Jumping the Start: Round #5 at Grays Harbor Raceway 
As we turn our calendars to the month of June, Grays Harbor Raceway is gearing up for a warm and sunny Saturday after getting rained out the last two weeks. The Summer Thunder Sprint Series is on tap, along with the Cut Rate Auto Parts street stocks and the Pacific Hardtop Racing Association dwarf cars.

Defending STSS champion Jason Solwold is fresh off a huge victory in the Marvin Smith Memorial Grove Classic at Cottage Grove Speedway on Sunday, pocketing $4,100. Solwold has a 41-point lead over J.J. Hickle in STSS points coming into Saturday. Henry Van Dam, Cam Smith, and Colton Heath complete the top five.

Two-time and reigning street stock champion Jack Parshall has made two trips to Victory Lane this season, and he holds a 46-point advantage over Shane Kerrigan. Kerrigan is having a very consistent year with three top five finishes. Season opener winner Brenton Schnitzer is third in points with rookie Tyson Blood fourth and former track champion Jason Tole in fifth.

The PHRA dwarf cars are always popular with the fans at GHR, as they have four races there in '16. They raced three times this season, with one race getting rained out. The winners thus far were Ryan Martinez, Josh King, and Marty Holmason. Last year’s races at GHR were captured by Henry Corbin, III, Eric Bergquist, Camden Robustelli, and Martinez.

Race fans at Grays Harbor Raceway are hoping to see some racing again after the last two weekends were rained out, and the wait will be over. A strong turnout is expected for the three divisions and it’s a fantastic night to catch the races.

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Round #2 @ GHR posted 
My shots from the second round of racing at Elma are here. More sunshine, more exciting racing...we're on a roll! The weather for Saturday doesn't look very promising, however.

In the meantime, the link from last weekend's action is below...

http://s113.photobucket.com/user/Racer4 ... amp;page=1

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Time to Review: Notes for 5/7 
It was another beautiful day for round number two at Grays Harbor Raceway last Saturday. The Washington Modified Tour was there for its third race of the year after a two-night show at Yakima in early April. The Cut Rate Auto Parts street stocks were back for their second race, while the sportsman sprint cars and the outlaw tuners had their first race of '16 at GHR.

Season opener winner Brenton Schnitzer was the pole sitter for the street stock A-Main, but his rival Jack Parshall stole the lead from the outside pole at the start and he led all 20 laps. B. Schnitzer was in second, while "Big" Will Madison and Shane Kerrigan were side-by-side for third and fourth. Behind them was Scott Fritts, but he went for a spin in turn four and brushed the wall on the second lap. Fritts’ problems weren’t over when he spun in turn one on lap five, collecting Tiffany MacDonald and Rodger Perry. Dave Forte also got a piece of the crash and it prompted a red flag. Everyone was okay, and Perry was done for the night. Parshall and B. Schnitzer were running one and two all race long, as they were driving through slower traffic. Brenton was on Jack’s bumper, but he made a mistake with three laps left as he got couldn’t get around Forte in turns one and two. That gave Parshall the breathing room he needed to get his first win of the year. B. Schnitzer crossed the line in second, while Kerrigan was third for the second straight week. Tyson Blood ended up fourth and Madison was fifth.

Next up was the 25-lap main event for the sportsman sprints. Derek Roberts and Kevin Kirkpatrick were wheel to wheel down the backstretch on the opening lap before Roberts slipped up in turn four. That was all it took for Kirkpatrick to get by, and he led from beginning to end. Brett McGhie went for a spin in turn four on the 13th circuit and Bert Johnson, Jr. just missed McGhie before going for a spin also. It was anyone’s guess on how it wasn’t a huge crash. Another quick yellow occurred with seven laps to go when Roger Oudman looped it in turn four while trying to take third from Devin Barnes. Roberts kept it close on the last restart, but Kirkpatrick didn’t have any of it and won. Roberts was second with Oudman in third and Barnes in fourth.

