Event: The 53rd Running of the “Bonney’s Branson Tractors Apple Cup presented by Legends Casino Hotel” will take place at Tri-City Raceway at the Red Mountain Event Center in West Richland, WA. It was formerly held at Yakima Speedway (WA) before the facility closed. The Northwest Super Late Model Series (NWSLMS) will wrap up the three-day event on Sunday April 3rd with a $10,000-to-win, 125-lap event. The “Apple Cup 125” will be the ninth season opener for the NWSLMS and will be the fifth time that the series has participated in the event (2014, 2015, 2016, 2019, 2022).
Former Winners: In 52 previous running’s 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. Garrett Evans has five victories, and was the last winner of the event in 2019. Pete Harding was the winner of the 2014 “Apple Cup”, which was under the direction of the Northwest Super Late Model Series (formerly Tri-Track Super Late Model Series) in its inaugural season. Currently, Mike Longton is the only former winner entered. He was victorious in 2010.
Strong Field: 23 Super Late Model competitors are currently entered in the event from four different states. Trevor Cristiani is the only former series champion entered. Braeden Havens, Mike Longton, Trevor Cristiani, Randy Marshall Jr., Max Schroeder, Haeden Plybon, and Trenton Moriarity all have previous victories in the series.
Former Series Champion: Trevor Cristiani was the 2019 series champion and will be making multiple starts during the 2022 championship season. It will be his first time taking on the ½-mile tri-oval, after finishing fifth in the 2019 “Apple Cup 125” at Yakima Speedway. Cristiani, a three-time Super Late Model touring series champion. He is looking forward to competing at a track that remained dormant for nearly two decades.
“The Northwest is always a fun and challenging region to race in. Knowing some of the history of this track, and it is coming back to life after 20 years, is something I am looking forward to supporting. The track seems to be something unlike any other, and I am looking forward to the challenge.”
Kulwicki Representative: Haedon Plybon will make his third start at Tri-City Raceway, after competing in both the Pro Late Model and Super Late Model portions of last year’s “Fall Classic”. Plybon was recently announced as a finalist for the Kulwicki Driver Development Program and plans to compete with the NWSLMS for the championship in 2022. The two-time 2021 NWSLMS winner hopes to get his season off to a strong start and that his experience in 2021 will help him get his #55 Super Late Model into Victory Lane.
“It is a pretty cool racetrack and definitely has its own special character like no other”, the 18-year-old stated. “It's a fun, fast track. I believe that consistency and being able to keep the tires under the car for the extent of the entire race will be the deciding factor for who takes home the win.”
First-Timer: It is unusual to say that Preston Peltier is a first timer at any race he attends, but he will be making his first start at Tri-City Raceway, as well as only his second start in the Northwest Super Late Model Series. Peltier has found immense success in the Pacific Northwest with three “Summer Showdown” wins at Evergreen Speedway (WA), and a 2021 “Idaho 208” win at Meridian Speedway (ID), with very limited Northwest starts. The five-time “Easter Bunny 150” winner at Hickory Motor Speedway (NC) would love to add another big event win to his resume, especially at a facility that is new to him, yet somewhat familiar.
“We like visiting new tracks”, Peltier exclaimed! “It's a Tri-oval like a place that I cut my teeth at, Concord (Motor Speedway). Plus, Ed (Vecchiarelli) really wants to race, and we both can run up there. He is going to run the Pro (Late Model) race (on Saturday).”
READ MORE: Throwback Thursday - March 31
Championship Contender: Max Schroeder completed the 2021 season tied for second in the NWSLMS championship chase, as well as for the Rookie-of-the-Year title, losing out in a tiebreaker. Schroeder will be back looking for a title this year, while teaming up with Racing Dynamiks and Travis Sharpe. He will be participating in both the Pro Late Model as well as the Super Late Model portions of the event, to get experience on the ½-mile. It will be his first start at the facility, against a strong field of competitors. It is a challenge that he looks forward to, as his championship effort begins.
