Change of plans 
Well...I'm not going to make Saturday's race due to work commitments. I'm aiming for the two-day show at Grays Harbor Raceway during Memorial Day weekend (May 24 and 25). I'm especially looking forward to the 25th, as the Skagit 410 sprints are coming down.

Take care and enjoy the great weather. Don't get sunburned!

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10k 
I never thought that it would be achieved, but my blog has reached over 10,000 hits. Thank you all so much for visiting!

Next goal: 15,000 by this summer. Does that sound good? Let's do it!

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Getting closer 
It won't be long until we kick racing season up a couple of notches in Washington state. Deming Speedway already had two nights of racing in, while Skagit Speedway will have its season opener this Saturday to begin its 60th season. Grays Harbor Raceway's season opener is on May 10.

I won't make Skagit's opener, but I am heading up there on May 3 for the first round of the Summer Thunder Sprint Series. The STSS had its first season last year, where all four races were held at Skagit. The number of races will double to eight for 2014, as Skagit and Grays Harbor will host four races apiece. The first race at Grays Harbor for the STSS is on June 7. See everyone in May!

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Back in the saddle again 
Sorry for my lack of posting! It's been crazy during the holidays, so I'm trying to get everything squared away. I just got back from visiting WSU last weekend. It was a cold, snowy, and slick drive, but I lived to tell the tale. I went to Pullman two years ago around the same time of year and it was gorgeous as it can be. There was very little snow at all!

I was there to catch a couple of basketball games and I visited some of my favorite places, plus checked out some spots I've never been to when I attended WSU.

For some pictures from last weekend, go here:
http://s113.photobucket.com/user/Racer4 ... amp;page=1

For my trip in 2012, go here:
http://s113.photobucket.com/user/Racer4 ... amp;page=1

I'm getting ready for some racing around the Northwest, as the season starts up on April 19 at Skagit Speedway and May 10 at Grays Harbor Raceway. My schedule is going to be a little bit of everything. I'll hit Dirt Cup, some of the Summer Thunder Sprint Series races, and the WoO shows. I'm thinking about going to the Bob's Burgers and Brew Summer Nationals again. I hope to do some more traveling this year and we'll see what lies ahead!

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Final race @ GHR pictures are up 
I didn't get as many pictures as I should as the sun went down, but here they are. My final photo collage of '13 is ready!

http://s113.photobucket.com/user/Racer4 ... 5054593186

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Time to Review: 10/5 observations 
Grays Harbor Raceway ended its 2013 season last Saturday on a successful note. GHR got a majority of its races in, and canceled only five races due to rain. The final race of the year had decent car counts of 14 NW Extreme Winged Sprint Cars, 16 Cut Rate Auto Parts street stocks, and ten hornets. A lot of local drivers were there, along with quite a few from far away.

After a false first start for the hornet 20-lap main, the second one was no good when Chris Pugsley hit the frontstretch wall head-on after contact with Chris Branon. Zach Dalrymple and Shane Norton were also involved. The third try was good and Jeff Daniel was the early pacesetter. By the eighth lap, Jeff felt the pressure of Matt Ploeg. Jeff and Matt got bottled up behind the slower car of Norton in turns three and four on the 11th circuit. Contact was made between Jeff and Shane in turn one on the following lap, with Shane losing his front bumper and a lot of Styrofoam! That’s something you don’t see everyday. Ploeg got his nose ahead of Daniel at the line to take the lead one lap after the restart. Jeff edged ahead on the backstretch on the next go-around, but Matt took it back coming out of turn four and didn’t relinquish it. Matt got the victory in his first ever race at Grays Harbor Raceway with Daniel in second and Olympia’s T.J. Shann in third.

The street stock main event had two veterans on the front row, Jack Parshall and defending division champion Jason Tole. It was Parshall on the point in the 25-lap race before the yellow flag came out on the second lap when Tommy Hecker slowed on the backchute. The yellow lights came on again on the next lap, as the fourth-place car of Ryen Haney slowed coming out of turn four with a flat right front tire. Canadian visitor Kenny Cloutier took second from Tole in turn two on lap four and tried to mount a challenge on Parshall. Kenny got close to Jack, but couldn’t get around him. Tole got back in the mix with eight laps to go, as he used the lapped car of Brenton Schnitzer as a pick to pass Cloutier in turn four. The top three cars were three-wide to complete the 21st lap and it set the stage for an incredible finish. It wasn’t to be, as they got together in turn one on the next lap. Tole lost a lot of bodywork and Cloutier also went pitside. The final yellow flag flew with three laps remaining for debris in turn four, and Haney retired to the infield with mechanical issues. Parshall would go on to his second win of 2013, followed by Austin Kerrigan and tenth-starting Mike Knox.

It was tough for the NW Extreme Winged Sprint Cars to get a lap in the books for their 20-lap feature, as Cory Samuelson bicycled in turn four on the first try and stayed right side up. The same can’t be said for Ashley Lewellen, as she flipped in front of Cory. Ashley was A-OK. Polesitter Rutz went to the work area under the red flag, and that gave the pole to Cory Swatzina. On the second try to start, Rude bicycled hard in turn two and almost flipped into the wall. Luckily, he kept his car upright and stopped a few feet later. The third try was not the charm, as Cale Brooke looped it in turn four and collected Samuelson. It was the fourth attempt that stuck with Swatzina leading over Steve Reeves, Robbie Price, Rutz, and Zach McCabe. The third yellow came out on the fifth lap when Brooke stopped down low on the frontstretch with engine problems, and Rutz spun in turn four in a separate incident. Price went to the inside of Reeves to take second on lap seven and went after Swatzina. Cory couldn’t get around the slower car of Justin Popple on lap 13, and Price was closing quickly. Robbie tried to make the pass in turn four on the following lap, but made contact with Cory and got on his roof. Robbie was okay. McCabe took second from Reeves in turn three on the 14th circuit, and Rutz used the cushion to also pass Reeves in turn three one lap later. Swatzina hung on for the win with McCabe in second and Rutz in third.

