AIRWAY HEIGHTS, Wash. — Tayler Riddle, who won the inaugural Tri-Track Super Late Model Series Leonard Evans 200 in April at Wenatchee Valley’s Super Oval, made the most of his front row starting position in Saturday’s inaugural I-90 Challenge to lead wire-to-wire for his second series victory of the season.
This was the series first visit to Spokane County Raceway in its history with 30 drivers making up the field.
Shelby Thompson, who shared the front row with Riddle, Riddle’s older brother Owen, defending series champion Garrett Evans and Braeden Havens rounded out the top-5.
Riddle kicked off the night with a 17 second lap that secured fast time in time trials. The pole award paid the Naches, Wash. native a $100 for his efforts. Choosing to start on the inside of the front row, Riddle brought the field to the green flag in front of an eager SCR crowd.
As the drivers headed into turn No. 1, Gary Lewis lost a transmission that stacked the field up behind him bringing out the evening’s first caution. With a complete restart in order, Riddle again made the most of the power underneath his Jim’s Hay Ford Fusion and stormed past Thompson’s Western Rail Chevrolet for the lead. Thompson settled into second place with a good battle for third place on back between Owen Riddle, Evans, Gracin Raz and Pete Harding.
Riddle negotiated traffic during the races early portions with only one caution flag slowly the field through the first-half of the event. From lap 45 to 85 Riddle would continue to keep Thompson at bay while picking through traffic, settling into a groove then again navigating a tight pack of competitors when conditions warranted a little more out of his Ford.
Thompson for his part gave chase but it was Riddle’s older brother, Owen, which made the night interesting right down to the wire.
Owen Riddle looked to be riding inside the top-5 running order through the race’s first 16 circuits, but his spin in turn No. 2 brought out the caution to bunch the field up. Riddle was able to fire the motor and blend back into traffic in the 14th position. From there the four-time Yakima Speedway champion stormed back to the front. In four laps Riddle had cracked the top-10 and by the races final ten laps Riddle was well inside the top-5 battling for a podium finish.
A caution at lap 85 set-up a short track shootout between Riddle, Thompson, Riddle, Evans and Havens with Tayler Riddle taking the lead entering turn No. 1. Thompson, who had stuck with Riddle most of the evening, now had to contend with Owen Riddle and Evans bringing a two-car tandem of pressure to his rear bumper. Thompson shut the down on Owen Riddle entering the front stretch to hold onto the runner-up position. The racing behind Tayler Riddle allowed him to build a one-second lead on the remaining drivers in the top-5 and pull out the victory in the closing laps.
I-90 Challenge QUOTES & NOTES
Winner: No. 15 Tayler Riddle
“We had a great car tonight. My spotter told me the 10 (Owen Riddle) was coming and I was thinking it was going to be close with him and Shelby getting up there to battle at the end on that last restart but we were able to hold on. Having (spotter) Jason Jefferson here tonight really helped me get through traffic to keep those (lead lap) guys back there. I have to thank the staff of SCR for a great place to race, the fans for coming out and the series for putting on this show.”
2nd Place: No. 20 Shelby Thompson
“The car was pretty good tonight and we tried to stay with Tayler as much as we could to keep things close. There at the end Owen raced me clean and it was a fun battle but neither one of us could get to Tayler. I have to thank my car owner, Todd Havens, for the opportunity to drive this race car and to my Dad and Mom for always being there for me and all our fans and sponsors for their support. This was a good night for sure.”
3rd Place: No. 15 Owen Riddle
“We got off there in the dirt and got it back going then started to charge back through the field. I gave it everything we had there at the end with Shelby but we just ran out of time. I was hoping to get up there and battle my brother for the win that’s for sure.”
• This was the first TTSLMS event in its history at the half-mile SCR oval. Of the 30 drivers who attempted to qualify for the race, only one (Joey Bird) was unable to take the green flag with 21 running at the end of the main event. When the checkers flew, 15 of the 21 cars running were on the lead lap.
• Riddle’s pole winning lap of 17.701-sec. was less then .10-sec. off the track record.
• Riddle’s victory marks his third TTSLMS checkered flag and second of the season. The Naches, Wash. native has collected over $15,000 in prize winnings this season in his three series starts, with three podium finishes to his credit.
• Teammates Thompson and Havens were the highest finishing drivers who call SCR home.
• Four Canadian drivers made the starting line-up for the I-90 Challenge led by the father and son duo of Pete and Shane Harding, who were joined by Clint Habart and Barry Shingar. Pete Harding the 1999 NASCAR NW Tour champion was the highest finisher among the four with a 7th place effort.
• NASCAR K&N Pro Series West championship contender, Gracin Raz, finished sixth in his return to the TTSLMS.
• TTSLMS Rookie of the Year contender, Glenn Knutson, had a solid night as he picked up the JOES Hard Charger Award for advancing the most positions (9) over the course of the evening. Knutson used his 11th place finishing position to maintain a top-5 spot in points as the series heads into its final two events of the season. Spokane’s Chris Kellogg also charged hard in the I-90 Challenge as he advanced seven positions from start to finish over the course of the evening.
• Scott Walker returned to the series with a solid night going inside the top-10 running order before being forced to pit for a flat tire under the late race caution. Walker’s crew was able to make the tire change and keep him on the lead lap for a 15th place finish.
-Tri-Track Super Late Model Series Press Release & Photo
TRI-TRACK SUPER LATE MODEL SERIES OFFICIAL RESULTS
Spokane County Raceway .500-mile
90 laps 45 miles
Finishing position/Car No./Name/Hometown/Laps completed
1) 15 Tayler Riddle Naches, Wash. 90
2) 20 Shelby Thompson Spokane, Wash. 90
3) 10 Owen Riddle Naches, Wash. 90
4) 64 Garrett Evans E. Wenatchee, Wash. 90
5) 83 Braeden Havens Medical Lake, Wash. 90
6) 15r Gracin Raz Lake Oswego, Ore. 90
7) 39 Pete Harding Surrey, BC 90
8) 53 Alex Lessor Kalispell, Mont. 90
9) 5 Ryan Wells Hingham, Mont. 90
10) 89 Doni Wanat Woodinville, Wash. 90
11) 51 Glenn Knutson Quincy, Wash. 90
12) 3 Luke Selliken Portland, Ore. 90
13) 93 David Garber Spokane, Wash. 90
14) 16 Blake Williams Spokane, Wash. 90
15) 34 Scott Walker Prosser, Wash. 90
16) 1K Mitch Kleyn Quincy, Wash. 88
17) 98 Chris Kellogg Spokane, Wash. 88
18) 3S Barry Shingar Cranbrook, BC 87
19) 11 Kit VanBuskirk Cheney, Wash. 83
20) 88 Dirk Bennett Spokane, Wash. 83
21) 09 Clint Habart Cranbrook, BC 64
22) 29o Jason O’Neil Spokane, Wash. 45
23) 10c Chris Crain Spokane Wash. 45
24) 62 Chance Overholt W. Richland, Wash. 29
25) 41 Andy Brown Spokane, Wash. 19
26) 22 Garrett Sawyer Spokane, Wash. 9
27) 3p Brian Philley Snohomish, Wash. 8
28) 29 Shane Harding Surrey, BC 1
29) 73 Gary Lewis High Bridge, Wash. 1
DNS- No. 24 Joey Bird Spokane, Wash.
Lap Leaders: T. Riddle 1-90
Margin of Victory: 1.858-sec.
Time of Race: 43 minutes 40 seconds