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 Posted: Saturday Sep 9th, 2017 12:20 AM
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Joined: Tuesday Dec 6th, 2005
Location: Olympia, Washington USA
Posts: 1077
Good news, everybody. We finally went four-for-four over the Labor Day weekend! :D It seems like it's been a while since we've done that, huh? I took the scenic route up to Skagit Speedway on Friday and Saturday for the Outlaw Energy Showdown, then jetted down for two nights of action at Grays Harbor Raceway on Sunday and Monday. It was a very hot, humid, hazy, and smoky four-day vacation, but the most important part is we got everything in. ;) Since there were a lot of races, I'm just going to a quick review of all of them and try not to be too boring...

Veterans Shane Biles and Otto Jorgenson were on the front row of the Northwest Focus Midgets feature on Friday. Otto paced the field for the first three laps in the 25-lap affair before Nik Larson took command in turn one as they worked the fourth lap. Evan Margeson charged from ninth and he went by Larson for the top spot as they drag raced down the backstretch on lap 11. The only slowdown happened on lap 13, as Hannah Lindquist stopped in turn four and the race went condition red right after that when Dave Mills took a violent flip on the frontstretch. Mills was uninjured. "Bad News" Nick Evans stole second from Larson on lap number 14, as he used the cushion in turn two to get the job done. Evans was reeling in Margeson towards the end, and he had the lead with two to go in turns one and two. Margeson didn't give up and passed Evans back in turn three on the next lap, just before they saw the white flag. Margeson held on for the win over Evans, tenth-place starter Tristin Thomas, Larson, and Jonathan Jorgenson.

Brad Sweet led the first seven laps in the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Cars 30-lapper A-Main event main with his teammate Daryn Pittman giving chase. Disaster struck on lap eight, as Sweet made contact with the slower car of Austen Wheatley on the frontstretch. Sweet and Pittman both went spinning, while the lapped car of Clyde Knipp was also involved. Shane Stewart just missed the crash and he inherited the lead. As we went back to green flag racing, Jason Johnson and Jac Haudenschild were trading sliders for second place behind Stewart. That went on for many laps before Johnson finally getting second place for good with a turn four slider with seven laps remaining. Stewart went on to score the win over Johnson, J. Haudenschild, Donny Schatz, and Sheldon Haudenschild.

Adam Holtrop led the opening lap of Saturday's Washington Modified Tour big dance before surrendering it to Kyler Moore in turn one on the following lap. Graham Cook started the event in seventh and worked his way up to second on lap 14, as he passed Brian Harding at the stripe. Cook took the lead from Moore on the 20th go-around in turn four and it turned out to be the winning pass. The race was supposed to go 25 laps, but it was plagued with yellow flags. The eighth and final yellow came out with three to go when Bill Tomer spun in turn one. The checkers flew with Cook winning over K. Moore, Harding, 14th-starting Lane Zerbin, and James Wolfard.

The first try to start the WoO 40-lap A-Main was called off, as Greg Wilson spun in turn four on the opening lap. Nearby, Marc Duperron climbed the outside wall and flipped over. Duperron was all right. Johnson was the leader early on, but he had problems trying to pass slower cars and Schatz made that lead disappear. Johnson had a close moment on lap 15, as a crash occurred in front of him in turn three. Knipp tipped onto his side, with Jacob Allen and Robbie Price getting collected. Pittman took second from Schatz in turn four on lap 29 before passing Johnson at the same place six laps later. After going winless for most of the season, Pittman picked up his third win within a month. David Gravel made a late pass on Johnson for second in turn four with two to go. Sweet finished third, as he also got by Johnson in turns three and four as they came for the white flag. Johnson faded to fourth and Schatz fell to fifth.

It's time to go to Grays Harbor Raceway for Sunday's racing. Tyler Thompson had the pole for the 25-lap main event for the Northwest Focus Midgets, but Katie Jackson (formerly Turner) took the lead away from the outside pole. The race had a very scary crash on the second lap when Brian Hayes took a high flying flip in turn three. :shock: After getting his bell rung, Brian walked away. T. Thomas started tenth and wasted little time to attack, as he passed Jackson for the lead down the backchute on lap five. Garrett Thomas also moved up through the pack from his seventh starting spot, and he took second from Jackson at the line on the eighth lap. Another red flag was needed on lap 14, as Glenn Bittrolf flipped in turn two. Evans and Shane Smith were also involved, but no one was injured. The race was shortened to 20 laps and it was a battle of the Thomases. Garrett took the lead from Tristin at the flagstand on lap 17, but Tristin turned the tables on the following lap as he used the high side in turn four to take the lead back. Tristin drove to a popular victory over G. Thomas, J. Jorgenson, Biles, and Jackson.

