Rick Mitchell in his red 88’ Monte Carlo. Photo courtesy of Duane Deboer.

Local driver wins stateside stock car championship

Fernie’s Rick Mitchell returned home last weekend with a new title as 2018 Montana Raceway Park (MRP) Hobby Stock Champion. This is the third time he has taken this title, previously winning it in 2013 and 2014.

This year the foreigners came out on top, with Rick finishing first overall, and son Cliff taking third in the Hobby Stock category. They competed against approximately 20 other racers from Montana, Idaho and Washington.

Every weekend throughout the summer, the Mitchell’s travel south to compete in Montana; their love for racing runs in the family. This year, Rick, his son Cliff, and son Treysen Mitchell competed, as well as cousin to Treysen, Colby White. Colby finished second overall, and Treysen finished fourth in their respective categories, personal bests for both of them.

Fernie local Monty Sosnowski, took second in the legends category. Austin Dull took first in the hornets category. Tripp Rothwell was also racing in the Bandolero category, Brock Denney was racing Legend, and Agni Howell was racing Late Model.

All these racers make up the Canadian race team, Red Rabbit Racing, recognized by their bright red trailer, vehicles and uniforms. This year, the team walked away with two first place titles, two second place titles, a third and a fourth place finish.

The top six finishers of each race weekend earn qualification points, which add up to their total season score. In heat races, racers also earn points. First place earns them 14 points, and points move down from there. The main event of the weekend also holds a large potential to switch up the leaders, with the winner earning 50 points, and dropping by increments of two.

Since late May, racers have been accumulating points.

Throughout the summer, Rick consistently finished second, earning him enough points by the end of the season to take the title. In the end, Rick finished with 342 points, approximately 30 points ahead of the racer in second place; Troy Pilgrim out of Kalispell.

This win, however, didn’t come easy. During the main event of the weekend, it came down to a close battle between the top three stock drivers.

“When we came across the line, me and the second place car were touching,” said Rick. “I beat him by about 10 inches, and Cliff was right on his back end. Really close.”

Just after the cars came across the line, they were so close that they caused each other to spin out and crash. Everyone walked away unscathed.

Rick won driving his 88’ Monte Carlo.

Although races have concluded at MRP, Red Rabbit Racing hopes to continue its winning streak this weekend at the Stateline Speedway in Idaho. There, the kids racing bandoleros will race for a grand prize of $1000. Both Treysen and Colby will be competing.

“All year the kids race for no money,” said Rick. “So it’ll be a good jump for them.”

Rick will also be competing in the hobby stock category.

For years, it’s been a tradition that he not shave his beard until he places first in a race. Despite coming in first overall at MRP with total combined points, Rick wasn’t able to secure a first place finish in any races. Rick hopes that he can change this next weekend in Idaho. If not, it will be a long wait until next summer.

“I need a win, I gotta shave!” he said. “I don’t shave until I win a race, and I didn’t win a race this year, so I’m going to be a pretty hairy dude.”

 

Drivers and Crew members of Red Rabbit Racing. Photo courtesy of Duane Deboer

Colby White finished second overall, and Treysen Mitchell (below) finished fourth in their respective categories, personal bests for each of them. Photos courtesy of Duane Deboer.

Cliff Mitchell. Photos courtesy of Duane Deboer.

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