-Three showings.
“It’s nice to race close to home and be able to work out of our shop, and not in someone else’s shop or in a parking lot,” said Starks. “We feel a little more comfortable and a little more ahead of ourselves when we leave the shop and head to the track.”
Starks opened the night on Saturday, May 19 by turning the fifth-fastest lap in time trials. He finished third in the third eight-lap heat race, picking up one position from his initial starting spot. The third-generation driver lined up sixth for the main event and fell back a couple of spots on the start. He worked his way back up to sixth by the third lap, and found his way into the Top-Five at the halfway point of the 30-lap contest. Starks moved into fourth with 10 laps remaining and gained one more spot on the 27th circuit.
“I’m happy with third, but there were a few times I think I could have done better,” said Starks. “I think I could have gotten by (Henry) Van Dam on the last lap. I tried to go for a slider and he covered up. If I would have run my line around the top, I think I would have been able to get by him for second, but I guess hindsight is 20/20. I was happy to come home and use some of the stuff we learned in the Midwest and some of the other races we have been running.”
After spending a pair of weekends competing with the World of Outlaws at the famed Knoxville Raceway in Iowa and the legendary Eldora Speedway in Ohio, Starks returned to the West Coast on Friday, May 11 and Saturday, May 12 for the Chris and Brian Faria Memorial with the Cancen Oil King of the West Sprint Car Series presented by Goodyear at Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif.
“Tulare, even though it’s not a quarter-mile, it has that quarter-mile feel and mentality,” noted Starks. “There are tight little turns there and you have to be right up on the fence. It’s an exciting place to watch and race at it. It’s fun to drive and you have to really get your elbows up.”
Starks matched his best-career finish at Tulare on the second night of the event, with a seventh-place performance. The third-generation driver has competed at the high-banked 1/3-mile bullring a total of three times this season, as he also took to the track with the World of Outlaws at Tulare in March, coming from the 22nd starting position to finish 13th and earn the KSE Racing Products Hard Charger Award. He now has three career Top-10 finishes at Thunderbowl Raceway in a handful of starts.
“I think going to Eldora a few weeks ago, really helped when we went back to Tulare, especially being right up against the fence,” explained the young driver. “At Eldora, you are running right up against the fence at 130 miles per hour and at Tulare you are right up against the fence going 100 or 110 miles per hour.”
In the opener of the two-night show on Friday, May 11, Starks turned the 21st-fastest lap in time trials. He finished sixth in the first heat, which was just one spot shy of transferring into the main event, putting him in the B-Main, where his night ended.
Starks has finished seventh or better in three of his last four starts in California this season, including picking up his first win of 2012 on April 7 at Kings Speedway in Hanford. The native of Puyallup, Wash., has competed at five tracks in the Golden State this year, with the majority of those starts coming in World of Outlaws events.
Starks will be back in action this coming weekend again at Grays Harbor Raceway, in Elma, Wash., as he competes in the season opening Spring Showdown for the ASCS Northwest Region on Saturday, May 26 and Sunday, May 27. He finished second and sixth in the two-night event last season and wound up the year third in points with the series.
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.