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Evan Margeson at The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. (David Sink Photo)

Crowd Pleaser: Evan Margeson

Last year was a breakout season for Evan Margeson, as the veteran racer from Tacoma, Wash., found himself battling for victories in some of the biggest events on the pavement sprint car racing calendar.

Margeson first made his mark when he was crowned Diamond Cup champion at Idaho’s Meridian Speedway in early June. Despite going winless, he had the best average finish during the two-night event that was co-sanctioned by Speed Tour and NSRA.

In September, Margeson returned to Meridian Speedway for the annual Pink Lady Classic with a $30,000 first-place prize on the line. He didn’t disappoint, topping the 100-lap event in convincing fashion and proving his Diamond Cup championship wasn’t a fluke.

At this point Margeson had everyone’s attention, but he wasn’t finished.

With a $50,000 payday on the line, Margeson found himself battling for a podium finish during Davey Hamilton Jr.’s Open Wheel Showdown The Bullring at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in early December.

Less than 10 laps remained when Margeson moved into second. It appeared he didn’t have time to catch the leader but was within reach of the $20,000 prize for finishing second. Then, he ran out of fuel.

It was during the middle of the 2020 season that Margeson got a call from Roger Zonnefeld, who owned a winged pavement sprint car. He had been watching Margeson race midgets and winged 360 sprint cars on dirt and saw something he liked. He offered Margeson a ride.

“Honestly, I didn’t know Roger before that call,” Margeson said. “I might have met him one other time and we probably crossed paths a few times because I had been doing quite a bit of dirt sprint car stuff at the time. I hadn’t run pavement midgets in a few years when I got the call. I was just trying to stay active and hope somebody like him would call me. Luckily, he did.

“We had pretty good speed right away, but we didn’t race that well,” Margeson continued. “It took us a couple of years to get things figured out. The car was always pretty decent. A lot of it was on me, just trying to figure out how to drive. I had to break some of my dirt habits.”

Margeson says the light bulb really came on last year.

“Prior to last year we hadn’t had a ton of success, although we’d won a couple times at Evergreen Speedway,” he noted. “It was almost a little bit surprising honestly. We kind of just went back to basics. We had been trying some stuff. We went back to square one, to where we started when I first started driving the car. That was all we needed. We took all the odd-ball stuff off the car and went with standard stuff. It all seemed to work.

“It started for us at Diamond Cup. The way the format is, they do big inverts each night,” Margeson continued. “We started 14th one night and 17th the next night. The races aren’t that long and it’s tough to make your way through the field at that place because it’s pretty tight. But it was pretty cool to be crowned Diamond Cup champion. It was unexpected, but it kind of kicked off us having a little bit of success last year.”

Driving for Zonnefeld is a big factor in Margeson’s success.

“He’s the easiest car owner I’ve ever driven for. He’s laid back and doesn’t get excited about anything,” Margeson reported. “He let me take the reins on a few things. He’s super easy to drive for and we’ve also got some great sponsors.”

Margeson began racing pavement midgets in 2005. He purchased a dirt midget around 2009 and competed with BCRA and the USAC Western States Midget Series. He topped a USAC race on pavement at Altamont Raceway Park and won at Calistoga Speedway on the dirt.

Evan Margeson (David Sink Photo)

“In 2012 I got out of the midgets,” Margeson recalled. “The midget stuff was kind of dying off up here. The dirt 360 sprint car stuff was pretty big at the time. We took that route. We bought a dirt car, which I still have. I ran the 360 pretty hard for four or five years. With all the pavement stuff I’m doing, I haven’t had much time to do any dirt lately.”

The industry took notice of Margeson’s success last season. In fact, promoter J.J. Dutton tried to lure Margeson to Florida for the Children’s Dream Fund 50 event at Citrus County Speedway in March.

“That was super cool to be even considered for something like that. For people to want us to come there is super dang cool,” Margeson said. “It would be cool to get down there but that’s a long way to go for one race. If they could put together a series of races, we’d definitely consider it.”

Margeson expects he and his team to be at the top of their game this season.

“Our schedule will be similar to what it was this past year. We’ll run the shows at Evergreen Speedway and go back to Meridian Speedway for Diamond Cup and the Pink Lady Classic,” Margeson explained. “To be in the hunt at the end at the Open Wheel Showdown against that caliber of cars was a pretty big accomplishment in itself, for us anyway. We had raced against the Idaho guys before.

“Heading into that race I wasn’t sure what to expect going against the guys from the Midwest,” Margeson added. “It was pretty cool. We’re looking forward to getting down to Irwindale (the new home of the Open Wheel Showdown) at the end of the year to be honest.”


Birthday: July 1, 1988

Hometown: Tacoma, Wash.

Series: Granite Super Sprints

Sponsors: Kennely Keys Music, Signature Texturing Service, Westlake Properties, Frankie’s Pizza, Fleet Service and Hux Dotter Coff


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