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|Fall Brawl at the Fair 9/20-21 thoughts|| Rate Topic
|Posted: Monday Sep 30th, 2019 07:44 PM||
|The Summer Thunder Sprint Series finished their 2019 season at Yakima's State Fair Park for the Fall Brawl at the Fair on September 20 and 21, with the Iron Giant Street Stock Series being the support class. Both nights had plenty of sunshine and felt very summer-like.
The street stocks had two rounds of heat races on the 20th and they were racing for points to set up the A-Main on the 21st. The first two heats went to Zack Simpson and Sean Cronk. The field was inverted for the second round of heats, and those were captured by Simpson and Jack Parshall.
For the 25-lap STSS main event on the 20th, Luke Didiuk and points leader Devon Borden shared the front row with Didiuk getting the nod in the early going. The yellow lights came on the second lap when Chris Bullock crashed on the frontstretch and Jason Solwold went spinning in turn two in a completely different mishap. Didiuk was still the leader, but he had Borden and Colton Heath behind him as they were lapping slower cars. Didiuk made contact with Channing Filler in turn one on lap eleven, and that set off a huge melee. Heath, Tanner Holmes, Justin Youngquist, and Cam Smith were also involved. Heath and C. Smith were second and third in points, and five of the top six drivers were all collected! Borden inherited the lead on the restart and he had a different group of drivers behind him including multi-time Grays Harbor Raceway champion Jay Cole, Lance Sargent, Logan Forler, and Solwold. Cole used the high line to get by Borden with four to go to steal the lead, and Solwold passed Borden for second two laps later out of turn two. Cole saw the checkered flag first ahead of Solwold, Borden, Forler, and Sargent.
The street stocks ran two more heats on the 21st, with Simpson and Parshall winning those as well. Parshall was on the pole for the 30-lap main event with Erik Jarnport starting alongside. The original start was called off, as a loose dog came running onto the track! It made its way to the pit exit in turn two unharmed. With Parshall leading, there were a lot of position changes behind him. David Cronk passed Jarnport for second in turn two on lap two, with seventh-starting Simpson also getting by Jarnport seconds later in turn four. Simpson ducked down to low on D. Cronk in turn four on lap four for second and made the pass. The first yellow flag came out on the sixth lap, as Shane Kerrigan spun in turn three. Parshall still had the stop spot, but he had a rear view mirror full of Simpson's car. After several unsuccessful tries to pass Parshall for the lead on the inside, Simpson went to the cushion in turn four and got the job done to complete lap 15. Two laps later, 13th-starting Austin Kerrigan rocketed to second, as he also took to the high side in turn two to get by Parshall. Parshall did a full 360 spin in turn two on the 20th lap and kept going, but fell to sixth. With eight laps remaining, A. Kerrigan stole the lead from Simpson as they went into turn one. The second and final yellow occurred two laps later when Doug Scott went for a spin down low in turn four. During the yellow, A. Kerrigan came to a stop in turns one and two and had to go to the rear. That gave the top spot back to Simpson, who nailed the final restart. Zack scored the W over D. Cronk, Chase Berkeley, S. Cronk, and Kelly McDonald.
The 30-lap feature for the STSS was all that's left. The race had two 16-year-olds on the front row with Borden and Holmes showing the way. Borden had the advantage and he led all 30 laps. The race went condition red on lap four, as Greg Hamilton spun in turn one and it triggered a pileup almost reminiscent to the night before. Shawn Rice got the worst of it by tipping over. Tristen Spiers, Jason Reed, Jeff Dunlap, Bullock, and Chan. Filler were also collected. There were no injuries. On the restart, Sargent spun in turn four while running sixth. Luckily, everyone missed him. Borden and Holmes were still running one and two, while Solwold went by C. Smith at the line for third on lap thirteen. This happened just before Chase Goetz stopped on the frontstretch for another yellow flag. The following restart was no good, as Didiuk and Sargent came together in turn two. Borden was still the leader, but Holmes still had Devon in his sights. Instead of seeing the white flag, Borden saw the yellow when Chan. Filler spun in turn one. Everything was still coming up roses for Borden, as he won the main event and also the STSS title. Holmes was second, followed by Solwold, Heath, and C. Smith.
