EAST WENATCHEE — Alex Ludeman of Waterville started Saturday’s race night at Wenatchee Valley’s Super Oval as the Mini Super Stocks points leader, but relinquished the lead to the multi-class driver Justin Childress, who finished first.
Both drivers have one win each after two races this season. Childress has 214 points, with Ludeman one point behind.
Ludeman, 16, is in the midst of his third year of racing cars, coming off his championship year in the Pure Stocks class last season.
“I raced a little bit in the Mini Super Stocks last year,” Ludeman said, “and it’s humbling to get out on some of these tracks with the veterans, but at the same time you can’t let them push you around.”
With no Pure Stocks class this year, Ludeman focuses his WVSO racing on the Mini Super Stocks, the class Childress defends as champion. Both drivers, like many others, jump from different classes, trying their skills at different levels to gain experience.
“Tom Ripley and Darrin Dietrich drive the 71 and 27 cars, and we help each other out as much as we can,” Ludeman said.
He and others worked on a severe oil leak coming from his 1972 Ford Pinto after he won Saturday’s heat race.
“Ripley’s raced for 12 years,” Ludeman said. “He’s mentored me as a driver, but on the track we’re competitors.”
Ludeman got his first taste of car racing watching from the stands.
“I watched this car (’72 Pinto) racing,” he said. “I bought it after my first year in the Youth Hornets with a junker.”
Ludeman started by racing motocross for two years, but when he was 12, he tore his anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus. He then got introduced to car racing by the mentors he thanks for helping him gain experience and confidence behind the wheel on the short track.
Josh Ingram, another top competitor in the class, led for most of Saturday’s race until the final lap, when his car suffered a flat tire. Childress passed him after following for 25 laps.
“That was all I had the whole race,” Childress said. “That’s the luck of the draw — flat tire on the white flag.”
Ludeman did not finish the main race.
“We won’t know (why I didn’t finish) until we tear into it this week,” he said.
Westcoast Vintage Racers
Marty Munce won Saturday’s first main, Vintage Midgets, and Billy Swift won the second main, the Vintage Sprint Cars. The organization focuses on racing old racecars without prohibiting any type of car, but they mostly race sprint cars and midgets.
Northwest Vintage Modifieds
Charlie West Jr. of Auburn won the main race and the trophy dash, his first victory this season driving a 1932 Studebaker.
“We keep breaking a few things,” West said. “This is the first finish in a main event this season.”
The win puts West in 10th place in the class of pre-1948 steel body cars.
Early Stock CAN/AM Invitational
Shawn Priest won the main race, which listed 10 drivers from Canada, three from Oregon and six from Washington in one of the class’ yearly competitions with Canadians and Americans.
The class is home to the 1928-34 models running inline six cylinder engines.
“We don’t keep any points,” Early Stock official Janie Robideaux-O’Leary said. “We race for fun to bring back how racing these cars used to be.”
Kevin Bull finished first and increased his lead in the Thunder Cars class; he’s got 343 points, while Childress, in second place, has 325 points. Bull grabbed the lead on the 13th lap and maintained the advantage the rest of the race.
Winner Jordan Hendrickson outlasted the aggressive Cory Fechner and Cameron Bruggman, who finished second and third, respectively.
“I felt like I could drive the car well enough to stick it to the bottom (of the corners),” Hendrickson said. “If I let them underneath me, I knew they’d pass on the straightaway.”
With his first win of the season, Hendrickson sits in third place behind Fechner and Michelle Kennedy.
Sean Syth won his second of three races this season, his first at the WVSO, to increase his lead in the Youth Tuners category.