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|2019 Labor Day weekend swing thoughts|| Rate Topic
|Posted: Saturday Sep 7th, 2019 05:44 PM||
|It was another very busy four-day Labor Day racing weekend with two nights at Skagit Speedway and another two nights at Grays Harbor Raceway. The Wicked Energy Gum Focus Midgets presented by Cognitive Warriors competed in all four nights. The World of Outlaws NOS Energy Drink Sprint Cars were in action in three nights. The Summer Thunder Sprint Series raced on Sunday, along with the Shipwreck Beads modifieds. Talk about some loaded programs! Since there are four nights of racing to review, I'm just going to try and whip through them all.
Let's begin last Friday with the 25-lap A-Main for the midgets. Chance Crum and Hannah Lindquist shared the front row in the nonstop race, with Lindquist getting the advantage using the high line. Fourth-place starter Jared Peterson also found the high scary side to his liking, as he took second from Crum out of turn four on the opening lap and the top spot for Lindquist two laps later at the stripe. Crum's race ended on lap five when his engine erupted in a huge puff of smoke in turn one while running third. He was able to pull into the infield and the race stayed green. Peterson extended his advantage, and he lapped some slower cars towards the end. Jared gave car owners Mark and Jolene Steen their first victory in the midgets. All kinds of action happened behind Peterson, as the battle for second took place in heavy traffic. Tenth-starting Tristin Thomas took second from Lindquist in turn three on the last lap. Lindquist finished third by a nose over Evan Margeson, with Nick Evans finishing fifth.
The WoO were next for their 30-lap feature race. Kraig Kinser was the pole sitter with Logan Schuchart alongside. The outside line prevailed once again, as Schuchart took off with the lead out of turn two on the first lap and he led from start to finish. The yellow flag flew only once, and it happened on the second tour when Devon Borden spun down low in turn four. Schuchart and Kinser were solidly in the first two spots, as Jason Solwold and Ian Madsen were going at it for third in the battle of the #18 cars. Schuchart turned in a dominating performance and he won over Kinser, Solwold, Madsen, and Brad Sweet.
To Saturday we go. Evan Margeson and Nik Larson led the way in the midget 30-lap A. Larson led the first lap, but Margeson went down low to grab the lead on the following lap in turns one and two. The yellow lights came on lap four, as Michael Hodel did a 360 spin in turn two and Ashley Thompson also went spinning in the same vicinity. T. Thomas went to second on the restart, as he went to the outside of Larson out of turn two. Seconds later, Evans dove down low out of turn four to steal third from Larson. T. Thomas caught a good bite out of turn four on the 18th lap, and he made the pass on Margeson in turn one on the next circuit. With five laps to go, Stewart Lee spun in turns three and four to bunch the field up. Evans went the high road on Margeson out of turn two on the restart to take second and Garrett Thomas followed "Bad News". Evans looked to the inside of T. Thomas in turn two on the next lap and they made contact. Evans got sideways, but he lost just one spot as G. Thomas got by out of turn four. T. Thomas held on to the victory over G. Thomas, Evans, Margeson, and Lindquist.
Tim Kaeding was looking for a great birthday present, as he sat on the pole for the 30-lap main event for the WoO. However, Schuchart was on the outside pole and got the jump out of turn two just like he did on Friday. On lap nine, Sweet pulled off a turn three slide job on TK to move into second place. Three laps later, Kinser lost the fifth spot as he spun in turn two. Sweet was on the attack and he tried slide jobs in turn two on three different occasions on Schuchart, but couldn't quite pull it off. The race went condition red with six laps remaining, as Jessie Attard went for a nasty flip in turns one and two. Schuchart was having some overheating problems during the red flag period, while Sweet was having blistering rear tires. On the restart, Brent Marks and Sheldon Haudenschild made contact in turn one. That resulted in Haudenschild spinning and turning over, with Shane Stewart getting collected and also tipping over. There were no injuries in the flips, and Haudenschild and Stewart were able to come back. Donny Schatz passed both Daryn Pittman and TK on the restart to jump into third, but Pittman took third back out of turn four. Schatz had the upper hand two laps later, as he passed Pittman out of turn two. Behind Schatz, Kaeding went to the outside of Pittman in turn three for fourth! On the next lap, Justin Youngquist got into the turn two wall for a yellow flag. During the yellow, Schuchart's engine momentarily caught fire! In the end, Schuchart stayed up front in the final and tense three-lap dash and he swept the weekend. Schatz passed Sweet for second out of turn four with two to go. Pittman stole fourth from Kaeding on the last corner.
