AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash. — With rain predicted for the start of the Northwest Super Late Model Series Park Model Homes 125 at Spokane Super Oval, teams used every bit of their two afternoon practice sessions to be ready to run on a green track if needed.
For current series points leader and two-time champion, Garrett Evans, the set-up his team gave him was just the right combination as the driver of the DAA Northwest/Leonard Evans Used Car Superstore Chevrolet proved to be strong enough to overcome a hard-charging Braeden Havens to capture his second career series victory.
Nicole Behar, Jason Jefferson and Ryan Wells rounded out the top-5 running order.
Past NASCAR Northwest Tour champion, Pete Harding, got things off to a rousing start en route to capturing the Wheel Chill Pole Award with a lap of 17.772-sec. Garrett Archer, who had to wait a bit longer then his competitors for a qualifying run after an oil-down delayed time trials, was able to put pressure on Harding’s fast time but came up .004-sec. shy of the pole. A mere one-tenth of a second separated Harding from Evans seventh place time with the top-10 less then two-tenths off of the Canadian’s fast pace.
Harding would pull a six-car invert for the night’s main event putting Havens and Behar on the front row. As the field began to warm-up for the 125-lap showdown, rain arrived and delayed the action for over an hour.
Once racing got underway it was clear that Havens, Behar and Wells were going to be among the mix for the checkered flag. Each took turns running at or near the front of the pack while never straying to far outside the top-5 running order. Evans, Harding, Mike Longton and Jefferson kept the lead within sight as the race’s first 100 laps went caution free while running at near record pace.
Wells built a nearly three-second lead on Havens who employed a patient strategy to maintain contact with the leader. By lap 95 Wells lead shrunk to less then a few car lengths with Havens finally able to reestablish himself at the front of the field as the pack roared to lap 99.
A spin by Toby Becker brought the night’s first caution giving Wells and Archer a chance to cool the tire to line-up for a run at Havens and the lead. Havens Western Rail Chevrolet got a good jump on Wells Racing Dynamics Toyota as the duo raced into turn No. 1. Evans was able to get around Wells with Archer close behind. The night’s second yellow flew on lap 110 closing up the field after Havens had built a sizable lead on Evans and Archer.
Havens pounced on the restart to establish the lead once more but Evans was up for the challenge and stayed within two car lengths of the leader as lap 112 began. Archer for his part caught Evans and the pair passed Havens on lap 115 shuffling the Medical Lake native back to third-place.
Jefferson Pitts Racing Rookie of the Year contender, Brittney Zamora lost a motor on lap 119 that forced the field to a halt under the red flag. With track clean up crews able to make short work of the fluid on the racing surface, the battled for victory resumed on lap 120. Evans led Archer off turn No. 4 but an incident behind them again saw the yellow come out. With no lap completed the field relined up and took another shot at lap 120.
Evans took to an outside line on the restart as Archer split between Havens and the leader to pull alongside of the veteran Evans. Unable to make the move stick heading into turn No. 3, Archer lost the handle and spun to the high side moving Havens back into contention on the restart.
On the restart Evans got to turn No. 1 ahead of Havens who tucked behind the leader with Behar in tow. Jefferson was able to clear Wells with all five building a big lead back to sixth place Longton and the hard-charging Archer.
Extending to a one second lead, Evans took the checkered flag over Havens who held off Behar at the stripe.
Next up for the NWSLMS is the Idaho Tune-150 at Stateline Speedway on June 11. For more information log onto raceidaho.com com or the NWSLMS Facebook page.
-Northwest Super Late Model Series Press Release