Spokane, WA – Haeden Plybon entered Saturday’s “Leonard Evans Memorial 150” at the Wenatchee Valley Super-Oval (WA) looking for a bounce-back performance, after a disappointing 10th-place result in the Northwest Super Late Model Series (NWSLMS) season opening “Apple Cup 125” at Tri-City Raceway at RMEC (WA). Plybon got that result and more, winning the event, setting Fast Time, and leading the most laps. It was his second win in the “Leonard Evans Memorial” in the last three years, beating former Kulwicki Driver Development finalist Kole Raz and 2022 race winner Evan Goetz.
For the second race in-a-row, Plybon earned the AFCO Racing / Longacre Racing Products Fast Time Award with a lap of 12.546 seconds on the scenic ¼-mile oval. Kole Raz timed in second followed by Jason O’Neil, Alan Cress, and Matt Doyle. The top eight qualifiers redrew for position at the front of the field, putting Max Schroeder on the pole. Jason O’Neil lined up alongside, in the front row, with Matt Doyle, Evan Goetz, Alan Cress, Plybon, Dave Garber, and Raz the remainder of the redraw participants.
Schroeder never led a lap, as O’Neil got the jump with Goetz and Plybon following in the outside line, to complete the top-three by lap-two. Plybon was able to take advantage of an unusually racy upper groove to grab second from Goetz on lap 18, as the top-three ran in close formation. It took Plybon only two additional laps to get under O’Neil for the lead, as Goetz followed the 2022 championship runner-up into second.
Kole Raz was the man on the move, as he advanced from eighth starting to fourth by lap 25. He continued his march to the front getting around O’Neil for third before lap 40. Halverson would take advantage of Raz’s rise by also grabbing fourth from O’Neil, as the duo would swap positions back and forth throughout the race. On lap 60, a Competition Caution slowed the action, with Plybon leading Goetz, Raz, O’Neil, and Halverson, with Max Schroeder and Alan Cress the top-seven.
A restart saw another quick caution, as Matt Doyle spun on the front stretch, after only one lap was completed. The final restart found Goetz getting a great jump at the green, taking the lead. Plybon waged war in his tire tracks however and was able to get his nose to the inside of Goetz on lap 73, when the leader bobbled in Turn 3. The duo battled side-by-side over the next five rounds, before Plybon was able to secure the lead. Raz was able to follow Plybon, getting by Goetz a lap later for second.
With the long green flag run, Plybon was able to slowly distance himself from Raz, as Jan Evans made his charge through the field. Starting 16th, Evans moved to sixth by lap 110 and got by Halverson and then O’Neil for fourth by lap 125, as Halverson once again swapped positions with O’Neil for fifth. As the laps clicked off, O’Neil was once again able to supplant Halverson for the final top-five position, as Garrett Evans kicked him back to seventh with 10 laps remaining.
The final 10 laps found Plybon with a comfortable lead as Goetz engaged with Raz in the battle for second. At the checkered, Plybon crossed the line $5,000 richer, with Raz able to hold off Goetz for the runner-up position. Jan Evans would charge from 16th to fourth and Jason O’Neil won the battle for the final top-five position. Garrett Evans finished sixth followed by Halverson, Zach Riehl, Schroeder, and Doni Wanat. 16 of 20 starters saw the checkered flag wave.
The next event for the Northwest Super Late Model Series will be a trip to Findlay Stadium Stateline Speedway in Post Falls, ID on May 20th, for the “SLS 125”, paying $3,000-to-win. It will be the third year in-a-row that the series has visited the ¼-mile speedway.
1. Haeden Plybon, 2. Kole Raz, 3. Evan Goetz, 4. Jan Evans, 5. Jason O’Neil, 6. Garrett Evans, 7. Terry Halverson, 8. Zach Riehl*, 9. Max Schroeder, 10. Doni Wanat, 11. Matt Doyle, 12. Dave Garber, 13. Wyatt King*, 14. Andy Beaman, 15. Christopher Kalsch, 16. Ken Bonney, 17. John Newhouse, 18. Alan Cress, 19. Robert Presley, 20. Wyatt Gardner, DNS. Kasey Kleyn*
*Rookie of the Year Candidate
ABOUT THE NORTHWEST SUPER LATE MODEL SERIES
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, Joes Racing Products, Penske Racing Shocks, Five Star Bodies, AFCO/Longacre Racing Products, Atomic Screen Printing and Embroidery, Franks Racing Radio, BLP, Jefferson Racing, Impel Motorsports, and The Ti Company. For more information on the series visit www.nwslms.com or on Facebook and Twitter.
-Story: Kevin Peters/Northwest Super Late Model Series
-Photo: Shari Garber/Northwest Super Late Model Series