New month and new track, as we turn our calendars over to September and we head to Grays Harbor Raceway for some Sunday night racing. The 25-lap midget main had Larson and T. Thomas on the front row. Larson led the first five laps before Crum took command down the backstretch on lap six. Larson lost second to T. Thomas in turn two on lap nine, but T. Thomas caught a rut in turn four and Larson was able to get back by. G. Thomas was able to get third from T. Thomas at the line on lap twelve, and he took second from Larson on the backchute on the 19th circuit. Despite having five yellow flags in total (three in the first four laps), Crum came through to score the win. G. Thomas finished second with Lindquist third, Larson fourth, and Seth Hespe passing T. Thomas on the backstretch on the final lap to snare fifth.
Coming up next was the 25-lap A-Main for the modifieds. Lawrence O'Connor sat on the pole with Scott Miller to his outside, and give the advantage to O'Connor. This race was also caution-filled, as the yellow lights flashed seven times. On a lap five restart, Zack Simpson took the second spot from Tom Sweatman out of turn two using the low groove. Simpson wasn't finished, as he went to the high side out of turn four on the next lap to take the top spot from O'Connor. Sweatman was looking to find a way around O'Connor for second in a long run of green flag racing, and he did so at the line with five to go. With three laps left, Miller passed O'Connor in turn two and this took place just before fifth-place running Kyler Moore went spinning in turn four. Miller moved up into second on the restart with two to go, but Simpson had everything covered and he won for the fourth time at GHR with the modifieds. Miller came home second with Sweatman passing O'Connor on the last turn to take third. Tyson Blood stole fifth from 20th-starting Brenton Schnitzer on the final corner as well.
The STSS finished the evening with their 30-lap affair. Colton Heath and Tyler Anderson paced the field, with Heath leading all 30 laps. This event had three yellow flags and one red. The red came out on a lap one restart, as Bailey Sucich went for a series of somersaults in turn four. She was unhurt. Justyn Cox was holding down the second position until lap ten, as Borden passed him in turn three. Cam Smith took third from Cox in turn two on the 18th lap. Sadly, Cox's night ended as he spun in turn four three laps later after contact with Michael Millard. It was all Heath in this race and he cruised to the win over Borden, C. Smith, Anderson, and 14th-starting Solwold.
In Monday's midget 25-lap main event, Crum and Shane Smith started one and two with Crum getting the jump. T. Thomas went to the outside of S. Smith out of turn four on lap two, and he was able to take second away at the flagstand. G. Thomas took third from S. Smith in turn one on lap four, but S. Smith got back by just one lap later in turn three. Alex Peck was in the battle as well, as he got by G. Thomas for fourth in turn two. G. Thomas turned the tables two laps later, as he took fourth back in turn one. Back up front, T. Thomas went to the high side again and passed Crum out of turn four to complete lap eight. On the twelfth lap, G. Thomas passed S. Smith for third in turn three and Peck followed suit and advanced to fourth at the finish line. This all happened just before Larson clipped an infield tire in turn four and that brought out a yellow flag. On the restart, G. Thomas stormed from third to first by passing both Crum and T. Thomas in turn four! Brenden White stopped in turn four for another yellow flag, but the lap was completed and G. Thomas kept the lead. Crum was on G. Thomas' tail tank for the second half of the race, but Garrett hit all of his marks and won in front of the hometown crowd. Crum settled for second with T. Thomas, S. Smith, and Lindquist third through fifth.
Stewart was looking to put all of his bad luck at Skagit behind him, and he was on the pole for the WoO main event with Pittman to his outside. Stewart led the first two laps in the 30-lap A-Feature before Pittman went down low going into turn one to take the lead on the next circuit. The race stayed green until lap number eleven, as Jason Sides slowed in turn one. Carson Macedo got an excellent restart, as he passed Stewart for second in turn one. Stewart's misfortune continued on the 19th lap, as he lost third to David Gravel down the backstretch before stopping in turn four with a power steering leak. One lap after the restart, Schatz swooped by Gravel for third out of turn four before duking it out with Macedo for the second spot. Pittman went on to get the win with Schatz winning the battle for second over Macedo. Gravel barely got fourth over Haudenschild.
Another successful Labor Day weekend is in the books and there's quite a few different topics to cover as the racing season winds down in our neck of the woods. Let's dive right in...
Rain, Rain, Go Away: It was a warm Labor Day swing, but Mother Nature had to mess with us for a couple of days. I was heading I-5 at around 11:00 a.m. and I hit a small shower in Stanwood. Luckily, it didn't last for very long. I was at GHR on Sunday getting my pit pass at around 3:00 p.m. and the rain came very unexpectedly. It came down really good and I had to take cover by the barns. The sun came out again and we were back in business.
