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|Summer Nationals recap|| Rate Topic
|Posted: Friday Aug 3rd, 2018 06:54 PM||
|For the second straight year, I made the choice of heading up to Skagit Speedway for the Bob's Burgers and Brew Summer Nationals to end my month of July. What a hot weekend it was! The Summer Thunder Sprint Series had a healthy field of drivers, as did the Northwest Focus Midgets and outlaw tuners.
In Friday's 26-lap main event for the midgets, Jayme Barnes started on the pole and led the first seven laps from the pole before surrendering the top spot to "Bad News" Nick Evans on the eighth lap in turn two. The yellow lights came on for the first time on lap number ten for Chris Greene, who spun in turn three. Hannah Lindquist took second from Barnes on the restart, as she made the pass up high in turn two. Lindquist had a scary moment with two laps to go when she got sideways out of turn four, but she managed to keep going and hang on to the second spot. Instead of seeing the checkered flag, Evans saw the yellow flag as Sawyer Lind spun in turn four. That set up a green-white-checkered finish, but Evans held everybody off for the win. Lindquist was second with Barnes, Ross Rankine, and Shane Smith three through five.
The A-Main for the tuners got up to a rough start, as the caution flag flew three times before the first lap was complete. The field lined up single file for the next try and it worked. There were no more slowdowns in the 17-lap feature. Cliff Ballenger had the pole and he got the jump driving Matt Dunnigan's #88MD car. Vance Hibbard passed Kyle Hanson for second in turn four on lap four, but Hanson returned the favor on the following lap at the stripe. On the following lap, Hanson made the pass on Ballenger at the flagstand to take the lead. Ballenger lost second to Jon Gunderson, and that happened down the backstretch on lap ten. Hanson looked strong in this race and he got the job done to get the win. Gunderson, Ballenger, points leader Brian Michelson, and Matt Shaw were next in line.
The final A-Main of the evening was for the STSS. Chase Goetz was on the pole with Cam Smith starting alongside, and Goetz had the advantage. The yellow flag came out for the first time on lap six when Marc Duperron, Greg Hamilton, and Trevor Cook crashed in turn three. Hamilton and Cook were able to come back. C. Smith had the lead for a moment on the seventh lap out of turn two, but Goetz got it back with a turn three slide job. Cam tried it again on the next lap in turn two and made the pass stick this time. Goetz's night came to an end on the 16th circuit, as he rolled to a stop on the frontchute. C. Smith took care of business and scored the win to get locked into Saturday's 40-lapper. Garen Linder was second, while Michael "Buddy" Kofoid stormed to third. Defending event winner Jason Solwold took the fourth and final lock-in spot from Chris Schmelzle on the last corner.
Let's get on with Saturday's racing. Alden Ostrom and Garrett Thomas shared the front row for the 25-lap midget main, and give the early lead to G. Thomas. The race went red on lap three, as S. Smith flipped in turn two. "One Time" was unhurt. Tristin Thomas took second from Ostrom on the restart, then Evans also passed Ostrom in turn four on lap number five for third. Ostrom had more problems on the next lap when he spun in turn three. He collected Barnes, Lindquist, and Glenn Bittrolf. Evans moved up to second on the restart ahead of T. Thomas, and then he made the winning move on the ninth tour by passing G. Thomas in turn one. Jesse Conway brought out the second yellow flag, as he went for a spin on the frontstretch on the 13th lap after getting a bump from Greene. As Conway tried to drive off, he ended tipping over. Jesse was able to restart, while Greene was sent to the back of the field. On the restart, T. Thomas took second from G. Thomas. Seconds later, 18th place starter Jonathan Jorgenson got by G. Thomas up high down the backstretch to climb to third. After a yellow flag on lap 15 for Ashley Thompson's spin out of turn four, the race went clean and green for the end. No one had anything for Evans, who won for the second straight night. T. Thomas, Jorgenson, Rankine, and G. Thomas were second through fifth.
Unlike Friday, the 20-lap main event of the Tuner Nationals had no problems. Brandon Jansen had the pole, but his car didn't get going when the green flag flew and fell to fifth. Outside front row starter Max Sanford led the first lap, but Ballenger took it away on the following lap in turn three. Gunderson stole second from Sanford on the third lap, as he took the high line down the backstretch. The top three went three-wide on the next lap, and Sanford was back in control out of turn three. Gunderson, Ballenger, and Hibbard were going at it for second on lap number eight, and Gunderson got it in turn four. Ballenger and Hibbard made contact during that battle, but they both kept going. Sanford was going through some heavy traffic and Gunderson was closing in. Hibbard took third from Ballenger on the backstretch with five laps to go and reeled in the top two. Sanford kept calm and collected the win, while Hibbard took second from Gunderson in a photo finish. Ballenger was fourth and Michelson was fifth.
