NW Motorsports Report - November 24

November 24, 2023



Despite having her gene pool deeply rooted in drag racing, Melina Banks has decided to pursue her passion for speed on the dirt go-kart track at Sunset Speedway in Spokane.

And why fiddle with success?

Banks’ dad, Patrick and her grandmother, Bonnie McLain, both spent years devoted to the quarter-mile. Bonnie, who passed away in January, was the forever director of the timing tower at Spokane Raceway Park.

Patrick has driven all kinds of cars, both on the oval and drag strip. He was the 2018 vintage modified champion at Stateline Speedway.

But there’s no convincing 13-year-old Melina, a Mountainside Middle School in the Mead district to switch from dirt to drags.

“She likes drag racing to watch,” Patrick wrote, however, “She says too much work for a short ride.

“We have a blown alcohol front engine-dragster and she wants nothing to do with it,” her dad added. As far as karts vs. drag racing is concerned, she wanted the longer ride, not just a few seconds.

Banks won in two classes in 2023 at Sunset, one being Jr. II Clone where she was in a battle with Bently Bartle and edged him by just 2 points. Banks was the lone driver in the Jr. Cage Karts.

This year is her fourth consecutive year of winning the championship in the flat kart.

Melina won the Jr. Wing class championship where she raced with the open 500s all year. Her best finish was third with half the engine power.

Melina also made a trip to Rainer and raced with the Pacific Outlaws and finished sixth out of 12 in the a main starting last after racing her way in the A main. This placed her first in the 250 class.

The flat kart has special meaning for Melina as it was a gift from her grandmother before she passed away.

Looking to 2024, Melina is planning on running the Junior Unlimited All Stars and going for a UAS championship. Unlimited All Stars race all over the country with the Grand Nationals in Arizona.

“We are trying to schedule two quarter points races at Sunset Speedway this year for UAS and a few on the coast,” Patrick said.

Melina wants to stay with dirt racing if we move into other classes,” her dad said. “She would like to do dirt modified or sprint cars.”

When not immersed in racing Melina plays volleyball, basketball and is a member of the school band where she plays trombone.

Jr. II Clone

Driver...................... Points
1 Melina Banks.......... 968
2 Bently Bartle........... 966
3 Kristen Cartwright... 832

Jr. Cage Kart
Driver...................... Points
1 Melina Banks.......... 980

Melinda Banks racing in the cage kart.
Melina Banks and her dad, Patrick, with their flat kart.

In This Week's Article


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The tradition of the NW Motorsports Report honoring various race champions continues in our new home in the Exchange. 

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Paul Delaney has been writing about Motorsports in the Pacific Northwest since 1976. He welcomes learning about your racing accomplishments.

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 Ross Chastain