Out the Door Early: The WoO car counts were disappointing with just 19 entries for Friday, 21 on Saturday, and 18 on Monday. On the flip side, Friday and Monday's programs were both done in rapid-fire fashion. The final checkered flag flew at 8:52 p.m. on Friday and 9:16 p.m. on Monday.
Another New Track Record, Part 2: Gravel established a new track record with a blistering lap of 10.578 seconds. That's more than a tenth of a second quicker than the old record set of 10.697 seconds set by Stewart on September 2, 2016. Kinser, Solwold, Schuchart, Macedo, and Marks also qualified under the old mark.
A Sweep for Logan: Thanks to winning both races at Skagit, Schuchart's win total for 2019 is up to six. His previous best was four victories last year. The best years for Logan's grandfather Bobby Allen were in 1982 and 1986, when he won five races in both those years.
Back in Victory Lane: While I'm still talking about Schuchart, he ended a winless streak that lasted for almost three months. His last win with the Outlaws came on June 7 at River Cities Speedway in Grand Forks, North Dakota. Pittman had an even longer dry spell, as he hasn't been to the winner's circle since the very first two races of the WoO season on February 9 and 10 during the DIRTcar Nationals at Volusia Speedway Park in Barberville, Florida.
Four Winners: The midgets had four different people picking up wins in as many nights to mix things up. It was Peterson's first midget victory of the year, along with T. Thomas and Crum. G. Thomas scored his second win of '19, as his first W came on the final night of the Fred Brownfield Classic at GHR on June 29.
Running the Twins: For the third time in series history, the midgets ran two B-Mains on Saturday to accommodate the 37 people that signed in. The twin semis were won by Hespe and Peterson. Peterson won his B from ninth after not starting the second heat race due to a shattered oil filter, and then he rocketed twelve places to sixth in the A.
Meet Your Champions: The midgets ran their final points races at both Skagit and GHR, and the points are finalized at both tracks. By winning five times, Evans won the midget championship at Skagit by 19 points over T. Thomas. Those two drivers were co-champs last year, as they both had 650 points when everything was totaled up. At GHR, Peck won the title by 36 points over G. Thomas and Larson. With his runner-up finish and victory, G. Thomas was the big mover in the standings as he jumped seven spots to second.
Come a Little Bit Closer: Two different classes have very close point battles, and they're both going down to the wire. Miller literally cut Moore's points lead in half from 61 to 31 points. Miller finished second on Sunday, while Moore DNF'ed after getting together with Tim Phillips in turn four with two laps to go. The season finale for the modifieds is tonight. In the STSS, Heath trimmed Borden's points lead from 30 to 28 points. C. Smith is third in the standings, 42 tallies behind Borden. The STSS wrap up their season on the 20th and 21st in Yakima for the Fall Brawl at the Fair. Heath was second in STSS points behind Garen Linder coming into last year's finale at Yakima, and he won the title by just nine points over Linder.
Number for the Weekend: 0.577. The Outlaws were separated by just over a half a second during time trials at GHR on Monday. It was nearly equally as close on Friday at Skagit, as the difference was 0.594 seconds between first and 18th.
Consistency Award: Schatz (Outlaws) and Lindquist (midgets). After finishing eighth on Friday, Schatz was second on the other two nights. Lindquist finished in the top five in all four events (two thirds and two fifths).
Hard Luck Award: Stewart. Shane flipped both nights at Skagit, and suffered power steering problems on Monday at GHR while running fourth. He took a high flying flip at the start of Friday's first WoO heat after making contact with Macedo on the frontstretch. Stewart wasn't too pleased with Macedo and landed a couple of blows!
"Never Say Die" Award: The crews for Haudenschild and Stewart. The teams for the #17 and #5 cars were able to make the repairs to get Sheldon and Shane back onto the track after they both flipped late in Saturday's WoO main event. Sheldon finished 11th, with Shane right behind in 12th.
Next race: I'll end my season with a long overdue trip to Central Washington State Fair Raceway in Yakima for the Fall Brawl a the Fair on the 20th and 21st. The Summer Thunder Sprint Series wrap up the 2019 campaign there, while the street stocks are the support class. Jayme Barnes and Justin Youngquist won the STSS portion of the Fall Brawl last year, while Zack Simpson won both nights in the street stocks.
Avatar: Devon Borden at Grays Harbor Raceway (taken 5/31/19).
Last edited on Thursday Sep 12th, 2019 12:36 PM by Racer4u
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