NWS: Wenatchee: Garrett Evans highlight

Evans returning to championship form as Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series heads to Wenatchee Valley. EAST WENATCHEE, Wash. (May 20, 2002)-- Garrett Evans, the most decorated driver in the 18-year history of the Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series,...

Evans returning to championship form as Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series heads to Wenatchee Valley.

EAST WENATCHEE, Wash. (May 20, 2002)-- Garrett Evans, the most decorated driver in the 18-year history of the Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series, NASCAR Touring, finds himself in the thick of a championship hunt just one year removed from a sub-par 2001 season.

After capturing his fourth series title in a late race flurry in the 2000 season finale, Evans and the Leonard Evans Superstore Chevrolet team struggled to stay in contention during last years 13-race schedule. This year after three races Evans sits in sixth place in the championship standings, only three points outside of fifth.

Improved equipment and time has allowed the Ardenvoir, Wash. native to climb up the points ladder and challenge for a fifth championship on the Northwest Series. The circuit makes its first appearance of the season at Wenatchee Valley's Super Oval on May 25 for the Cellular One 125. Evans hopes to be in the hunt for a 48th career victory at the end of the night after his strong early season start.

"We've been trying a lot of new things and finally went back to basics," Evans said."We were competitive at Monroe but got into a incident right off the bat and were wounded so we just had to finish the race."

"At Tri-Cites we had done some testing and got on to some new things and feel we're more competitive now and have a shot for the title this year."

Setting a goal as a team to improve from last year has created the drive inside Evans and his crew led by John Vickery, to bounce back in 2002.

"We created our own pressure by not being competitive last year, we did not like that at all," Evans said." I want to running up front and we're trying as hard as we can to get up there."

Evans led 67 laps at the series most recent event, held May 11 at South Sound Speedway. Fans were on their feet as the newest Northwest sensation Kevin Hamlin, battled the established veteran Evans for the victory. A cut tire forced Evans to pit late and he finished a disappointing 14th place.

New equipment and racecars has been the biggest key to competing against Hamlin and the rising young stars of The Raybestos Northwest Series according to the 46-year old Evans.

"We have a new shock program, new cars, and some new people," Evans said of his off-season changes."We're trying to make all of those things mold and take all of the pieces of the puzzle and make them fit, it's been a big challenge but we're getting there I feel."

"There is more to find but I think we're heading in the right direction and feel good about the way things have been going."

Like any race car driver, Evans goes to a track looking to win. With this week's stop at a track he's logged many laps around, and has a stake in the ownership, a little more incentive is riding on the Cellular One 125 at Wenatchee Valley, Evans said.

"We want to perform well everywhere we go, especially here in the Northwest. There is a little bit more excitement with this race. My whole family can be there and with my dad not being to travel as much as he use to, my wife (Shannon) running the concessions so she'll be there along with my new son, we're looking forward to going home and doing well."

The fourth stop on the 2002 schedule for the Raybestos Brakes Northwest Series is May 25 at Wenatchee Valley's Super Oval. For ticket information call (509) 886-5801 or visit the track online at www.wvso.com

-nascar-

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Series NASCAR
Drivers Kevin Hamlin