Time to Review: Fred Brownfield Classic recap 
Five races in nine days. I hate to say it, but I need a break! After going to the 44th annual Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup presented by Jack in the Box at Skagit Speedway for the last weekend of June, I started the month of July heading to Grays Harbor Raceway for the first annual Fred Brownfield Classic presented by Little Creek Casino Resort. The American Sprint Car Series ASCS Sprint Car Dirt Series presented by MAVTV American Real headlined the event, and the Northwest Focus Midgets were there for both Friday and Saturday. This was the first race for the ASCS at GHR in nearly two years.

Friday’s midget main event had carnage and confusion on the opening lap. Annika Johanson and Garrett Thomas got together between turns three and four, and both did Tommy Tipovers. As the rest of the field slowed on the backstretch, Thomas Walker took a hard flip into the fence. Everyone was A-OK. Lee St. Paul and Ariel Biggs were on the front row for the 20-lap race, but fourth place starter Doug Anderson passed both of them out of turn two on the opening lap. St. Paul took the lead momentarily going into turn one on lap two, but Anderson went to the inside to get it back in turn two. St. Paul tried again at the lead at the same spot on the following lap, and made it work this time. Seventh-starting Nick Evans passed Anderson between turns three and four for second as the third lap was completed, and ducked down low at the same spot on St. Paul for the lead one lap later. Ninth place starter Dougie James disposed of Anderson for third in turns three and four, and then grabbed second from St. Paul at the stripe on lap number five. Dougie chipped away at Nick’s lead as the laps wound down, and made the winning pass out of turn two with six to go. Dougie got his first win of the year with Nick not far behind. Ryan Cully got third in a photo finish over Todd Hartmann, while St. Paul dropped to fifth.

The ASCS 25-lap A-Main was next. Pole sitter Travis Jacobson led lap one, but outside front row starter and Dirt Cup winner Jason Solwold took over in turn three on the next lap. Jordan Weaver brought out a yellow on the third lap when she stopped out of turn four. During the caution period, Luke Didiuk came to a stop on the backchute. Both Jordan and Luke would restart. Solwold was leading when the green flag flew with Jacobson still in the hunt. “Hollywood” Johnny Herrera passed multi-time track champion Jay Cole in turn three on the third lap, but Cole passed Herrera back at the line. Reece Goetz did a 360 spin in turns three and four on the tenth lap and kept going, but that brought out a quick yellow. Jared Peterson passed Herrera to move up to fourth with a slide job in turns one and two as lap ten was in the books. Herrera tried to return the favor at the same place on the next lap, but contact was made and Peterson went into the turn two wall. That ended Peterson’s night. Solwold and Jacobson were still running 1-2, with Cole hanging onto third. Herrera looked to the inside of Cole out of turn four on lap 13 when they touched. Cole spun around and went backwards, but the other drivers managed to avoid him. Jay was all right, but he was done. Jacobson’s race also came to an end on lap 16 while running second, as he stopped on the backchute with a broken rear end. Solwold held on for the victory, his third in a matter of eight days. Herrera was second, ASCS national points leader Aaron Reutzel was third, and Wayne Johnson was fourth to get a free pass into Saturday’s showdown. Seth Bergman made a slide job between turns and four stick on the second-to-last lap to get fifth place from Dustin Morgan. In a quick chat with Shaylen Raye Motorsports team owner Mike Anderson, he was really bummed about T-Jac’s exit. He added that it would’ve been really cool to have another Washington driver get locked into Saturday’s show because Travis was right behind Jason.

Starting one and two for Saturday’s 25-lap feature for the midgets happened to the winner and runner-up from Friday, James and Evans. It was Evans that got the advantage for the first lap and there was a three-wide battle for second place at the line. G. Thomas got that spot out of turn two on the second lap with points leader Tristin Thomas moving up to third. James was the loser by dropping to fourth. The race was slowed down with three laps complete, as Johanson spun down low in turn four. T. Thomas took second from G. Thomas as the green flag flew for the restart, but Garrett returned the favor at the flagstand to complete lap four. Dougie took third from Tristin at the line on the following lap, and his sights were now on Garrett. The yellow lights came on again on lap eight when Johanson faced the wrong way in turns one and two. Dougie took second away from Garrett on the next restart, while the other racers exchanged spots constantly as they were two and three-wide racing. Another yellow flag was required with ten laps in, as Walker spun in turn four and his left rear tire rolled down the frontstretch. Dougie’s comeback to the front was complete on lap 11, as he took the lead from Nick out of turn four. Nick was putting some huge pressure on Dougie at the very end, but there’s no denying Dougie in getting a weekend sweep. Nick was second again, followed by G. Thomas, T. Thomas, and Mike Vollbrecht.

