Event: The 35th Annual “Fall Classic 125” will be the 2022 season finale for the Northwest Super Late Model Series (NWSLMS) presented by Racing Dynamiks. It will take place on Sunday, October 2nd as Day #3 of the annual event, presented by Toyota. The “Fall Classic” will take place at the recently reopened Tri-City Raceway (WA) for the second straight year, after the first 33 events took place at the currently closed Yakima Speedway (WA). $10,000 will go to the winner of the winner after 125 laps. There will be a halfway break on lap 63, where teams can change two tires and make adjustments. Day #1 is a practice day with Day #2 featuring the Northwest Vintage Modifieds, Tri-State Challenge Series Mini Stocks and the Tri-State Challenge Series Pro Late Models. Day #3 will find the Tri-State Hobby Stocks, and Northwest Modified / B Modified Invitational joining the Super Late Models.
Large Field: 37 Super Late Models are currently entered for this weekend’s “Fall Classic 125” representing four states; Washington, Idaho, Utah, and Oregon as well as the Canadian Province of British Columbia. The current record car count for the NWSLMS is 36 Super Late Models at the 2014 “Fall Classic”. 34 cars appeared for the 2015 edition, with 31 entries at Evergreen Speedway (WA) in 2015 and the Wenatchee Valley Super-Oval (WA) in 2020. The series is averaging 21.3 Super Late Models per event with a high of 23 (3 times) and a low of 19 for a rain makeup date at Stateline Speedway (ID). There are eight former NWSLMS winners in the field. Those include Owen Riddle, Tayler Riddle, Randy Marshall Jr., Kaiden Anderson, Haeden Plybon, Doni Wanat, Trevor Cristiani, and Jason Jefferson.
Fall Classic Winners: Seven entries are former “Fall Classic” winners representing 10 victories, and the last seven winners of the event. Those winners include; B.J. Tidrick (1 win), Naima Lang (3 wins), Tayler Riddle (1 win), Jason Jefferson (1 win), Owen Riddle (1 win), Jason Fraser (2 wins), and Randy Marshall Jr. (1 win). The all-time winningest driver of the “Fall Classic” is Pete Harding with four wins. Ron Eaton and Garrett Evans have three victories, as does Lang. The first 33 “Fall Classic” events were held at Yakima Speedway, with last year’s edition the first at Tri-City Raceway (TCR).
B.J. Tidrick: Tidrick was the winner in 2006, which was the least recent win for any driver attending this weekend. Tidrick participated in both TCR Super Late Model events since its reopening, having poor luck in both the “Fall Classic 125” and “Apple Cup 125”. He was leading last October’s event but fell victim to a hub failure. This past April he was caught up in an early accident, not of his own doing, finishing 21st. But one of his biggest challenges in this weekend’s “Fall Classic” will be overcoming the loss of his left thumb, in a work accident a few weeks ago.
“The pain has gotten significantly better after the second surgery”, Tidrick commented about his injury. “The biggest thing is, I just don't want pity. I've been in and out of the car a few times in the last couple days. Entry and exit of car have a couple of minor challenges, and seat belts are a bugger, but once I'm in, and the steering wheel is on, I'm 95% fine. To be honest, the left thumb is the least important of the two thumbs inside the racecar.”
Despite the challenges, Tidrick will be looking for a victory in his new Super Late Model. He is confident in the car’s speed at TCR and with the progress they made throughout 2022. This is especially true after his “Montana 200” victory at the Mission Valley Super-Oval.
“We were fast there (Fall Classic) last year, but had a right front hub failure, while leading at lap 60, forcing us to get a DNF”, Tidrick recalled. “I blew qualifying at the Apple Cup, and we were third or fourth. Then we got caught up in an incident on lap-five, and it put us out of contention. But we have learned a lot about this car in testing this year, as well as having a great run with her at the 2022 “Montana 200”.
Tidrick continued, “We are not just looking to come compete. We are capable of winning at TCR. We've had the speed. Honestly, the only thing that's changed in my whole plan this week is, I'm short one thumb. I race predominantly with my right shoulder, meaning I do the most work with that arm, and not my left. The thumb is nearly a non-issue, as long as the pain stays low to moderate.”
Tidrick concluded, “I just want to race like nothing happened. I've worked hard to be competitive at TCR in this new car. I feel we are 1000% capable. Had I cut my thumb off or not, we are going to be in a position to win Sunday.”
Jason Fraser: Fraser is a two-time winner of the “Fall Classic” and is the only driver to win the event at TCR. He also earned a win at Yakima Speedway in 2018, and he is looking to score back-to-back wins in the $10,000-to-win event, in only his fourth NWSLMS start, after a season racing in a division far with less horsepower.
