ELMA, WA – Entering Sunday night, Trey Starks said he could probably count on his hands how many times he’d driven a 410 sprint car at Grays Harbor Raceway, but that didn’t slow him down.
The Puyallup Washington native has countless laps and many wins at the Elma, WA three-eights mile, but many of those laps and all of those wins had been in a 360 sprint car. With the NARC Fujitsu General Sprint Cars visiting for the Fastest Four Days in Motorsports finale on Sunday, Starks added a 410 win to the resumé.
Starks dominated the Fujitsu Feature, leading all 30 laps on his way to his first career NARC win in his 11th series start and first start with the West Coast’s best since 2016. The victory earned him $7,000 as he protected home turf and prevented the California drivers from sweeping the Pacific Northwest trip.
“We like racing the 410s,” Starks said in victory lane. “We like bringing the good guys up from California and seeing if we can run with them and tonight, luckily, we could.”
Bringing the field to green was Justin Sanders with Starks to his outside. Starks wasted no time establishing that he would be a force to be reckoned with by rocketing around Sanders’ outside to lead the opening circuit.
Behind Starks, the defending NARC champion Dominic Scelzi threw a slider on Sanders and cleared him to take over the runner-up spot on the second lap and began to pursue Starks. As the leaders approached traffic Scelzi closed in about 10 laps in but couldn’t quite mount the charge he needed. Starks began to pull away.
“I know you’ve got to be really careful,” Starks said of negotiating traffic. “I started to move down in traffic and realized our car was good enough that we could pretty much go anywhere, so that was good to know, especially when you’re racing around in traffic and having to pass guys.”
The race’s first yellow flew on lap 14 for a slowing Tanner Holmes in turn 4. On the restart, Starks pulled ahead as a wild war began for the second spot. Sanders and Mitchell Faccinto challenged Scelzi as they screamed into turn one three wide. As they exited turn two, Sanders emerged ahead using the bottom.
Sanders wasted no time in giving Starks his toughest challenge. On the next lap, Sanders utilized an excellent run through the bottom of turns one and two to pull even with Starks down the backstretch. Starks fended off the challenge, but Sanders roared back the next lap in the same spot, showing him a nose as they raced toward turn three. Ultimately, Starks’ T&C Concepts/Starks Racing No. 55 proved too strong as Sanders could never gather enough of a run to clear him.
Starks pulled away from Sanders with less than 10 to go. The leaders entered traffic again as the laps dwindled, allowing Sanders to close back in, but the same traffic hindered Sanders and opened the door for Scelzi to swipe second back with just a few circuits remaining.
Meanwhile, ahead of them, Starks drove away in front of a proud home state crowd. Starks took the checkered flag with a 2.254 second advantage to win one for the Pacific Northwest locals.
“We were just fast,” Starks said. “We were decent all night, and we kind of knew what the track does. Obviously, we run here a lot, so we know which direction it moves, and we just made adjustments accordingly, and we were good enough to keep all those guys behind us.”
Scelzi hung on for second in his Red Rose Transportation/Whipple Superchargers No. 41, marking his eight consecutive podium to begin the NARC campaign. Scelzi made sure to plant a big kiss on Starks’ cheek in victory lane as the two are long-time friends.
“I’ve always had a big crush on Trey Starks,” Scelzi joked. “Before that first yellow I felt like we had something for him around the bottom, and I just got a really bad restart. I’m not sure if I spun the tires or what, but he got away, and I had to race really hard to get back to second. He (Starks) just kicked our butt.”
Sanders completed the podium, giving him an all-podium showing during the Pacific Northwest swing as the Farmers Brewing Co./Mittry Construction pilot didn’t miss the top-three all weekend. Despite the consistency, Sanders was left wanting a little more.
“I just couldn’t get a rhythm going,” Sanders said. “Once Trey got out in the lead it was hard for me to follow him. Then Dominic slid me on that second lap. I just got all balled up for about 10 laps and they pulled away. Thankfully I had that restart and was able to get back by Dominic and try to trace down Trey, and I just faded every lap from there.
Behind them, Tyler Thompson, in just his third NARC start, finished a series career-best fourth and Willie Croft completed the top-five.
The balance of the top-10 included Mitchell Faccinto, Austen Wheatley, Logan Forler, Tanner Holmes, and Bud Kaeding.
FUJITSU GENERAL USA FEATURE (30 laps): 1. Trey Starks 55 2. Dominic Scelzi 41 3. Justin Sanders 2X 4. Tyler Thompson 7 5. Willie Croft 29 6. Mitchell Faccinto 21 7. Austen Wheatley 8. Logan Forler 2L 9. Tanner Holmes 18T 10. Bud Kaeding 69 11. Joel Myers Jr. 83V 12. Max Mittry 2XM 13. Billy Aton 26
HOOSIER TIRE LAP LEADERS: Starks 1-30
SWIFT METAL FINISHING HARDCHARGER: Tyler Thompson
ARP FAST QUALIFIER: Austen Wheatley 12.643 seconds
BROWN AND MILLER RACING SOLUTIONS HEAT ONE (8 laps): Scelzi, Wheatley, Faccinto, Croft, Forler, Mittry, Aton
KIMO’s TROPICAL CAR WASH HEAT TWO (8 laps): Sanders, Starks, Thompson, Kaeding, Myers Jr., Holmes
SUNNYVALLEY “POWERED BY BACON” TROPHY DASH (6 laps): Sanders, Starks, Scelzi, Faccinto, Wheatley, Thompson