Northwest Drivers Going South for Winter Showdownadmin
WENATCHEE, Wash. (February 19, 2016) – While some drivers are still gearing up for the upcoming Northwest Super Late Model Series 2016 Season a large contingent of drivers will be heading south next week to Bakersfield, CA for the 2016 Winter Showdown at Kern County Raceway. The race which is in its 2nd year has quickly become one of the biggest Super Late Model races in the country, with $180,000 up for grabs and drawing interest from drivers all over the country.
Currently 8 Northwest drivers are pre-registered for the Winter Showdown led by 2015 NWSLMS Champion Garrett Evans. Evans has been busy this off season traveling back east from his home in East Wenatchee, WA to race in the PASS Series and building a new car. “We’re really looking forward to the Winter Showdown and racing with all these guys from around the country.” Said Evans “We will have a brand new car and set up for this race. We’re pretty excited to see how it goes.” When asked about the group of drivers from the Northwest going to the Showdown, Evans was pretty happy. “We have some very talented drivers up here in the Northwest and it’s going to be good to see them get some National attention.” Said the 60 year old Veteran “I’ve raced against some of the best in the country and we have some really good youth coming up here like Gracin(Raz),Garret(Archer), Parker(Stephens), Tyler(Tanner) as well as some other Veterans who don’t get to travel as much as they would like”
Olympia, WA Driver Parker Stephens is hoping that his success in both the Northwest and Southwest in 2015 will carry into the 2016 season. Stephens picked up his first NWSLMS win last year and finished in the top 10 in points while racing a full SRL Schedule as well and won the SRL Rookie of the Year. He also added a win at Kern County at the last SLM race in November to his 2015 resume. “We had a great year in 2015 with both our team in the Southwest and guys in the Northwest.” Said Stephens “I feel really good heading into the Showdown, there will be a lot of great racers there but we won the last race there and that helps a lot. I’m just staying focused and preparing for it just like any other race.” While Stephens has logged a lot more laps around the fast Kern County track over other NW drivers, but he’s looking for big things from the group. “There’s a lot of good drivers from up here in the NW and they will stack up pretty well against some of the best in the country.”
A driver who is really looking forward to a successful 2016 is Woodinville, WA Driver Doni Wanat, who finished 3rd in the NWSLMS Championship Points and 2nd in the Evergreen Speedway NASCAR Super Late Model Championship. Last year Wanat had more Super Late Models race than any other Northwest driver and feels like it really helped him grow as a driver and his team grow as well. The success paid off, Wanat second half season was very strong including his first career SLM win at Evergreen and podium finish at the Yakima Speedway Fall Classic. “Kern is going to be a new track for us but we had a lot of new tracks last year and we adapted pretty well. We’ve spent a lot of time preparing for this race and looking forward to see how we do.” Said Wanat “We’ve had really good cars at the Summer Showdowns against big fields and our team has been working hard on the car, we’re taking a great set up that we feel should be pretty successful.”
Confidence and chemistry are key heading into a big race like the Winter Showdown and Airway Heights, WA Driver Braeden Havens has got both as he makes the trip south. Havens raced in both NWSLMS and NASCAR K&N West Series last year. At the end of the year things were firing on all cylinders with podium finishes and great cars. “We finished strong last year and having my new crew chief Travis Sharpe has really helped us out.” Said Havens “This will be our first trip to Kern but with some early practice in the week I think we could have a great weekend. I really like this bigger tracks and looking forward to racing against this field of drivers.
One driver will be making a return to the track for the first time since last April is fellow East Wenatchee, WA Driver Shane Mitchell. After a fiery crash in the Leonard Evans 200 at Wenatchee Valley Super Oval in April, Mitchell was sidelined with possible career ending injuries but battled back and is looking to get back on track. Mitchell made the journey to the Winter Showdown last year but his trip ended early after hitting the wall on his second qualifying lap.
Few more drivers to keep your eyes on will be NASCAR K&N West Driver Gracin Raz of Lake Oswego, OR. Raz is making one of his few SLM starts in 2016 but had great success in 2016. Also joining the field will be NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Driver Tyler Tanner of Auburn, WA. Tanner made starts in both Truck Series and SLM models in 2015 and will be debut a brand new car at the Winter Showdown. One driver that might be a dark horse in the field will Black Diamond, WA Driver Garret Archer in a brand new ride. Archer spent the 2014 season racing on the SRL and spent most of last season racing Legend cars with big success. Archer had great run at the Yakima Fall Classic, coming up a little short. This year he will be racing both the NWSLMS and a select amount of races in the Southeast.
The Modifieds will be running during the 2016 Winter Showdown and northwest fans will be able find a familiar face in the field with Monroe, WA Driver John Zaretze piloting a car. Zaretzke will be driving the Hayen Motorsports car out of Las Vegas, NV.
The 2016 Winter Showdown weekend will be headlined by the Sunday, February 28th $30,000 to win “Winter Showdown 250” for Super Late Model stock cars. Sunday will also feature the Last Chance Qualifier. Saturday, February 27th will feature; Super Late Model qualifying and qualifying races, along with a full program of the Lucas Oil Modified Series, featuring an 80 lap main event. Tickets are on sale now at http://kernraceway.com/singleracetickets.htm. For more event information on the 2016 Winter Showdown, go to www.SRLSouthwestTour.com.
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