Feature Article, Stock Cars, Washington — September 19, 2004 at 4:47 pm

Lane Sundholm (issue 61)


By Steve Heeb

Lane Sundholm says he’ll be hanging up his driving suit for good at the end of the season, bringing to a close a 20-year racing career at Evergreen Speedway.

“I’ve won a bunch of races,” Lane reflects on his two decades at the track. “And crashed a bunch.”

Most of his time on the track has been behind the wheel in the Mini Stocks ranks. He took a three-year stab at the Super Stocks before returning to drive Michael Johnston’s Mini Stock.

By mid-August, Lane had put Johnston’s ’78 Scirocco third in the points chase, and a runner-up finish Aug. 14 only helps the cause for sponsors L&N Trucking and Fastenal.

“He has a lot of knowledge,” wife Jill says. “Everyone in his family used to race.”

The couple has been married almost 12 years, and have a budding racing family of their own well in the works. Daughter Jennifer, 8, already races quarter midgets. Jill describes Cassidy, 2, as a soon-to-be-racer.

Jill also races, logging three seasons at Spanaway Speedway. In 1994, both Lane and Jill competed in the same event. A fellow driver tipped his hand that he might try to go three wide around the rookie Jill. Lane decided to test her nerves and shot out to make it four wide on the tight oval.

“The car had a mind of its own,” Jill recalls. “We tried to race together but it was too hectic.”

After running the ’95 season, Jill returned to run during the ’97 and ’98 campaigns, in place of an injured Lane.

The previous year, Lane had flipped the car nine times on the back stretch during a practice session.

“I stopped racing for a while,” he says with a sigh.

“He was very aggressive,” Jill says of Lane’s driving. “But he’s toned down this season.”

Not so much that he would get rid of the “Animal” stuffed doll on the roll cage.

Jill recalls an amazing streak in 1991, when Lane picked up back-to-back wins in a Stateline Speedway/Ephrata double header.

Two wins doesn’t sound amazing? Consider that during the Stateline race Lane lost the exhaust and came out of the pits just in time to win. And that in Ephrata, a wheel actually broke off the car during the race and the crippled car had to be towed. The red flag came out and by the time the track crew had cleared the debris, Lane’s tire had been replaced while still hanging off the truck. Lane again was able to return to the race with just enough time.

You can’t save lucky breaks like that for a rainy day. But Lane can.

He says he’s only lost one rain race ever. So as his final season starts to wrap up, you can bet he’s secretly wishing for some early fall sprinkles on race night.

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