There was another all-Washington front row for Saturday’s ASCS 30-lap main event with Eric Fisher and J.J. Hickle. Just one lap was done before the yellow came out for Reutzel, who came to a halt in turn four. Fisher led the first two laps, but Hickle went to the inside in turn three to take command on lap three. Herrera and Solwold were also in the fold, and they split Fisher down the frontstretch on lap five. Herrera was now second, Solwold was third, and Fisher fell to fourth. Herrera wasn’t done, as he passed Hickle for the lead at the line on lap seven. The yellow flag was unfurled on the following lap when Garret Johnson spun in turn two and got clipped by Blake Hahn. Solwold took second from Hickle down the backstretch on lap nine and he looked to reel in Herrera. Meanwhile, Bergman was on a charge from 14th and went to the high side out of turn four to get by Peterson for fourth on the 12th lap. Solwold made a rare mistake on lap 15 when he went over the turn one cushion, allowing Hickle to get by. Herrera was dealing with lapped traffic when he slipped up in turn two on lap 17 and Hickle closed to within two car lengths! As Hickle did a slide job on Steve Reeves in turn two on the 19th tour, contact was almost made. Solwold had to slow down and Bergman went down low to take third. Herrera sliced and diced through more traffic with Hickle, Bergman, and Solwold still lurking. Bergman did a sick slide job in turns one and two on Hickle for second with four laps to go, and Solwold also got by Hickle down the backchute. The yellow flag flew right after all that happened when Reeves spun in turn four, but kept his car under power. The race went back to lap 25 and second place went back to Hickle. Herrera had three lapped cars between himself and Hickle for the restart, and it got dicey with so many position changes. W. Johnson was fifth at the restart when the race went green. He passed Bergman, Solwold, and Hickle on lap 26 to zip to second! Getting a monster restart as well was 15th-starting Colton Heath, as he passed Bergman and Hickle down the backstretch with two to go to move up to fourth. All this time, Herrera was by himself and he got snared first ASCS national win of the season. W. Johnson was second, then it was Solwold, Heath, and Hickle. Bergman fell to seventh at the checkered flag. Heath collected the KSE Hard Charger Award.

It’s no doubt that the Fred Brownfield Classic was an unquestionable success, and there were fireworks off and on the track. We had a very special moment that happened in Saturday’s ASCS A-Main. The field lined up for the missing man formation in honor of Brownfield during their three-wide adrenaline rush salute lap. It’s wonderful to see the ASCS national drivers come to Washington again after not having a single race here last year. The ASCS have this weekend off, as they head to Montana next weekend. As they go eastbound and down, there are quite a few things that I want to discuss. Here they are!

Rough Start: Friday’s first heat race took a while to get rolling. The first attempt saw Hahn go into the wall in turns one and two on the first lap and flipped hard after jumping Cole’s right rear tire. Takes two and three were called off due to bad starts. Try number four was also no good, as the cars still couldn’t get side-by-side before the flagstand. Chase Goetz rode over Kyle Bellm’s right rear and turned over in turn four, bringing out another red flag. Front row starters Robbie Price and Tyler Anderson were sent to the second row for not getting it right, so Henry Van Dam and Cole became the new front row drivers. We finally had green flag racing for take five.

Reutzel Recovers: Aaron had problems on the first lap in Saturday’s show, as his car slowed out of turn two before stopping in turn four. Aaron had to go back to 23rd, but he brilliantly came through to cross the finish line in eighth. His points lead was trimmed slightly from 71 to 62 tallies over Herrera, who got the second spot back from Bergman. Aaron is tied with Bergman and Solwold for first in wins with three, and he leads everybody in top five finishes (nine) and top tens (13).

