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 Posted: Tuesday Jul 5th, 2016 04:34 AM
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Ridge and Vague take sprint car checkers in Republic

REPUBLIC, Wash. - The staff at Eagle Track Raceway took another stab at hosting sprint cars this weekend when promoters Darren and Tami Smith brought cars to the little town of Republic for the second leg of the inaugural Thunder in the Valley Sprint Car Series. This time around, Cody Ridge and Steve Vague took home trophies following main event wins.

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SATURDAY

A total of 17 different teams made the tow to northeast Washington, and 16 of them competed on Satuday afternoon. Temperatures in the low 80's and sunshine took its toll on the large 3/8-mile clay oval, resulting in a very dry race track on which tire management was required for drivers during the main event.

Mount Vernon, Washington's Steve Vague, one of only a handful of sprint car drivers who had seen the place before this year, was looking for a sweep having already won his heat race and trophy dash. Vague took the lead on the initial start of the 25-lap feature and most of the time led comfortably over the rest of the field piloting his No. 08 Shark-powered Rocket. The 22-year-old Cody Ridge of Snohomish, Wash. had moved his way into second place while carefully managing his tires.

Just as he was completing lap 21, Vague's right rear tire came apart and he coasted to a stop. This gave the lead to Ridge, who had only recently got back behind the wheel of a sprint car after not racing for three years. Ridge, the youngest son of Washington sprint car great Randy Ridge, made his tires last the final four laps and scored his first career sprint car main event win aboard the Eddie Isackson No. 36 Vague-powered Maxim, also coming in his first visit to Eagle Track Raceway.

Ridge's victory was popular in the pit area as he received congratulations from virtually everyone.

Kevin Kirkpatrick of Sedro-Woolley, Wash. came from ninth to finish second aboard the Kirkpatrick Racing No. 7k Kentch Bros.-powered Rocket. Former Skagit Speedway champion Steve Parker, also out of Sedro-Woolley, earned hard charger honors as he came from the 12th starting position to finish third aboard his No. 23 Barnes-powered Triple X. Darren Smith of Curlew, Wash. finished fourth and Chris Ochs of Colville, Wash. finished fifth.

Darren Smith won the day's first heat race and Vague was victorious in the second. Vague then won the A-Dash to earn the pole position for the feature and Brett McGhie of Snohomish won the B-Dash. Vague was the last man standing in the Carol Smith Memorial Match Car Shootout, last eliminating Rich Valley, Alberta's Don Kynoch.

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SUNDAY

Sunday afternoon saw 16 cars again compete, and a dry race track was again a challenge to the drivers.

Former Skagit Speedway champion Travis Jacobson of Lake Stevens, Wash. was a surprise entrant. He arrived just in time to tag the back of the second heat and came from the eighth starting position to finish second, and this coming in his first visit to Eagle Track Raceway.

Steve Vague again won the A-Dash to start on the pole of the 25-lap feature and led the first seven laps before Jacobson got him coming off of Turn 2 on Lap 8. Jacobson, driving the Bollinger Racing No. 5t El Parker-powered Maxim, was successfully keeping Vague and Ridge at bay until disaster struck with 20 laps completed. Rolling through Turn 3, Jacobson tangled with a pair of slower cars and came to stop in the middle of Turns 3 and 4 with front suspension damage that required a tow truck.

In a reversal of fortunes from Saturday, Vague found himself out front after Jacobson's mishap and successfully held off Ridge over the final five laps to capture the win.

Ridge finished second and earned the most points over the two days to earn a $1,500 payday from Eagle Track Raceway. Again starting mid pack, Kirkpatrick came up to finish third. Smith finished fourth and McGhie earned hard charger honors by coming from the back of the field to finish fifth.

Ridge and Smith were victorious in heat race action. Vague again won the A-Dash and Steve James of Seattle took the win in the B-Dash. Darren Smith came out first for the Carol Smith Memorial Match Car Shootout and took advantage of the inside starting spot - which proved to be crucial during racing action all day - and ran the table, winning all 11 rounds.

While Eagle Track Raceway is done with sprint cars this year at the moment, they are seriously considering putting together another two-day event in the fall. An announcement will be made if one indeed is scheduled.

