by Joseph Terrell
Editor of wcsprintscene.com
Cannon Beach, Or…August is a quiet month on the west coast for sprint car racing with no major special events scheduled – Johnny Key is not a major – as most of the sprintcar world has their attention focused on some small town in Iowa called Knoxville. But the calm ends out west beginning when the World of Outlaws touch ground at Skagit Speedway Labor Day weekend. After that pretty much every weekend features a big race punctuated by 28th annual Trophy Cup in late October.
So as we sit a little more than two months away from the Trophy Cup it is time to analyze early contenders, the drivers registered and consider the possibilities for some of the vacant seats.
DEFENDING CHAMPION IN NEW RIDE
Last year Buddy Koifoid dominated the Trophy Cup in the Paul Silva prepared Works Limited sprinter and essentially had the overall points championship locked before the Saturday A pushed off. This year Koifoid will be back to defend his championship but this time he will be aboard the Crouch Motorsports sprinter he has spent most of the summer driving. Koifoid has had plenty of success in the Crouch ride in 2022 – including his first outlaw win at Huset’s, being named Knoxville Nationals rookie of the year and winning the inaugural High Limits even – so I expect Koifoid to still be a contender but this year he will be minus the secret ingredient known as Paul Silva.
Steering the Work Limited sprinter will be none other than Tyler Courtney whose last appearance in this car netted a $76,000 Dirt Cup payday at Skagit Speedway. Courtney, who was originally entered in the Roth Motorsports stable when the Trophy entries first came in, made the smart decision when the Works Limited team had no driver to move his seat to the car that won last year.
TARLTON, ROTH, OTHERS SEEKING DRIVERS
Tarlton racing has four entries to date with no drivers yet named. One would expect Carson Macedo and Mitchell Faccinto to be in two of the seats but the other two…they could be filled by Gauge Garcia and Caeden Steele. Garica and Steele have shown speed all year and Steele especially has been stout of late getting his first win at Ocean and winning a NARC heat race with a 360. On the other hand Tarlton could seek some more star power especially since the World of Outlaws and All Stars have no races scheduled for Trophy Cup weekend.
Roth had two drivers originally – Kerry Madsen and Courtney. However, as mentioned, Courtney grabbed his seat and headed over to the Works Limited team leaving a seat open. Enter Parker Price-Miller who was tabbed to fill the seat upon Courtney’s departure but now that seems a little shaky as PPM recovers from a wicked accident from Knoxville. Early indications are he might be able to return in six weeks but back injuries are tricky so it seems plausible that PPM will not be ready for Trophy Cup. If PPM is not ready will Roth turn to his outlaw driver – James McFadden? Or will he stay on the west coast and try to find someone? Trey Starks anybody.
Clayton Snow is in the same predicament as Tarlton with cars (two be exact) entered but no driver listed. Will he put Carson Short in one of the cars? How about Justin Grant who was in it for the High Limits race?
RYAN TIMMS AND COREY DAY
This could be the rivalry that defines the next 25 years in sprint car racing. Or it could be a short moment in history before both these phenomenons move on from sprint cars and dirt to chase dreams on Sunday afternoon? Nobody knows what the future holds so we might as well enjoy it now.
Timms will be making his second appearance at Trophy Cup and after taking a little time to get used to the track last year he put in an exclamation point on the final night as he won the 50 lap main event after fending off numerous challenges from Tanner Carrick. If Timm can put himself in a better position in qualifying I wouldn’t be surprised if the Oklahoma driver becomes the youngest Trophy Cup champion in the race’s history. Timms, before his 16th birthday, has already become one of the best winged sprint car drivers in the country and his eight wins prove it including the impressive Jackson-Huset’s three for three he pulled off in June.
If Timms doesn’t become the youngest winner it could be Day. Day will also be making his second appearance at the Trophy Cup and like Timms if he can put together a solid preliminary night he has a legit chance to win the overall championship. In the west coast’s first major sprint car race of 2022 – Dirt Cup – Day was hampered by lackluster qualifying and he will need to clean this up because Trophy Cup cannot be won with subpar qualifying efforts. Day has been the talk of the nation since he scored consecutive runner-up finishes to close out the sprint west coast outlaw tour and has backed it up winning five times out west between 360 and 410 competition. He also showed he can go to new places and show speed evidenced by his speed during his summer midwest tour – specifically US 36 Raceway and Knoxville. Although his Knoxville results weren’t amazing at first glance anybody that paid attention knows how much speed Day showed.
INTRUDERS ON THE ROSTER
One the best things about the Trophy Cup is the teams and combinations on the roster. A lot of one-off and out-of-state teams that west coast fans only get to see once a year. In addition to Koifoid, Timms and Courtney many other drivers/teams will descend upon the Thunderbowl who either are new to Trophy Cup, only combine once a year or just aren’t familiar faces on the west coast sprint car scene.
Amongst the registered intruders: Justin Peck makes second appearance at Trophy Cup in the F&F Racing sprinter. Fellow All Star regular Hunter Schuerenberg is slated to drive for Josh Ford Motorsports. ASCS National regular Blake Hahn will make his annual trip to the Thunderbowl. Knoxville regular Chase Randall will be making his second appearance. California native Cole Macedo will compete, but this year it will be in the Ray Brooks sprinter that he normally wheels in Ohio. Knoxville polesitter and Iowa resident Austin McCarl will be back out west aboard the west coast based Country Builders Construction ride he has driven all season. Three Arizona drivers are entered: Nick Parker, mini sprint star Colton Hardy and teengater Logan Calderwood. Texas teenager and national midget standout Brenham Crouch will join Koifoid as a teammate in a second Crouch Motorsports entry. World of Outlaw rookie Robbie Price and Pennsylvania Posse member Devon Borden are entered in their northwest based family cars. I would expect a few more intruders to fill some of the empty seats that are available – Scelzi Motorsports has an open seat that Gio would fit nicely in and maybe an Outlaw or two will decide they need to fill the off week on their schedule.
ONE DRIVER TWO SEATS
Justin Sanders might be the best driver on the west coast and I still think he will get close to 20 wins in 2022 but he isn’t good enough to drive two cars at once. What that means is either Demo Mittry or Dale Miller – two of the best sprint car rides in the state – will have a steering wheel to hold. My guess, and with Sanders it is just that, is he will be in the Mittry entry that has been his main ride in 2022. Miller has been flirting with Kaleb Montgomery in the car recently with Sanders unavailable but as of now Montgomery seems to be settling in as the full-time driver in the Keller Motorsports sprinter. Either way Sanders will be in a top notch ride and some other driver might land themselves a contending ride they weren’t expecting.
That is my first look at the Trophy Cup roster for 2022. This roster is in constant flux and so what seems now may look different come October. One thing for sure though is September 15 is the deadline for car owners to register so by that date we should have a firm grasp on all the teams entered even if the driver musical chairs continue into the fall.