It's been a year since Chris Beaulieu raced at GHR, but he had the pole for the Shipwreck Beads modifieds A-Main and jumped out to the lead. The 25-lap event had a very early red flag, as it flew on the second lap for a five-car crash in turn four. It involved Brandon Berg, Don Martin, Craig Moore, Jason Tole, and Gene Miller. Everybody returned except for Martin. The driver who was passing cars left and right was Zerbin, who won the B-Main and started 16th. Lane was fourth by lap eight, as he passed Kevin Smith out of turn four. Zerbin continued to be on a tear, as he got by K. Moore for third in turn two on the 11th lap and Tom Sweatman for second at the same spot on the next lap. To finish everything off, Zerbin went to the high side to take the lead from on Beaulieu out of turn four to complete lap 14. K. Moore went to the inside of Beaulieu in turn two on the 16th circuit, and he made it work to grab second. Kyler caught Lane at the very end, as they made their way through lapped traffic. Kyler had the lead temporarily out of turn two on the final lap, but Lane used the slower car of Tiana Berkeley as a pick to take the lead back out of turn four and win by a car length! K. Moore settled for his second straight runner-up finish, followed by Beaulieu, 14th-starting Doug Davenport, and Lawrence O'Connor.

Then, it was the Summer Thunder Sprint Series with their 30-lap main event. Chase Goetz was the early pace setter over Tayler Malsam, but Wheatley wanted to be a part of the action. Austen used a slide job in turn four to take second from Tayler on the third lap, and he did the exact same thing to Goetz two laps later in turn four as well. Malsam was back up to second on a lap seven restart, as he got by Goetz out of turn two using the cushion. Henry Van Dam went from fourth to second in one fell swoop on lap nine, as he passed Goetz in turns one and two and Malsam in turn four. This race was also filled with yellow flags, as it had seven in total. Wheatley maintained his composure through it all and he drove his second STSS win of the year over Van Dam, Jason Solwold, Colton Heath, and Roger Crockett (who had to go to the back of the pack on the second lap after his nose wing came loose while running second).

Monday's first main event was for the Cut Rate Auto Parts street stocks. Jack Parshall led all 20 laps, but he had Tole all over his rear view mirror. The yellow flag came out four times, but Parshall fended off all of Tole's challenges. Parshall won it over Tole, Scott Fritts, Ryen Haney, and Tommy Hecker.

Stewart took advantage of his pole position of the WoO A-Main and he went wire-to-wire in the 30-lapper. The only yellow flag came out on lap 15, as Jacob Allen went for a spin in turn four. Stewart had a hard time trying to pass slower cars in the closing laps and that allowed Sweet to really close in. Brad tried for a pass on the final corner, but Shane held him off at the checkers. Gravel finished third by a nose over Johnson with Pittman in fifth.

There are quite a few other things I want to talk go over in the four days of racing, so without any further delay, let's get down and get with it...

Magnificent Seven: T. Thomas placed another sticker onto his car after winning on Sunday, and he's up to seven victories in 2017. He has four wins at Skagit, two at GHR, and one at Southern Oregon Speedway. For extra icing on the cake, Tristin collected the midget title at Skagit by 95 points over Evans. :)

Wedding Bells: Jackson married her husband Jeff on August 27 and she did some very cool in Friday's race. Instead of sporting a rookie ribbon on her car, she hung her wedding veil. :cool: Katie was second in the B-Main before going up four places to 14th in the A. Katie led the first four laps in Sunday's big show before coming home fifth, and that's her first top five finish in a midget. Her previous best finish was eighth on two occasions at Deming Speedway on July 28 and August 11.

Five Top Fives: Johnson is perfect in the top five finish category at Skagit since racing with the Outlaws in 2015. He has a second-place finish, along with two thirds and two fourths. "The Ragin' Cajun" has a 360 win at Skagit to his credit, as he took the preliminary night of the Bob's Burgers and Brew 360 Nationals (now the Summer Nationals, of course) back in 2009.

First Appearances: Kevin Gobrecht "Rookie of the Year" contenders S. Haudenschild and Brent Marks made their first trips to Skagit and Elma over the weekend. Sheldon had a top five and three top tens (fifth, seventh, and eighth) in those events, while Brent finished in the teens (13th, 16th, and 13th). "The Real Deal" Jamie Veal also made his first appearance on Pacific Northwest soil. The Aussie had finishes of 16th and 11th at Skagit, followed by another 16th at Elma. Last year's "Rookie of the Year" Wilson was at Elma last year, but the race got rained out so Monday's show was his first time on the 3/10-mile oval. Greg was 15th in the finishing order.

