Cobble Hill’s Price sprints to first Dirt Cup championship

Robbie Price’s first win on the Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series was a huge one.

The 21-year-old driver from Cobble Hill beat out the rest of the field to take the $15,000 paycheque in the 48th annual Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup at Washington’s Skagit Speedway on Saturday.

“It’s the crown jewel of the Northwest,” Price commented on Monday. “It was a really good weekend.

“It’s the best one of my career, the biggest one I’ve ever won. It will forever be one of my favourites.”

Price has raced in the Dirt Cup since he started driving sprint cars in 2014. On Saturday, he became the youngest winner in the history of the event.

A three-day event, the Dirt Cup begins with two nights of races in which drivers accumulate points to determine where they line up for the final race on Saturday. Price drove well enough on the first two nights to start fourth on Saturday.

“It was good,” Price stated. “I had a really good first two nights. I drove smart; I knew it was all leading up to Saturday. I was thinking long-term.”

Price’s No. 21P car, sponsored by the Cowichan Valley’s own Millstone Heating and Sheetmetal, was in the top three or four cars for most of the race on Saturday before taking the lead for laps 22-26. After dropping back for a bit, he regained the lead on lap 31 and held it for the rest of the race as the other contenders fell behind a lapped car.

“It was a really good race,” Price said. “I got to battle with a couple cars. I had to work for it. I was ecstatic to be in a position to win. Just to win was an honour.”

Born and raised in Cobble Hill, Price spends most of the year travelling around the U.S. for races, returning to Vancouver Island for just a month or two.

“I still say it’s home though,” he said.

Price is a third-generation driver, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. He got his own start at the age of eight, racing quarter midgets in Langley, and made the step to sprint cars in 2014. A “basic” type of race car, sprint cars are a mere 1,400 pounds, and the class Price currently competes in uses a 360-cubic inch engine with 750 horsepower. The “best of the best” drive in the 410-cubic inch class, which is where Price wants to end up.

“One day I’d like to race those full-time,” he said.

The Lucas Oil American Sprint Car Series kicked off in Las Vegas this February, with stops across much of the U.S., from Washington and California to Pennsylvania before the last race in Texas in November. It keeps Price busy, but he wouldn’t want to be doing anything else.

“It’s a great experience,” he said. “It’s a good lifestyle. I like it.”

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