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– ALGER, Wash. (June 20) – Even though he’s more than happy about the overall results, it’s hard to not imagine would could have been.
Trey Starks was close to three top 10s and his first career sprint car victory at the prestigious 40th annual Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup at Skagit Speedway in Alger, Wash., but a couple of feature incidents foiled the magical weekend.
Competing against 40 of the top sprint car drivers in the country at arguably the biggest 410 race on the West Coast, the 15-year-old from Puyallup, Wash., made a name for himself and was in the hunt for the $40,000-to-win prize at Saturday’s finale.
“I’d say it was a 100 percent improvement,” Starks said after comparing this season’s results to last year’s Dirt Cup, when he failed to advance to the feature.
On Thursday – the first preliminary night – Starks qualified 10th, placed third in his heat race and finished ninth in the main event. It gave him the 12th-most points.
“Nothing really spectacular happened,” he said. “It was kind of a one-lane race track. We went forward as far as we could and sat there, hoping to get as many points as we could.
“We knew we had to get better on Friday to lock ourselves into Saturday’s feature.”
The team made an engine swap before qualifying on Friday, but it was slow to react. He timed in with the 19th-best lap and won his heat race from the pole. That started him third in the feature, which was lined up by a complete invert.
“Right off the start, the front row of Cory Eliason and Jason Solwold got into each other on the frontstretch,” Starks said. “I got around Eliason and as we got into lapped traffic around lap six, there was a red flag. Solwold ended up having a flat left rear tire, so he pulled into the pits and all of a sudden I was in the lead.”
Starks led the next 20 laps before the quick change gears broke with four laps remaining, taking away his first win and relegating him to a 19th-place result.
“You know how awesome it’d be to get your first win on a Dirt Cup preliminary night,” he said. “Unfortunately, it went wrong at the exact wrong time. It was kind of a heartbreaker.”
That dropped Starks to 15th in points, which barely snuck him into Saturday’s feature by two spots. He started in that position for the 40-lap event, but didn’t stay there long.
“We were charging hard,” Starks said. “We were flying by cars.”
He was up to eighth and passing for seventh when he caught the cushion on lap 24. The car got a bit tight and barely tagged the wall in turn four. The impact cut the right rear tire and forced him to stop.
The crew replaced the tire, but Starks had to restart at the back. He finished 12th.
“It would have been a great night and it turned into just a decent night,” he said.
Starks is taking this weekend off and will tentatively return to the cockpit on July 2-3 at the Cottage Grove Speedway in Cottage Grove, Ore., with the Interstate Sprint Car Series.
QUICK RESULTS –
June 16 – Skagit Speedway in Alger, Wash. – Qualifying: 10; Heat race: 3 (3); Feature: 9 (11).
June 17 – Skagit Speedway in Alger, Wash. – Qualifying: 19; Heat race: 1 (1); Feature: 19 (3).
June 18 – Skagit Speedway in Alger, Wash. – Feature: 12 (15).
SEASON STATS –
24 races, 22 features, 0 wins, 2 top fives, 8 top 10s, 12 top 15s, 20 top 20s
UP NEXT –
July 2-3 at the Cottage Grove Speedway in Cottage Grove, Ore., with the Interstate Sprint Car Series
FAVORITE NUMBER –
13.3: Average feature finish for Starks at the three-day 40th annual Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup last weekend at Skagit Speedway in Alger, Wash.
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS –
Starks has shirts, sweatshirts and beanies for sale. The colors are black and gray for the shirts and hooded sweatshirts. Shirts are $15, sweatshirts are $30 and black beanies are $15. All sizes range from small to XL. For ordering information, visit www.treystarksracing.com.
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT – Starks Timber Processing
Starks Timber Processing is a logging business owned by Trey’s father, John, who is a third-generation logger. It has been based out of Washington for the last 15 years.
“Starks Timber Processing is what provides me the opportunity to race,” Trey said. “It has played a huge role in my life, both on the track and away from it.”
Starks would like to thank his sponsors, including Blue Dot Fabrications, Northwest Powder Coating & Sandblasting, Masco Petroleum and SpeedMart for their continued support.