Hamlin is youngest driver to win NASCAR Northwest Series title

  • Thursday, October 4, 2001 9:00pm
  • Sports

Herald staff

Kevin Hamlin only had to start the race to become the youngest driver ever to win the NASCAR Raynestos Brakes Northwest Series championship.

It was the way he finished that was so impressive.

Hamlin, a Snohomish High School grad, fought off Pete Harding to take the season-ending Northwest Racing Enterprises 150 Saturday at East Wenatchee.

At 22 years, 3 months, Hamlin became the youngest driver ever to win the series points title. He won his fourth race of the season by holding off Harding, of Surrey, British Columbia, in the closing laps.

Harding caught Hamlin on lap 134 and the two battled for the lead from then on. At one point, Hamlin and Harding touched coming out of turn 1, but Harding let Hamlin gather his car by giving him ample room.

“If I was going to beat him, I was going to do it racing, so I let him go,” Harding said.

Hamlin’s four victories were the most by a driver during the season.

“To be able to have the most wins this season is awesome,” Hamlin said. ” … Right now, this American Dream team is feeling pretty good about all this.”

Harding finished second, followed by defending points champion Garrett Evans of Ardenvoir. Shane Biles of Woodinville was fourth.

Joe Benedetti of Auburn finished second in the points standings, followed by Harding, Gary Lewis of Bothell and Biles. Rookie John Bender of Arlington was sixth.

Fauver wins season finale: Sprint-car racer Rick Fauver of Everett took the final checkered flag of the 2001 State Fair Racing season in Yakima, holding off Shawna Wilskey of Lake Stevens.

Fauver, Wilskey and Jason Solwold of Burlington were even coming out of the final turn, but Solwold lost control of his car and spun into the infield. Fauver edged Wilskey for the victory.

Wilskey’s finish earned her the season’s points championship.

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