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GHR 2018 season opener review  Rate Topic 
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 Posted: Wednesday Apr 25th, 2018 05:26 PM
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Racer4u
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Grays Harbor Raceway had its season opener last Saturday. I was pumped to get my season going after missing the Yakima races earlier this month, so I wanted to make up some lost ground. It felt like spring during the day, but it still felt like winter as the night went on. I should've taken my heavy coat and gloves with me, as I was freezing when the races were over! :shock: Four different divisions were racing, so let's review them all.

Jack Parshall started on the pole in the 20-lap main event for the Cut Rate Auto Parts street stocks and led throughout. Scott Fritts held down second with Tommy Hecker, Jeff Daniel, Ryen Haney, and Matt White close by. The first yellow came out on lap number seven, as Haney and White came together in turn three and both drivers went spinning. More trouble happened on the restart when Wayne Lemmon got into the backstretch wall and spun next to the pit entrance. During the yellow, Kirk McGinnis stopped near Lemmon as his rear axle broke and his right rear tire ended up in the infield. The next restart stuck and Hecker used the cushion to take second from Fritts down the backstretch. White brought out another yellow on the ninth lap, as he stopped on the backstretch with front end damage. Parshall and Hecker were still running one and two, but Haney wasted little time moving back up through the field when he took third from Fritts out of turn four to complete lap ten. On the next lap, Cory Sweatman did the exact same thing on Fritts as he used the high side like Haney to get fourth. Cory's race came to an end with three laps remaining, as he slowed in turns one and two with a shredded right rear tire. Hecker was putting the pressure on Parshall in the final laps, but Parshall had none of it and held on for the win. Haney, Daniel, and Fritts rounded out the top five.

The 20-lap main event for the 360 sprint cars had John Stuart and Tyler Anderson on the front row. Anderson took off the with the lead and he was gone. Lance Sargent went down low on Stuart in turn four on the opening lap, and made the pass stick. Jay Cole stole third from Stuart on the next lap in turn one, but he bounced in turns three and four and Stuart got back by. Stuart got crossed up in turns one and two five laps later and as he tried to get back up to speed, he clipped a uke tire in turn three and went flipping. Stuart was unhurt. Anderson continued to distance himself from the other drivers and drove to his first career win. Lance Sargent crossed the stripe second, followed by Cole and Jeff Dunlap.

The 25-lap feature for the Shipwreck Beads modifieds took a while to get completed, as it had ten yellow flags. Tyler Walker was on the pole with Sam Carlisle alongside, and Carlisle got the jump. Carlisle looked very strong out front, but he spun all by himself in turn two on lap nine. :( That gave the lead to Tom Sweatman, who led the rest of the way. Kyler Moore was picking cars off and putting them down from his 16th starting spot and winning the B-Main, as he already climbed up to fifth on the restart. On lap number twelve, Moore took second place from Zack Simpson out of turn two. Moore was looking to use the high line to take the lead from T. Sweatman out of turn four on the 18th circuit, but the yellow flag came out for Del Schnitzer's turn two spin. T. Sweatman kept his cool through all of the cautions, while Moore dealt with Scott Miller as the race wound down. Moore got second back from Miller at the line as they came from the white flag, but T. Sweatman couldn't be caught. Moore was second with Miller third, Nick Bessette advancing from twelfth to fourth, and Doug Davenport fifth.

Unlike the modified feature, the 15-lap A-Main for the outlaw tuners went nonstop. Tyler Sundstrom started on the pole, but he had fellow front row starter Devon Harper right behind him on the opening lap. Harper got sideways in turn four and suffered a flat right front tire. Devon ended up going to the pits a couple of laps later. Max Sanford looked to the inside of Sundstrom on the third lap when they made contact in turn three on lap three, but Sundstrom kept going. Sundstrom was ahead of Sanford and Don Briggs, Sr. on lap eight as they were approaching the slower cars of Zach Dalrymple and Joseph Palmer. That's when ninth-place starter C. Sweatman took to the high side and passed all five people between turn three and the finish line to go from fourth to the lead. Sundstrom came back to take the top spot two laps later at the flagstand, but C. Sweatman stuck with the high side and he had the lead again at the finish line with two to go. Tyler had a huge run on Cory in turn three on the last lap, but they tangled in turn four and Cory went spinning! :shock: Tyler nursed his wounded car to the win, barely defeating Sanford. Briggs, Jeremy Jones, and Trevor Dugent finished third through fifth.

