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|Labor Day weekend '18 in review|| Rate Topic
|Posted: Friday Sep 7th, 2018 10:43 PM||
|August is in the rear view mirror, and now we're already in September. This year is going by very quickly! Race fans and teams were very busy over the Labor Day weekend with four nights of racing. We have a lot to go to go over, so I don't want to do a full recap of everything. I just want to get to the good stuff and go from there.
The racing kicked off on Friday with the Outlaw Energy Showdown at Skagit Speedway and the Northwest Focus Midgets had the first main event of the evening. Alden Ostrom had the early lead from the pole before Nick Evans passed him at the flagstand on lap nine. This 25-lapper went green to checkered. Evan Margeson fell out of the top five after starting fourth, but turned things around after halfway. He passed Chase Cabre on the backstretch on the 17th lap for fifth. Evan got by Keoni Texeira for fourth at the line with three laps remaining and did the same thing to Chance Crum two laps later for the third spot. Evans won his third straight race at Skagit with Ostrom finishing a career-best second. Third went to Margeson with Texeira fourth and Tristin Thomas was fifth after passing Crum on the final turn.
The World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Cars were next for their 30-lap A-Main. Rico Abreu led the opening lap, but Shane Stewart used the cushion to get by Abreu out of turn four to complete the second circuit. Sheldon Haudenschild also passed Abreu in turn four on the following lap to steal second, but he used the low line. Haudenschild got by Stewart for the top spot on lap number eight, but slipped up high in turn four and that allowed Stewart to get back by. This race had some attrition, as there were three yellow flags and one red. The red occurred on the 13th lap when Jason Solwold launched over Jacob Allen and went somersaulting in turn three. Solwold was unhurt. Haudenschild was stalking Stewart in the closing laps and went for the kill in turn four with a slide job as they came for the white flag. They made contact, but both drivers kept going and Haudenschild made the pass. Sheldon won for the fifth time this season with the Outlaws and finished in front of Stewart, Abreu, Joey Saldana, and Brad Sweet.
Hannah Lindquist and Shane Smith shared the front row in Saturday's midget A, with the advantage going to Shane. Sawyer Lind brought a very early yellow flag on lap three when he stopped on the frontstretch, and the red flag flew on the restart. Evans and A.J. Fugitt came together out of turn four and spun in front of the rest of the field, triggering a seven-car crash. Fugitt and Jayme Barnes got the worst end of the deal, as they both flipped over. Unbelievably, everybody returned except for Barnes. The next restart was good, and T. Thomas went from third to first with four laps down. He got by Lindquist in turn one and S. Smith in turn four. Another yellow flag was needed on the sixth lap, as Chris Greene and Ostrom got locked up in turn four. The event went green and clean for the rest of the way. T. Thomas had a scary moment on the next-to-last lap, as he made contact with the slower car of Renee Angel on the backstretch. Tristin did a wheelstand and almost lost the lead to Nik Larson! Tristin and Nik were dead even as they took the white flag, but Tristin had the advantage as they went into turn one on the final lap. Tristin barely hung on for the win over Larson with Lindquist, Margeson, and Evans three through five.
The Outlaws 40-lap main event got off to a rough start, as Austen Wheatley and Jason Solwold came together in turn one on the second lap. Solwold backed into the outside wall before getting drilled by Dominic Scelzi, who flipped. Texiera was also involved. Scelzi suffered an upper leg injury and he's resting at home. The yellow flag flew twice when Haudenschild spun in turn four on lap number three and Michael Kofoid stopped in turn one on the 14th tour. Daryn Pittman led all 40 laps, but nine-time champion Donny Schatz found the low line to his liking on laps 27 and 28 and almost made the pass. Schatz slipped up on the backstretch with eight laps to go, and Sweet moved up into second. Schatz regained the runner-up spot with two laps left, as he passed Sweet in turn three. No one could stop Pittman from winning the Outlaw Energy Showdown for the second straight year. Schatz, Sweet, Logan Schuchart, and Ian Madsen were second through fifth.
Let's go down to Grays Harbor Raceway for some Sunday night action. Fugitt had the advantage in the 25-lap A-Main for the midgets, but Crum got by A.J. down the backstretch on lap four. Seconds later, Fugitt got way high in turn four and Margeson took over second. This happened just before the yellow lights came on the following lap, as Ray Stebbins spun out in turn four. Fugitt's strong night came to an end on the 13th circuit, as he stopped in turn four. Margeson nipped Crum for the lead at the line one lap after the restart and he didn't give that spot up. Crum lost second place to T. Thomas with three laps to go in turn three. On the next circuit, Glenn Bittrolf spun in turn two to bunch the field back up. Margeson nailed the final restart and he held off T. Thomas for another victory at Elma. Garrett Thomas finished third by a nose over S. Smith, while Crum edged Larson for fifth.