The third main event was the 25-lapper for the modifieds. Don Jenner led the first lap, but lost it to Tom Sweatman out of turn two on the following lap. The man on the move was Jason Beaulieu, who started 12th. He was up to fourth on lap eight, as he got by Brian Izzi at the line. A yellow flag didn’t fly until the tenth go-around when Mike Knox spun in turn two. Lawrence O’Connor went to the outside of Jenner on the 11th lap out of turn two and made it stick. The field got stacked up in turn four, and Kyler Moore ended up facing backwards. The race was over for O’Connor, as he stopped in turn four during the yellow with a damaged left front wheel and fellow Vancouver Island racer Beaulieu was in the runner-up spot. The next yellow flag waved on lap 14 for a four-car crash in turn two involving Sam Carlisle, James Wolfard, Del Schnitzer, and Aaron Weston. Carlisle and Weston returned, while Wolfard and D. Schnitzer were finished. The position changes continued, as Izzi passed Jenner for third in turn two on lap 16. Beaulieu got by Sweatman for the lead in turns one and two on the following lap and he didn’t look back. Scott Miller started 16th after winning the B-Main, but he climbed to fourth with six to go by passing Jenner in turns one and two. Another yellow flag was needed on the next lap for Kerrigan’s turn two spin. Jenner took the fourth spot back from Miller in turn three on the 21st lap, and their spirited battle ended tragically as they completed the next lap. They made contact at the flagstand and Scott went for a horrific flip. The five-time and defending champion climbed out unhurt, but his car was badly torn to shreds. Beaulieu held everyone off in the end and won it with Sweatman finishing second. Izzi drove an masterful race for third with Jenner fourth and Lane Zerbin fifth.

Former track champion Chad Norton was on the pole for the outlaw tuner 15-lap feature and looked to be well on his way to the win. Jason Parmelee passed George Lovell for second place out of turn four on lap three, and then Don Briggs, Sr. got by Lovell at the same spot one lap later to move up to third. Parmalee was a few car lengths behind Norton, but he fell off the pace on the backstretch on the seventh lap and drove to the infield. Moments later, Timmi Foster got together with Willie Wright in turns one and two for a yellow flag to slow things down. Wright had more problems on the restart, as he spun Tyler Sundstrom around in turn two. Wright’s struggles continued on lap ten as he got sideways in turns one and two, and he spun Sundstrom out yet again. Lovell left the track during the yellow with a flat tire and that gave third to Don Briggs, Jr. Norton still showed the way on the final restart, but Briggs, Sr. made that lead disappear. Don passed Chad in turns one and two for the top spot on the final lap, but Chad tried to get it back in three and four. The two drivers drag raced for the checkered flag and Don got it in a photo finish. Norton settled for second with Briggs, Jr., Foster, and Sundstrom next in line.

Grays Harbor Raceway has round two in the books for the year, while I’m up to four races in '16. I'm smoking Mother Nature, 4-0! My bits and pieces start right now...

Keeping It Over 20: The turnouts for the street stocks and modifieds remained strong, as both divisions had over 20 cars for the second week in a row. There were 21 street stocks to match the number to what they had in the season opener. The modified class jumped up to 25 entries, which was enough for a B-Main.

Different Rides: Tommy Hecker pounded the backstretch wall on the opening lap in the first street stock heat, and switched from his white #5 car to the red #5 machine for the main event. The change turned out to be a good call, as he charged from 16th to seventh. Jason Tole had mechanical problems in hot laps and was scheduled to start on the pole for heat three, but didn’t make it. He jumped into Alan Clingen’s #91 car for the A-Main, but retired before halfway.