Eagle Track Raceway - Republic, WA: http://www.eagletrackraceway.com

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2016 Thunder in the Valley Sprint Car Series in Republic
Feature winners

May 28 - Jeremy McCune
May 29 - Bud Ashe
July 2 - Cody Ridge
July 3 - Steve Vague

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Race 3 - Thunder in the Valley Sprint Car Series
Eagle Track Raceway
Republic, WA
July 2, 2016

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS

16 cars

Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. 81 Darren Smith, 2. 54 Chris Ochs, 3. 23 Steve Parker, 4. 24 Leroy Brush, 5. 1k Don Kynoch, 6. 29w Steve James, 7. 34 Rob Matherly, 8. 4n John Nelson.

Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. 08 Steve Vague, 2. 36 Cody Ridge, 3. 7k Kevin Kirkpatrick, 4. 66 Brett McGhie, 5. 9J Brennon Smith, 6. 4p Junior Nelson, 7. 4x Rob Adams, 8. 4d Dustin Johnson.

A-Dash (5 laps): 1. 08 Steve Vague, 2. 36 Cody Ridge, 3. 81 Darren Smith, 4. 54 Chris Ochs, 5. 7k Kevin Kirkpatrick, DNS - 23 Steve Parker.

B-Dash (5 laps): 1. 66 Brett McGhie, 2. 24 Leroy Brush, 3. 1k Don Kynoch, 4. 29w Steve James.

Match Car Shootout: 08 Steve Vague wins by last elimating 1k Don Kynoch. Longest run was 7 matches won by 7k Kevin Kirkpatrick before being eliminated by Vague.

Feature (25 laps): 1 36 Cody Ridge, 2. 7k Kevin Kirkpatrick, 3. 23 Steve Parker, 4. 81 Darren Smith, 5. 54 Chris Ochs, 6. 66 Brett McGhie, 7. 4p Junior Nelson, 8. 4d Dustin Johnson, 9. 08 Steve Vague, 10. 9J Brennon Smith, 11. 24 Leroy Brush, 12. 4x Rob Adams, 13. 29w Steve James, 14. 4n John Nelson, 15. 34 Rob Matherly, 16. 1k Don Kynoch.

Lap leaders: Steve Vague 1-21, Cody Ridge 22-25

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Race 4 - Thunder in the Valley Sprint Car Series
Eagle Track Raceway
Republic, WA
July 3, 2016

UNOFFICIAL RESULTS

16 cars

Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. 36 Cody Ridge, 2. 08 Steve Vague, 3. 7k Kevin Kirkpatrick, 4. 29w Steve James, 5. 54 Chris Ochs, 6. 4n John Nelson, 7. 1k Don Kynoch, 8. 4d Dustin Johnson.

Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. 81 Darren Smith, 2. 5t Travis Jacobson, 3. 9J Bert Johnson Jr, 4. 24 Leroy Brush, 5. 4p Junior Nelson, 6. 23 Steve Parker, 7. 34 Rob Matherly, 8. 66 Brett McGhie.

A-Dash (5 laps): 1. 08 Steve Vague, 2. 5t Travis Jacobson, 3. 36 Cody Ridge, 4. 81 Darren Smith, 5. 7k Kevin Kirkpatrick, DNS - 9J Bert Johnson Jr.

B-Dash (5 laps): 1. 29w Steve James, 2. 54 Chris OChs, 3. 23 Steve Parker, 4. 4p Junior Nelson, 5. 24 Leroy Brush, 6. 4n John Nelson.

Match Car Shootout: 81 Darren Smith wins by last eliminating 1k Don Kynoch. Smith started in Round 1 and won all 11 matches.

Feature (25 laps): 1. 08 Steve Vague, 2. 36 Cody Ridge, 3. 7k Kevin Kirkpatrick, 4. 81 Darren Smith, 5. 66 Brett McGhie, 6. 54 Chris Ochs, 7. 24 Leroy Brush, 8. 9J Bert Johnson Jr, 9. 23 Steve Parker, 10. 4d Dustin Johnson, 11. 5t Travis Jacobson, 12. 34 Rob Matherly, 13. 4p Junior Nelson, 14. 29w Steve James, 15. 4n John Nelson, DNS - 1k Don Kynoch.

Lap leaders: Steve Vague 1-7, Travis Jacobson 8-20, Steve Vague 21-25

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