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Garrett Evans Takes the Apple Cup For Sixth Time in Legendary Career

At 67 years old, Evans scored his sixth win in the Apple Cup to open the 2024 Northwest Super Late Model Series season on Sunday at Tri-City Raceway RMEC.


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At the age of 67, Garrett Evans entered the 55th Annual Bonney’s TYM Tractors Apple Cup “Pollock 125” just hoping to be competitive. But at the end of the day, Evans proved to be the best on a sunny afternoon at Tri-City Raceway RMEC, taking home the $10,000 winner’s check in front of a packed grandstand. The four-time Northwest Super Late Model Series champion proved once again that he is still one of the best in the Pacific Northwest, staving off retirement talks for at least another event.

The win evoked a strong memory from the past, of a relationship with the Walden family, who currently promote the rebirth of the triangular half-mile track.

“It was 35 years ago, in 1994, when I defeated Dan Press by a really close margin to win the championship (in the NASCAR Northwest Tour). Wayne Walden (father of current track promotor Greg Walden) came down and I got my picture in the Winner’s Circle with him. Here it is 35 years later, and I wanted him to come down and get a picture with him again. I did get to talk to him on the phone (in Winner’s Circle), however, so that was very special to me. I told him I was gonna come down to his house and have some chilly, because his wife makes a pretty mean pot of chilly”, Evans chuckled.

“I don’t know if anyone has won an “Apple Cup” that is that old”, Evans continued, as he speculated the depth of his victory. “You have all these young kids that have outdone me on the youngest guy to win a race, especially that Evan Goetz and all. All these guys are so good. It was so good to get this win.”

Evans qualified seventh in the 32-car field for the Northwest Super Late Model Series presented by RaceCals season opener. But the veteran racer drew the number one pill to start on the pole. He immediately jumped out to the lead over fellow front row starter Scott Walker. It didn’t take 2023 race winner Kyle Tellstrom long to kick Walker back to third, as he took up pursuit of Evans, in what would become a back-and-forth battle that extended beyond the scheduled break.

Evans would lead to the first slowdown of the event on lap 16, when the red was displayed for an incident that ended the day for Randy Marshall Jr. in Turn 1. The restart saw Evans jump to the lead, but Tellstrom battled back, getting under Evans a lap later, taking the lead by the time the duo exited Turn 2 at the three-turn paved facility. Another yellow set the stage for a series of cautions and reds that saw Walker retire from third and Kole Raz move into a podium position.

Evans would take advantage of the second lap 42 restart and grab the lead from the outside, leading Tellstrom and Raz through multiple incidents to the lap 72 break. The scheduled lap 75 break was brought on early by a tangle between top-five runners Jason Jefferson and Evan Goetz. Preston Peltier would advance to fourth, while Kasey Kleyn cracked the top-five.

Sixth running Haeden Plybon’s afternoon ended on the ensuing restart as the field continued to struggle, to gain traction after the break. The red came out on the next restart, as 10 cars were involved when Preston Peltier experienced transmission trouble, staking up the field. Several more cautions saw Tellstrom grab the top spot from Evans with Kole Raz following. But their chances to win were dashed when Raz got to the inside of Tellstrom on lap 84, and the two made contact causing Tellstrom to spin. Raz was sent to the back and Evans emerged with the lead.

Evans recalled his battle with Tellstrom, after the mid-race break.

“Kyle made some adjustments, and he really did good”, Evans recalled. “I knew it was coming down to money time and he really put himself in position (to win). These cars are so aero sensitive at this speed. When I got behind him, especially around some of the lapped cars, the nose was starting to push, and not turn as well as when I was by myself. I think he wanted to get out to the lead, and he thought it was his chance.”

The ensuing restart found Kasey Kleyn up to second, applying heavy pressure to Evans. But as the field crossed the line on lap 100, Evans began to put some distance on Kleyn, opening a half second lead. BJ Tidrick ran third, but Raz and Tellstrom were able to get by the two-time “Apple Cup” winner, as the laps counted down. On lap 125, Evans took the checkered flag for his sixth win in the prestigious event, further cementing his legacy in the 55th annual event.

The win was extra special for Evans, as he recalled the first time he raced at Tri-City Raceway.

“It means so much more to win now than before”, Evans began. “The first time I ran here, it was like my third race. I qualified eighth quick, so I started on the pole, just like I did today. A guy name Mike Shavez was one of the guys I looked up to, and he helped me out a lot. He told me to stay on the bottom and stay out of the way. He kept blowing cigar smoke in my face. It kinda pi**ed me off, so I took off and ended up leading about 50 laps. Finally, Gary Honeyman got by me, and I took second.”

Evans continued, “It was my third race, and for me to take second, I thought, “this is going to be easy”. But it is not easy. I was 21 then and youth helps a lot when compared to when you get older.”

After his Victory Lane celebration, Evans was especially thankful to a friend from back east.

“I really want to put a shoutout to Wesley Weed, a good friend of mine that lives in North Carolina, and Weeder Nation. He gave me some pointers on these tires, and I really want to thank him. He is a big part of this win”, Evans surmised.

Earlier in the day, Kyle Tellstrom earned the AFCO Racing / Longacre Racing Products Fast Time Award, looking to defend his 2023 “Apple Cup” victory. He led multiple laps through the middle stages of the race but came up short in the end. Evans led a top-five that consisted of himself, Kasey Kleyn, Kole Raz, Tellstrom, and B.J. Tidrick. Zander Peters, Rod Schultz Jr., Ken Bonney, Erick Rhead, and Preston Peltier rounded out the top-10.

The next event for the Northwest Super Late Model Series is a trip to the Wenatchee Valley Super-Oval, where the series will honor Evans’ father in the “Leonard Evans Memorial 150” on April 27th.

Results: 1. Garrett Evans, 2. Kasey Kleyn, 3. Kole Raz, 4. Kyle Tellstrom, 5. B.J. Tidrick, 6. Zander Peters, 7. Rod Schultz Jr., 8. Ken Bonney, 9. Eric Rhead, 10. Preston Peltier, 11. Nick Gibson, 12. Trace Thompson, 13. Dylan Lupton, 14. Evan Goetz, 15. Kaden Holm, 16. Christopher Kalsch, 17. Danica Dart, 18. Haeden Plybon, 19. Jason Jefferson, 20. John Dillion, 21. Naima Lang, 22. Wyatt King, 23. Scott Walker, 24. Jason O’Neil, 25. Tyler Brown, 26. Tim Babcock, 27. Todd Connell, 28. Dave Garber, 29. Jess Havens, 30. Andy Beaman, 31. Randy Marshall Jr., DNS Stephen Blankenship


The Northwest Super Late Model Series is the premier regional touring Super Late Model series in the Northwest. The series has many valued partners including RaceCals, Hoosier Racing Tire, McGunegill Engine Performance, Gibson Diesel Performance, AR Bodies, Penske Racing Shocks, Five Star Bodies, AFCO Racing / Longacre Racing Products, Franks Racing Radio, Jefferson Racing, Impel Motorsports, The Fan’s Connection LLC, Northwest Road and Drive, and The Ti Company. For more information on the series visit www.nwslms.com or on Facebook and Twitter.

Story: Kevin Peters, NWSLMS Media

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