Ryley Seibert knew his dad was somewhere in the pack of sprint cars he spotted in his rear view mirror as he made his way around the dimly-lit track at PGARA Speedway.
They've been duking it out for years in the NASCAR Pinty's Series race circuit and his father Trevor is never that far from the frontrunners. But he wasn't much of a factor in Wednesday night's 30-lap West Coast Vintage Racers A-main event.
Ryley made sure of that when he took off from the rest of the field early in the race and with his grandfather Karl watching from the pits, he held that lead the rest of the way to pull off the victory.
"The name of the game was to run a gap and get away from all the guys that were going to have to pick their way through from the back and it worked out for me," said Ryley. "It's unfortunate, I don't like to win like that when all the fast guys are in the back. But I was going to take my advantage and run with it."
Ryley's car broke during practice and he has just four laps and qualified 12th in a 24-car field. The inverted start order meant he started the A-main on the pole. Matt Stephenson of Penticton finished a couple seconds behind him in second place and Tyson Cross wrapped up third, with Trevor Seibert in fourth. After that it was anybody guess who finished where in the 12-car feature race, which included local drivers Richie Larson and Wendell Moore.
Trevor, 51, qualified 13th and lapped the rest of the field in the 20-lap B-main to advance to the A-main. Karl, his 80-year-old father and Ryley's grandfather, also qualified in a sprint car Wednesday and completed the dash and C-heat races.
"To have three generations of racing on the race track at the same time is pretty special," said Ryley. "It's the first time we've all been on the track together and to bring home the win is really awesome."
Karl Seibert, a longtime veteran stock car driver in the '60s, '70's and '80's, introduced Trevor to racing carts as a young kid and was with him all the way as he developed, racing the Player's-GM Canadian circuit to CASCAR, Indy Lights, Formula Atlantic and the NASCAR Pinty's series and he relished the opportunity to join the sprint car fray and take on Trevor and Ryley on Wednesday. He had just 15 practice laps in Ryley's car in Williams Lake before they drove to Prince George.
"I get a joy out of this because Ryley and Trevor are pretty well equal when both their cars are good," said Karl. "I still root for Trevor. Him and I spent a lot of time together all over North America."
Karl knew he didn't have a shot at winning, but proved he can still handle a car spewing out more than 600 horsepower.
"I just decided if I could get a car I'd give this a go," Karl said. "My biggest concern is getting in somebody's way. I don't want to wreck one of these guys who are really good. They're going by so fast.
"I said to Trevor, 'You'll pass me every five laps, so just pass me the donuts and coffee, I take it black.'"
Trevor, who operates an excavating company in Vancouver, raced the West Coast Series race last year in Williams Lake with Ryley and finished second. He designed and built Area 27, a five-kilometre road course race track in Oliver and he's building a fleet of identical race cars for a new series on that course, which restricts the time he has to race.
"It was exciting to see all three of us out there for sure," said Trevor. "For me it's a lot like the old days when I ran the open-wheel stuff but it's been a long time since I drove anything with the wheels sticking out the side.
"It was awesome to see Ryley win his race. I wish I had something for him but I lost my brakes in the (B-main). The brakes were locked on so we basically ran with no front brakes just to get the race behind us. We're usually neck-and-neck, even in these cars we swap back and forth between who's beating up on who on any particular day. There won't be too many days I'll be able to chase him down."
The combination of poor lighting in front of the grandstand and small number decals on the cars made it extremely difficult for lap-counters and spectators to identify the drivers in their sprint cars, which became a blur as they sped around the three-eighths-mile oval track only about 16 seconds.
The Prince George race was the third West Coast Racers event this season for the 27-year-old Ryley, a former WESCAR racer who grew up in Williams Lake but now lives in Whitecourt, Alta. He also caught up with the series in Arizona, racing in Tucson and Lake Havasu. The delicate touch needed to control a sprint car is teaching him an entirely new skill-set than what he was used to racing late-model series.
"I'm really enjoying it, this group they've got here is a lot of fun, these guys are good," he said.
Good and experienced. Karl Seibert wasn't the oldest driver in the bunch. Eighty-four-year-old Ralph Monhay of Spokane, Wash., has 64 years of racing behind him and showed that experience winning his trophy dash race. Monhay started in 1955 in Burnaby and used to race at the old high-banked PGARA track when he was part of the Canadian American Modified Racing Association (CAMRA) super-modified series.
The West Coast Racers ran with the four PGARA race series and crashes plagued the evening, which made for a long night at the track. It was about 11:30 p.m. when Ryley Seibert took the checkered flag in the feature race.
In the Canadian Tire street stock series, points leader Lyall McComber gave up his driver's seat to Paul Clark, who had a tough time controlling the car. He clipped the grandstand wall during the heat race trying to make a pass and peeled back a fender, then had three spinouts and was ordered to report to the pits. In the main event, Clark spun again and after the caution was black-flagged again near the end of the race for causing another wreck coming out of the backstretch with Lawrence Barks and Lloyd Olson, who finished second and third respectively behind race winner Shane Murphy.
Quinton Bonn of Quesnel won the Ron's Towing hornet main event, while Spencer Forseth captured the Chieftain Auto Parts mini stock feature race.
Former IndyCar driver Cliff Hucul waved the ceremonial green flag to start the West Coast main event, while Crystal and Carl Hiebert, the daughter and son of PGARA/Interior Open Wheel Association legend Ken Hiebert, were came up from Penticton to wave the checkered flag at the end of race.
The West Coast Series moves on to Goldpan Speedway in Quesnel on Friday for the Doug Larson Memorial race, then hits Thunder Mountain Speedway in Williams Lake on Saturday.
© Copyright Prince George Citizen
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