In Memoriam: Sean Peters 1989-2013
WEEK #3 AND #4!
By Ben Chandler and Louise Coleman
May 4 & 11, 2013
Military Appreciation Night at Evergreen Speedway, and week three for the figure-8 racers, seemed a lot like week one, except … no fights! Car and fan counts were both back up, a result of the perfect warm weather, lots of advertising and, well, Hornets. The Stingers started 14 cars in their 30-lap Main event, with Joslyn “Jawz” LaFleur in her #06 Acura jumping into the lead from the front row, due to mechanical problems during the time-ins. Second place was again Todd Stillwell in his #73 Civic, who easily retained the point lead after passing almost everybody – because he started in the back, where he should have! The #38 Hornet, driven by John Hilburn, came in third. Finishing fourth was Nicole Pollard, who also earned fast time for the night, in her #89 Integra. Rounding out the top five was Puyallup Spring Fair winner, Matt Somerville. The two heat races were won by LaFleur taking the slow one, and Bryant Carlson winning the fast heat, and now sporting cool mini-sideboards!
Week #3 for the Stock/Super-8 Main started 10 Supers and two “Stocks” for the big 50-lap race. This week it was Seth Funden who “kinda’ ran away with it,” with John Carlson, Ricky Deitz, Pat Clark and Lance Ograin, in Jake Repin’s #45 championship car, all fighting to keep up. Deitz put on a good show in the #76 car, dumping several slower cars on his way to a black flag – that came out several times between lap 25 and 30. Great to see “the Cowboy” John Carlson running fast again! John ended up in 2nd place, followed by Lance and Pat. Rounding out the top five was fast-time winner Nick Gunderson in his #33. Ricky did win the fast heat race, and Mike Steltz, in his cool looking #67 … won the slow one!
Foss Towing night, May 11th, marked the fourth night of racing in 2013 for the figure-8 guys and gals. The weather was again spectacular, and an OK crowd showed up, even on a Mother’s Day weekend. Car counts for both of our divisions, however, were surprisingly down. Six Stinger-8 racers, and one Hornet started the 30-lap A main – and the Hornet car won it! Zach Bristol jumped into the lead in his #07 Ford, and no one ever got close to catching him on the apparently slippery track. Hammering her way into 2nd place was the #04 Acura of Jessica Gray, with rookie sensation Matt Somerville taking 3rd, with a flat left rear tire! Last week’s winner, “Jawz” LaFleur blew up both her #06 Acura in the heat race, and later her back-up Civic, but still ended up in 4th. The point leader and heat race winner, Todd Stillwell, left the track with what looked like a flat tire, finally returning many laps down, to take 6th, behind fast-timer Nicole Pollard’s #89 Integra.
The Super-8 50-lapper started nine cars, lost two almost immediately as “the Cowboy” John Carlson and Heat race winner, Pat Clark, in “Liberty” both tangled with last week’s winner, Seth Funden, in his ill-handling #40. A couple more cars, the #01 of “the Grizz” Doug Delfel, and Richard Shanebrook’s #98, left before the half-way mark, as early leader, Ricky “the Kid” Dietz in his fast #76 started lapping the field. Ricky took the lead at lap 6 from Lance Ograin in the #45 Casino-car, and never looked back. If he had, he would have seen Mike Steltz, in the extra-wide, new #67 holding off fast-timer Nick Gunderson in his #33, for what seemed like 40 laps! Gunderson’s long battle allowed Ograin to catch back up, and with just a couple of laps to go, Lance went to beating on the stubborn Steltz, finally climbing up and over the rear wheels of the #67! It was an exciting finish, but probably did some expensive damage. 5th place went to last week’s winner, Seth Funden, and Lance was 4th. But it was Mike Steltz, Nick Gunderson and the now two-time winner, Ricky Dietz on the podium for trophies.
It looks like we have a couple of weeks off before the Sean Peters Memorial Night races, scheduled for May 26th. And the “88 Minutes of FEAR” is the following week, on June 1st. The season is now in full swing, so if you are finishing up a car for EITHER class, please HURRY, we NEED YOU!
I want to mention again 2013 FEAR memberships. Have your info & pictures posted and sponsors listed here on our exclusive figure-8 website, for only $25. All new members get FEAR stickers for your car, plus a FEAR patch for your driving suit. Just give me a call at: 425-747-4736.
Thanks for reading, thanks for racing … and I will see you at the track! - BC
“JAWS” AND “THE KID” WIN WEEK TWO!
By Ben Chandler and Louise Coleman
April 13, 2013
It was Fan Appreciation Night at Evergreen Speedway and week two for the figure-8 racers – but it was weirdly the opposite of week one. Car and fan count were both down, a result of the cold wet weather, and no fights! The Stingers started just 11 cars in their 25-lap Main event, which had an interesting stat – every lap was led by a female, for the first time ever. The first four laps were led by the #44 of Melissa Repin, lap 5 by sophomore superstar Nicole Pollard in her #89, and the last 19 by Joslyn “Jaws” LaFleur in her #06 Acura Integra. In second place was Todd Stillwell in his #73 Civic, who retains the point lead after his win last week, followed by Pollard in third. Finishing fourth was young Bryant Carlson, the son of former Super-8 Champ John “Cowboy” Carlson. Bryant got fast time in his #25 Honda, and was even faster than some of the Super-8’s on the slimy track! The two heat races were also won by gals, both in Acuras, with Nicole taking the slow one and Jessica Gray in her #04 winning the fast heat.