Girls from Far Away: MacDonald made her GHR debut, making the trip down from Victoria, B.C. She’s a regular at Merritt Speedway, where she finished second in points in the street class last year. Tiffany was involved in the lap four melee, but continued with minor damage and posted a 12th-place finish. Tiana Berkeley also made her first trip to GHR, and it’s a long haul from her hometown of Colville. She was last year’s modified champion at Eagle Track Raceway, and stepped up her racing program big time. She plans on racing the entire Washington Modified Tour, and the next race is at Skagit Speedway next Saturday (May 21). Tiana was sixth in the B-Main, which was one spot shy of going to the big dance.

One Repeat Winner: The sportsman sprint drivers raced nine times at GHR since the fall of 2012, and only one person has won more than once. That would be Kenny Rutz, who swept the Harbor Classic Weekend in 2013. The 2012 season finale went to Jesse Thistle and Cory Swatzina took the season-ending race in '13. Otto Jorgenson and Jared Peterson won in '14, while last year’s events went to Jake Helsel and Sean Johnson. The next race at GHR for the sportsman drivers will be held on July 16.

Two for Three: Beaulieu didn’t race the Washington Modified Tour opener at Yakima on April 1, but he showed up on the 2nd and scored a narrow victory over last year’s champion Mark Carrell. Jason led the first seven laps of GHR’s season opener before getting a flat tire, and then spun out in turn four on lap 18 to finish a disappointing 17th. He turned his luck around on Saturday with a pass on Sweatman for the lead with eight to go on his way to his second win of the year.

Keeping a Promise: Briggs, Sr. told Phil Martelli before the races that he was going to win and Don made good on his word. He led just one lap, but it was the one that counted the most and held off Norton by a fender. Don won for the first time in his career on July 18 of last year, and wasted little time to get win number two.

Tuner Truck: Staying with the Briggs family, Briggs, Jr. mixed it up in the tuners by bringing a light-duty Toyota pickup to take on the cars. Don didn’t get a lap in his heat race, as he got spun out by Parmelee coming out of turn two. Don started eighth and Tail End Charlie for the main event, but came home third to join his dad on the podium.

Number for the Weekend: 0.536. Although there were just six sportsman sprints, their time trials are very close. That’s the difference between top qualifier Oudman and number six qualifier B. Johnson. They were in the high 13-second bracket in the heat and low 14’s in the main event, so the speed was still there.

Hard Luck Award: Tyler Walker. Tyler spun out twice in turn four during the first modified heat race before spinning two more times in turn two in the B-Main. Street stock racer Dave Larson and tuner driver Brittany Diggle both lost motors in hot laps to bring their nights to an end.

“Never Say Die” Award: Moore. After going for a spin in turn four on the 11th lap in the mod feature, Kyler almost had a top five as the checkered flag fell. He finished sixth, right behind Zerbin.

Next race: I’ll be taking a break before returning to GHR on June 4 for the Summer Thunder Sprint Series, Cut Rate Auto Parts street stocks, and Pacific Hardtop Racing Association (PHRA) dwarf cars.

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

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

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Pics from GHR season opener uploaded 
My pictures from the season opener at GHR are finally here. I'll be heading back at Elma on Saturday, so I'll see some of you there!

http://s113.photobucket.com/user/Racer4 ... amp;page=1

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Jumping the Start: Round #2 at Grays Harbor Raceway 
After a successful season opener, Grays Harbor Raceway is back in business on Saturday for round number two of 2016. The Washington Modified Tour, Cut Rate Auto Parts, sportsman sprint cars, and outlaw tuners are on the program.

The Washington Modified Tour had their first two rounds at the Yakima Dirt Track on April 1 and 2. Jesse Williamson won the April 1 feature, while Jason Beaulieu snared the April 2 main event. Williamson is the points leader over Collen Winebarger, Don Jenner, Kyle Yeack, and last year's champion Mark Carrell. 35 cars were at both rounds at Yakima, so look for another strong turnout for Saturday.

The Cut Rate Auto Parts street stocks raced at the season opener and it was a barnburner. Brenton Schnitzer passed two-time and defending track champion Jack Parshall with just two laps to go to get his second career win. Parshall barely held off Shane Kerrigan for second with Jason Tole and Kelly Fugate completing the top five.