Breaking the Tie: Joey Saldana had the track record at GHR at 11.750 seconds, as he set in on September 7, 2015. Sweet's first lap time was 11.938 seconds, but he stepped up on the second lap by tying the track record at 11.750. "The Big Cat" wasn't on top for very long, as Pittman came out just two cars later. Daryn was a rocket out of the gate by registering a new track record with a 11.742 on his opening lap, and then went faster at 11.716 on his second lap. :) Seven competitors had qualifying times in the 11's. Monday's track conditions were much better that they were on Sunday, and it showed. I was very surprised that they were down into new track record territory despite how hot and dry we've been all summer long. 

Devon Makes His Debut: Fourth-generation driver and minisprint champion Devon Borden made his first 360 sprint start on Sunday. How cool is it to hear the Borden name again at Grays Harbor Raceway? Devon, the son of four-time track champion Glenn Borden, Jr., looked very strong in warm-ups and his time was sixth best out of 22 cars. However, Devon had a very tough main event. He spun in turn two on lap eight before crashing into Jayme Barnes in turn one on the 18th lap. :( Devon was credited with 20th.

Modifieds Bring It: The modifieds had 26 people signing in for Saturday and Sunday. The format for both nights were three heats, a B-Main, and an A-Main. The Washington Modified Tour had their first B-Main event at Skagit, which was won by Tyson Blood.

Hard Charger Times Two: Zerbin passed the most cars out of everyone in both modified main events, as he drove by 25 cars in total. It wasn't easy by any stretch on Sunday, as he was eighth in the second heat race and had to come through the B-Main (which he won after starting sixth). Sunday's win was Lane's third career triumph at GHR and second win there in '17. In his first victory on August 27 of last year, he passed Zack Simpson on the final corner in nitty gritty fashion as well.

Pulling Away: K. Moore had a 67-point lead over Kevin Smith before Saturday's race. Kyler's advantage is now just over the triple digits at 101 points, except there's a new driver who's second in points and it happens to be his own father Craig. The Washington Modified Tour ends its season along with the Summer Thunder Sprint Series on September 22 and 23, as they head back to the Yakima Dirt Track for the Fall Brawl.

Cosmopolis vs. Shelton: The Rematch: This is a repeat from one year ago in the modified division, as it's going down to the wire between defending track champion Sweatman and former track champ Scott Miller. Tom leads Scott by 21 points, as they have the season championships presented by OCCU on September 30 left to go. Tom fell to sixth after running as high as second in Sunday's race, and Scott was not far behind in eighth.

Jumpin' Jack Flash: Parshall continues to be the man to beat in the street stocks, as he's up to five wins this year and his points lead grew to 48 markers over Tole. Jack's looking to win the title for the fourth straight year and he's had more wins this season than the last two years combined (one in '15 and three in '16).

Number for the Weekend: 93...the high temperature on Monday. :? Sunday was almost as unbearable at 90 degrees. It's been a long, hot, and dry summer and I'm looking forward to having everything cool down. 62 degrees and showers for tomorrow? Yes, please! :D

Consistency Award: Johnson. "The Ragin' Cajun" had a second and two fourths in the three Outlaw shows. He has 21 top fives (including Wednesday's win at Willamette Speedway) with the WoO this season, compared to 19 last year. K. Moore had back-to-back second place finishes in the modifieds, while J. Jorgenson turned in finishes of fifth and third with the midgets.

Hard Luck Award: Knipp. Clyde was involved in crashes in all three nights with the Outlaws and he flipped over twice. He also went for a tumble after getting together with Price in turn one while racing for sixth on a lap nine restart in Monday's B-Main. Clyde was unhurt in all of the wrecks, but his car suffered quite a bit of punishment.

Next race: The Champion Racing Oil National Open at Williams Grove Speedway on September 28, 29, and 30 with the World of Outlaws Craftsman Craftsman Sprint Cars. This is going to be my first trip to Pennsylvania in five years, as the Outlaws take on the Posse with the race on the 30th paying $50,000 to win. Last year's event went to Posse, as Danny Dietrich made the winning pass on Joey Saldana with just two laps to go.

R.I.P. Walter Becker (1950-2017)

Pictures: New photo page is coming soon!

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

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

Last edited on Friday Mar 23rd, 2018 04:33 AM by Racer4u

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