Fall has arrived in our neck of the woods, and it sure feels like it! It was a nasty drive coming over the pass on the way to the track and also heading home, but I made it in one piece. I came up with some other topics that I wanted to share with everybody, so let's get right to it.
Hit the Ground Running: Solwold was the fast qualifier for both nights in the STSS portion of the Fall Brawl. His time was 15.476 seconds on the 20th, and he was nearly a second faster on the 21st at 14.490 seconds. Jason was tops in the series with four fast time awards, which is one more than Tony Gualda.
Personal Bests, Part II: There were many drivers that turned in their best performances with the STSS. Cole scored his first career series win on the 20th to lead the pack. Other notables were Sargent (fifth), Spiers (sixth), and 14-year-old Colby Thornhill (seventh in his first 360 race). Holmes finally both broke through with an awesome showing in STSS competition, as he finished second on the 21st. Bullock finished just outside of the top ten in 11th place, with Darren Smith picking up the hard charger award by taking his bright pink car to a 12th-place run.
Mixed Bag: The car count for the STSS was almost the same as last year, as there were 25 entries on the 20th and 26 on the 21st (compared to 27 and 26 in '18). The street stock field was surely higher than one year ago, with a total of 14 and 16 people over the two nights (in contrast to ten in both programs one year ago).
Three Races, One Winner: In the three street stock main events during the Fall Brawl in the last two years, Simpson has led 46 of the 70 laps and found himself in Victory Lane all three times. Last year, he took the lead from Kevin Roberts out of turn two on the second lap during the preliminary night and he went by A. Kerrigan out of turn four to complete lap number eight in the finale.
It Goes Up to Eleven: Simpson's win total for the 2019 went up to eleven, thanks his win on the 21st. He won a total of an amazing nine times at GHR (five in the street stocks and four in the modifieds), and he also picked up a street stock victory at Sunset Speedway on May 26.
Meet Your Champions, Part II: Borden took the STSS points lead after the two races at Cottage Grove Speedway on August 2 and 3 and didn't let go of it. He won the championship by 46 tallies over Heath and 62 over C. Smith to be the youngest series champion. McDonald captured the street stock crown on the strength of three wins. Chris West finished second, 44 points back, and he was just one point ahead of S. Cronk.
Near and Far: The drivers in both divisions came from all over for the Fall Brawl, as four states and one Canadian province were represented. Forler was the only competitor from Idaho, while Channing and Chauncey Filler made the tow up from Utah. Didiuk was the lone representative from British Columbia. Of the 17 street stock racers that were in action, nine of them hailed from Oregon.
Wrap Her Up: This was my final race of 2019, so I have to close the book on another year. I didn't go very far in any of the events I went to, but this year was anything but a failure. I attended 18 races (which is one more than last year), and I didn't experience a rainout for the second straight year. Like last year, I went to seven races at GHR and Skagit. I also went to two races at the Rainier Cycle Bowl to watch some motorcycles, ATV's, go-karts, and mini sprints.
Number for the Weekend: 8...the number of wins this season for Borden. He won four times at GHR, twice at Skagit, and once at Deming.
Consistency Award: Solwold, who had finishes of second and third. In the STSS main event on the 20th, he ran into the back of Heath during the caution period for Bullock's crash and spun to a stop in turn two. Jason had to restart at the back of the field and made it all the way up to second, right behind Cole. Jason wound up fifth in points, just four markers behind Sargent.
Hard Luck Award: Kirk McGinnis and Jake Helsel (tie). A couple of drivers had their weekends come to an end on the first night. McGinnis blew out his transmission in street stock warm-ups, while Helsel was involved in a wreck with two laps to go in the third STSS heat race. Fauver got loose and spun out in turn four while leading, leaving Helsel with no place to go and drilling Corbyn.
Next race: Sometime in 2020!
R.I.P. Eddie Money (1949-2019) and Ric Ocasek (1944-2019)
Avatar: Devon Borden at Grays Harbor Raceway (taken 5/31/19).
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