Wenatchee, WA - The Northwest Super Late Model Series is headed to the Wenatchee Valley Super-Oval (WA) on Sunday May 1st, for the “Leonard Evans Memorial 150”. This will be the seventh annual event in the name of the Evans family’s patriarch, after the 2020 event was lost to Covid. The event has attracted a pre-entry list of 22 drivers and is expected to be an extremely competitive event, with track and series champions throughout the field. Multiple previous winners of the event are also ready to take on the popular ¼-mile oval in Central Washington. The race will pay tribute to Leonard Evans, the father of four-time NASCAR Northwest Tour Series and Northwest Super Late Model Series Champion Garrett Evans.
2021 found Haeden Plybon in Victory Circle. Bryce Bezanson, Doni Wanat, Garrett Evans, and Chad Hinkle rounded out the top-five. Previous winners of the “150” include Tayler Riddle (2015, 2018), Shelby Thompson (2016), Shane Mitchell (2017), Gracin Raz (2019), and Plybon (2021).
Surprisingly, one of those previous winners is not Garrett Evans. Garrett finished last year’s event fourth. He finished second in the inaugural event, as well as in 2016. His other two starts saw fifth and eighth-place results. The Northwest racing legend would love nothing more than to win this weekend’s event and hear his father tell him “We did it, Stanford!!”
Garrett’s love for racing and fast cars came about at an early age, thanks to his father. Leonard was a fan of motor vehicles from an early age. At the age of eight, he began giving the neighborhood kids rides around the block, in a gas-powered vehicle given to him by his father. He would charge one cent for each ride. He parlayed that love of cars, and his business acumen, into a highly successful company with Leonard Evans Used Cars Superstore. It was through that business that he was able to support his family in the racing industry and make a difference for the racing community, as a whole, for many years to come.
His grandson, Jan Opperman Evans, will be making the start alongside his father Garrett, for possibly the last time in their two racing careers. They last participated together in the “Montana 200” at Montana Raceway Park (MT) in 2018. It was a race that found the two family members involved in a racing incident, ultimately ending up sixth and eighth respectively. Jan was the 2017 NWSLMS championship runner-up but has participated sparingly behind the wheel since that time. He would love to bring home his first series triumph, in the race named after his grandfather
“I've been working a lot of hours lately trying to better my future. Business is my #1 priority but that being said I do miss racing of course. This will probably be one of my last few times racing. So, to be able to honor my grandpa and the family business by winning the “Leonard Evans 150” will be a nice send off.
The winners of four previous “Leonard Evans Memorial 150”s are entered this weekend’s action. The list is headed by the inaugural and two-time winner Tayler Riddle. Riddle’s only “Leonard Evans 150” defeat came at the hands of engine failure in 2019. The “Chilly Willy 150” winner at Tucson Speedway. (AZ), “Summer Showdown 200” winner at Evergreen Speedway (WA), and “Fall Classic” winner at Yakima Speedway (WA) will seek to add to his five Northwest Super Late Model Series wins this weekend.
“To win the Leonard Evans race again would feel really good”, Riddle conveyed. “We haven’t raced much the last couple of years, so if we were able to pick up a win, and have something to build upon, it would be great for our team.”
Gracin Raz is another driver who looks to have the Wenatchee Valley Super Oval wired. He has three NWSLMS victories in only five appearances. He earned a top five in his first start, and was a DNF with lower control arm failure in his only other non-winning effort. He was leading at the time. He has led in all five previous appearances and would love to add a second “Leonard Evans 150” win to his earlier two “Neil Newberry 125” triumphs.
“I definitely want this one bad”, Raz admitted. “I wish we could've raced it last year, but due to Covid and supply shortages, our motor was delayed getting back to us. Getting two “Leonard Evans” titles, to go along with my two “Neil Newberry” titles there, would be a dream. Two by two is great symmetry.
The third previous winner entered is Haeden Plybon. The 2022 Kulwicki Driver Development Program finalist is the defending winner of this event, after passing NWSLMS Rookie-of-the-Year Bryce Bezanson after the two-thirds mark of last year’s race. He was also the Fast Qualifier in the event, and won the Pro Late Model race the previous evening. A win this weekend could help the rookie driver recover in the championship standings, after a disappointing 12th-place in the season opener at Tri-City Raceway (WA).
“It would be a great accomplishment to win it again”, Plybon explained. “It was a great start to the season last year, and it gave us great momentum going into the 2021 season. We would love to continue that tradition.”
Randy Marshall Jr. has yet to score a NWSLMS victory at WVSO, but he has come close on several occasions. In three series starts, his worst finish was a sixth. He came home second in the 2021 season finale “Neal Newberry 125” and will pursue his second NWSLMS victory this weekend, in his 10th series start. He hopes he has the correct formula for the endeavor.
"To run well at Wenatchee, it just comes down to keeping the car turning and having the forward drive, which is hard to do", Marshall stated. "So, Chad Holaday will have his work cut out for him, because us drivers are never happy lol. We are always searching for the perfect car."
Eight-time Douglas County Speedway Track Champion and 2019 Northwest Super Late Model Series championship runner-up Alan Cress will also seek his first “Leonard Evans 150” victory. He will make his 20th touring series start at the facility, looking for that win. But he has found recent success at the ¼-mile oval with five consecutive top-10’s, three in the top-five. A win this weekend would be a boost for the Stayton, OR driver and team.
“Winning that race would be special for our team”, Cress stated. “It's a race that always has the best teams in the Northwest show up to it, so you know you've done something special if you can run up front and win it. “I like the excitement of running at WVSO. It's fast and lends itself to good, tight quarter racing.”
The “Leonard Evans 150” will be the highlight of a huge weekend at the Wenatchee Valley Super-Oval. It will be a two-day mega event featuring five divisions. The Northwest Super Late Model Series will be joined on Sunday by the Legends, Focas Midgets and Bandoleros. Saturday’s action will include the Pro Late Models, Legends, Focas Midgets and Bandoleros. Spectator Grandstands open at 3:00 pm on Saturday and 12 pm for Sunday’s finale.
For those unable to attend, the event will be shown LIVE with a subscription to RacingAmerica.TV.
3 Wyatt Gardner, Lake Stevens WA
3 Andy Beaman, Selah, WA
5 Jan Evans, E. Wenatchee, WA
11 Nick Gibson, Nampa, ID
11 JJ Hamilton, Centralia, WA
12 Trenton Moriarity, Monroe, WA
13 Matt Doyle, Wenatchee, WA
15 Tayler Riddle, Naches, WA
17 Max Schroeder, Tacoma, WA
17 Bob Presley, Olympia, WA
22 Evan Goetz, Okanogan, WA
23 Corey Allard, Sagle, ID
25 Randy Marshall Jr., Moxee City, WA
27 Gracin Raz, Lake Oswego, OR
29 Jason O'Neil, Spokane, WA
33 Christopher Kalsch, Hillsboro, OR
37 Mike Longton, Moxee, WA
37 Kaiden Anderson, Yakima, WA
55 Haeden Plybon, Spokane, WA
64 Garrett Evans, E. Wenatchee, WA
83 Braeden Havens, Spokane, WA
91 Alan Cress, Stayton, OR