Skagit regular Kevin Smith won the pole in the 25-lap main event for the Shipwreck Beads modifieds. It didn't take long before things were slowed down when Shane Kerrigan, Lawrence O'Connor, and Jason Tole all spun between turns one and two on the second lap. K. Smith led the second lap, but he was bumped by Lane Zerbin on the next circuit in turn one. Kevin dropped to fourth, allowing Shelton racers Alan Muenchow and Scott Miller to get by. Muenchow went spinning out of turn four on lap number seven, but kept going. Turn four bit Miller five laps later, and Scott spun in a huge cloud of dust. This race had a total of five yellows along with one red. The red flag was unfurled with three to go for a crash on the frontstretch involving Kelly Fugate and Muenchow. There were no injuries. Zerbin had this race in control and won over fellow Vancouver Island racer Graham Cook, who started 12th. Tom Sweatman was third, K. Smith was fourth, and Miller recovered for fifth.
Greg Hamilton drew the pole for the 30-lap A-Main for the Summer Thunder Sprint Series, but Jared Peterson took the lead from Hamilton on the first lap down the backstretch. Trey Starks' night came to a close on lap number six when he stopped on the backstretch after hitting an infield tire and losing his right front tire. Willie Croft did a slider on Hamilton in turn two on the restart to move up to second and stayed in contact with Peterson. Another yellow flag came out on lap twelve, as Robbie Price went spinning in turn four. Peterson hung onto the lead until lap number 22, as Croft got by in turns one and two. The third and final yellow was displayed with three to go, as Henry Van Dam came to a stop coming out of turn two. With Croft showing the way, Peterson and Kofoid traded slide jobs until Kofoid had second place for good out of turn four coming for the white flag. Croft picked up the win, while Kofoid took second for a one-two finish for California. Peterson was third, with Garen Linder fourth and Colton Heath fifth.
We finally go into Monday's races. Tommy Hecker led the opening lap from the pole in the Cut Rate Auto Parts street stock 25-lap feature, but sixth-place starter Zack Simpson already made his way to third with one lap in the books. Simpson passed both Austin Kerrigan and Hecker in turn one on the next lap and never looked back. The race was a workout, as the yellow flag came out five times. Despite getting some heavy pressure from Scott Fritts in the final laps, Simpson persevered for the victory. Fritts snared second, followed by A. Kerrigan, Jack Parshall, and Ron Brewster.
Schatz led all 30 laps in the WoO main event. Haudenschild had the lead on the third circuit with a slide job in turns one and two, but Schatz got back by as they entered turn three. Brent Marks brought out the first yellow of the race on lap five, as he spun on the frontstretch with a broken front end. Australian racer Andy Caruana brought out the other two yellows. The first time was with eight laps to go, as he slowed on the backchute. The second instance was with just two laps left when he slowed coming out of turn four. Third-place running Schuchart got into the back of Caruana and the fourth-place car of Sweet tangled with Schuchart. Schuchart went pitside with a flat left rear tire, while Sweet stayed out. Schatz won the two-lap shootout over Pittman, David Gravel, Haudenschild, and Sweet.
I have a few topics to go over with everyone (plus some extras) over the four nights of racing, and let's dig in without any further delay...
Champions Crowned: Saturday and Sunday's races were the last points races for the midgets at Skagit and Grays Harbor. Evans and T. Thomas were tied for the lead at Skagit at 650 points apiece. Nick has the edge in wins over Tristin, three-to-two. We'll see down the road if there's one champion for this class or two. S. Smith captured the title at GHR by 46 markers over Larson. "One Time" has a chance to also win the Deming Speedway championship, as the last race for them is today.
Aloha from Hawaii: Honolulu native Texeira made his first trip over to the Pacific Northwest. He raced with the midgets all three nights in Mike McCluney's #73, and he was also with the Outlaws at Skagit driving a second Jason Sides car. Keoni's best performance of the weekend by far was with the midgets on Friday. He won the fourth heat on the final lap by passing Katie Jackson in turn three and went on to come home fourth in the feature.
Joining the Chase: iRacing and NASCAR K&N Pro Series East competitor Cabre made his debut with the Northwest Focus Midgets at Skagit. He hails from Charlotte, North Carolina and he's the second person from "The Tar Heel State" to compete in the midgets, as Robby Yow drove Shane Biles' car at Dirt Cup back in June. Chase had an impressive two nights in Heath's #99 car, as he won Friday and Saturday's opening heat race and backed it up with back-to-back seventh-place finishes in the main events.