“Of course, a repeat of the “Fall Classic” win would be great, and to win it three times in total would be an amazing feat for me personally”, Frasier admitted. “I had a lot of fun racing that track, and I found it very challenging. I have been racing my BMW on road courses (in 2022). In fact, last weekend I was in Laguna Secca and placed second at the National Championship for the Spec E46 class in NASA. Of course, having the opportunity to go back-to-back, with “Fall Classic” wins, is very intriguing, and something I have not done in my career. I am hoping we put a good effort together, and I will be in a position to do that!”
Tayler Riddle: The younger Riddle brother was the “Fall Classic 200” victor in 2015, at Yakima Speedway. He set Fast Time and led every lap of the event, in a 34-car starting field. Riddle has yet to make a start at TCR but has shown his versatility winning in the NWSLMS on the half-miles at Yakima Speedway, and Spokane Super-Oval, as well as on the quarter mile of the Wenatchee Valley Super-Oval, among his five series wins. This will be the first trip to TCR for Tayler, and he is eager to get on the newly reopened half-mile tri-oval.
"It is really cool to see a racetrack open back up after all these years”, Riddle acknowledged. “I’m excited and thankful to get an opportunity to race at the facility "
Owen Riddle: 2017 “Fall Classic” winner Owen Riddle will also make his first trip to TCR as well. The three-time “Montana 200” winner at Montana Raceway Park (MT) has participated in an extremely limited schedule in 2022, finishing second in the “All-Star Showdown 200” at Irwindale Speedway (CA), and winning the “Chad Hinkle Memorial 138” at South Sound Speedway (WA). The 2021 “Summer Showdown 200” winner at Evergreen Speedway (WA) knows the large field and unique facility will be a challenge, but one he looks forward to.
“I'm looking forward to the event for sure”, Riddle conveyed. “However, I'm sure it will be a learning experience. The combination of a very technical racetrack and a high car count should provide for an exciting weekend. We're ready to get out there and see what it's all about.”
Naima Lang: The three-time “Fall Classic” winner (2011, 2012, 2020), and six-time Evergreen Speedway Late Model track champion, will be looking to capture the one that got away, in his effort to tie Pete Harding for the most “Fall Classic” victories. At the re-opening of TCR, Lang was leading the field, looking for that fourth “Fall Classic” win. With 27 laps to go, Lang and a lapped car made contact, sending the Lynnwood, WA driver airborne and hard into the wall between Turn 1 and 2. Lang had to be extracted from his racecar and taken to the local hospital, with a compound fracture, along with other ailments.
“I think I was in the hospital for three days”, Lang recalled. “They were keeping me because of concerns with blood clots and infections, where bones came through the skin. I was pretty much out of it the whole time I was there. I’m still dealing with knee and ankle issues daily, but nothing that will stop me from racing.”
Lang recalled the conditions of the track, upon re-opening, and what he learned from last years’ experience.
“I knew going in the track would be very abrasive on tires, and managing tire wear was going to be important. It’s just when you’re leading the race with 20 some laps to go, as a driver, all that goes out the window. Lol I’ll just keep that in mind if that scenario comes up again. With less laps this year, and a break for two tires, it will definitely help the race conditions out.”
Randy Marshall Jr.: The 2019 “Fall Classic” winner is one of two former winners pulling double duty this weekend, participating in both his Pro Late Model and Super Late Model. The 2017 West Coast Late Model Series Champion was third in last year’s “Fall Classic” and feels getting behind the wheel of both racecars will be to his advantage.
“Doing double duty is great in my opinion”, Marshall expressed. “The cars are similar, and it gives you more track time. I’m excited to get going in both the Pro and Super Late, and to see how we stack up with the impressive list of drivers that have entered. Hopefully we can add another “Fall Classic” win to our credit!”
Jason Jefferson: The Naches, WA driver was the 2018 victor of the event at Yakima Speedway. Jefferson will be debuting a new Jefferson Racing Super Late Model this weekend, hoping to score his second “Fall Classic” victory. Jefferson won in his last NWSLMS start at Hermiston Raceway (OR) in 2021, but he has seen an extremely limited schedule in 2022. He made his first 2022 start two weeks ago in the Spears SRL Southwest Tour Series at Irwindale Speedway (CA), in a car owned by Dave Reed. He came home in 21st position, as the driver and team owner made their first starts together in nearly a decade. The two-time TCR Super Late Model track champion will be seeking a much stronger finish, after coming home fourth in this event last season.
2021 Fall Classic: Jason Frasier was the winner over a 25-car Super Late Model field in 2021. Scott Walker was the runner-up with Randy Marshall Jr., Jason Jefferson, Andy Beaman and Glenn Knutson the top half dozen. All of those teams are entered this weekend as well as seventh-place Doni Wanat. The race was not sanctioned by the NWSLMS.