The sportsman sprints are preparing for the first of two appearances at GHR. In last year's competition, Jake Helsel was the winner on May 2 and Sean Johnson took the July 18 event. The sportsman drivers were at Skagit Speedway last Saturday and Logan Forler picked up the win.

The outlaw tuners get their 2016 season underway on Saturday. Willie Wright won his first championship last year thanks to five wins.

Like last week, it's going to be sunny and warm. The season opener at Grays Harbor Raceway was very exciting, and Saturday's racing program promises to be just as action packed.

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Time to Review: GHR '16 season opener thoughts 
The season openers at Grays Harbor Raceway are known to be cloudy, cool, or getting rained out. Saturday had none of that, as it was sunny and gorgeous. Everyone was ready for the season opener and we couldn't have timed it any better. Four classes were in the house, and all four provided us with exceptional racing.

The Cut Rate Auto Parts street stocks had the first main event of the night, and Jason Tole was the early leader of the 20-lap affair. Kelly Fugate was in second, but he surrendered it to Tommy Hecker to complete the second lap at the stripe. Defending track champ Jack Parshall was up to third on the following lap, as he also got by Fugate at the line. The red flag came out on lap six as Brandon Babcock’s car went up in smoke in turns one and two. Brandon climbed out unhurt, but his car caught fire and kept rolling into the infield! :shock: The fire crew was there to extinguish the flames, but it was an odd and scary situation. Parshall moved up to second on the restart before taking the lead away from Tole in turn three on lap seven. The race didn’t have any slowdowns until four to go, as Dave Forte spun in turn two and Dave Larsen stopped in turn three with engine problems. Parshall was still the leader, while it was a battle royale behind him. Austin Kerrigan had fourth, but he coasted to a crawl in turn two on the 17th lap for another yellow flag. Tole, Hecker, and 16th-starting Brenton Schnitzer were three-wide for second down the backstretch on the restart before Hecker and B. Schnitzer made hard contact. Hecker spun out moments later in turns three and four, and his race was over. B. Schnitzer went high in turn two to get second from Tole before dropping down low to pass Parshall for the lead in turn four with two to go. With his car seriously damaged and smoking badly (and even caught fire), Brenton drove his ticking time bomb to the victory. Parshall got second by a nose over Shane Kerrigan with Tole finishing fourth and Fugate fifth.

Tristin Thomas is the reigning Northwest Focus Midgets champion, and he showed why in the 20-lap A-Main by leading wire-to-wire. The yellow lights came on with four laps down, as Derek Holmwood lost his left front tire and stopped in turn four. T. Thomas had the race securely in his hands with Eric Turner holding down second place. Indianapolis, Indiana’s Ross Rankine was third, but he lost it to “Bad News” Nick Evans in turn four on the sixth lap. Garrett Thomas also passed Rankine on the next lap to move up to fourth coming out of turn two. The race went condition red on the tenth lap, as G. Thomas flipped in turn two after getting together with Evans. Garrett would be okay. Evans climbed up to second by passing Turner in turn four on the tenth circuit, then Rankine got back up to third on the 13th lap by taking it from Turner at the line. It was all about Tristin the Piston as he won over Evans, Rankine, Turner, and Mike Vollbrecht.

It was an all-Canadian front row for the 26-lap feature for the Shipwreck Beads modifieds with Graham Cook and Jason Beaulieu. The first start was a fail, as Kyler Moore got sideways in turns one and two and a pileup occurred. Sam Carlisle, Aaron Weston, Chris Beaulieu, and Steve Signal were involved. Everyone would restart. The second try was also no good, as last year’s modified champion Scott Miller went spinning in turn one. J. Beaulieu led the first seven laps, but he had his right front tire go flat as he completed lap eight and would stop in turn one. Cook was the new leader and he stayed up front despite five more yellow flags (including one on the last lap for Moore, who stopped in turns three and four to make the race 26 laps). A. Kerrigan took second from Sean Fox out of turn four with three laps to go, and reeled in Cook on the last restart. Graham held off Austin for the win by just over a car length with Fox finishing a strong third. Rounding out the top five were Del Schnitzer and Miller.