Happy Birthday, Sheldon: If there's a surefire way to celebrate a birthday, it's to win an Outlaws race. That's what Haudenschild did on Friday, which happened to be his 25th birthday to put some extra icing on the cake. He dropped to 13th on Saturday after spinning early in the A-Main, but bounced back on Monday with a fourth-place finish.
Eighteen with a Bullet: Schatz's win at GHR is number eighteen on the year with the Outlaws. He's had a lot of success at Elma, as he's won four times in the last five years. Just two days later, Donny won his 19th main event of '18 at Willamette Speedway. He's ahead of pace from last year, as he didn't score his 18th victory until September 16 at Calistoga Speedway in California and his 19th triumph didn't come until October 14 at Port Royal Speedway in Pennsylvania.
Another New Track Record: For the second straight year, a driver placed himself in the history books by setting a new mark in time trials at Elma. Pittman set the new track record one year ago at 11.716 seconds, but Schuchart eclipsed it. Logan's opening lap was 11.916 seconds, and then he knocked off more than two tenths on his second go-around down to 11.699. Logan's lap was more than a tenth of a second quicker than Sweet (11.822).
Meet Your New Points Leader: Linder is now on top in the points with the Summer Thunder Sprint Series, but Heath is on his tail and he's just seven points back. Solwold fell to third after not racing at GHR at all, but he's only 32 points behind Linder and still in the thick of things. The STSS ends its 2018 season on September 21 and 22 in Yakima for the Fall Brawl.
More Mods: The modified division had a nice turnout once again for the Labor Day show at Elma. There were 31 modifieds in the pits, which is up from 26 last year. The four heat races went to A. Kerrigan, Brenton Schnitzer, Miller, and Zerbin. The B-Main was won by Tyson Blood, who came from 12th (dead last)! Also transferring from the B were Cody Erskine, Tim Phillips, and Fugate. Sam Carlisle crossed the finish line first, but he was disqualified for spinning out former leader Adam Holtrop in turn four on the final lap.
It's Not Over: The modified title is going down to the wire once again between former track champion Miller and defending champ Sweatman. Scott had a five-point lead going into Sunday, and now it's just a two-point advantage over Tom. The season championship at GHR is tomorrow and it features the 360 sprints, modifieds, street stocks, and outlaw tuners. Miller is looking for his sixth title, while Sweatman is aiming to win for three straight years.
Three Cheers for Five Years: Parshall continues to be so dominant in the street stocks, as he's clinched to win the track title for the fifth consecutive season. Jack is having an astounding 2018 season with eight wins (to match his win total from 2014) and he's finished in the top five in all fourteen races.
Number for the Weekend: 2. Schuchart was the top qualifier twice over the Labor Day weekend, as he was TQ on Saturday as well and ran the only sub eleven-second lap. Logan leads the Outlaw drivers in fast times with eight.
Consistency Award: Sweet (WoO) and Crum (midgets). "The Big Cat" had a third and two fifths in his swing through Washington. Crum finished sixth in both nights at Skagit aboard Bob and Lori Scott's #7S car, and then he took Ashley Thompson's #41 machine to a fifth-place run at GHR on Sunday.
Hard Luck Award: Solwold. Jason's weekend was cut very short after destroying two cars at Skagit. It's so weird not to see the Shaylen Raye Motorsports #18 car at any of the races at GHR. I also want to give a shout-out to Scelzi to get well after Saturday's massive crash.
"Never Say Die" Award: Evans and Miller (tie). Both Nick and Scott came back from spinning out early in their main events to finish fifth. With track titles on the line, they had to put in some extra effort to get as many points as possible. Nick is tied with T. Thomas for the lead in the final points at Skagit, while Scott is hanging on to a two-point edge over Sweatman with just one race left.
Next race: I'm heading back to Pennsylvania at the end of the month for the Champion Racing Oil National Open at Williams Grove Speedway on September 28 and 29. It's the battle royale between the World of Outlaws Craftsman Sprint Cars and the Pennsylvania Posse, as the race on the 30th pays $56,000 to the winner. David Gravel won fifty grand last year. Donny Schatz finished second with James McFadden, Logan Schuchart, and Daryn Pittman rounding out the top five.
R.I.P. Burt Reynolds (1936-2018)
Avatar: Greg Hamilton at Grays Harbor Raceway (taken 6/2/18).
Last edited on Saturday Sep 15th, 2018 06:16 AM by Racer4u
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