EAST WENATCHEE — Andy Stibal of Waterville stood third in the victory lane Saturday after a 75-lap main at Wenatchee Valley’s Super Oval behind Zack Beaman and Buck Noel Jr. in the West Coast Street Stock Series.
Stibal remains the points leader for the traveling class after its sixth of ten races this season. But his work is cut out for him in the remaining races as drivers chasing the lead keep the pressure on.
“It’s a competitive class this year. The top ten, maybe, drivers are all fast,” Stibal said, “25 (Beaman) is real fast. Trying to catch up to them you drive harder — push the limits more.”
The WCSSS travels throughout Washington and Oregon to tracks varying from quarter- to half-mile tracks. The competition is a diverse mix of rookies and veterans.
“You have to get used to different driving styles,” Stibal said.
Stibal, who described himself as “patiently aggressive,” waits for opportunities and seizes them when the track opens up.
Walker Racing’s Stibal and teammate Kim Wennerberg of Wenatchee, who finished fourth, usually keep their placing in the single digits, but other drivers continue to threaten their way of winning.
Beaman’s 25 car won in its second consecutive appearance at the WVSO. The first win was in the WCSSS’s third race after suffering a near race ending blow to the front end.
Saturday’s race was uninterrupted by caution flags after the first lap when Chris Hart was sent into the wall around turn four. The clean race allowed faster drivers like 2012 Rookie of the Year Beaman to increase their lead throughout the contest without being caught during slow caution laps.
Beaman lapped all but the top five finishers.
Second place Noel Jr. of Selah is proving to be a force to consider after he clocked a 13.848-second lap, a record for the WVSO’s quarter mile track.
Stibal is the WCSSS defending champion. He finished second overall the year prior when the class was the Outlaw Street Stocks.
Fourteen of the class’ 37 cars started the main race Saturday of which Jim Walker’s 1988 Chevy Camaro’s, driven by Wennerburg and Stibal, started seventh and eighth, respectively, and worked their way to finish sixth and third.
Glenn Knutson of Quincy finished fifth and sits fifth overall in points.
The WCSSS finishes its race for the West Coast Cup September 29th at the Yakima Speedway half-mile track.
Shane Mitchell won the 50-lap main after improving on his Chevy Impala that has finished its first race Saturday.
“I kept working the bottom (of the track) and once I got out front I cruised,” Mitchell said. “The car is still loose going into the corners. I still have work to do on it.”
Mitchell has several 100-plus lap races in consecutive weekends, including the Wenatchee Valley 300 on August 10th, the finale of the PASS NW Triple Crown.
Todd Walters finished third and remains the points leader by 14 above Gary Shales, the second place driver.
Points leader Kevin Bull pulled off his third win in five starts this season in the Thunder Cars, which featured an invite of Ephrata drivers. Troy Lannoye of Ephrata held first with 20 laps to go, keeping Bull at bay for most of the remaining race.
With six laps to go, Bull’s front end connected with Lannoye’s tail end, causing him to spin out around turn three and lose the lead.
“I don’t want to win them that way,” Bull said, “I tried to pass on the high side, but he would block me.”
Eight cars made the start thanks to the Ephrata drivers who accepted the invite to the class that has had dwindling numbers in recent years.
Cameron Bruggman finished first in the shortened 25-lap main after starting dead last in the pack of 11 cars. After his fifth win in six races at the WVSO Bruggman leads in points by 40 with four races left including the championship.
Sean Syth leads the class by 37 points after his third win in four races at the WVSO.
Erica Veenstra, 15, is doing fine after a wreck Saturday during the Youth Tuners heat race, WVSO announcer and marketing director Jeremy Anders said Monday.
Traffic was halted for about 90 minutes after she was sent into the far wall and did not emerge from the car.
The on-site ambulance crew took precautionary measures to remove Veenstra from the car because of pain in her neck.
“She was taken in as a precautionary and released later that night,” Anders said. “She is still sore but hoping to be back by the next race.”
Youth Tuners race again on July 27th.