Quesnel’s Jason Howlett (left) frantically attempts to make it to the pits while passing Williams Lake’s Brian Bettles after his engine caught fire Friday evening during Thunder Mountain Speedway’s Hit to Pass

Quesnel’s Jason Howlett (left) frantically attempts to make it to the pits while passing Williams Lake’s Brian Bettles after his engine caught fire Friday evening during Thunder Mountain Speedway’s Hit to Pass

Stampede Racing melts pavement

The only thing hotter than the weather during the weekend was the action spread over three days at Thunder Mountain Speedway.

The only thing hotter than the weather during the weekend was the action spread over three days at Thunder Mountain Speedway.

Friday evening’s hit to pass, king of the hill and smoke show competition, Saturday’s Tri-City Racing Series event and the All Class Invitational Saturday and Sunday had more than 2,000 fans all slammed back in their seats.

“It was the first time we’ve ran three days in a row for Stampede in probably 10 years,” said Thunder Mountain Speedway past president and current Tri-City Racing Series president Tim Westwick.

“It was an amazing weekend. I’ve heard nothing but positive comments.”

Friday’s wild hit to pass saw Williams Lake’s Gordon Bettles as the last man, and car, standing. Gordon edged Quesnel’s Terry Braman in second and his father, Brian Bettles, in third to claim the hit to pass title.

The Tri-City Racing Series between Williams Lake, Quesnel and Prince George highlighted Saturday’s racing and didn’t disappoint, Westwick said.

“It was hot but amazing,” he said. “We ended up with 25 street stock cars. That’s our biggest race probably in the last 10 years. Last year we had 21 cars so we’re up.

“Drivers came from all over B.C. I actually think every track in B.C. had someone. I can’t think of one that wasn’t here.”

Following a rocky start with multiple caution flags drivers settled down to put on a phenomenal race.

First place and the checkered flag in the 75-lap main event went to Agassiz’ Bob Kuhn. Second place was Penticton’s Brent Rohner, while third went to Rob Zimmer of Kamloops.

“It was super clean, really good racing,” Westwick said. “Very competitive. Some of the most competitive I’ve personally witness in years.”

From Williams Lake, the top finisher was Cole Byrd in sixth, while Arnie Kunka and his son, Donny, who both had fast cars and were expected to fair well, were struck with a stroke of bad luck.

“Cole ran a great race. He stayed out of trouble and brought his car home in good shape,” Westwick said.

“Both Arnie and Donny had super fast cars, but Arnie ran into some heating issues in the heat race and wasn’t able to run the main. Donny had one of the fastest cars in the main event and was just coming through the pack, but under caution his car overheated and he ended up not finishing.

“Thirty-plus degree temperatures take a toll on the things.”

In the pro-mini class Allen Roberts took the title, while Brian Bettles claimed the bone stock title.

Sunday’s All Class Invitational saw Ryan Wade race to the championship in the street stock division, Sean Constantine take the win in the pro-mini class and Shawn Knott secure the victory in the bone stock division.

Westwick thanked the volunteers and sponsors for helping make the three-day extravaganza a success.

“Volunteers, TMS president Bob Lowen, the fans, the drivers — thanks to you it was an amazing weekend,” he said.

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