By Andrew Kunas
VANCOUVER, Wash. – After not awarding Rookie of the Year honors in 2010, the NorthWest Wingless Tour sprint car series may see as many as three drivers vying for top rookie honors in the upcoming 2011 season, which begins April 30th at Cottage Grove Speedway in Oregon.
Ryan Bothwell of Camby, Ore. is planning to run his first full year in a sprint car with the NorthWest Wingless Tour, after competing in one event last year at Sunset Speedway, where he took an impressive fifth place finish driving a car owned by NWWT champion Theo McCarty. This season will see Bothwell, who has raced dwarf cars and midgets in the past, drive a new second car in the Ron Brown stable, the No. 41 Raybourn-powered Tognotti entry.
Ironically enough, Bothwell’s new teammate is also a newcomer to sprint cars. Scappoose, Ore.’s Doug McVae is taking over the No. 14 Raybourn-powered CMS/John Boy that was driven by McCarty to the NorthWest Wingless Tour sprint car series championship last year. Although he has never raced a sprint car before, McVae has not declared his intention to run for the NWWT Rookie of the Year at last report though he is technically eligible.
McVae was the Rookie of the Year in the NWWT’s short lived midget car division in 2009, also driving a car owned by Brown. McVae is also a many-time main event winner in dwarf cars and is a former champion of the PHRA dwarf car series.
Another new driver, Brad Rhodes of Hillsboro, Ore. is racing sprint cars for the first time this year, bringing out the No. 04 sprinter he recently purchased. Rhodes is an experienced bike racer.
Drivers who have raced in no more than a few events in full-sized sprint cars of any class prior to the current season are eligible for the NorthWest Wingless Tour Rookie of the Year honors. Registration is mandatory and the driver must declare their intent to run for top rookie honors.
More information on the NorthWest Wingless Tour sprint car series can be found online at http://www.nwwinglesstour.com.
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April 30 – Cottage Grove Speedway – Cottage Grove, OR
May 14 – Grays Harbor Raceway – Elma, WA
May 21 – Skagit Speedway – Alger, WA