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Northwest Super Late Model Series Treks to Idaho's Stateline Speedway

Saturday's Northwest Super Late Model 125 presented by Les Schwab at Stateline Speedway marks the third round of the NWSLMS season.

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The Northwest Super Late Model Series presented by RaceCals (NWSLMS) will return to Northwest Idaho for the fourth consecutive year on May 18th, for the “Northwest Super Late Model 125 presented by Les Schwab”. Findlay Stadium Stateline Speedway (ID) will host series for the eighth time at a facility celebrating its 50th season. The winner of Saturday night’s race will receive $3,000 in Round #3 of the NWSLMS season. 23 Super Late Models are entered as of May 14th, which would be the most for any non “Idaho 200” event at the ¼-mile asphalt oval.

History

The 2015 season saw two events run with Blake Williams and the late J.C. Wofford the winners. 2016 found Braeden Havens and Garrett Evans scoring victories. In 2021, the series returned to Stateline Speedway (SLS) for the first time since 2016. Garrett Evans scored his only 2021 series victory that day, eventually leading to his fourth series championship. 2022 found Trevor Cristiani grabbing the rain delayed event win in front of Kaiden Anderson, Nick Gibson, Mike Doss, and Evan Goetz in a 19-car field. Kasey Kleyn grabbed the victory in 2023, becoming the youngest driver in series history, at the time, to register a victory. Kleyn is the only previous SLS winner entered.

Track Champions

Multiple Stateline Speedway Late Model track champions have registered for this weekend’s event. Those include recent champions Haeden Plybon (2020), Jason O’Neil (2021), Nick Gibson (2023), as well as Dave Garber, who has scored multiple championships at the ¼-mile oval.

Robust Field

23 Super Late Models have entered this weekend’s event. Three former series winners are entered including Haeden Plybon, Evan Goetz, and Kasey Kleyn. Additional Late Model touring series winners include Andy Beaman, Nick Gibson, Corey Allard, Jason O’Neil, Eric Rhead, Wyatt King, Darrell Midgley, and Dave Garber. Four states and one Canadian Province are on the roster. Idaho, Utah, Oregon, Washington, and British Colombia will be represented.

Idaho 200

The “Idaho 200” is traditionally the biggest event of the season for SLS and carries a $20,000 winner’s purse in 2024. The previous three winners of the event are entered this weekend. Those drivers include Nick Gibson (2023), Haeden Plybon (2022), and Corey Allard (2021).

Championship Standings

Kasey Kleyn leads the championship standings heading into Round #3 of the season. Kleyn will seek his second series victory in-a-row at Stateline. Kleyn (102 points) leads Ken Bonney (81), Jason Jefferson (73), Christopher Kalsch (71), Evan Goetz (69), Haeden Plybon (69), Dave Garber (66), Andy Beaman (58), Jan Evans (55), and Jess Havens (53) in the standings after two events.

Rookies

Eight drivers on the pre-entry are eligible for the Rookie-of-the-Year competition. Jess Havens, Ryan Phipps, Garret Sawyer, Evan Goetz, Eric Rhead, Andrew Riehl, Zandar Peters, and Scott Murphy are all entered. Evan Goetz leads the standings followed by Jess Havens, Zandar Peters, Eric Rhead, and Trace Thompson.

Young Guns

Three “Young Gun” drivers shared seven of the series nine victories in 2023, but through the first two events, they are winless. Haeden Plybon (4), Evan Goetz (2), and Kasey Kleyn (1) represented the youth movement in 2023 with strong seasons. 2023 NWSLMS champion Haeden Plybon has yet to finish an event this season, coming home 11th at the Wenatchee Valley Super-Oval (WA) and 18th at Tri-City Raceway RMEC (WA). Goetz has had similar luck finishing 13th and 14th. Kleyn has had the best results, earning two second-place finishes. This hungry trio will be looking to break through this weekend, as early favorites for the win.

Behar’s Back

Nicole Behar hasn’t been behind the wheel of a full-sized stock car since 2017. She earned six top-five, and 23 top-10 finishes in the ARCA Menards Pro Series West from 2014 to 2017. She finished tenth overall in her rookie 2015 campaign and eighth in 2017, her only full seasons. She has 11 starts in the NWSLMS from 2014 to 2016, earning two top-five and seven top-10 finishes in those appearances. She will make her comeback after doing some dirt kart racing over the last two seasons.

"While I haven’t been in a full-sized car since 2017, I have been racing dirt go karts for the last few years, which has gotten me comfortable driving again", Behar explained. "We tested once before the first race to get all the rust knocked off and I’m super excited to get back behind the wheel at Stateline Speedway again!"