The Stock/Super-8 Main was also a little weird, with just four Supers and two Stocks starting the 30-lap race. Ricky “the Kid” Dietz kinda’ ran away with this one, with Mike Steltz, Steve Peters, and Lance Ograin making his debut in Jake Repin’s #45 car all pretty far behind. Lance put on a good show in the defending Championship car, and won the heat race! The weirdest part of the Main was when Doug “Grizz” Delfel in his #01 and Chuck Widdis in the #58, the only two “stock” class figure-8 cars, tangled in the intersection just past the halfway point, causing both to leave the track. With over 50 years of combined experience between the two, it shows how tricky figure-8 racing can be!
The figure-8’s now have a couple of weeks off at Evergreen, but Stinger drivers will be getting $100 apiece just to show up and support the show at the Puyallup Spring Fair this Sunday, the 21st. With $300 to win, plus a cool trophy and lots of new fans, the Spring Fair is exciting and fun, too! Extreme V-8’s will be racing there Saturday night, also for $100 minimum each, “Mr. Dizzy” Mike Buse is doing stunts, plus fireworks and a demo derby. Get there early for the parade of race cars through the fairgrounds! The Spring Fair Stinger-8 race a few years ago was the last race I ever won, and is a ton of fun to be a part of.
Finally, I want to mention 2013 FEAR memberships. If you want your pictures posted and sponsors listed here on the website, it only costs $25. All new members get FEAR stickers for your car, plus a FEAR patch for your driving suit. Just give me a call at 425-747-4736. Our newest member is Cody Hoopes who bought my Integra, painted it blue and put the #10 on it. The son of Troy Hoopes who used to race with us, we welcome Cody as another second generation member! See you in Puyallup! -BC
NEW SEASON STARTS OUT … WITH A BANG!
By Ben Chandler and Louise Coleman
March 30, 2013
Great weather, a good sized crowd and a solid car count made for an exciting opening “Scout Night” at Evergreen Speedway this past Saturday. The Stinger-8 division started 16 cars, the Super 8’s and new stock-8 class combined to start 13, sort of. There were more V-8 Xtreme cars, 16 I believe, and several new Hornets this season, that all put on great shows. And to cap it off, we had boat racing, Demo Derby, a mini-riot… and fireworks! A what, you ask? Read on.
It’s a sunny Easter Sunday, and my bike isn’t going to ride itself. But I wanted to share my thoughts about last night’s two main Figure-8 races, before my memory fades due to my advancing age, lack of track stats or ‘My-laps’ info. But first, I want to thank Doug, Derek and Traci Hobbs, and all of the great folks working so hard at Highroad Promotions, for all they continue to do at our track! The place looked great, the show ran pretty well, and they finally got the food concession, thankfully! Some “dead air”, missing driver info … and lots of scoreboard problems were the only flaws that I noticed.
Sadly, the second of three tribute events for Sean Peters started the evening, with a cool double-track memorial lap to honor not only Sean, but pace car driver Linda Jackson … and two others. I could not hear who exactly, but it was a nice touch. I loved racing with Sean; he was so talented and raced everyone cleanly. I was proud to have announced, with Derek Hobbs, at his last big race, an Enduro - which he DOMINATED! His next big tribute night is coming up late in May, and check out the new track Program (coming soon) for the new Sean Peters Memorial family section.
The 25 lap Stinger-8 Main was 16 cars strong, as it has been the last few years on opening night, due to the handful of Hornet drivers who joined the mayhem. And one, Zach Bristol, actually nearly won, but was knocked out of the way on the last corner by eventual winner Todd Stillwell, in his Civic. Coming thru the mess of spinning cars for 2nd place was “Rookie of the Year” candidate Matt Somerville, followed by (now senior) driver Jessica Gray, both in Acuras. Welcome back and congrats to big Todd.
Kinda weird not being out there after all of these years, but fun rooting for my last car, now painted blue!
