Starks Battles Misfortune Throughout Dirt Cup to Finish 11th During Finale

Trey Starks entered the Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup last weekend at Skagit Speedway as the 410ci winged sprint car points leader and the winningest driver at the track this year.

“You have to be fast and you have to have luck at these big events,” he said. “I felt we were fast, but we didn’t have very much luck. That’s how a weekend like that falls apart.”

Starks had high expectations going into the marquee event, which he began last Thursday by setting quick time in qualifying out of the 45-plus competitors. He then hustled from eighth to third place in a heat race to be the high-points driver entering the main event, which was inverted by 16 positions.

“Early in the feature I had a big run on someone and I pulled to the inside,” he said. “I was going so fast compared to him he didn’t see or hear me coming. At the end of the straightaway he went to the bottom. He turned into my right rear with his left front. I was going so fast it just took flight.”

Starks got upside down during the incident, which ended his night early with a 24th-place result.

The team pulled out the backup car on Friday and once again pieced together a strong first half of the night, qualifying 10 th quickest and placing sixth in a heat race. That lined Starks up on the outside of the fourth row in the main event.

“We were running about sixth,” he said. “A car did a wheelie in front of us and when he set it down I thought he’d get back on the gas. Once I realized he wasn’t I locked it up, but we collided and it destroyed the car. We scabbed it back together and picked up a few spots after restarting at the back. When we came back into the pits and looked at the car it was like how did we get through that.”

Starks was credited with a 14th-place result.

He ranked eighth in overall event points entering Saturday’s finale.

“The motor was basically falling out of the car after Friday’s race,” he said. “We went home and were in a time crunch to have it put together and leave by 1 p.m. to get back to the track in time. Instead of fixing the motor mounts we put a different engine in the car. We fought the engine all night and we weren’t sure why. So that threw another thing into the loop.”

Starks placed second in a heat race before ending the night 11 th in the main event while using his third different race car in as many nights.

“The main thing was getting in a car that hadn’t had a 410 in it in like four years,” he said. “It’s the spare, spare, spare car, but at that point we didn’t have too many options. We just fought everything and just weren’t where we needed to be.

“I don’t like making excuses, but being on a different car every night was pretty difficult from both a driver and a crew standpoint. I was really bummed out after Thursday because I felt we had one of if not the fastest car in the pits. When you’re racing really hard for each position and it’s a split-second decision, it’s easy to get into a racing deal. Unfortunately, we were on the wrong end of those most of the weekend.”

Starks plans to return to Skagit Speedway this Saturday. He currently holds a 54-point lead in the 410ci winged sprint car championship standings at the track.

QUICK RESULTS –

June 20 – Skagit Speedway in Alger, Wash. – Qualifying: 1; Heat race: 3 (8); Feature: 24 (16).

June 21 – Skagit Speedway in Alger, Wash. – Qualifying: 10; Heat race: 6 (6); Feature: 14 (8).

June 22 – Skagit Speedway in Alger, Wash. – Heat race: 2 (1); Feature: 11 (9).

SEASON STATS –

15 races, 8 wins, 12 top fives, 12 top 10s, 14 top 15s, 14 top 20s

UP NEXT –

Saturday at Skagit Speedway in Alger, Wash.

ILP PR