Canadian Flavor

For the third event in-a-row, Canada will be represented on the entry list by a driver from British Columbia. Veteran racer Darrell Midgley will make the trip to SLS on his way back from Tucson Speedway, where he competed in the “Chilly Willy 150” back in January. It will be his first series start at SLS after competing five times at the Wenatchee Valley Super Oval. The two-time “Canada 200” winner does have experience in the “Idaho 200” however, where he finished ninth in 2008. “I am really looking forward to it”, Midgley stated. “It is a great facility.”

40 and Counting

NWSLMS veteran racer and former Yakima Speedway (WA) Super Late Model track champion Christopher Kalsch will make his series record 40th start in-a-row Saturday night. Kalsch will make his fourth NWSLMS visit to SLS where he has been challenged to crack the top-10, finishing 13th, 12th, and 14th over the last three seasons. He hopes to find some long-run speed and improve upon last year’s result.

“Stateline has always been a challenging track for me”, Kalsch admitted. “We always struggle with grip and getting the car to stay with me the whole race. With my 40th start with the series being at Stateline, I'm really just looking to improve on previous years. We only run there once a year, so I still feel like there is a lot to be gained, and I have a few things in mind to try to make the car a little better than last year.”

ROTY Returns

2023 NWSLMS Rookie-of-the-Year Zach Riehl will make his first series start of the season at SLS this weekend. He will participate in the Pro Late Model race on Friday and with his Super Late Model on Saturday. Riehl finished 13th in last season’s edition, and he hopes racing both days will help his effort on Saturday.

“Running both classes can help a driver improve their driving skills”, Riehl commented. “For me, I noticed running both classes helped me adapt quicker to running two different cars, especially at Stateline, where the tires play a huge factor. Overall, the more laps I can get will make me a better driver.”

Veteran’s First

Scott Walker has been racing in the Pacific Northwest for decades, but this will be the first time the former Yakima Speedway (WA) Super Late Model track champion has raced a Late Model at SLS. He has been to the track in Super Fours, Midgets, and Legends, but this Saturday will be a new challenge for the West Richland, WA driver.

“I've never raced a Late Model at Stateline”, Walker admitted. “I ran there in 2000 and 2001 in the Northwest Super Fours, and then a couple of times with the WMRA Midgets in 2004 & 2005. The last time I raced there was in a Legend car back in 2012 or 2013. The first race I ran in a Legend car, we won that one. It's been so long (since I ran there), I forget what the most challenging part of the track is. I do remember how difficult it was to get good forward drive out of turn two with the Legend car. It used to be my favorite track in the Super Fours before they repaved it. After the repave, it was probably my worst track, as far as results go, when I ran the Midgets.”

Schedule

Friday May 17th will open the weekend with Military Night and events for the Road Runners, Fever 4, Bandoleros, and the Pro Late Models. Fireworks will follow. Saturday will find the Evergreen State Towing Legends, Lanzce Douglass Bandoleros, and Johnson Surveying Hobby Stocks in action with the Northwest Super Late Model Series for a full two days of racing action. Admission Gates open, and Qualifying take place on Friday at 5:00 PM. Saturday, Admission Gates and Qualifying are set for 4:00 PM, with racing to follow. Admission is free on Saturday for kids 17 and under.

Livestream

For those unable to attend, the event will be shown LIVE at RacingAmerica.com with a paid subscription. Shari Garber and DJ Everett with headline the weekend’s coverage.

WATCH LIVE ON RACINGAMERICA.TV

Expected Entries (As Of May 15)

1 Kasey Kleyn - Quincy, WA
3 Andy Beaman - Selah, WA
3K Ken Bonney - Hermiston, OR
5H Jess Havens - Spokane, WA*
7 Zach Riehl - Corbett, OR
11 Nick Gibson - Nampa, ID
22P Ryan Phipps - Burley, ID*
22S Garret Sawyer - Spokane, WA*
23 Corey Allard - Sagle, ID
29 Jason O'Neil - Spokane, WA
33K Christopher Kalsch - Hillsboro, OR
33B Nicole Behar - Otis Orchards, WA
34 Scott Walker - West Richland, WA
42 Evan Goetz - Okanogan, WA*
47 Stephen Blankenship - Bovill, ID
55 Haeden Plybon - Spokane, WA
66 Eric Rhead - W Bountiful, UT*
69R Andrew Riehl - Corbett, OR*
69P Zandar Peters - Eatonville, WA*
77 Scott Murphy - Spokane, WA*
80 Wyatt King - Boise, ID
81 Darrell Midgley - Sidney, BC, Canada
93 Dave Garber - Spokane, WA

*Eligible for Rookie-of-the-Year

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, 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 by: Kevin Peters, NWSLMS Media
-Photo credit: Dishaw Photography

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