“Full Blown Chaos” Returns: Morgan filled in for fellow Oklahoman Kris Miller in the #33 car, and it was his first start with the ASCS national drivers since last October’s COMP Cams Short Track Nationals at I-30 Speedway in Little Rock, Arkansas. Going back to the last ASCS race at GHR in 2013, Dustin had finishes of fourth and eighth. His Friday night started off by the book, as he won heat number two over Herrera and had a sixth-place finish in the A. He was closing in on Jacobson for the lead at the end Saturday’s fourth and final heat race, but had to be satisfied with second. Dustin just missed on another top ten finish in the feature with an 11th-place run.

Washington Wows: A good portion of the local drivers finished in the upper echelon at Dirt Cup, and they did it again in the Brownfield with more spectacular performances. Five of the top ten finishers in Friday’s main event hailed from Washington, and that number jumped up to seven on Saturday. The Washington racers didn’t quite get the sweep like they did at Dirt Cup, but they were more than ready for another go with the ASCS competitors on their home turf.

Heath Closes the Deal: It was very odd to see Colton starting deep in Friday’s B-Main. That came after he DNF’ed in heat four, when he came to a stop in turn four on the last lap. He started the B in 12th, but he wasted little time as he already got up to the sixth and final transfer spot in only two laps. Colton used the high side to pass Jeff Dunlap for that position at the line. He dropped to seventh with two laps remaining when Hahn passed him and C. Goetz on the backstretch. Colton dove down low in turn four on the last lap, and he made the pass stick on Chase to get sixth just in the nick of time.

Last-Second Addition, Part II: Cole almost had the drive of the night in Saturday’s B-Main event. He started 13th and had the sixth spot at the flagstand with two to go, but Weaver got it back out of turn two on the next-to-last lap. Weaver stole fifth from Reeves on the last turn for a little extra breathing room with Cole finishing one spot shy. Jay was added to the A-Main in 23rd via a promoter’s option provisional and would finish 19th.

Lucky Seven: James became the seventh different winner in the midget class in 2015. It’s been a little while since he’s been to the winner’s circle, as the last time he did so was last year’s season championships at Deming Speedway (he also won the title for good measure). Dougie was winless coming into the Brownfield, but he changed that number to a “2” within 24 hours with the sweep.

85.7 Percent: This will get you a “B” grade in school, but this is for T. Thomas’ pure dominance in qualifying. He was top dog both nights, which makes him 12-for-14 in time trials this season. Peterson and Cully are in a very, very distant tie for second with one fast time award each.

Direct from Indy: The midgets had a new face in the field and it was former USAC Midwest Ford Focus Midget champion Ross Rankine. The 18-year-old from Indianapolis had a subpar Friday, as he didn’t finish the second heat race. Ross started the feature 16th, but made his way to 13th. It turned to be a problem with the timing belt and it was fixed for Saturday. Ross led the first six laps in heat two before G. Thomas took it away in turns three and four as they came for the white flag. Ross began the main event in fifth, but he dropped to tenth at the conclusion. There have been a lot of new faces in this year’s midget field, and they've had strong car counts all season long.

Number for the Weekend: 92. Pretty fitting for the Brownfield weekend, eh? Both days were scorchers, as we reached 91 degrees on Friday and 93 Saturday. Average them out and guess what you get?

Consistency Award: W. Johnson (ASCS) and Evans (midgets). Wayne had a fourth and a second to end his 4th of July weekend in a much better way than at Dirt Cup, where he finished upside-down. Nick had two runner-up finishes and his first win in a midget could be around the corner. The next midget race is tomorrow at GHR for the Our Community Credit Union midseason championships.

Hard Luck Award: Walker. Thomas flipped into the backstretch fence on the opening lap in Friday's main event, then he had more problems Saturday when he lost his left rear tire and spun in turn four before the halfway point.

“Never Say Die” Award: Hahn. Blake bounced back from his heat race flip Friday and made two mad dashes to the front. He drove from 14th to fifth in the B-Main, then 21st to ninth in the A (which got him the KSE Hard Charger Award).

Next race: The 16th annual Shipwreck Beads Modified Nationals on July 24 and 25 at GHR. The support class both nights will be the Pacific Hardtop Racing Association (PHRA) with their Dwarf Car Nationals. The winner of last year’s Mod Nats was Klamath Falls, Oregon’s Nick Trenchard. Drivers from Oregon have won this race nine times, including the last three years. Josh King was the big winner in last year’s PHRA event at the Mod Nats, while the race held earlier this season on May 30 was copped by Henry Corbin, III.

Pictures: http://s113.photobucket.com/albums/n205/Racer4u_2006/

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

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