MONROE, Wash. –Parker Stephens, the son of famed NASCAR Northwest Tour champion, Dirk Stephens, scored his first career victory on the Tri-Track Super Late Model Series as the recent high school graduate held off a hard-charging Evergreen Speedway NASCAR Whelen All-American Series champion, Mike Holden, over the final five laps of the event.
Andy Sole, Doni Wanat and Tyler Baker rounded out the top-5 running order.
The first of two events between the NASCAR division and Tri-Track series for supremacy at Evergreen Speedway this season featured a race on the .675-mile oval, known as the Superspeedway of the Northwest. Saturday’s race was contested on the much tighter interior .375-mile oval where handling is far more superior then horsepower.
Youth was king in the Central Welding 125 as Stephens and Luke Selliken fought tooth and nail for the lead through the majority of the night’s main event. Selliken nabbed the lead from Stephens near the race’s 50th lap then contended with Northwest legend, Garrett Evans, to maintain the top spot. Evans set-up Selliken with a move down the front stretch, then made an inside pass to take the lead exiting turn No. 2.
Evans would maintain a tight lead on the field, but was forced to pit under green with 30 laps to go as a cut left-rear that cost the veteran any possible chance at victory.
The night’s fast qualifier, Shane Harding, was stout in the first 100 laps of the event after starting from the fifth position due to the invert. Harding consistently ran in the top-5 before contact with Holden forced the Canadian star to the rear of the field on a restart. Harding would moved back through the field to again run inside the top-5, but was forced out of the race at the century mark with a mechanical issue.
Like Harding, a steady progression was the name of the game for Holden who worked his way back into the top-10 running order in quick fashion, and then found himself among the top-3 with 35 laps to go.
Selliken appeared to have the dominant car during the races late going as Stephens’s car could not hold the bottom of the racetrack while Selliken’s car was glued to the groove during much of his time in front of the field. With four laps to go the cars were bunched back up under a caution period that gave Stephens, Holden, Sole and Wanat one last shot at grabbing the lead from Selliken.
Selliken slipped back in front of the field on the restart but spun exiting turn No. 4 as Holden made contact with Stephens who then connected with Selliken. The race’s format dictated that five consecutive green flag laps must be run for the checkered flag to fly, thus forcing an extended racing period for the Central Welding 125.
Stephens withstood pressure from Holden over the course of three attempts to complete the race, with the night’s final restart proving to be decisive as Stephens got his car to handle on the bottom groove, forcing Holden to try a pass for the lead on the outside. Having to take the longer way around the racetrack forced Holden back by .2-seconds to give the victory to Stephens.
The Tri-Track Super Late Model Series returns to action on July 31 at Stateline Speedway with a two-day program for the famed Idaho 200. Qualifying and positioning races will be run the evening of July 31 with the 200-lap main event set for August 1. For more information log onto the series Facebook page or Stateline Speedway’s website at raceidaho.com
-Tri Track Super Late Model Series Press Release & Photo