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– LAKE STEVENS, Wash. (June 28) – Austen Wheatley spent a little time on YouTube last night preparing for his next race.
While he’s raced in California numerous times, the 18-year-old from Lake Stevens, Wash., has never competed at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville. The famed ¼-mile, semi-banked dirt oval hosts this weekend’s Howard Kaeding Classic featuring the King of the West Sprint Car Series.
“I just watched a video last night just to see what it’s like,” Wheatley said. “I think it’s going to be a really fun place. It looks like it’s going to be really racy. You can hit the top and you can hit the bottom.”
Wheatley returned from more than two months off two weeks ago for the 40th annual Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup at Skagit Speedway in Alger, Wash., where he finished 15th in the finale featuring some of the premier drivers in the sport.
That gave him a boost of confidence that he’s optimistic will continue to build on Friday and Saturday in his first appearance at Ocean Speedway.
“I felt like I could have done better than 15th at Dirt Cup,” he said. “The car was definitely there, so hopefully we’ll take that into this weekend.”
Last weekend he ventured into the micro-sprint community, competing in a friend’s 1200 micro at Deming Speedway in Deming, Wash. Wheatley qualified eighth quickest and won his heat race, which started him third in the feature.
While running in the top three and closing in on lapped traffic, Wheatley decided to dive to the bottom and missed his line. He spun out and ended up finishing just outside the top 10.
“I’ve got to thank Steven Hendrickson for letting me drive his micro,” Wheatley said. “That was a blast to try out and I hope I can race a few more times in the micros.”
SEASON STATS –
11 races, 5 features, 0 wins, 0 top fives, 1 top 10, 2 top 15s, 3 top 20s
UP NEXT –
Friday and Saturday at Ocean Speedway in Watsonville, Calif., with the King of the West Sprint Car Series for the Howard Kaeding Classic
FAVORITE NUMBER –
22: The position Wheatley finished in his last race in California, which was April 2 at Calistoga Speedway in Calistoga, Calif., with the World of Outlaws.
SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS –
Wheatley has gray and white t-shirts, gray sweatshirts and charcoal gray hats and beanies for sale. For more information, visit www.austenwheatley.com.
SPONSOR SPOTLIGHT – SpeedMart
Established in 2004, SpeedMart has developed into a leading supplier of sprint car and racing products in the Northwest. For more information, visit www.speedmartinc.com.
“We’ve used the SpeedMart store ever since I was in micro sprints,” Wheatley said. “It’s local, so it’s great to find everything that we need close to home.”
Wheatley would like to thank his sponsors, including Wolfweld, The Oil Medics, Fire-Down Graphics, Advanced Racing Suspensions, Astro Titanium, DMI, Brown & Miller Racing Solutions, Goodyear and Redlined Welding & Construction for their continued support.