Puyallup, Wash. — Trey Starks has received a great education in the sport of sprint car racing over the last couple of seasons. Last year, he visited numerous tracks for the first time, during a summer trip to the Midwest, learning the nuances of a variety of track surfaces. He also raced at quite a few tracks on the West Coast, honing his skills each and every time he climbed behind the wheel. He looks to put all of that to good use this year as he focuses primarily on competing in his native Pacific Northwest in three different types of sprint cars.
“We’ve always said that we wanted to go out and see all of these tracks to see how it coverts when we race back home,” Starks said. “The last couple years we haven’t really stayed at one track or with one series, when we’ve been around home, so we really haven’t seen yet if all of the traveling and things we were doing will help us back home. This is the year we are going to display all of the things we have learned the last two or three years and hopefully the results show on the track.”
Starks will race in both 410- and 360-winged sprint cars this year, along with making some starts in a non-wing sprint car in Washington and Oregon. The third-generation driver will take to the track this weekend to shake down both his winged and non-wing cars during the annual ‘Play Day’ at Grays Harbor Raceway in his home state of Washington on Saturday, April 6. Starks is tentatively planning on attending the Skagit Speedway practice session on Saturday, April 13 as well.
“We’ve been hard working all winter cleaning things up and getting stuff ready,” he shared. “We’ve had a lot of time to kind of settle down and figure out what we are doing, so I’m excited to get back in the car. I’ve been in the shop the whole off-season with my Dad working on the cars and I feel like I know the cars inside and out now, thanks to that. It will be pretty rewarding after doing all of the work over the winter to go out and run the cars now. I’m hoping that knowing all the nuts and bolts on the car contribute to turning even better laps on the track.”
Starks will race quite a bit with the American Sprint Car Series (ASCS) Northwest Region in 2013, as well as racing in weekly shows at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, Wash., and Skagit Speedway, along with competing in non-wing races with the Northwest Wingless Tour when it fits into his schedule. He will also race in each of the six World of Outlaws STP Sprint Car Series events in Washington and Oregon at the end of August and beginning of September.
“We’ve always kind of wanted to run a non-wing car, but never really had the time,” Starks explained. “We had the time and the parts this winter to put together a non-wing car, so we just did it. You can’t just drive the winged car if you want to get as much experience as you can. I think driving the winged car and the non-wing car will help each other. It’s a different kind of car and I’m looking forward to running some races and see how we do.”
Starks opened 2013 by making his first trip to the famed Chili Bowl Nationals in Tulsa, Okla., in early January, competing in a car owned by Jim Ferns and wrenched by veteran driver and two-time USAC champion Tracy Hines. Trey’s father John competed in the Chili Bowl a number of times in the early years of the event.
“At the Chili Bowl that was the first time I had ever driven anything without a wing and first time in a midget, so that was quite an experience,” explained Starks. “Every single time we went on the track was a learning experience and the more laps I made the more comfortable I felt in that type of car.”
Last season Starks scored two wins, including earning his first victory outside the state of Washington, when he was victorious at Kings Speedway in Hanford, Calif., in April. He also picked up a win at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, Wash., in September. Starks raced a total of raced 55 times in 2012 at 18 tracks in nine states with five different series.
The third-generation driver wrapped up the season with 17 Top-10 finishes, of which 14 were Top-Five performances, with 12 of those being podium finishes. Among the highlights of his 2012 campaign were he made his maiden voyage last spring to both the famed Eldora Speedway in Ohio and the legendary Knoxville Raceway in Iowa, winning a heat race during each of those trips to earn a spot in the World of Outlaws dash. Starks returned to Eldora in the summer for the Kings Royal and to Knoxville for the Knoxville Nationals and 360 Nationals.
After shaking down his cars each of the next two weekends, Starks will open the season on Saturday, April 20 at either Skagit Speedway or Grays Harbor Raceway. About a month later he’ll compete in the season opener for the ASCS Northwest Series at Grays Harbor on May 26.
“We want to have a local season this year and really hit hard and get results,” he said. “We want to show that we haven’t just traveled for the sake of traveling, but to translate that into results and wins back home. There is some good competition in the Northwest and a lot of guys stepping up and hopefully we can show that sprint car racing is alive and well up here.”