Championship: Kaiden Anderson had his championship lead narrowed once again, with Kulwicki Driver Development Program finalist Haeden Plybon’s third-place finish at the Wenatchee Valley Super-Oval. Anderson lost nine points in the event and now leads by 11 points, 273 to 262. Nick Gibson now sits third (241 points), followed by Andy Beaman (232). With a maximum of 55 points available, the top-four are still mathematically alive for the championship. Evan Goetz (215), Ken Bonney (214), Christopher Kalsch (197), Max Schroeder (185), Dave Garber (179), and Corey Allard (151) complete the top-10.
Rookie-of-the-Year: Kaiden Anderson also leads the Jefferson Racing Rookie-of-the-Year standings. Anderson is followed by Haeden Plybon, Nick Gibson, Evan Goetz, and Kasey Kleyn. Goetz is the only driver not entered this weekend.
Season Debut: 13 drivers are currently scheduled to make their NWSLMS season debuts. Naima Lang, Bryce Bezanson, Owen Riddle, Glenn Knutsen, Zach Telford, Jason Fraser, Nick Gunderson, Jeff Hillock, Colton Price, Dan Lowther, Doni Wanat, Logan Jewell, and Jason Jefferson will make their first starts of the season. Nick Gunderson, and Colton Price will make their series debuts. 54 different drivers have competed in the series in 2022, through six events.
Series Winners: In six NWSLMS events in 2022, there have been six different winners. Preston Peltier, Evan Goetz, Kaiden Anderson, Trevor Cristiani, Haeden Plybon and Garrett Evans have all claimed victories.
Double Duty: 19 drivers are scheduled to perform double duty this weekend in both the Tri-State Pro Late Models on Saturday and the “Fall Classic 125” on Sunday. Those drivers include; Andy Beaman, Ken Bonney, Wyatt Gardner, Tyler Brown, Nick Gibson, Colton Price, Jim Franklin, Naima Lang, Todd Connel, Dan Nelson, Randy Marshall Jr., John Newhouse, Jeff Hillock, Haeden Plybon, Dan Lowther, Doni Wanat, Trevor Cristiani, Logan Jewell, and Ashton Cristiani.
Schedule: Fan Gates open at 9:00am on Sunday with practice for all divisions beginning at 9:15am. Individual Qualifying for the NWSLMS begins at 11:00am with Group Qualifying for the Tri-State Challenge Series Hobby Stocks at 11:50am and the Northwest Modified / B-Mod Invitational Modifieds at 12:10pm. The Happy Minutes Practice Session for the NWSLMS is scheduled for 12:25pm. Opening Ceremonies are on tap at 12:50pm with racing at 1:00 pm sharp. Feature Events for the Hobby Stocks, Modifieds and Super Late Models will roll off in that order.
Broadcast: For those unable to attend, the event will be shown LIVE on Racing America, with a subscription to its streaming service.
Preliminary Entry List:
Car# First Last, City, State
1. 00 Naima Lang Lynnwood, WA
2. 1 Kasey Kleyn Quincy, WA
3. 021 Todd Connell Yakima, WA
4. 3 Andy Beaman Selah, WA
5. 3G Wyatt Gardner Lake Stevens WA
6. 3K Ken Bonney Hermiston, OR
7. 7 Bryce Bezanson Snohomish, WA
8. 08 Tyler Brown Kennewick, WA
9. 10 Owen Riddle Naches, WA
10. 11G Nick Gibson Nampa, ID
11. 13 Matt Doyle Wenatchee, WA
12. 15 Jim Franklin Kennewick, WA
13. 15 Tayler Riddle Naches, WA
14. 16 Glenn Knutson Quincy, WA
15. 17 Zach Telford Middleton, ID
16. 18 Ian Graham Agassiz, BC, Canada
17. 21 Dan Nelson Kennewick, WA
18. 24 Tim Babcock Kennewick, WA
19. 25 Randy Marshall Jr Moxee City, WA
20. 26 John Newhouse Twin Falls, ID
21. 27 BJ Tidrick Kennewick, WA
22. 31 Jason Fraser Snohomish, WA
23. 33 Christopher Kalsch Hillsboro, OR
24. 33 Nick Gunderson Marysville, WA
25. 34 Scott Walker West Richland, WA
26. 36 Jeff Hillock Cedar Hills, UT
27. 37 Kaiden Anderson Yakima, WA
28. 40 Dylan Caldwell Nampa, ID
29. 51 Colton Price Everett, WA
30. 55 Haeden Plybon Spokane, WA
31. 63 Dan Lowther Boise, ID
32. 89 Doni Wanat Woodinville, WA
33. 90 Trevor Cristiani Boise, ID
34. 92 Logan Jewell Terrace, BC, Canada
35. 93 Dave Garber Spokane, WA
36. 94 Ashton Cristiani Boise, ID
37. 97 Jason Jefferson Naches, WA
-Story by: Kevin Peters/Northwest Super Late Model Series