A mix of young guns and cagey veterans scored main event victories during Sunday’s 48th Annual Yakima Speedway Apple Cup presented by Columbia Asphalt.
Leading the charge for his fourth Apple Cup of his illustrious career was Canadian late model star, Pete Harding. The victory gives Harding four Fall Classic and four Apple Cup trophies in a 26-year span.
The Surrey, BC native moved from the tail-end of the field to second place with five laps to go, but, appeared to have nothing left in his Yale Lift Trucks Chevrolet for race leader Shelby Thompson. Both drivers saved their tires for a late race charge, however, Thompson had hung inside the top-10 running order throughout the afternoon while Harding had to work traffic and recover from a near spinout to get inside the top-2 as the laps closed out.
With the white flag flying, Thompson appeared to be on the verge of a stunning victory in the Apple Cup as the Spokane native had a two-second lead on Harding as the pair entered the backstretch. With Harding on the throttle, Thompson slowed and hit pit road; his No. 20 Western Rail Chevrolet out of fuel just a quarter mile from the checkered flag.
Harding pounced to the lead and led just one circuit in the 125-lap affair, the final one, to claim the victory,
Kelly Mann, Dave Hemrich, Wade Bland and Shane Harding ran second through fifth place with Zach Moran, Braeden Havens, Garrett Evans, Mike Longton and Lucas Valdez completing the top-10 running order.
Thompson would be scored 15th with credit for a race high 37 laps led in the event.
Also turning in winning performances were Rich Peters (Super Stocks), Bryon Goetz (West Coast Street Stock Series) and Parker Stephens (Columbia River Legend Series).
Stephens, the teenage son of famed Northwest late model driver Dirk Stephens, accomplished something his father was never able to achieve-an Apple Cup main event victory. Working his way through a lightning-quick field, Stephens held off a hard-charging Randy Schaaf for the victory with Randy Beddow, who led many laps in the 40-lap affair, rounding out the top-3.
Peters continued his mastery of Apple Cup main events, this year in the Super Stock class, as he battled through a full-field invert to claim the victory over pole winner, Mike Denton.
Mike Hill, 2013 Super Stock Rookie of the Year Trevor Flora and Cody Denton closed out the top-5.
Goetz, who brought home a runner-up finish in last season’s West Coast Street Stock Series Fall Classic main event that only added to his multiple Speedway second-place trophies, finally broke through for the top prize as he bested Selah’s Buck Noel Jr. The caution-filled race was a battle of attrition early on before settling down for a long green-flag run to the checkers. Peters, who pulled double-duty during the weekend, brought his Chevrolet home in third.
Glenn Knutson and Doug Poler finished fourth and fifth place respectively.
Racing resumes at Yakima Speedway, an ASA (American Speed Association) sanctioned racing facility, on May 3 with the action in the Late Model Sportsman, Super Stock, Mini-Stock. Youth Hornet, Bump to Pass and Hornet divisions.
For more information call 248-0647, log onto www.yakimaspeedway.us or follow along on the tracks' Facebook page.
Yakima Speedway 48th Annual Apple Cup Unofficial Finishes-
SUPER LATE MODEL
Main event (125 laps): 1, Pete Harding; 2, Kelly Mann; 3, Dave Hemrich; 4, Wade Bland; 5, Shane Mitchell; 6, Zach Moran; 7, Braeden Havens; 8, Garrett Evans; 9, Mike Longton; 10, Lucas Valdez; 11, Travis Bennett; 12, Brian Levant; 13, Zach Beaman; 14, Gracin Raz; 15, Shelby Thompson; 16, Blake Williams; 17, Cody Walker; 18, Paul Blake; 19, Austin Reed; 20, Tim Babcock; 21, Nicole Behar; 22, Cameron Hayley; 23, Dan Obrist; 24, Mitch Kleyn; 25, Tayler Riddle; 26, Rick Hargraves; 27, Owen Riddle. 28, Giles Thornton (DNS)
A-Trophy Dash- Hayley B-Trophy Dash- Thornton Fast Time- Harding 18.656-sec.
WEST COAST STREET STOCKS
Main event (40 laps): 1, Brian Goetz; 2, Buck Noel Jr.; 3, Rich Peters; 4, Glenn Knutson; 5, Doug Poler; 6, Chad Ayers; 7, David Lund; 8, Eric Lee; 9, Andy Beaman; 10, Jeff Estabrook; 11, Casey Merrill; 12, Darrell Tidrick; 13, Bill Rutherford.
A-Trophy Dash- Peters B-Trophy Dash- Rutherford Fast Time- Noel Jr. 21.058-sec.
Main event (40 laps): 1, Richard Peters; 2, Mike Denton; 3, Mike Hill; 4, Trevor Flora; 5, Cody Denton; 6, Jack Anderson; 7, Don Klang; 8, Bobby Stewart Jr.; 9, Morgan Morrison; 10, John Fortenberry; 11, Terry Osborn; 12, Kyle Wade.
A-Trophy Dash- Peters B-Trophy Dash- Klang Fast Time- Mike Denton 23.946-sec.
COLUMBIA RIVER LEGENDS
Main event (60 laps): 1, Parker Stevens; 2, Randy Schaaf; 3, Randy Beddow; 4, Duane Swanson; 5, Ricky Ray; 6, Robert Gayton; 7, John Vangesen; 8, Tristan Haider; 9, Alex Ludeman; 10, Jose Zamudio; 11, Kyle Kinzebach; 12, Greg Cortaberria; 13, Chad Bennett; 14, Bill Kirk; 15, Neena Kik; 16, Lloyd Bigler; 17, Gary Wegener; 18, Larry Cantrall; 19, Brent Mack; 20, Simon Buchan; 21, Ren Marose; 22, Mitch Slagle; 23, Jake Woods.
A-Trophy Dash- McNeil B-Trophy Dash- Zamudio Fast Time- Schaaf 22.350-sec.