With the countdown on for the 20th Annual Coors Light Montana 200 presented Kalispell Toyota, Fun Beverage and Bee Broadcasting; drivers have reserved car numbers and pit space bringing the total number of entries to 44 with less than a week left before the green flag flies.
Joining the list this week is Troy Emond of Leduc, AB who is the 2008 ARCA West champion. The Alberta native has been running dirt tracks in Western Canada over the spring and returned to asphalt in Saskatoon just two weeks ago in a brand new Chevrolet Impala with a runner-up finish to Chris Skelton, who is also entered in this year's Montana 200.
Also joining the mix is the most recent late model winner at Montana Raceway Park, Jared Vorse. The Olympia, Wash. driver nabbed a victory on the ARCA West Ignite Series on July 4 in the Firecracker Tundra 125. Currently the 11th place driver in the chase for the 2010 SPEARS SRL Southwest Tour championship, Vorse looks to ride his momentum for another victory at MRP-this time in the biggest late model race on the West Coast-the Montana 200.
Leading the pack of drivers who have been in the hunt many times for 200 victories are five past champions with seven titles amongst them.
Three-time winner, Gary Lewis, will have his work cut out for him in 2010 as the driver who preceded his streak in 2006, Jeff Jefferson, has joined past champions Tim Elliott (1998) Mark Owens (1995) and Cory Wolfe (1994) as pre-registered drivers.
Looking to qualify for her second Montana 200 in as many seasons is Ephrata, Wash. native Amanda MacDonald. A student at Central Washington University, the future teacher made history last year by transferring out of the last chance qualifier and into the 200 field. With one solid run under her belt in 2010 at Montana Raceway Park, MacDonald is focused on using her qualifying skills to make the show without the need to run the transfer races.
Winners of the 44th and 45th running of the Apple Cup, Jason Fraser and Mike Longton, have joined the field. For Longton it's a return to Montana after missing last season's event with motor issues. Fraser will be making only his second start of the 2010 season after taking time off since the Apple Cup to focus on other endeavors.
Two past champions of Yakima Speedway's Fall Classic, Joey Tanner (2009) and Erick Hargraves (2007) ride into the Montana 200 with new race cars set to make their first laps on the high-banked quarter mile surface. Each driver sits in the top-3 drivers standings in the chase for Yakima's late model championship and both have had solid runs in the past at MRP with Tanner leading laps in the 2009 event while Hargraves finished second to Lewis in 2007.
Attempting to become the youngest qualifiers in the history of the Montana 200 are a pair of Spokane area teenagers. At age 15 Blake Williams, the current Rookie of the Year points leader on the Appleway Chevrolet Parts Center ICAR Series, is out to become the youngest qualifier for the Montana 200. Braeden Havens (17 years) is also attempting to lower Wrango West's mark.
West, a Kalispell native, was 17 years old when he set the record in 2008.
Activities for the 20th Annual Montana 200 get underway July 10 with the running of the Pro Build 100 for the MRP Super Stocks followed by the State Farm Insurance Fanfest on Thursday, July 15 beginning at 5 p.m. The State Farm Fanfest includes a free dinner for fans and race teams, an on-track autograph session, live music and other highlights.
Qualifying for the Montana 200 begins at 7 p.m. on Friday, July 16. Once the fastest 12 drivers are locked in, a 25-lap Fast 12 Heat to set their starting positions is run followed by a 40-lap consolation race to determine starting positions 13-18. Positions 19-24 will be set on Saturday, July 17 in a 40-lap Last Chance Qualifiers race.
The 20th Annual Coors Light Montana 200 presented by Kalispell Toyota, Fun Beverage and Bee Broadcasting takes the green flag at 9 p.m. MST on July 17.
Returning for its second consecutive summer will be a live broadcast of the Montana 200 on Montana Country 106.3 The Bear with live audio available on the track's website at no charge. Paul Bartholomew and Doug Pace will anchor the evening's coverage with Reed Tobol and Steve Mortland covering pit row.
For ticket information regarding the 20th Annual Coors Light Montana 200 including the chance to save on two-days passes, log onto www.montanaracewaypark.com or call (406) 257-RACE (7223). For up to date information be sure to text MTRACE to 91011.
REGISTERED DRIVERS FOR THE 2010 MONTANA 200 INCLUDE:
04 Rusty Webb Deer Park, Wash.
05 Eric Schmidt Roseville, Calif.
0 Brent Harris Wenatchee, Wash.
1 Agni Howell Kalispell, Mont.
3 Shelby Thompson Mead, Wash.
5 Ryan Wells Hingham, Mont.
5x Chris Hart Terrace Heights, Wash.
6 Chris Skelton Calgary, AB
7 Mark Sundberg Seattle, Wash.
9 Kelly Mann Monroe, Wash.
10 Owen Riddle Naches, Wash.
11 Chad Clampitt Havre, Mont.
11x John Nesmith Meridian, Mont.
12 Dan Obrist Portland, Ore.
14 Kevin Richards Newman Lake, Wash.
16 Blake Williams Spokane, Wash.
17 Trevor Emond Leduc, AB
20 Jay Sauls Puyallup, Wash.
21 Jared Vorse Olympia, Wash.
25 Kirk Hennefer Missoula, Mont.
27 Tim Elliott Creston, BC
31 Jason Fraser Snohomish, Wash.
36 Wrango West Kalispell, Mont.
36x Joey Tanner Portland, Ore.
37 Mike Longton Moxee, Wash.
38 Grant Brown Red Deer, AB
42 Jeff Jefferson Naches, Wash.
42x Ronnie Hults Centennial, Colo.
44 Mark Owens Kalispell, Mont.
49 Brian Levant Calgary, AB
49x Bobby East Mooresville, NC
51 Erick Hargraves Yakima, Wash.
53 Alex Lessor Kalispell, Mont.
54 Mike Obrist Portland, Ore.
55 Billy Salmonsen Kalispell, Mont.
73 Gary Lewis Snohomish, Wash.
75 Troy Schweigert Kalispell, Mont.