C. Smith drew the one pill to start on the pole for the STSS 40-lap big show. Cam had the lead, and he had teammates Jared Peterson and Kofoid tracking him down. Hamilton went for a spin in turn three on lap three to bring out a very early yellow flag. Peterson took the lead from C. Smith out of turn four on lap five, but the yellow flag flew for Duperron and Schmelzle's spins down low in turn one. The yellow turned red when EMT's tended to flagman Kirby Hoyle, who fell on the flagstand after getting hit in the head with a rock. Hoyle was able to get back on his feet and continued to officiate. Kofoid used a turn two slide job to get second from Peterson on lap nine. Peterson slid into the backstretch wall and Linder got by for third. The lead changed hands temporarily on the 11th lap as Kofoid had it in turn two, but C. Smith got back by in turn three. The next yellow flag came out on the following lap, as Duperron spun in turn four and Schmelzle also looped it in turn one. Kofoid was waiting for a moment to attack on Cam for the lead, and he did so on lap number 17 in turn one. In a long stretch of green flag racing, Cam was keeping close contact with Buddy. As the top two were going through heavy traffic, Cam made contact with Jason Reed on the frontstretch with ten laps to go. Reed went for a vicious flip, while C. Smith spun in turn one with a collapsed front end and he took his wounded car to the infield. Both drivers were uninjured, but the whole momentum of this race suddenly changed. Kofoid had the lapped cars of Schmelzle and Duperron between himself and the second place car of Solwold for the final restart. That was more than enough breathing room to a $10,000 payday for the 16-year-old from Penngrove, California. Solwold came home second, followed by Linder, J.J. Hickle, and Austen Wheatley.
The Bob's Burgers and Brew Summer Nationals were another success, and there were quite a few new faces that were there. This race saw one of the strongest fields in recent years. As usual, I have some extra bits and pieces to go along with everyone and it's time to get to them...
Evans Almost Gets Even: Evans isn't having his best year, but the weekend sweep gave him some new life. "Bad News" is up to second in points at Skagit, and he's just one point behind new points leader T. Thomas. Evan Margeson was the points leader, but he was M.I.A.
From iRacing to Real Racing: Carla and Gaylon Stewart had two new people that sat in their #99 midget, and both are from the iRacing ranks. Hillsdale, Michigan's Anthony LoPresto was the driver on Friday and Toledo, Ohio's Tim Smith competed on Saturday. Anthony had the better finish of the two with a ninth-place run in the B-Main, while Tim was 13th in his B.
Third Time's the Charm: Hanson had made only two starts this season before the Summer Nationals. He was seventh in his first race on July 7 at Skagit for the mid-season championship presented by Les Schwab. He made the drive down to Grays Harbor Raceway a week later, where he was eighth.
Another First-Time Winner: Not only did Hanson get his first career win, it's also Sanford's first triumph. This was Max's first trip to Skagit from his hometown of Belfair, as he normally runs at Grays Harbor (where he's fifth in the points). Max held off the likes of Hibbard, Gunderson, Ballenger, and Michelson on their home turf and that's very impressive.
California's Back on the Map: Kofoid's win marks the first time in a while that a driver from California has won the Summer Nationals. The last driver to do so was Steve Kent, who won this race for the third and final time in 2004. This is the third win for car owners Doug and Kathy Rutz, whose son Travis won this race in '06 and '08.
Running the Twins: With a stout sprint car field in the pits, two B-Mains were ran both nights. It's been two years since the STSS ran twin B's, and they last did that was for the first night of the Summer Nationals. Friday's B-Mains went to Hickle and Robbie Price, while Saturday's B's were copped by Hamilton and Chance Crum.
Sitting In: Crum was behind the wheel of Brock Lemley's #10L car in the Summer Nationals. Chance registered finishes of 14th and 16th in the A after transferring out of the twin B's both nights. Justin Youngquist raced on Friday, but had to sit out Saturday due to dislocating some ribs. Kelsey Carpenter was called in to drive the #56 machine, and he was fastest in qualifying and 15th in the feature.
This Sporty Life: Eight sportsman drivers participated last weekend and in that group, Bailey Sucich was the only one to make it into the A-Main. She started eighth in Friday's second B-Main and she passed Bud Ashe in turn two on the final lap to take the third and final transfer spot away. Bailey took her car to the infield with mechanical issues a little after halfway in the A and finished 21st.
Linder's Lurking: Solwold is still the points leader for the STSS, but Linder's not going away. Garen moved up to second place in points, as he's 32 markers behind Solwold. Garen is having a very strong year on the STSS campaign with one win, six top five finishes, and eight top tens in ten events. The next STSS races are tonight and tomorrow down at Cottage Grove Speedway, where Linder is fourth in points.
Number for the Weekend: 38...the number of sprint car drivers that signed in both nights. They had five heat races on Friday and as mentioned earlier, they ran twin B-Mains both nights. There were a total of 41 sprint car drivers over the two nights, plus 34 midget racers and 17 tuner drivers.
Consistency Award: Linder (STSS), Rankine (midgets), and Gunderson (tuners). Garen was second and third over the weekend to keep his STSS title hopes alive. Rankine had back-to-back fourths driving Chase Goetz's #91 midget. For the tuners, it's Gunderson who gets my vote with finishes of second and third also.
Hard Luck Award: Reed. Jason was upside-down both nights, as he also rolled over on lap nine during Friday's second B-Main when he clipped Ryan Cully out of turn two.
"Never Say Die" Award: Nik Larson. Nik's night ended early on Friday, as his clutch blew out during warm-ups and was done. Saturday went much better, as he went up to five places to seventh in the A-Main.
Next race: The four-day Labor Day weekend swing at Skagit and Grays Harbor. It begins at Skagit on August 31 and September 1 for the Outlaw Energy Showdown, featuring the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Cars and Northwest Focus Midgets. I head down to Grays Harbor Raceway the following two days. The program on September 2 has the Summer Thunder Sprint Series, Shipwreck Beads modifieds, and Northwest Focus Midgets. The WoO compete on September 3, along with the Cut Rate Auto Parts street stocks.
Avatar: Greg Hamilton at Grays Harbor Raceway (taken 6/2/18).
Last edited on Thursday Aug 16th, 2018 05:57 AM by Racer4u
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