I went to just nine races this year, with three of them getting rained out. One race got made up on the following day to make it a doubleheader, and that would be at Dirt Cup. I hope to be at more races next year and also to go to an event that‘s far away, maybe two. Here’s my last recap for 2013, everybody…

From the Word Go: The track was very fast, as Rutz showed in time trials by setting a new NW Extreme Winged Sprints track record of 13.212 seconds. Kenny mentioned in his Victory Lane interview back on September 2 that his brother Travis would be at the last GHR race of the year, and he did indeed show up. Bring the pain, peeps! Kenny would go even quicker in the first heat on the seventh lap at 13.012 seconds. Reeves did even better in the second heat race by going around the 3/8-mile oval with a time of 12.984 seconds, and it also happened on lap number seven.

Logging in the Miles: Reeves made the longest tow from Valleyview, Alberta. Cloutier came all the way down from Edmonton, Alberta and looked very strong in his first ever trip to GHR. Rutz and Brady Janson hailed from Langley, British Columbia. Rutz’s car owner Trevor Turnbull commuted from Camrose, Alberta. Price traveled from Cobble Hill, B.C. (on Vancouver Island). Brooke is also north of the border from Pemberton, B.C. Former INSCA champion Popple made his first GHR start and he was the only driver east of the Cascades from Colbert (just north of Spokane).

Jetting Down I-5: A handful of Skagit Speedway regulars came down to GHR after they had their season finale on September 14. Ploeg was the only hornet driver to come down, but he made his trip very gratifying with a win. Three-time sportsman sprint champion Steve Parker made the trek to Elma along with Swatzina, McCabe, Rutz, Mike Murphy, Brooke, Samuelson, Rude, and Lewellen to push the NW Extreme Winged Sprints turnout to a season-high 14 cars.

The South Sound Group: Making their first GHR starts as well were South Sound Speedway regulars Shann and Branon. Both normally compete in the bumblebee division, where Chris was second in final points and T.J. was seventh. Chris was this year’s champion in the Stinger 8’s at South Sound. After finishing seventh in the heat race, T.J. bettered that with a third-place run in the main event. Chris was fifth in the heat and the feature.

It’s a Family Thing: The street stocks had two father and son combinations that raced on Saturday. Doug Brewster brought along his son Mike, while Don Briggs, Sr. raced with his son Don, Jr. Two-time and defending hornet champion Chad Norton was in competition with his brother Shane. There were five Nortons that raced in the hornets this season, as Jesarae is Chad’s wife. Brian and Jeremy are Chad’s cousins.

Number for the Weekend: 0.116. That’s the margin of victory in the street stock dash with Parshall winning over Cloutier by a little less than a car length. Jack took the lead from Kenny at the line as they took the white flag. Another close race was the hornet heat, as Amanda Allery held off a charging Ploeg by about a car length.

Hard Luck Award: Parker and Janson (tie). Both drivers lost their engines during hot laps. When Brady got done with his warm-up session, his car erupted in a huge ball of smoke. Another driver that had an early end to his night was Brad Rhodes, who went for a huge flip in turn three on the third lap of the second sprint heat. He was uninjured.

Next race: See everyone next year!

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

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


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Jumping the Start: Last race of 2013 at Grays Harbor 
Surprise! I decided to attend one more race, and it’ll be the final event for 2013 at Grays Harbor Raceway on Saturday. The NW Extreme Winged Sprints are on the program along with the Cut Rate Auto Parts street stocks and the hornets. It‘s all for pride for all three classes, as this is a non-points show. Grays Harbor Raceway was supposed to have its season finale last Saturday, but it got rained out.

The NW Extreme Winged Sprints wrap up their 2013 season with their fourth appearance of the year at GHR. Sammy Wright won on May 11, while Kenny Rutz took the races on September 1 and 2 for a Labor Day weekend sweep. The last race the NW Extreme Winged Sprints had was on September 7 at Cottage Grove Speedway, where Dave Hibbard was the winner. The events at Sunset Speedway Park on September 21 and Cottage Grove last Saturday were cancelled due to rain, so the sprint drivers are eager to go racing again.

Jason Tole is now a three-time champion with the Cut Rate Auto Parts street stocks, as he also won the title last year and in 2001. Jason had nine victories this season and won the championship by 28 markers over Cory Sweatman. Eddie Blood, Jack Parshall, and Don Briggs, Jr. were third through fifth in the final points.

The hornets have been racing at GHR for the past two years, and Chad Norton was the champion for both years. Chad won three times in ’13 and he edged Willie Wright by only four points for the title. Jeff Daniel was third in the points rundown and led the hornet division with four wins. Jesarae Norton (Chad’s wife) and Chris Pugsley were tied for fourth.

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Labor Day weekend pictures are ready to go 
I had so much fun over the Labor Day weekend, and it's great to see everyone! I just got through posting two albums' worth of pictures.

For Skagit:
http://s113.photobucket.com/user/Racer4 ... 8175360513

For Elma:
http://s113.photobucket.com/user/Racer4 ... 8244058701

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