The 50 lap Super-8 Main Event, had an advertised and very generous $1000 to win prize on the line, yet could only muster 12½ cars to start … Including a few of the new “stock” class cars. Seth Funden had overall fast time, but ran into the back wall at lap 16. Mike Steltz brought out his new car which looked good and seemed fast. Steltz tore up his front end in the heat race, but fixed it in time to end up in 4th place, behind “the Grizz” Doug Delfel in his trusty old #01 Buick. The battle for the dough was clearly going to be between the #08 of Greg Scott and the #33 of Nick Gunderson. Greg took over the lead on lap 5 after starting near the front, and was soon lapping the field. Delfel hung on to the runner up spot until Gunderson, who started near the back, slipped by around lap 20. Patiently stalking the leader for the next 30 laps, as the slower cars struggled to stay in, and out of their way, Gunderson’s hot-rod seemed quicker, Scott’s seemed a lot WIDER, but both raced just as cleanly as they could. On the very last corner they hooked bumpers. No one lost control, or lost a position, but that was how they crossed the finish line, with Greg first for the THOUSAND dollar first prize, followed by Nick in 2nd, who then came to a stop just north of the Intersection. A few seconds later, Greg drove up … and over the left rear tire of the #33, for some reason. That kinda cleared “the benches” as both crews ran towards the start finish line, stopping about 70’ short for a silly “dust-up” of their own. Just like the big-time racing on TV! Safely in the grandstands, I marveled at the quick responses by the two crews, and the responding track officials. Sadly, the top three drivers did not get to celebrate with their friends, families, crews, and the fans. Sorry, Grizz, you were awesome! Fines, “shutdowns” and of course, hurt feelings, will again affect the car count for the upcoming season in this exciting premier division. The many fans of Figure-8 racing I was sitting with, several who were new to the track, didn’t seem impressed by the fracas. None of the young Scouts sitting in front of me were, either. Entertained? Well sure! See you in two weeks for more Figure-8 action, or this weekend for the Mark Galloway Memorial races! -BC
2013 RACING SEASON IS HERE!
By Ben Chandler and Louise Coleman
With the holidays, Dakar, Barrett-Jackson and Daytona testing behind us, it is finally time to look forward to a great new season of racing at Evergreen Speedway!
Some 44 cars showed up for the 12th (?) annual Snowball Enduro, and the Racers’ Swap Meet recently took place for the second time at Evergreen. And for the third January in a row, Figure-8 and NASCAR racers and their friends, families and sponsors gathered to celebrate the previous season’s Champions at the NASCAR Awards Banquet. Traditionally squeezed in amid Halloween, the FEAR banquet, WARPA, and Thanksgiving, it’s now a more relaxed affair, thanks to the hard work of our promoters Doug, Traci and Derek Hobbs. A few years back, the ticket cost had climbed to twice what was charged this year; there was a fancy catered dinner and entertainment, with evening gowns and tuxedos everywhere. By contrast, the FEAR Banquet for over 40 years was always a more casual affair, with a buffet dinner, some attendees in jeans and a lot of t-shirts, a LONG "happy hour" and, of course, nice trophies. The combined banquet now feels more like a “blended” event, with the best of the fancy NASCAR banquet, mixed with the simpler, more affordable fun of the last four decades of FEAR’s big night, including many of the figure-8 guys still in jeans and sneakers for some reason! The new track food sponsor, Buzz-Inn Steakhouse provided a great prime rib and chicken buffet dinner, and Scott Ellsworth flew back from vacation in Arizona to emcee the event along with “Mr. Dizzy” Mike Buse. Mike introduced his upcoming TV show, plus provided some great stunt videos and witty “color” commentary. Some computer glitches with the videos were the only flaw in an otherwise perfect evening. I was sitting dead center at the Street Stock Champion’s table and enjoyed finally meeting Frank Cowgill and his lovely wife. Also with us was Darrell Lutovsky, driver of the #53 street stock, longtime track supporters John and Billie O’Mack, and new track photographer Jeff Harris.
The evening began with Doug Hobbs telling the audience about upcoming events, improvements in track food, scheduling, and an exciting new figure-8 class! Honored for some 20 years of service to Evergreen was retiring pit boss De Ann Argle, and later in the evening, Mr. Don Perry was inducted into the Evergreen Speedway Hall of Fame. Don was truly a pioneer, working as the flagman in the early days of racing at Evergreen. I look forward to writing up his interview that will soon be posted on the EvergreenSpeedway.com website. Super-8 driver Ricky Dietz was honored for his awesome display of racing prowess this past season, as was former Stinger-8 driver, “Crashin” Kenny Bates, who received the prestigious Entertainer of the Year award. FEAR supporter Vern Foster honored the Foster Press Mini-Stock drivers, and the nice folks at Central Welding, Longacres, and Rick Hagar’s RPM Motorsports all donated great prizes. Everyone who attended also received a cool Angel of the Winds Casino folding umbrella, a program and Evergreen Speedway license plate frames.
Congratulations to all the 2013 Evergreen Speedway Champions. I look forward to soon interviewing the several first-time Champs, and to insert their profiles in the 2013 track program, including the youngest Champion ever, 15-year-old Hornet Champ Chad Fitzpatrick. Chad and new Stinger Champ Josh Young, Mini-Stock Champ Jon Roberts and Street Stock Champ Frank Cowgill will join two-time Super Figure-8 Champion Jake Repin and four-time Super Late Model Champion Naima Lang in the new 2013 “heritage-themed” program that I’ll be working to create with new track steward, Chris Cunningham in the next couple of months. Look for it when the official 59th racing season starts March 30th. It should prove to be a great new season, with better food, even more cool cars and drivers, continued great management, and perhaps no “Wizard” racing the goofy #99 for the first time in 40 years! See you at the track! -BC
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