The final main event was for the 360 sprint cars. Last year’s champion Henry Van Dam shot off with the lead in the 25-lap race, followed by Jeff Dunlap and Jake Helsel. Jake’s motor expired on the backstretch on lap ten, and he pulled into the infield. Van Dam got to the back of the field at the halfway point, but he couldn’t get by Lance Sargent. Dunlap was only a few car lengths behind HVD, as was Reece Goetz. Jeff’s shot at a possible win ended in heartbreaking fashion after completing lap 21 when his right rear tire exploded going into turn one. Van Dam still had the lead for the four-lap dash, but Goetz wasn’t going away. After a few failed attempts to take the top spot, Reece passed Henry out of turn four as they came for the white flag. Reece got his first win of the year over Van Dam, Tayler Malsam, Trey Starks, and Garen Linder.

The recap of the main events are over. It’s time to switch gears and go over some usual little bits that are worth noting. Here we go, everyone!

Four Full Fields: The midget division had the highest car count of the four classes with 31 cars. There were also 22 modifieds, 21 street stocks, and 16 sprint cars. Those are very solid numbers for all four divisions to kick off the season at GHR, especially for the midgets.

Feeling Grand: T. Thomas completed the sweep by being the fast timer, winning the first heat race, and capturing the A-Main. Coming up later this week, he’s got a shot to do something pretty special. GHR was round one of three for the Northwest Focus Midgets Mini Speedweek. Round two takes place at Deming Speedway on Friday, while round three is at Skagit Speedway on Saturday. If Tristin can pull off the three-peat, he’ll collect an extra $1,000!

Smashing a Record: The midgets had car counts in the teens for a lot of their races last year, but they made it to over 30 cars and that’s a new record by far. They had 18 entries for the first night of the Fred Brownfield Classic last July. The midgets also had their first B-Main ever, and that was won by Todd Hartmann. Hats off to Carla and Gaylon Stewart on helping this series grow at an incredible rate.

Rookies Going Racing: The midgets had five rookies for their first race of '16: Brian Hayes, Chris Bullock, Randy Hodel (father of Michael, a.k.a. “Hodie the Outlaw”), David Postle, and Tabitha Stebbins (daughter of Ray). Postle finished fifth in the B-Main and got a ticket to the A as the first alternate when Tanner Holm, who was third in the B, didn’t start. David wound up 15th in the main event.

Making the Switch: Brian Harding was a street stock regular at GHR and he made his third start in a modified this year. He was at Yakima in April for the Summer Thunder Sprint Series/Washington Modified Tour opener. Jonathan Jorgenson was the 2009 runner-up with the midgets before going up to sprint cars. He’s back in a midget, and ditched the bright orange for a dark gray scheme for his #2J car. Shane Biles was in the NASCAR Northwest Tour in the '90s and '00s, and he’s racing a midget with his wife Renee Angel. Turner and Jacob Brown were Deming regulars and transferred to the midgets along with fellow Deming standouts Chance Crum, Holm, and Holmwood.

Demolition Derby: The main events for the street stocks and modifieds both had a lot of carnage. There were cars that went up in smoke, catch fire, and had body work that was badly crinkled or even come off. Eleven of the 19 hobby stocks that were in the A-Main made it to the end. 20 modifieds started the main event, but only eleven saw the checkered flag. It’s not how you finish a race in some cases, but to survive one.

Backing It Up: Schnitzer won for the very first time in his career last October at GHR’s season finale. He didn’t start in heat three and began the A-Main deep in the pack, but showed some incredible driving in the final laps to get another win even though his car looked like it had enough. Brenton was fourth in points for the last two years, and he’s well on his way at another shot for the street stock championship.

