Wenatchee, WA – “Driven to be a champion” is a catch phrase many use to set goals and rise to the top of a sport. For Northwest Super Late Model Series driver Trevor Cristiani, the efforts put forth to achieve the goal are in part what made 2019 a season to remember for the Idaho driver.
With one win and six top-10 finishes Cristiani capped off his first full-season of NWSLMS competition with a championship, the first for a driver from the Gem State, and becomes the first person to win the title not named Garrett Evans or Britney Zamora.
Like every driver who begins a year with high hopes and plans to go race‑to‑race and improve, Cristiani took the year as a steady climb to the top of the series points chase.
“I felt we started the season with a good amount of speed. It just took us a bit to learn the car more to keep the speed going from one track to another since no two seem to be even close to the same. We were forced to do things out of our comfort zone, which ultimately lead us to learning more what the car liked and gained more speed.”
One track, Yakima Speedway, provided the most drama for Cristiani as he chased the championship. Having never competed in a super late model on the famed half-mile until this season’s Apple Cup, Cristiani knew the track would be a challenge.
With a parts failure at last weekend’s Fall Classic presenting the chance for other drivers to step up and claim the championship in what was a tight battle all year, earning the title in the end made up for a short-lived run in the 200-lap finale.
“Yakima, I felt was our toughest track. I knew going into the last event we were going to have to perform and we did not. Ultimately, I believe our part failure (rear end housing) was a huge majority of the issues we were fighting all weekend. I felt our chances to win the championship with our race ending so early (at lap 72) had fallen to zero. It was more dramatic when we saw Garrett (Evans, who came into the night third in the championship standings and a mere nine points behind Cristiani) on pit road with an issue (overheating issues that forced Evans out of the race). As unfortunate as it was for him, we did some math and came to realize our chances were not completely out of the equation.
“We knew Alan (Cress, who was holding down second place in the points starting the evening) had to finish in a certain position (fifth place) to clinch it and honestly I was rooting for him. It was cool for our outcome to work out the way it did (Cress finished in sixth place giving Cristiani the title by three points), but knowing (Cress’) situation with his late car owner (Bruce Latta, who passed away last winter) and actually being the last championship contender still on the track, I thought it would have been really cool for him to race his way up and earn it at the end in dramatic fashion.”
Competing against the toughest drivers the Northwest and Western Canada has to offer, Cristiani took nothing for granted in each of the seven NWSLMS events in 2019.
“I really enjoyed racing with Alan, he’s a clean, respectable racer with a lot of speed. I felt bad for him after their mishap in Evergreen, which set him back, and he wasn’t able to bring his top equipment to the rest of the events. I know he would have made it an even tighter battle at the end.
“Garrett was definitely tough as he always has been, they don’t call him a legend for nothing. To race against that team at every race we knew he and Alan were always going to be our toughest competition. What I felt was very unique racing on the series was every track we went to there was someone else that was blistering fast each time. There was always new competition in each event, so you couldn’t just focus on trying to plan how to beat one or two cars.
With the season wrapped up, Cristiani is looking forward to some well-deserved time off with family.
“As of right now, I’m focusing on watching my new daughter (Blayke) develop, and don’t want to miss anything more then I need to. It was a long season with the closest track being four to five hours away, so it will be nice to take a small break, but hopefully not a long one.”
Having support at home also helped in the chase for the championship.
“I have to thank my incredible wife, Aubree, for allowing me to take off for several days to compete and do what I love to do. It was especially tough this last weekend as our daughter was born on Tuesday (Oct. 2). My wife still let me come compete for a championship on the final event. I know that most likely would not have happened with most relationships, but her being a racer herself, she was very supportive, and I couldn’t be more thankful to her for what she has allowed me to do all year.”
Finding success at many levels of racing, Cristiani has established himself as one of the region’s top talents. Capturing a touring division championship for his team met several goals put together in the off-season. Plans to challenge for back-to-back championships are still being developed, he added.
“My car owners (Don and Luanne Newman) agreed to allow me to race for them for three years, which started in 2017. That run ended after this past weekend. My plans as of now are up in the air as that was his car and equipment that we used, and I can’t afford to do it on my own. I was very fortunate they provided me with the best equipment they could and to cover the burden of financial support of what it costs to race each and every weekend. We would have never competed on the series if it weren’t for them. I’m very grateful to them for the opportunity.”
Next up for Cristiani will be the NWSLMS Awards Evening on Nov. 9 in Wenatchee, Wash. The gathering brings together the top drivers of the series, crew chiefs and this season’ contingency winners for gala event put together in conjunction with Wenatchee Valley’s Super Oval.
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 sponsors including Hoosier Racing Tire, McGunegill Engine Performance, Port City Race Cars, AR Bodies, Joes Racing Products, Penske Racing Shocks, Jostens, Accelerated Graphics, Five Star Bodies, Longacre Racing Products, Wheel Chill, KRC Power Steering, Atomic Screenprinting and Embroidery, Franks Racing Radio, BLP, Jefferson Pitts Racing, Leonard Evans Used Car Super Store, The Ti Company and Pacific Steel Structures LLC. For more information on the series visit www.nwslms.com or on Facebook or Twitter. To contact the series please email [email protected]
-Northwest Super Late Model Series Press Release and Photo