Saturday’s race at Wenatchee Valley’s Super Oval marks the end of the season and the end of a career for the hometown champ Todd Walters.
“This is my last race. I’m all done after this,” Walters said. “It’s time to get on to family time. I’ve been racing late models for 10 years now and I’m ready to move on. I’d just as soon go out on top.”
The number four late model Impala driver looks to retain his title for a third consecutive season. He is 14 points ahead of Gary Shales, but admitted he is not sure how points are awarded.
The championship race this year awards double points for all categories and classes.
“That means drivers who do well can really make up some ground,” track announcer Jeremy Anders said. “And the more cars that race, the more points can be earned.”
With a 14-point lead in the Late Models race, double points can still make it a race. Other classes are all but wrapped up. Sean Syth, 12, in the Youth Tuners just has to start the 25-lap main to win his class. Cameron Bruggman has the same story having won 7-of-10 Super Tuner main races this season.
“But this is an invitational for the Super Tuners,” Anders said. “The first all year and the biggest money. We expect drivers from Yakima, Hermiston, Ephrata and Evergreen Speedway.”
Drivers from across the state who finished their seasons at home tracks might make the trek for the bigger money.
“Or they just want to race with our guys,” Anders said.
The top three in the Mini Super Stocks — Justin Childress, Josh Ingram and rookie Alex Ludeman — made the race tight with a small points spread between them.
“Mini’s is by far the closest battle,” Anders said. “There’s been a lot of racing, a lot of rubbing, it’s been the most competitive all year.”
Childress, in first with a small lead, wants the win for family reasons.
“If I win, this would be my third in a row,” Childress said. “My brother had the four before that and my dad had five total, four in a row.”
As far as having an aggressive driver like Ingram on his heels, Childress is going to do what he always does.
“You gotta treat this race like any other,” he said. “The last three races have been double points. It’ll give you a little bonus, make you try a little harder. You get more points for fastest time.”
Childress will have to turn around and race again in the Thunder Cars class where he sits in third and Kevin Bull about has the championship in hand with a big lead.
The Columbia River Legends will also host a regional qualifier to nationals at the championship race. Ludeman will also have a turnaround to race in that travelling class.
As for the future of the WVSO, Garrett Evans is still in negotiations to gain ownership of the track, according to Anders. Drivers didn’t voice concern about the track’s future.