Hermiston, OR – Northwest Super Late Model Series points leader, Trevor Cristiani, was declared the winner of the Atomic 125 held Sept. 1 at Hermiston Raceway. The decision comes after a last-lap incident involving the leaders resulted in contact between the two with both drivers penalized upon completion of the event.
Tayler Riddle posted the top speed in qualifying with a lap of 14.803-sec. at over 121 mph. This was his first NWSLMS pole award of the season and the driver of the No. 15 Ford would line up on the front row alongside Canadian Clint Habart who was making his first NWSLMS start of the season.
The pair touched entering turn No. 3 on the race’s opening lap, forcing a complete restart.
On the second crack at the green flag, Riddle moved out to a sizable advantage on Habart with Alan Cress, Cristiani and Garrett Evans lined up and chasing the leaders.
By lap 14 Evans had moved to second place with Habart, Cress and Dave Garber tucked in behind the multi-time NWSLMS champion.
Riddle’s lightning quick race pace brought him to tail end of the field by lap 23. Evans forced his way through the heavy lapped traffic over the next five laps and the two leaders found room to race. Riddle built a nearly one-second lead on Evans by lap 40, as the No. 15 was quickest through lapped traffic.
Cristiani raced into the fourth-place position by lap 56 and challenged Habart for the top-3 over the next 10 laps, finally advancing to third at lap 70. The blistering pace by Riddle allowed him to lap the field, leaving only Evans and Cristiani on the lead lap at the race’s 105th circuit.
At lap 110 Riddle had a 15-car length lead on Evans, with Cristiani another 10 car lengths off of second place. The night’s final yellow flag flew at lap 117 setting up an eight-lap sprint to the finish amongst the trio. Riddle built a three-car length lead on Evans by lap 121, with Cristiani glued to Evans bumper as the pair made their efforts to keep pace with Riddle.
With the top-3 running nose to tail at the beginning of lap 123, Riddle’s ability to run the low groove began to fade. Evans moved to the inside of Riddle’s Ford just past the flag stand as lap 125 began. The pair made contact entering the corner with Cristiani getting by Riddle for second place.
Upon completion of the race Evans was penalized for his contact with Riddle, who was disqualified for actions detrimental to racing for an incident with Evans on the cool down lap. As a result, Cristiani moved to the top spot in the running order and was declared the race winner.
Cristiani’s victory is his first of his Northwest Super Late Model Series career.
Tristan Haider was scored second with Cress, Habart and Garber rounding out the top-5.
CRISTIANI STRONG THROUGHOUT THE EVENING:
“Hermiston is a very difficult racetrack with the lack of grip. It’s almost like driving on ice if your car isn’t balanced well. I paid a lot of attention to keeping my right rear under me, so we had something left (late in the race). Fortunately, my guys gave me a great car and we were in a position to be in the right spot at the end. We had a winning car and lucky for us things fell our way. We had a good plan for the race, and I knew we needed to be patient and my goal was to hold on until the last lap. I had a catbird’s seat on the leaders. They were getting pretty aggressive there in the end and I was ready to pounce. I was going to take advantage when I could and saw they were getting pretty aggressive and the opportunity became available.”
NOTES OF INTEREST:
- Cristiani’s victory netted him a $3,000 winner’s check from Hermiston Raceway and Atomic Screenprinting.
- Cristiani drives a Chevrolet owned by Don and LuAnne Newman. Rocky Mountain Race Car Supply and Cristiani Motorsports sponsor his team.
- Haider’s finish is the first top-5 of his NWSLMS career. The run maintains the Olympia youngster’s hold on the Jefferson Pitts Racing Rookie of the Year award.
- Based on his top-3 finish in the Atomic 125, Cress will continue to be the top threat to Cristiani’s championship drive. The driver of the No. 91 Chevrolet returns to the scene of his lone 2019 NWSLMS victory, Wenatchee Valley Super Oval, on Sept. 21 for the running of the Neal Newberry 125.
- Hermiston Raceway and NWSLMS veteran Dave Garber was the highest finishing local driver. Garber’s top-5 run earned him a Hermiston Raceway bonus of double his NWSLMS paycheck in the event.
- Mitch Kleyn’s seventh place finish maintains his position inside the top-10 in NWSLMS championship points. The Quincy, Wash. driver has finished inside the top-10 championship standings since the series started in 2014.
- Chris Miner made his debut on the NWSLMS. Miner spent much of his evening battling for a top-10 position, ultimately settling for an 11th place finish.
NORTHWEST SUPER LATE MODEL SERIES UNOFFICIAL RESULTS
125 Laps 37.50 Miles
Official Finishing Pos./No./Driver
1 90 Trevor Cristiani
2 24 Tristan Haider
3 91 Alan Cress
4 09 Clint Habart
5 93 Dave Garber
6 33 Christopher Kalsch
7 1k Mitch Kleyn
8 12 Rick Gerard
9 33s Brooke Schimmel
10 11 Ed Thomsen
11 17 Chris Miner
12 64 Garrett Evans
13 03 Ken Bonney
14 77 CJ Hawley
15 15f Jim Franklin
16 24b Tim Babcock
17 02 Todd Connell
18 05 Tyler Brown
DQ 15 Tayler Riddle