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– LAKE STEVENS, Wash. (June 13) – Austen Wheatley isn’t exactly sure what to expect.

After all, it’s been more than two months since he has piloted a sprint car and his return this weekend is at Skagit Speedway in Alger, Wash., for the 40th annual Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup – featuring some of the best drivers in the sport vying for the $40,000 top prize.

“I think it’s going to be rough,” the 18-year-old from Lake Stevens, Wash., said. “The first night I might struggle a little bit. I think the second night we’ll be pretty good, but the final night is based on a points system from the first two nights so we’ll see.”

This will be his first time competing in the prestigious Dirt Cup, but Wheatley has fared well in his four previous races at the 3/10th-mile dirt oval. He’s recorded a pair of top 10s in four career races, including a best third-place finish last August.

“It’s a big race and it’s at home, and you always want to do well at home,” Wheatley said. “I’m just hoping to get three solid days of racing in with three solid finishes and not junk anything.

“In the past we have been good, so that’s something to look back to. So you’re not just always guessing.”

Wheatley hasn’t raced since April 2 when he finished 10th at Skagit Speedway in his only appearance there this season. The third-year racer has experienced a variety of engine issues, which has sidelined his program for the past couple of months.

“I’m really excited because every day I wake up and think about it,” he said. “I go out in the shop and see the race car sitting there. I’m just ready to strap in and get on the track.”

Thursday and Friday are two separate days of racing and points are added from qualifying, heat races and main events both days to determine Saturday’s features.

“Skagit is kind of a different place,” Wheatley said. “You’ve got to be aggressive, but you have to be smart at the same time because that place will bite you.”


8 races, 3 features, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 1 top 10, 1 top 15, 2 top 20s


Thursday through Saturday at Skagit Speedway in Alger, Wash., for the 40th annual Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup


3: The best finish for Wheatley at Skagit Speedway in Alger, Wash., which came last August in his first race at the 3/10th-mile dirt oval.


Website: www.austenwheatley.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/MiniWheats44w


Wheatley has gray and white t-shirts, gray sweatshirts and charcoal gray hats and beanies for sale. For more information, visit www.austenwheatley.com.


Located in Fort Worth, Texas, The Oil Medics services diesel trucks and distributes racing oil for sprint car engines and rear ends. For more information, visit www.theoilmedics.com.

“Thanks to The Oil Medics, our rear ends run cooler and you don’t notice as much damage to the engines and rear ends,” Wheatley said. “The Oil Medics makes the engines and rear ends live longer.”

Wheatley would like to thank his sponsors, including Wolfweld, SpeedMart, Fire-Down Graphics, Advanced Racing Suspensions, Astro Titanium, DMI, Brown & Miller Racing Solutions, Goodyear and Redlined Welding & Construction for their continued support.