Apple Cup 125 Kicks Off Northwest Super Late Model Series Season
The 54th Running of the Apple Cup 125 takes place at Tri-City Raceway this weekend.
Event: The 54th Running of the “Bonney’s Branson Tractors Apple Cup 125” will take place at Tri-City Raceway at the Red Mountain Event Center (RMEC) in West Richland, WA. The event was formerly held at Yakima Speedway (WA), before the facility closed. It was revived at Tri-City Raceway (TCR) in 2022. The Northwest Super Late Model Series (NWSLMS) will wrap up the two-day event on Sunday April 2nd with a $10,000-to-win, 125-lap event. The “Apple Cup 125” will begin the tenth season for the NWSLMS and will be the sixth time that the series has participated in the event (2014, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2022, 2023).
Former Winners: In 53 previous runnings of the “Apple Cup”, Don Dowdy has the most wins in the event, counting seven of them. He won four-in-a-row beginning in 1974 and extending to 1977. In an eight-year period, he won seven events. Gordy Haines was the inaugural winner in 1967. Three former winners are entered this weekend. Garrett Evans will seek his sixth victory in the event and was the winner of the last “Apple Cup” held at Yakima Speedway in 2019. Preston Peltier added his name to the winners list in 2022 and will seek to defend his title. Local fan favorite B.J. Tidrick will also seek his third victory in the race, after taking wins in 2005 and 2008. The Northwest Super Late Model Series sanctioned the event for the first time in 2014, when Pete Harding was the winner in the series inaugural season.
Strong Field: 24 Super Late Model competitors are currently entered in the “Apple Cup 125” from four different states; Idaho, Washington, Oregon, and Colorado. Garrett Evans is a four-time series champion, and he is the only former series champion entered. Garrett Evans, Randy Marshall Jr., Max Schroeder, Haeden Plybon, Preston Peltier, and Doni Wanat all have previous victories in the series. Jonathon Gomez, B.J. Tidrick, Andy Beaman, Zach Telford, Kyle Tellstrom, and Dave Garber have Super Late Model touring series wins.
Legend: Four-time NWSLMS and NASCAR Northwest Tour Series champion Garrett Evans will make his first start at the facility since its’ reopening in the Fall of 2021, spanning nearly two decades. Evans is a five-time winner of the “Apple Cup” and the all-time wins leader in both Northwest Tour series. He has over 400 career feature victories, with a win in his last NWSLMS race at the Wenatchee Valley Super-Oval (WA). The five-time travelling series winner at TCR will be a threat to win, but he says he is just happy to be competing at the age of 67.
“I’m just happy to go racing, especially at the young age of 67”, Evans snickered! “I have a great crew and it should be a fun weekend.”
SRL Champ: 2010 Spears SRL Southwest Tour Series champion Jonathon Gomez will make his second start with the NWSLMS, and his first at Tri-City Raceway at RMEC. Gomez returned to Super Late Model racing in 2022 after taking several years off, and then returning to run Modifieds. The 2015 Rocky Mountain Challenge Series Champion is thrilled to head to the ½-mile track for the first time this weekend and learn from some of the other teams with more experience at the tricky triangle.
“I'm really excited”, Gomez exclaimed. “I love going to new places. I’ve heard so much about this track and how fun it is. I plan to get behind someone faster than me and see if I can do what they do, but a little bit better.”
Double Duty: Several drivers will pull double duty this weekend. Kyle Tellstrom will be one of those, racing on Saturday with his Pro Late Model, and on Sunday with the NWSLMS. Tellstrom is known for his successes in the Modifieds, but he has recently spent more time behind the wheel of a Late Model, having captured the Speed Tour Super Late Model Series championship and three wins in his five series starts. This weekend he will bring the Lee Hackney Late Model to Tri-City with hopes of a win and a top-five effort.
“I think we have a strong shot to win the Pro race Saturday” Tellstrom admitted about his expectations. “Sunday, we have our work cut out for us, running a 604 crate with the tour guys. Fortunately, it’s a really abrasive surface. If we have long green flag runs and a little luck, a top-five is where I hope to be. That would be a successful first outing with the Northwest Tour.”
Championship Contender: Max Schroeder finished tied for the Rookie-of-the-Year award in 2021, as well as second in the championship standings. The winner at South Sound Speedway (WA) was looking for a championship in 2022, but an accident in his Pro Late Model caused him to miss the final two events of the season. Schroeder will seek to get his season off to a strong start, after a disappointing 17th-place finish in last year’s edition of the “Apple Cup”. He expects to race better in 2023, at a track he really enjoys.
