From Starks Racing PR
Puyallup, Wash.—February 22, 2012 — Trey Starks has been counting the days since the final checkered flag of 2011 flew back in November in Arizona. For the 15-year old, that wait is almost over, as he will take to the track next weekend for the first two race of his 2012 season.
“I can’t wait to get on the track and back racing,” said Starks. “It seems like forever since I’ve been in the car. I’m looking forward to a good season. We have a lot of races we are looking to hit and it should be an exciting year.”
Starks and his family-owned team tentatively have around 60-races penciled in on their 2012 schedule. They’ll begin on the West Coast, early in the season, and then head to the Midwest after school lets out for the high school freshmen in June. Starks looks to compete at the famed Knoxville Raceway for the first time, as well as racing in some events with the UNOH All Star Circuit of Champions, including during Ohio Speedweek.
“We’ll be able to get into a little different of an atmosphere in the summer, which will be good,” shared the native of Puyallup, Wash. “I’ve been to a lot of tracks on the West Coast and it will be a great experience to go to the tracks in the Midwest. The tracks are different out there and the racing is different as well. We’ll learn a lot out there and it should help our program quite a bit.”
Having competed on the West Coast for the last two years, Starks has raced on a number of different surfaces, with the majority of those tracks being smaller, tighter bullrings. He’ll compete on a number of bigger tracks this season, including on half-miles in two of his first four starts of the year.
“I like racing on all types of tracks, as long as they have dirt on them,” he noted. “My three favorite types are very different from each other. I really like Tucson (USA Raceway in Tucson, Ariz.), which is a big track, while Tulare (Thunderbowl Raceway in Tulare, Calif.) is a little paperclip and Cottage Grove (Speedway in Ore.), is a bullring. I haven’t run on too many of the bigger tracks, so that is something I am really looking forward to. Getting to compete on the half-miles and bigger tracks will be a great learning experience.”
As they did last year, Starks and his team will compete in a variety of events with both a 360-cubic inch and a 410-cubic inch engine in their Shaver-powered Maxim race cars. Starks raced last season in a 360 with the ASCS Northwest Series, the ASCS SoCal Region, the ASCS National Tour, in addition to events with the Interstate Racing Series, and some local shows at Cottage Grove Speedway. In the 410 in 2011, he competed in events with the World of Outlaws, as well as the King of the West Series and also at Skagit Speedway, where he was victorious on August 20.
“The car certainly speeds up when you have the 410 in there, and your reaction times speed up, but otherwise there is not much difference in the driver’s seat,” explained Starks. “You still have the same tires and wings and parts on the cars.”
Starks, who became the youngest driver-ever to qualify for a World of Outlaws A-Feature event in 2010, raced with the series nine times last year, competing against many drivers that have been racing with the series longer than he has been alive. He scored his best-career finish with the series on the opening night of the Gold Cup Race of Champions at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, Calif., coming home 11th. Trey qualified for the A-Feature in eight of his nine appearances with the World of Outlaws in 2011. He will compete in all eight of the series West Coast event during the month of March.
“It was intimidating at first running with those veteran drivers, but as the competition gets faster, we tend to speed up with them,” he stated. “If you don’t think about it, you really don’t notice it. I just try to focus on my car and running my line and not worry about who is lined up next to me.”
The 2012 campaign will mark Starks’ third season behind the wheel of a sprint car. He continues to learn each and every time he climbs into the cockpit and takes to the track, whether for a hot laps session, a heat race or a main event.
“With seat-time and more laps, I can learn how to adapt to various situations and continue to learn and fine tune things,” noted Starks. “My first year in a sprint car, laps were certainly the most important thing, and they still are pretty important. We’re always working on getting the little things down and a lot of those things, you can only learn from having more laps and experience.”
Trey’s father John Starks, a former open wheel driver, will serve as the crew chief again this season, with his father Arnie, also helping turn the wrenches, along with Dallas Melby and Collin Starks. The crew has put in countless hours in the shop this winter making sure they are prepared for the aggressive schedule they will embark on beginning next week.
“Being organized is a big key heading into the season,” Trey said. “Going to different tracks is going to help us a lot as well and when we go to the Midwest, we’ll be able to bring back what we’ve learned and apply it when we race here on the West Coast.”
Prior to heading to Arizona to open the season, Starks recently made a visit to Portland, Ore. for the annual Portland Log Show to showcase his No. 55. He greeted numerous sprint car fans, as well as individuals that were new to the sport.
“It was great to show the car off to a lot of people that have never seen a sprint car before,” noted Starks. “It brings a whole new perspective to things. It opens the door to expanding the fan base and getting more people interested in sprint car racing and that’s always a good thing.”
Last season Starks raced at 16 tracks in six different states on the West Coast. He competed in 59 events, qualifying for the main event in 54 of those contests. He was victorious at Skagit Speedway in his home state of Washington, and racked up 10 Top-five and 24 Top-10 finishes. He finished third in the ASCS Northwest championship standings.
“Last year we had a very good year,” he said. “We made about 90 percent of the feature events of races we were at. If we have another percentage like that this year, I’ll be pretty happy with the level of competition we’ll be up against this year. The main thing is just going out and racing and doing what we know how to do.”