From graduation to checkered flag in NASCAR Summer Showdown

  • By Rich Myhre Herald Writer
  • Saturday, June 28, 2014 11:11pm
  • SportsSports

MONROE — Talk about your great graduation presents.

Seventeen-year-old Cameron Hayley graduated from Bishop Carroll High School in Calgary, Alberta, on Thursday night, traveled to Monroe’s Evergreen Speedway and qualified with a track-record fast time on Friday, and then on Saturday night he capped a remarkable weekend with a victory in the third-annual NASCAR Summer Showdown for Super Late Models.

Hayley, starting from the pole in his No. 24 car, led throughout and took the checkered flag by 0.634 seconds ahead of runner-up Garrett Evans of East Wenatchee on a night of broken clouds and steady wind, but thankfully no rain. An estimated crowd of 5,000 racing fans watched the event.

The boyish Hayley celebrated by climbing from his car and standing on the window frame, grinning broadly and thrusting both fists skyward. His reward was the $20,000 first-place prize, plus another $1,000 for being the top qualifier.

The race “was a hard one,” Hayley said. “There were guys (behind) running harder and harder and harder.”

There was a little bit of drama in the late minutes when a collision on the front straightaway brought out the yellow flag with five laps to go. Hayley, who narrowly avoided the damage just in front of him, then had to get through one final re-start — by his choice, he started from the outside — and he was able to nab the lead and hold it through five laps of green to the finish.

“I didn’t want to see that, but that’s racing and we had the car to (hold on to the checkered flag),” Hayley said.

Evans, who steadily worked his way to the front throughout the night, pulled ahead of Pete Harding from Langley, B.C., on the final re-start and shadowed Hayley to the checkered flag. But the youngster’s car was simply too strong.

“(The car) was amazing,” Hayley said. “That thing was just unreal tonight.”

At the outset, Hayley shot to the front and then held off a succession of challengers through the entire 200-lap race. He would build a modest lead, but on every yellow flag — and there were six, including two with red flags to clear the track — he had to win a dash down the straightaway to hold his place into the first turn.

Owen Riddle from Naches was an early challenger, but then his car faded. Harding then put on the pressure, though Naima Lang from Lynnwood made a late challenge, too. And then on the final restart it was Evans who was big in Hayley’s rear-view mirror.

Hayley, who broke the track record with a time of 20.002 (114 mph) in qualifying, was not the youngest racer in the 36-car starting field. That was 16-year-old Nicole Behar from Otis Orchards, the only female to qualify for the final.

Ron Eaton of Tacoma, a longtime driver at Evergreen Speedway, was forced out of the race with about 60 laps to go due to a rear-end problem with his car.

The race went to yellow with about 40 laps to go due to a life-threatening situation in the pit area. As the drivers slowed, an aid car with lights flashing left the pit area and headed to a nearby hospital.

In the evening’s preliminary race, Eddie Secord of Oak Hills, Calif., moved ahead of Toby Becker from Highland, Calif., in the late laps for a victory in the Pro 4 main. Bud Rumsey of Prosser finished second, also slipping ahead of Becker in the final laps.

More in Sports

Everett Memorial Stadium’s baseball field converted to turf

The Mariners, Everett School District and others had to sign off on switch to an artificial surface.

Pair of UW starters to miss remainder of season

Washington’s Trey Adams and Jordan Miller are out for the year with leg injuries.

Seahawks’ Bennett to join NFL’s meeting on social change

Tuesday’s meeting will involve league owners, union leaders and a handful of players.

Stanwood’s Phillips commits to wrestle at North Carolina

The 2-time state champion and 4-time national champion competed at the Cadet Worlds last summer.

Yankees beat Houston 8-1 ALCS Game 3

Judge, Frazier homer as New York thumps Astros

Cubs’ Maddon bristles at criticism of bullpen management

Chicago enters Game 3 down 2-0 to Dodgers

Q&A with Edmonds-Woodway’s Nick Berni

The Warriors’ top tennis player is hoping for a return to the 3A state tournament.

POLL: Which loss was worse, UW Huskies or WSU Cougars?

Both Washington and Washington State suffered inexplicable upset football defeats over the weekend.

Stanwood girls soccer playing with confidence

The Stanwood girls soccer team is enjoying another fine season. The Spartans… Continue reading

Most Read