If you were at GHR like me, I hope your racing withdrawals are finally over. I have a few other things that I want to go to over and here they are.

Where Did Everybody Go?: I hate to say this, but the season opener was really light on cars. :? A number of drivers didn't show up and we're talking about some pretty heavy hitters, too. I knew where some of the drivers were over the weekend, but not all. The modifieds led the way with 22 entries (which was just enough for a B-Main), along with twelve street stocks, ten tuners, and only six sprint cars. :(

Number Changes: There were a few drivers who switched it up number wise on their cars to begin their 2018 seasons. Rodger Perry had #3 for his street stock, but he changed it to #97. C. Sweatman also had #3 for both his modified and his tuner. Now, it's #1S for his Spider-Man-themed street stock and his Lightning McQueen-schemed tuner. Dan Kinnaman wore #46 for his modified, but it's now #98. Jones had #21XL on his tuner last year, but it went to #77 with a bumblebee look.

Champions Maintain Momentum: Parshall, T. Sweatman, and Sundstrom are the defending champions in their respective divisions. All three drivers won their main events to get their 2018 seasons going right. Parshall and Sundstrom picked off from where they left off in '17 by winning the season finale at GHR.

Hope You're Feeling Better: In his postrace interview, Anderson stated that he'd been sick all week long with a case of bronchitis. I'm not sure if winning his first race was the cure, but it's something to get his year off in the right direction. Get healthy and congrats, Tyler! :)

Warm Welcomes: Lemmon was a track regular in the street stocks during the early-mid 2000's and he subbed for Parshall for one race in 2014, which he won. Lemmon's main event ended early, as he caught the backstretch wall on a lap seven restart. Carlisle didn't race at all last year, but he's back in his flashy #18X modified. After spinning out of the lead, Sam came back to come home sixth right behind Davenport. Another driver who was absent all of last year was Brenton Schnitzer, who had success in the street stocks and stepped his way up to the modifieds. He raced for the first time in a mod in the Washington Modified Tour's opening weekend at Yakima on April 7. Brenton wasn't involved in any of the wrecks in last Saturday's marathon main event and turned in a ninth-place result.

Another Top Five: Davenport's streak of strong finishes is still intact at GHR, as he scored his fourth straight top five. He had a third and two fourth-place finishes last year to show other drivers he's a force to be reckoned with. Doug made the trip up from Vernonia, Oregon, and he's a former champion at River City Speedway.

Number for the Weekend: 32...the number of minutes for the modified main event to be completed. 18 drivers took the green flag, but eleven saw the checkers.

Hard Luck Award: Kelly Fugate. After racing street stocks, Kelly's transfered up to the modified division this season. Unfortunately, he suffered an oil leak during warm-ups and called it a night in his first mod start. Sprint car driver Michael Millard didn't qualify or race in his heat due to a broken rocker adjustment stud and pulled into the infield very early in the main event when his engine let go after completing only two laps.

"Never Say Die" Award: Jones. Jeremy's night didn't go as planned in the first tuner heat race, as he crashed into the turn two tractor tire and flipped onto his roof on the second lap. He made the main event and he kept it dirty side down to go on to finish fourth after starting eighth.

Best Appearing Car: Bessette. Nick revamped his colors for his #44B modified, as he switched from red to yellow for his numerals and adding more yellow along his hood and the bottom of his car. The top is blue instead of black with stripes of black, white, and gray capping it off.

Next race: Back at GHR on May 12 with the 360 sprints, Cut Rate Auto Parts street stocks, and outlaw tuners.

Pictures: https://www.facebook.com/Twisted-Logic-Photography-1715739992067898/

Blog: http://www.shauninthedirt.com/bensblog

____________________
Avatar: Sam Hafertepe, Jr. at Grays Harbor Raceway in the Fred Brownfield Classic (taken 6/30/17).

Last edited on Wednesday Apr 25th, 2018 05:33 PM by Racer4u

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 Posted: Saturday Apr 28th, 2018 08:00 AM
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lawrence oconnor
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Love reading the way you review a race. Good job !!

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 Posted: Saturday Apr 28th, 2018 01:53 PM
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Racer4u
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Joined: Tuesday Dec 6th, 2005
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Thanks, Lawrence. I hope to see you soon! :)

____________________
Avatar: Sam Hafertepe, Jr. at Grays Harbor Raceway in the Fred Brownfield Classic (taken 6/30/17).

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