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 Posted: Wednesday May 16th, 2018 07:22 PM
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Joined: Tuesday Dec 6th, 2005
Location: Olympia, Washington USA
Posts: 1061
Grays Harbor Raceway had round number four last Saturday night with four divisions participating. Race fans had the chance to see the Northwest Vintage Modifieds for the very first time on the 3/8-mile oval.

The Cut Rate Auto Parts street stocks kicked off the main events. Cory Sweatman was on the pole in the 20-lap race with Jeff Daniel alongside. By turn three on the first lap, Jason Tole passed both Sweatman and Daniel to move up to the lead. It didn't take long until everything slowed down, as Taylor Miller slowed in turn two on lap for a very early yellow flag. Scott Fritts took second from Sweatman on the restart, but lost that spot two laps later by spinning in turn four. Fritts kept going and the race stayed green. Jack Parshall passed Sweatman for second coming out of turn two on the next lap and began to track down Tole. The third spot switched hands on lap seven, as Daniel went down low on Sweatman in turn three. Cory returned the favor on the following lap in turn four, as Daniel got into the loose stuff. The next yellow flag came out at the halfway mark for Wayne Lemmon, who stopped in turn four. Another caution occurred two laps later when Daniel and Matt White both spun out in turn two. Parshall was looking to pass Tole as the race continued, but the yellow lights came on yet again with five to go as Austin Kerrigan spun down low on the backstretch. Hard work finally paid off for Parshall, as he went to the inside of Tole for the lead with a lap and a half to go. Parshall turned in his third win of '18, beating Tole by a car length and a half. Tommy Hecker was the hard charger by starting 14th and finishing third. Sweatman and Ryen Haney were fourth and fifth.

The Northwest Vintage Modifieds came up next for their 25-lap main event. The original start was called off, as Dave Trapp stopped in turn two. Kyten Jones and Mike Clother were on the front row, but they came together in turns one and two on the opening cictuit. That opened the door for Jim Jones (Kyten's dad) to take the top spot. Behind Jim, Ken Kaltschmidt passed Vern Huson for second out of turn four using the high side on the second lap. Jim Jones started to lap slower cars on lap 16, but Kaltschmidt was all over him. Kaltschmidt used the slower car of Devin Eierman as a pick to steal the lead out of turn two with three laps to go. This happened just before Chris Cook and Clother crashed into a tractor tire in turn four. During the caution, Jim Jones went to the pits with mechanical ills and that gave the runner-up spot to his son Kyten. The fifth and last yellow flag flew on the restart, as Huson lost third place when he stopped in turn one. Kaltschmidt stayed in control and went on to pick up his second win of the year over K. Jones, Clother, Eierman, and Robert Rux.

The 25-lap main event for the 360 sprints got off to a rocky start when Jay Cole and Colton Heath touched wheels on the backstretch, sending Heath flipping big time. Colton was unhurt. Cam Smith started on the pole, but he only had a half-car length lead over Devon Borden as they completed the first lap. Devon had the lead on the next lap in turns one and two, but Cam got back by going into turn three. Borden started to lose ground to C. Smith later on, and he lost second place to J.J. Hickle entering turn one on lap number nine. Chase Goetz did the exact same thing five laps later, as he took third from Borden. C. Smith was trying to lap Lance Sargent with two laps remaining, but they got locked up and spun in turns three and four. That ended the night for both drivers. Hickle inherited the lead and led the final two laps to win over Goetz, Borden, Cole, and points leader Tyler Anderson.

The last main event was the 15-lapper for the outlaw tuners. This race had a tough time getting completed, as the yellow flag flew six times. Willie Wright filled in for Tyler Sundstrom and he started on the pole. Wright stayed out front until lap five, as Don Briggs, Sr. got by in turn two. The yellow lights came on the following lap, as Max Sanford fell off the pace on the frontstretch. Briggs headed pitside during the yellow with a flat right front tire and that handed the lead back to Wright. Despite numerous restarts, Wright hung on for the win. He was followed by Jeremy Jones, Chad Norton, Addison Smith, and Zach Dalrymple (who charged from dead last).

Stop me if you've heard it before, but I have some extra topics to go along with everyone. So, here they are...

Smooth Sailing: The four classes did very well in their heat races, and all eight heats went nonstop. :D The best finish happened in the second street stock heat, as the top three drivers were nose to tail coming for the checkers. Tole was trapped behind the slower car of Miller, but still won. Hecker passed Sweatman on the final corner, as Cory got sideways out of turn four and rode the wall.

Tommy Stays Tough: Hecker has finished in the top five in all four races this season, and the only other person who's also done that is Parshall. Hecker has finished in the top ten in points the last two years and he has stepped up as of recent. He's solidly in second in points, 26 tallies behind Parshall. I believe it won't be long until we see Hecker's #5 car (nicknamed "The Green Goblin") in Victory Lane. :)

Southbound Trip: Skagit regulars C. Smith and Heath took advantage of a weekend off up north to come down to Elma. Their evenings started out correctly, but ended on pretty sour notes. :( Heath won the first heat race, but he was eliminated in the main event an opening-lap flip. C. Smith was on his way to the win, but tangled with Sargent with just two laps to go.

Dirt Debut: Last Saturday's race was the first ever race on dirt for the Northwest Vintage Modifieds. The organization, which was founded in 1986, normally competes on pavement tracks and racing on dirt was way different for everybody involved. I received an e-mail from Clother earlier today and he said that everyone admitted they had fun, but not quite ready to do it again on dirt. The modified racers return to asphalt this Saturday at the Wenatchee Valley Super Oval and Kaltschmidt extended his points lead to 15 markers over Eierman. The following two races take place at Evergreen Speedway on June 16 and July 7.

All in the Family: The father-and-son team of Jim and Kyten Jones came down from Arlington for the Northwest Vintage Modifieds. Jim started racing back in '97 and is also a former champion, while Kyten began his racing career in 2012. The street stocks had a brother-and-sister combination in Jared and Samantha Stevens, who both started in the tuners last season at GHR.

Back in the Wright Direction: Wright was the tuner champion three years ago, but has made only a small number of races since then. The last time Willie won a race at GHR was at the season finale in 2015 in his own #17 car.

Dude, You Have Company: Sanford came into last Saturday with a ten-point lead over former track champion Briggs and the top seven drivers were within 28 points of each other. Now, the top five racers are only 22 markers apart. Sanford's lead is trimmed to just two points over Norton (another former title holder) with Briggs four points back. Trevor Dugent and Sweatman are separated by only four points for the fourth spot in points.

Number for the Weekend: 2...the number of cars that finished on the lead lap of the vintage modified main event. Everyone else either finished a lap down or DNF'ed. Only a portion of the field stayed on the lead lap at the checkered flag in all four main events. The tuners had three people, the 360's had four, and the street stocks had eight.

Hard Luck Award: Tristen Spiers. Tristen qualified seventh out of eleven in the sprints, but didn't start in his heat or the main event. This was his first trip to GHR and he's also the racer with the longest tow from Adrian, Oregon (next to the Snake River and the Oregon-Idaho border). :(

"Never Say Die" Award: White. Matt rebounded for a sixth-place finish after spinning with Daniel on lap twelve in the street stock A-Main.

Next race: I'll return to GHR on June 2 for the Summer Thunder Sprint Series, Shipwreck Beads modifieds, Cut Rate Auto Parts street stocks, and PHRA dwarf cars.

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 Tuesday Aug 7th, 2018 08:03 PM by Racer4u

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