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– ALGER, Wash. (April 25) – Austen Wheatley’s most promising night of the season came to an end against the wall in turn one on Saturday.
The 18-year-old from Lake Stevens, Wash., was running in the top five of his 410 feature at Skagit Speedway in Alger, Wash., when he smacked the wall on the fifth lap.
“I entered a little too high and stuck it in the fence,” Wheatley said. “The car was really good. I think we were one of the fastest ones. I just misjudged it.”
The contact broke the rear end, snapped the drive shaft and damaged basically everything on the right side of the car. He was towed into the pits with a 10th-place finish – his first of the season.
Wheatley started the night by qualifying seventh, which started him on the pole of his heat race. He got a good jump and ended up cruising for the victory, which was his first heat win of the season.
“It was good to start up front and just make your own laps,” he said.
That gave Wheatley the seventh starting position for the feature. He quickly passed a couple of cars and was into the top five before the mistake ended his night.
“I think it was a good learning experience for something like Dirt Cup,” he said. “For Dirt Cup, you have to be really consistent, but you have to be aggressive.
“Just not trying to get too much too early. You’ve got to be patient with it.”
Wheatley will take this weekend off before tentatively returning to the track on May 7 at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, Calif., with the King of the West Sprint Car Series.
QUICK RESULTS –
April 23 – Skagit Speedway in Alger, Wash. – Qualifying: 7; Heat race: 1 (1); Feature: 10 (7).
SEASON STATS –
8 races, 3 features, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 1 top 10, 1 top 15, 2 top 20s
UP NEXT –
May 7 at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, Calif., with the King of the West Sprint Car Series (tentative)
FAVORITE NUMBER –
10: Wheatley recorded his first top 10 of the season last Saturday at Skagit Speedway in Alger, Wash.
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS –
Wheatley has gray and white t-shirts and gray sweatshirts for sale. For more information, visit www.austenwheatley.com
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT – Astro Titanium
Established in 1999, Astro Titanium manufactures quality titanium fasteners for sprint cars and midgets. Based out of Noti, Ore., owner Dave Sims has developed his business into a titanium leader on a national scale. For more information, visit www.astrotitanium.com.
“Astro Titanium and Dave Sims have been with me since the beginning of my career,” Austen said. “Anytime we have a problem, we call Dave up and he helps. He’s a really personable guy and his products work great.”
Wheatley would like to thank his sponsors, including Wolfweld, The Oil Medics, SpeedMart, Fire-Down Graphics, Advanced Racing Suspensions, DMI, Brown & Miller Racing Solutions, Goodyear and Redlined Welding & Construction for their continued support.