Bergman’s Back: Snohomish native Seth Bergman returned to his home turf last weekend, as he was at Deming on Friday racing 600 mini sprints. He was behind the wheel of Jon Farrell’s #51F car, and he finished tenth in the A-Main after coming through the B. For Saturday, Seth was second in qualifying and finished second to Dunlap in heat two. Seth would go on to finish sixth in a very quiet performance in the feature. He goes back on the road with the Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car Dirt Series presented by MAVTV Motorsports Network, and the next race is Thursday (Cinco de Mayo) at Lakeside Speedway in Kansas City, Kansas.

Twelve Seconds: The sprint cars didn’t quite make it to the track record of 12.061 seconds set by Steve Vague nearly seven years ago, but they weren’t far off. Trey Starks was TQ at 12.266 and the speeds were still up there as the night continued. Van Dam, Dunlap, Bergman, and Malsam had times around 12.4 seconds in the heats. HVD ran a 12.7 on the second lap of the A-Main.

Number for the Weekend: 31. I still can't believe how many midgets there were in the pits! With that number, drivers have to step up their game in the heats or they'll have to go to the B-Main.

Hard Luck Award: Sterling Kane. Sterling had engine problems all day and didn’t take a single racing lap. Street stock racers Doug Brewster and Jeff Daniel had their nights come to a premature end. Doug had his rear axle break in half during warm-ups, while Jeff’s engine blew up big time on the final lap in the first heat while running third.

“Never Say Die” Award: Miller. Scott came back from a turn one spin on a lap one restart in the modified main event to finish fifth.

Best Appearing Car: Jay Cole. The #0J car had a refreshing and different look with the white, blue, and gray on it. It’s very unusual for Jay to go kind of flashy for his car, but not over the top. Love, love, love it! I also have to give honorable mentions out to Miller, Brian Izzi, Tyson Blood, and Thomas Walker.

Next race: Back at Grays Harbor Raceway on Saturday for round three of the Washington Modified Tour. Jesse Williamson and J. Beaulieu were main event winners at Yakima on April 1 and 2. The Cut Rate Auto Parts street stocks, sportsman sprint cars, and outlaw tuners are on the card as well.

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

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

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Jumping the Start: Grays Harbor Raceway 2016 season opener 
Grays Harbor Raceway is ready to get its 2016 season underway on Saturday, and four divisions are on the program. Race fans will get a chance to see the 360 sprint cars, Shipwreck Beads modifieds, Cut Rate Auto Parts street stocks, and the Northwest Focus Midgets in competition.

The reigning champions at GHR are Henry Van Dam (sprints), Scott Miller (modifieds), Tristin Thomas (midgets), Jack Parshall (streets), and Willie Wright (outlaw tuners). That makes it five track titles for Miller, while Van Dam and Parshall have two apiece and Wright got his first championship. Thomas picked up a total of four titles in ‘15 by also winning track championships at Deming Speedway and Skagit Speedway, as well as the overall Northwest Focus Midgets title.

If you were at the season opener last year, it took a while to get finished thanks to Mother Nature. Showers were in the area before the racing started and everything didn’t get done until after midnight. Trey Starks (sprints), Miller (modifieds), Garrett Thomas (midgets), Austin Kerrigan (streets), and Wright (tuners) were the winners. The forecast for Saturday looks good, as it’ll be sunny and pleasant in the daytime.

Grays Harbor fans, it’s time for that old question again. Are you ready to go racing? Everything begins in only five days!

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Yakima Dirt Track pics are here! 
My shots from last weekend's Summer Thunder Sprint Series/Washington Modified Tour season opener have arrived. You get all three days' worth of shots and I'm ready for some more racing! See you around...

http://s113.photobucket.com/user/Racer4 ... amp;page=1

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