The biggest karting event in Maine, the 3rd Annual, $1,000 to win, Dash For Cash at Richmond Karting Speedway. After leading until lap 99 of last years 100 lap race, Evan was ready for redemption in this years event. He’d be idle from the kart at his home track since May when he race a Friday night series race, and idle from driving anything since the trip to Bethel almost a month ago.
When the team got to the track, they unloaded both their Ultramax Blaze Octane “Rocker” Kart and the Ultramax Inferno “Champ” Kart, with 2008 Kart Driver of the Year, and good friend Bobby Timmons behind the wheel. During practice, Evan was fast and chose not to run much practice, saving his stuff for the race. Meanwhile, Timmons’ was not so lucky, motor issues plagued the team and would be the story of the day for Timmons’.
Instead of heat races like the previous two years, this years starting grid was going to be staged by time trials, which both drivers have had a history for struggling in. When the qualifying was over, Evan would start from the seventh position and Timmons’ would start 15th. New England karting ace TJ Laro started on the pole with the 41 of Nick Hadden on his outside.
When the green flag dropped, Evan quickly made his way through traffic to get into the top five. Riding in fifth behind Laro, Hadden, the 70 of Tommy Stilphen and the 4 of Brandon Barker. The order stayed the same for most of the beginning until Evan made his way around Barker to take fourth. While in lapped traffic, Stilphen and Evan made slight contact but continued, being one of the only times Evan made contact with anyone all day. Timmons’ day ended early, on around lap 15 when he decided to pull the kart in with more motor issues.
As Evan put it, he just rode for most of the first half until there were five laps to go in the half, when a caution came out and Evan pitted for fuel after running the tank dry. They would restart back in the pack and made up no ground before the mandatory caution at lap 50. Under the caution, the teams were only allowed to add fuel and adjust air pressures. Crew Chief Todd Beaulieu made a slight air pressure adjustment and told Evan to use his head to get to the front.
“The track has no grip for the first few laps and it gets real tight going into turn one,” Evan commented after being asked about the track conditions, “But after a few laps it’s still the same track it’s always been even with the cold weather.”
When the green flag came back out, Evan rode and just picked off karts one at time. With karts pulling in to make early fuel stops, Todd made the decision to keep Evan on the track for track position and run the race on the load of fuel he got at lap 50. After most of the drivers made fuel stops, Evan inherited the race lead and commanded it for a good 20 laps of the second segment before a caution came out with just 15 laps to go. On the restart, Laro and Hadden were able to power off the outside and take the lead. Evan wasn’t done yet though, as he stalked in third waiting for the right moment to make his move. Then, with just 10 laps to go, the two leaders made slight contact out of turn two and Evan drove around Hadden and go alongside Laro for the race lead.
From that point on, he didn’t look back as he put five kart lengths on eventual second place finisher Hadden, and took his first Dash For Cash victory and the big paycheck that goes with it. The redemption after last years heartbreak felt great.
“I wasn’t letting it slip away this year,” Evan said as he celebrated with his crew in victory lane, “I can’t thank my dad, mom, and Bobby enough, I wish we could’ve given him a better motor for today’s race because he’s been a big help to us this year, and to all my sponsors too, this is a great win for us and a great way to end a frustrating year.”
A win was a great way to end out the season, and a great way to what may be the end of Evan’s five year dominance run at Richmond Karting Speedway. This just builds more momentum for the 56 team for the 2010 season.
Evan’s next race isn’t for a month and a half, when he will participate in the 2nd Annual Indoor race at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, RI. The 2010 Legends Car schedule is still in the works, but is sure to be one of the most competitive in a while.