Pictures for June 7 posted 
There are sprint cars, street stocks, and outlaw tuners galore in this album! Take a peek... ... amp;page=1

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Time to Review: Thoughts for 6/7/14 
It was another pleasant day at Grays Harbor Raceway and I was pumped to finally, finally see some sprint cars racing before it got too late into the season. The Summer Thunder Sprint Series rolled into Elma for the first time in series history and 16 drivers signed in. The Cut Rate Auto Parts street stocks had a strong field of 19 entries and the outlaw tuners had seven people.

The street stocks had the first main event of the night, and Jason Tole led all 25 laps to finally win for the first time this year after winning nine times in 2013. Jason had Shane Kerrigan in his rear view mirror for most of the race. Shane tried to go to the inside of Jason multiple times, but couldn't quite make it stick. There was a thrilling three-wide battle going on for third on the 16th lap involving Austin Kerrigan, Mike Knox, and Don Briggs, Jr. with Briggs getting it out of turn four. Seven yellow flags slowed the race, with three of them coming on lap 17. Briggs drove his Chevelle to the cushion with five laps remaining and he took second from S. Kerrigan at the line, but Tole held everyone off for the win despite running on seven cylinders. S. Kerrigan passed Briggs on the final corner to take the runner-up spot back. Jack Parshall just missed out on a podium finish to recover for fourth after suffering a flat left rear tire back on lap six.

Tayler Malsam and Henry Van Dam were on the front row for the STSS 25-lapper with Van Dam leading them all. The first yellow came on lap 14 when Jared Ridge spun into the infield grass off the backstretch while running in the top five. The yellow lights flashed for the second time four laps later, as Cam Smith spun in turn three after contact with Jared Peterson while racing for fifth. Jay Cole made contact with Smith’s car, but kept going. As HVD continued to show the way, Jayme Barnes attempted a slide job on Malsam going into turns three and four on the 19th lap to take second. Tayler turned underneath Jayme to take the spot back at the line. Jayme tried another slider in one and two on the next lap, but Tayler had the momentum on the high side. Van Dam was enjoying a Saturday night cruise, as he captured his second win of the year. Malsam was second with Barnes in third.

Jeff Daniel paced the field for all 15 laps in the outlaw tuners main and honked his horn to his second straight victory. After Cory Sweatman drove the #11 tuner in the heat, Ryan Onasch took the wheel of it for the main and finished a very respectable second. Ryan passed Chad Norton down the backchute on lap three, and then Willie Wright out of turn four on the next lap when Wright slid high. Norton crossed the finish line third.

It’s time to turn some more pages in my notebook for recap number two for 2014...

Still No Repeat Winner: The street stock class produced four winners in four races so far in '14. Along with Tole, A. Kerrigan made a trip to the winner's circle at GHR on May 17 and Parshall got the win on May 24. For the Skagit Speedway race on May 31, S. Kerrigan was victorious. The street stock drivers have this weekend off before racing again next Saturday (June 21) to see if there will be a fifth different winner. The top five drivers in points are all locked in a very close battle. A. Kerrigan and Tole are tied for the lead at 302 points each. S. Kerrigan and Parshall are tied for third, just three points behind. Briggs sits fifth and only eight points out.

Back on the Radar: Malsam is having a very busy season not only driving a sprint car, but also racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. He was fresh off finishing 13th in the Winstar World Casino and Resort 400 at Texas Motor Speedway on Friday before heading to Elma to strap into Kevin Rudeen's #26 sprinter. Tayler was the fast qualifier and he was just one of three drivers that timed in the 13's (the others being Van Dam and Ridge). He dropped to fifth in the first heat, but he hung on for second in the main. Ridge returned to Elma in his own #12 car after racing mostly in Ohio between 2010 and 2012. He was running fifth in the A-Main when he spun into the infield just after the halfway point and dropped out.

A Familiar Look: Barnes is back racing his own red #9 car and it looks just like it did in 2008. Jayme’s first race at Skagit Speedway on May 17 resulted in a so-so ninth-place finish before getting a win two weeks later. His only disappointing race so far came on May 23 during the ASCS Northwest Region event at Willamette Speedway when he scratched before the heat races. With another podium finish under his belt, it’s been a pretty steady season for Jayme early on.

