Hayes Bros. race to best season ever

The Hayes Bros. No. 22 car circles the track during the 2018 season. The brothers had their best season yet racing the NW Pro4 series with a new; beefed-up engine.

The Wallowa County-based Hayes Bros. Racing team finished its 2018 NW Pro4 Alliance season with its best performance ever –– sixth overall in the series.

“It was our most fun year, yet,” team member Jerry Hayes said. “That engine that Brian (Finch, the team mechanic) built is great. It ran all year and gave us plenty of power. We’re stepping up slowly.”

Hayes said that his brother, driver James Hayes, had to re-learn how to handle the car with the power boost from the new engine.

The team’s last two races of the year were Sept. 8 in Roseburg and Sept. 29 Hermiston.

“We ended up sixth in Roseburg, which is really good because we’ve never been to the track,” Hayes said. “It’s a real horsepower track, and you need it to compete.”

Hayes said the team’s only issue was setting the gear ratio for the track because of their unfamiliarity with it. He added that the Finch engine helped tremendously.

The Hermiston race saw a ninth-place finish for the team.

We were off a little bit on gearing and setup,” Hayes said. “It was just a bunch of little things. We weren’t quite there.”

The car’s appearance and another addition to the team helped the brothers look more like track professionals, which in turn, improved their performance.

“We got a lot of compliments on our car with the new paint job,” Hayes said. “We looked good this year, and the engine ran real well. We were the best looking team because Sarah (Weston, team photographer) found us a car trailer, and after some work, it looks marvelous. Pretty good for the most under-funded team there.”

Hayes noted that NASCAR driver Eddie Secord paid the team a compliment. “He said, ‘You guys are getting there,’ and coming from him, wow, that means we’re doing something right.”

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