EAST WENATCHEE — The Wenatchee Valley’s Super Oval is ready and set to go Saturday to unofficially open its local race classes with the Late Models 50 as the main event. The season opened in April with the Apple Blossom 200 and the inaugural Pro All Star Series event that WVSO owner Garrett Evans hopes will resurrect Late Models racing in the Northwest.
“We’ve never had anything of this caliber out here before,” Evans said. “This should hopefully build a Late Models series in the Northwest. We don’t have a series out here anymore.”
PASS is the premier sanctioned body for Super Late Models and is scheduled to hold the series three times at the WVSO for the 2013 PASS Northwest Triple Crown, a series that has the attention of drivers and fans alike.
In the absence of a series, Late Models in the Northwest has four separate races scheduled Saturday from East Wenatchee to Kalispell, Mont.
“It’s hard to have a series when races are spread out,” Evans said. “When you have a series all the best cars compete.”
PASS is nationally known as the biggest series in Late Model racing, according the WVSO marketing director Jeremy Anders, and the WVSO is the start to a Northwest series.
“It’s been awhile since there has been a sanctioned Late Models race in the Northwest,” Anders said. “It’s a huge thing, this triple crown. For someone to win the triple crown, it would mean they were the best in the country.”
The Apple Blossom 200 kicked off the PASS Triple Crown, which included 2012 PASS champion Jay Fogelman and Gary Lewis and Shane Mitchell, both with NASCAR Northwest races under their belts. East Wenatchee’s own Late Models champion Todd Walters started in the race, and WVSO owner and driver Evans won the 200-lap race that only eight finished out of 20 starters.
Evans, Anders and Walters agree the series will attract more drivers and the maximum 26 starting cars will soon be the Northwest’s elite. The PASS Triple Crown continues June 15 with the Columbia River 150, and ends Aug. 10 with the Wenatchee Valley 300.
“Everybody’s going to want a piece of the 300,” said Walters, who’s raced Late Models for 10 years. “To run in the PASS races means more money, more prestige.”
Evans met PASS president Tom Mayberry during a race on the east coast and said half-jokingly Mayberry should bring PASS to the Northwest and soon it became a reality. Mayberry visited tracks around the area and decided the WVSO should be the start.
The WVSO also brought in new track director Dave Tollieer, who brings 20 years of experience to the position. He and Anders’ mutual goal is to make the WVSO the nicest, safest and most affordable racing in the Northwest. Prices dropped to $8 for adults and free for children 12 years and younger.
Thunder Cars, Mini Supers and Youth Tuners open Saturday during the event. The Youth Tuners for ages 12-17, formerly known as the Youth Hornets, will sport a more “tuned” look to their rides with spoilers as an option.
The Thunder Cars class changed its tire specifications to include Late Model take-off tires — a cheaper set of rubber yielding faster lap times.
Also returning this season is the CAN-AM Thunder Challenge, Pro 4 Alliance, Sprint Cars, West Coast Vintage Racers, West Coast Street Stocks Series, North American Big Rigs and Freestyle Motocross.
A complete schedule can be viewed at wvso.com.