“I love the track and can see why people loved it so dearly and were so happy to see it return”, Schroeder exclaimed! “The speeds you can carry through the turns is nothing like I've ever experienced. It's truly an amazing track. I think just being consistent lap after lap is what it'll take to have a successful weekend. Hitting your marks and just being smooth as glass. That's our goal. It is to just be consistent and be there at the end.”
Sophomore Season: Nick Gibson finished second in the Rookie-of-the-Year points in 2022, and he will be looking to get his 2023 effort off to a strong start after a fire destroyed much of his race shop. Gibson feels he will be up to the challenge at TCR this weekend, despite the troubles. He will concentrate on one car at the opener, as opposed to his effort at the season ending “Fall Classic”, at the same facility.
“At the “Fall Classic” we ran both the Pro Late (Model) and the Super Late (Model) and I struggled going back and forth between the two, because they are so different”, Gibson explained. “I feel like that was our biggest challenge there last year. This year at the “Apple Cup”, we are just going to be running the Super Late, so I'm hoping that really helps us on finding the speed we need to be a top contender.”
Season Schedule: The “Apple Cup 125” will be the first of nine events scheduled for the NWSLMS in 2023. The 9-race schedule features three events at Tri City Raceway, two at the Wenatchee Valley Super-Oval (WA), and Hermiston Raceway (OR), with single events at Findlay Stadium Stateline Speedway (ID) and Meridian Speedway (ID).
Saturday Schedule: Admission Gates open at 9:00 AM with practice for the Vintage Modifieds, Elite 5 Modifieds and Pro Late Models beginning at 9:15 AM. Group Qualifying begins at 11:00 AM for the Vintage Modifieds followed by the Elite 5 Modifieds. Single car Qualifying for the Pro Late Models is scheduled for 11:40 AM. Opening Ceremonies commence at 12:30 PM. Racing begins 1:00 PM with the feature events for the Northwest Vintage Modifieds (35 Laps), Elite 5 Modified Challenge Series (65 Laps), and the Northwest Pro Late Models (80 Laps).
Sunday Schedule: Admission Gates open at 9:00 AM with practice for the Super Late Models, Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks beginning at 9:15 AM. Single car Qualifying for the Super Late Models is scheduled for 11:15 AM with Group Qualifying for the Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks beginning at 11:50 AM. Happy Minutes for the Super Late Models roll off from 12:25 to 12:45 PM. Opening Ceremonies are scheduled for 12:50 PM with racing beginning at 1:00 PM. The Northwest Mini Stock Invitational (50 Laps) is up first, followed by the Bettarel Hobby Stocks (60 Laps), and the “Apple Cup 125” for the Northwest Super Late Model Series.
Live Broadcast: For those unable to attend the “Apple Cup 125”, catch the Live Stream broadcast of the event with your paid subscription to Racing America at RacingAmerica.TV.
Super Late Model Pre-Entry (as of 3/29/2023)
1. 1 Kasey Kleyn Quincy, WA
2. 3 Andy Beaman Selah, WA
3. 3K Ken Bonney Hermiston, OR
4. 5 Jess Havens Spokane, WA
5. 8 Tyler Brown Kennewick, WA
6. 11 Nick Gibson Nampa, ID
7. 17s Max Schroeder Tacoma, WA
8. 17 Zach Telford Middleton, ID
9. 22 Jonathan Gomez Twin Falls, ID
10. 24 Tim Babcock Kennewick, WA
11. 24 Dylan Caldwell Nampa, ID
12. 25 Randy Marshall Jr Moxee City, WA
13. 27 BJ Tidrick Kennewick, WA
14. 29 Jason O'Neil Spokane, WA
15. 33 Christopher Kalsch Hillsboro, OR
16. 34 Scott Walker West Richland, WA
17. 48 Preston Peltier Brighton, CO
18. 55 Haeden Plybon Spokane, WA
19. 64 Garrett Evans E Wenatchee, WA
20. 80 Wyatt King Boise, ID
21. 81 Ray Clever Boise, ID
22. 89 Doni Wanat Woodinville, WA
23. 91 Kyle Tellstrom Boise, ID
24. 93 Dave Garber Spokane, WA
-Northwest Super Late Model Series Release