Arnie Kunka of Williams Lake took first place in the main event at the Tri City Race Series final Saturday at the Gold Pan Speedway in Quesnel. (Ronan O’Doherty photos)

Kunka saves best for last at Tri City Series final

Lakecity auto racer Arnie Kunka saved his best for last at the the Tri City Racing Series.

Lakecity auto racer Arnie Kunka saved his best for last at the final leg of the Tri City Racing Series.

Arnie won the main event in the street stock class Saturday at the Gold Pan Speedway in Quesnel of the three race series — a combined circuit between Thunder Mountain Speedway in Williams Lake, the Quesnel Auto Racing Association and the Prince George Auto Racing Association.

“[It feels] pretty good,” Arnie, the president of the race series, said following the race, admitting he and his team ran into a few mechanical hiccups throughout the year. “We’ve had a terrible season, actually. We’ve only finished three races all year.”

Arnie battled extensively with the No. 9 car, Lyall McComber of Prince George, during the main event and managed to fend him off long enough to nab the checkered flag.

READ MORE: Thunder Mountain Speedway closes season with season championship

“Lyall’s a really good driver and I have full confidence and full trust around that man,” Arnie said. “He’s a quality racer, so no problems there.

“I made my way up through the field and when I got to him I could see he was having some handling issues. I hung out behind him until he burned his right front tire off, picked my spot and away I went.”

Adding to the hectic pace of the evening, Arnie’s son, Donny, was busy racing two cars — one in the WESCAR Late Model Touring Series and one in the street stock division.

“Every single car including my own is broken today,”Arnie said. “It’s been total chaos.”

Donny, meanwhile, had a solid weekend and managed to clinch second place in the WESCAR main event.

“We had a pretty decent car in the street stock class, managed a good finish in the main, but just got caught up behind some other cars we couldn’t get around,” Donny said.

“The WESCAR race went really well where we clinched second, which was awesome being in our rookie season.”

Donny noted he was happy with how the weekend played out.

“All in all it was a good weekend for us being able to drive both cars back on the trailers looking the same as when we unloaded them.”

Arnie added he’s quite proud of his son for how well he’s adapted in the WESCAR series for his first year.

“Not tooting my own horn but in 2005 I won a championship at that level of racing and I raced there for about five years,” Arnie said. “With my experience in that series and being a racer myself, and being on the radio with him — he doesn’t make too many mistakes but when he does I coach him along through those races and as team together, him and I, we seem to click well and it’s showing right off the bat.”

The street stock main event featured a wide array of Williams Lake talent with lakecity drivers occupying the top five finishing positions.

READ MORE: Fans appreciated at Thunder Mountain Speedway

Of them, Williams Lake racer Tim Westwick — Thunder Mountain’s street stock champion for the year — took second.

Taking third was Darren Lemky, fourth was Donny and fifth was Garnet Grimard.

Speaking on the three-race Tri City Series overall, Westwick said it was an awesome season.

“At the first race in Williams Lake we had about 20 cars and it was great racing Stampede weekend,” Westwick said. “Then in Prince George we had a couple guys from down south who didn’t make it because of the fires, but it was really good racing where Lyle won the main, and then last weekend — we’d been rained out Saturday and Sunday before, but everybody made it back and it was just beautiful up there.”

With the final Tri Series street stock points standings race out of the way, overall results were tabulated Monday evening where Prince George’s Darrell Horwath was first, Williams Lake’s Lemky was second, McComber was third, Arnie was fourth and Westwick was fifth.

“Overall it was just a wicked season,” Westwick said, noting Thunder Mountain Speedway and the Tri City Racing Series will combine for their awards dinner and dance Oct. 13 at the Ramada Inn.

Tickets are $50 a person and are available at the Hobbit House, or by contacting Lynn Dunford on Facebook.

The event is family friendly, and is open to the public. Doors open at 3 p.m. with a Tri-City Series meeting, followed by the Thunder Mountain AGM at 5 p.m. Cocktails are at 6 p.m., dinner is at 7 p.m. and awards get underway at 8 p.m.

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Williams Lake’s Arnie Kunka makes his rounds of the Gold Pan Speedway in Quesnel in his No. 27 car at the Tri City Race Series final.

Arnie Kunka’s son Donny Kunka, finished first in his heat and second in the WESCAR Late Model Touring Series main event Saturday at the Gold Pan Speedway in Quesnel.

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