By Andrew Kunas
VANCOUVER, Wash. – With its first show of 2011 in the books, the NorthWest Wingless Tour sprint car series will now make its first of five scheduled appearances this season at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, Washington this Saturday.
Hillsboro, Oregon driver Theo McCarty, the defending NorthWest Wingless Tour champion, goes into the event as the tour’s unofficial points leader, holding a slim four-point lead over Gaston, Ore.’s Corey Esteban. Neither driver has won before at Grays Harbor Raceway, the largest track on the NWWT schedule.
There have been no repeat winners in four NWWT sprint car events held on the 3/8-mile, high-banked clay oval located at the Grays Harbor County Fairgrounds. Seth Bergman, who last year was the track champion in winged 360 sprint cars, won Grays Harbor Raceway’s first ever “traditional” sprint car main event in the Big E Non-Wing Challenge in September 2009.
The 2010 season had four scheduled NWWT events at Grays Harbor Raceway, the last of which was lost to rain. Jeff Bell won the June race and Texas visitor Travis Rilat won a Thursday night race in mid-July. On Labor Day weekend Shawn Rice scored the victory in the 2nd Annual Big E Non-Wing Challenge.
Along with McCarty and Esteban, other drivers including Kyle Mehner, Mark Nichols, Mike Romig, Dylan Olsen and Mark Herz are expected to make the tow north from northern Oregon and southwest Washington. Bell, who was involved in a wild crash in a Ford Focus midget that caused season ending injuries last July, has recovered and is expected to make his first start in a sprint car this Saturday since last summer’s accident.
After this Saturday’s show, the NWWT is scheduled to return to Grays Harbor Raceway on June 18th. The 3rd Annual Big E Non-Wing Challenge will be a two-day affair this year as the NWWT has been slated for two nights on the track’s Big E Weekend this season, on August 26th and 27th. The NorthWest Wingless Tour sprint car series makes one more visit on September 17th.
More information on the NorthWest Wingless Tour sprint car series can be found online at http://www.nwwinglesstour.com.