Battle of Rookies Decides NWSLMS Season Opener

Wenatchee, WA – Haeden Plybon scored his first Northwest Super Late Model Series victory late Sunday afternoon at the Wenatchee Valley Super-Oval, in the “Leonard Evans 150,” The victory was his second of the weekend for the 17-year-old, after scoring a win in the 100-lap Pro Late Model Feature Saturday night. For Plybon, it was only his third series start, all of which came at the Central Washington ¼-mile facility. It was a hard-earned victory after taking the lead in lapped traffic, then having to fend off fellow rookie Bryce Bezanson for the win.

 

“It is definitely my biggest win so far, and my first Super Late Model race win”, Plybon stated. “I’m glad we are finally getting the hang of it. It’s pretty cool going back-to-back and I’m glad that it happened. It was kinda dicey at the start, and I got turned around once, but we luckily were already under caution. We just kinda battled up there until it went single file on the long run, because it made the race better and better. (I got the lead) when the #7 overshot it into one, and I took my shot and made it stick and got him at the end”.

 

Plybon led the day off by setting a Fast Time of 12.724 seconds, beating Tristan Haidar by a mere 0.001 seconds in the 26-car field. Bryce Bezanson, Kole Raz, Doni Wanat, Max Schroeder, Chad Hinkle and Garrett Evans rounded out the redraw participants. The eight-car redraw found Hinkle pull the lucky #1 pill with Max Schroeder lined up alongside. Plybon pulled the unlucky #8 to start at the back of those participants.

 

Upon the green to start the event, Schroeder powered to the lead from the outside lane, with Bryce Bezanson quickly up to second, and Hinkle settling into third. Trenton Moriarity was the driver on the move from ninth, as he took advantage of Hinkle getting into the grass, moving him to fifth in the chain reaction check-up. Tristan Haider got under Hinkle for third on lap 19, but spun in Turn #2 to bring out the first caution. A series of lap 19 cautions ensued, with Bezanson getting by Schroeder on the final one, to take the lead. Moriarity now found himself up to third when the caution flew on lap 22, this time for a Christian Kalsch spin in Turn #2.

 

Another restart found Moriarity up to second, getting by Schroeder, with Plybon advancing to fourth before another caution on lap 26, for a Randy Becker and Dale Winnerberg spin in Turn #3. Another quick restart yellow forced the series to go to single file restarts for the remainder of the race, which then went clean and green for the next 124 laps.

 

By the one-third distance, Bezanson led Moriarity, Schroeder, Plybon and Raz. On lap 51, Plybon turned up the wick, getting under Schroeder for third, when he bobbled looking for second. Raz also advanced to fourth, but gave it back a few laps later. Garrett Evans broke back into the top-four on lap 64, supplanting Raz, who began to fall back with fading brakes, this as Doni Wanat moved to fifth. On lap 80, Plybon was able to take second from Moriarity and take up the chase of Bezanson.

 

Lap 100 saw Bezanson leading with Plybon slowly closing on the leader. Moriarity held third with Wanat now fourth ahead of Evans. Bezanson caught a pack of lapped cars fighting for position, allowing Plybon to close on his bumper. As Bezanson fought with Austin Thom, who was trying to stay on the lead lap, he slipped going into Turn #1, trying to get by. That allowed Plybon to take the lead on the bottom, and move to a quick five-car lead. In the meantime, Wanat moved by Moriarity and began to slowly reel in the lead duo. By lap 140, Bezanson began to close on Plybon and found himself a half car back, as the white flag flew.

 

Plybon drove a flawless final lap however, to score his first series victory. Bezanson crossed the line second followed by Wanat, who may have had the fastest car at the end. Garrett Evans was able to come home fourth, with Chad Hinkle moving into the top-five just before the checkered. Jason O’Neil advanced to sixth at the finish over Max

 

Schroeder and a fading Moriarity. Kole Raz was the final lead lap car followed by Austin Thom, who rounded out the top-10.

 

Bryce Bezanson led the most laps, but came up second in a battle of the young guns. It was the lapped car of Austin Thom, who was still very fast, that gave Plybon the opportunity to get by Bezanson.

 

“The first 100 laps were really, really good”, Bezanson recalled. “I could just roll the bottom and work my entrance out a little bit. But about lap 110 we had to close our entry way off, because it was getting super loose. When I got behind the lapped car, I rolled up on him a little too fast and unfortunately the 55 (Plybon) got under us.”

 

Although Bezanson dropped to second, he was able to close at the end, to pressure Plybon for the win. It was a case of not enough laps for the Jefferson Racing Rookie-of-the-Year Contender, as he felt he still had a shot at the victory.

 

“I think if I had maybe another three laps (we could have got him). My biggest problem was my drive off was so loose. It would have been really hard to get under him and make a run, but I feel like we could have done it.”

 

Doni Wanat drove a smart race, but was victimized by the multiple restarts during the first 26 laps of the feature. The Woodinville, WA driver lost positions on those restarts, and was forced to play catch-up during the long green flag run to the finish. He was only left to think what could have been.

 

“I just ran out of laps”, Wanat began. “I got shuffled back early and those guys like Haeden made it through the pack early. Bryce was up there the whole time. Haiden got lucky on a couple of those quick cautions and restarts to get up there. It seemed like every time we got a caution, I got shuffled back two more spots. By the time I got rolling, it was a little bit too late. Once I got into the open air, it (the car) was pretty good. Trenton, Chad Hinkle, Evans and Moriarity were a little bit tougher to get by. Once I got by those guys, my spotter told me I was better by three-tenths a lap. I pushed as hard as I could, but I was pretty much smoked at that point, so it is what it is.”

 

The next event for the Northwest Super late Model Series will be at Stateline Speedway on May 15th for the “Northwest Super Late Model 150”. It is the site of Haeden Plybon’s Pro Late Model Track Championship in 2020. The drivers of the “Tour” my find it tough to keep Plybon out of Victory Lane for the second event of the season.

 

Results:

 

  1. Haiden Plybon, 2. Bryce Bezanson, 3. Doni Wanat, 4. Garrett Evans, 5. Chad Hinkle, 6. Jason O’Neil, 7. Max Schroeder, 8. Trenton Moriarity, 9. Kole Raz, 10. Austin Thom, 11. Christopher Kalsch, 12. Buddy Kofoid, 13. Chris Kellogg, 14. Jake Woods, 15. Matt Doyle, 16. Dale Wennerberg, 17. Scott Graf, 18. Kaylee Bryson, 19. Dave Garber, 20. Cam Kellogg, 21. Kit VanBuskirk, 22. Randy Becker, 23. Tristan Haidar, 24. Alan Cress, 25. Andy Beaman, DNS. Scott Walker

 

ABOUT THE NORTHWEST SUPER LATE MODEL SERIES

 

The Northwest Super Late Model Series is the premier regional touring Super Late Model series in the Northwest. The series has many valued partners including Hoosier Racing Tire, McGunegill Engine Performance, AR Bodies, Joes Racing Products, Penske Racing Shocks, Accelerated Graphics, Five Star Bodies, AFCO/Longacre Racing Products, Wheel Chill, Atomic Screenprinting and Embroidery, Franks Racing Radio, BLP, Jefferson Racing, and The Ti Company. For more information on the series visit www.nwslms.com or on Facebook and Twitter.

 

-Northwest Super Late Model Series Press Release

-Photo credit: Kevin Peters

Battle of Rookies Decides NWSLMS Season Opener