“It will be my first start at Tri-Cities and it's a big one”, Schroeder exclaimed! I'm excited!! Tri-Cities is historically a challenging track, but I'm pumped to take the challenge. I've never raced a triangle before so this will be certainly a first! But I'm confident and excited to learn and master it. Not to mention the STACKED field! The competition is the best part about it, in my opinion! The Northwest Super Late Model Series brings the best of the best and for this season opener it's seems the best are showing up. This is a huge deal for the Northwest racing scene in general, and I'm so proud to be a part of it! I know we got a car and a team to bring it to the big dogs, and I can't wait to get this season started with a bang!”
Evergreen Champion: Monroe, WA driver Trenton Moriarity was the 2017 NASCAR Washington State Champion, Budweiser Crown Series Champion, as well as the Track Champion at Evergreen Speedway. He will be setting his sights on a touring series title in 2022, with the NWSLMS. He scored a victory in 2021 while participating in five of eight events, but he is ready to take on the full 10-race slate this season. That effort gets underway at a facility he has never raced at before. But it is also a facility that he has sought to try, along with the challenges the unique track provides.
“I am looking forward to racing there for the first time”, Moriarity described. “I’ve always wanted to race at Tri-City Raceway, and I am looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead come Sunday afternoon.”
Season Schedule: The “Apple Cup 125” will be the first of 10 events scheduled for the NWSLMS in 2022. The 10-race schedule features two events at Tri City Raceway, the Wenatchee Valley Super-Oval, South Sound Speedway, and Hermiston Raceway with single events at Stateline Speedway and Magic Valley Speedway.
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.
Sunday Schedule April 3rd:
Super Late Model Practice: 9:15 AM – 9:25 AM
Mini Stock Practice: 9:25 AM – 9:35 AM
Hobby Stocks: 9:35 AM – 9:50 AM
Super Late Model Practice 10:00 AM – 10:15 AM
Mini Stock Practice 10:15 AM – 10:30 AM
Hobby Stock Practice: 10:30 AM – 10:45 AM
General Admission Gates Open: 11:00 AM
Super Late Model Qualifying: 11:00 AM – 11:45 AM
Mini Stock Group Qualifying: 11:50 AM – 12:10 PM
Super Late Model Happy Minutes: 12:10 PM – 12:30 PM
Opening Ceremonies: 12:30 PM
Bettarel Hobby Stock Feature: 1:00 PM (30 laps or 1 hour)
Tristate Mini Stock Feature: 2:00 PM approx. (40 laps or 1 hour)
Super Late Model Feature: 3:00 PM approx. “Apple Cup 125”
1. 021 Todd Connell Yakima, WA
2. 3 Wyatt Gardner Lake Stevens, WA
3. 3 Andy Beaman Selah, WA
4. 3 Ken Bonney Hermiston, OR
5. 08 Tyler Brown Kennewick, WA
6. 11 Nick Gibson Nampa, ID
7. 12 Trenton Moriarity Monroe, WA
8. 15 Jim Franklin Kennewick, WA
9. 17 Max Schroeder Tacoma, WA
10. 21 Dan Nelson Kennewick, WA
11. 25 Randy Marshall Jr Moxee City, WA
12. 29 Jason O'Neil Spokane, WA
13. 33 Christopher Kalsch Hillsboro, OR
14. 34 Scott Walker West Richland, WA
15. 37 Mike Longton Moxee, WA
16. 37 Kaiden Anderson Yakima, WA
17. 40 Dylan Caldwell Nampa, ID
18. 48 Preston Peltier, Brighten, CO
19. 55 Haeden Plybon Spokane, WA
20. 72 BJ Tidrick Kennewick WA
21. 83 Braeden Havens Spokane, WA
22. 90 Trevor Cristiani Boise, ID
23. 93 Dave Garber Spokane, WA
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 Hoosier Racing Tire, McGunegill Engine Performance, AR Bodies, Leonard Evans Used Car Superstore, Racing Dynamiks, Joes Racing Products, Penske Racing Shocks, Five Star Bodies, AFCO/Longacre Racing Products, RaceCals, Wheel Chill, Atomic Screen Printing and Embroidery, Franks Racing Radio, BLP, Jefferson Racing, Driven Racing Oil, Bassett Wheels, American Racer, Gibson Diesel Performance, and The Ti Company. For more information on the series visit www.nwslms.com or on Facebook and Twitter.