The Lone Oregonian: ASCS Northwest Region regular Garen Linder was the only racer in action coming from Oregon (although Peterson’s car owner Roger Henderson is from Grants Pass). Garen was fifth in time trials before finishing third in the second heat and seventh in the main event for a solid night. The Medford veteran has finished in the top 15 in ASCS Northwest points in the past four years, with his best result being a seventh in 2011. He’s sixth in points right now, as the ASCS Northwest racers have a doubleheader coming up Friday and Saturday at Cottage Grove Speedway.

Uphill Battles: Reece Goetz and J.J. Hickle were making moves and not faking moves (one of Bobby Gerould’s favorite sayings) in the STSS main event. They passed seven cars apiece to share hard charger honors. Goetz started 13th and wound up sixth. He took that spot from Cole with just a handful of laps to go. Further back, former track champion Hickle started dead last after a poor qualifying lap and got up to ninth.

Number for the Weekend: 6,100. That’s how much money Van Dam has won the past two Saturdays. He led all 41 laps of the Marvin Smith Memorial at Cottage Grove on May 31, which was a $4,100 payday. The STSS victory was worth two G’s.

Hard Luck Award: The #69 outlaw tuner duo of Brittany Diggle and Don Briggs, Sr. Brittany broke a CV joint in hot laps, then Don hammered the wall between turns three and four on the first lap of the heat race before spinning out. Don nursed his damaged car to finish the heat, but didn’t show up for the main.

“Never Say Die” Award: Parshall. For the second straight recap, it goes to a street stock driver who showed perseverance. After some hard contact with S. Kerrigan on lap number four of the A-Main, Jack suffered a flat left rear tire and stopped on the backstretch two laps later. He used the numerous yellow flags to get back up to fifth by lap 18 and he almost got third at the finish, losing out to Briggs, Jr. by a car length.

Next race: Rounds three and four with the Summer Thunder Sprint Series on July 11 and 12 at Elma, plus the Cut Rate Auto Parts street stocks. Sadly, I’m not going to make the 43rd annual Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup presented by Jack in the Box at Skagit on the last weekend of June due to obligations at work. Back at it in a month!



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Jumping the Start: Summer Thunder Sprint Series round #2 at Grays Harbor 
The first race for the Summer Thunder Sprint Series at Grays Harbor Raceway is on tap for Saturday. This is take two to get their season started after their opening round at Skagit Speedway on May 3 got cancelled due to rain.

Travis Jacobson won twice with the STSS last year, while Shane Stewart and Sam Hafertepe, Jr. got one victory apiece. Jacobson went on to become the series champion. Grays Harbor Raceway regulars are looking to win for the first time with the STSS including defending track champion Jay Cole, J.J. Hickle, and Reece Goetz.

Joining the STSS on Saturday are the street stocks and outlaw tuners. Austin Kerrigan won the street stock main event on May 17, with Jack Parshall claiming the May 24 race. The street stock drivers were at Skagit last Saturday night with Shane Kerrigan (Austin’s dad) scoring the win. The tuners also had three different winners in as many weeks. Chad Norton got the May 17 show, Willie Wright was victorious on May 24, and Jeff Daniel got the W last Saturday.

This is just the second sprint car race so far at GHR this season, as the sportsman sprints were in the house this past Saturday and Otto Jorgenson was the winner. Here’s another chance to watch some exciting sprint car racing at Elma as we go into the month of June.

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Grays Harbor racing for 5/24/14 pics 
Wait a minute...I posted new pictures already?! Yep! My first album for '14 is up! ... amp;page=1

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Time to Review: Memorial Day weekend thoughts 2014 
It was an absolutely perfect day for racing for Saturday’s Memorial Day weekend doubleheader at Grays Harbor Raceway. The sun was out and it’s time to rock and roll. 15 street stocks, 18 modifieds, three outlaw tuners, and eleven USAC Washington HPD midgets were in the pits. Everything moved right along in the heats, as they were done at 8:00 p.m. The mains were finished at around 10:10. There were a handful of yellow flags on the night, but no reds.

The weather went from terrific to terrible on Sunday and the light sprinkles turned into steady rain. The word to pull the plug on everything came at 3:00 p.m. The box score is us one and Mother Nature one. We won’t see any 410 sprint racing at GHR until the World of Outlaws STP Sprint Cars stop by on September 1.

The tuners started the A-Mains off with a ten-lapper. Jeff Daniel and Chad Norton came together racing for the lead on the first lap in turn four and that knocked Jeff out of the race. Willie Wright spun behind them to avoid getting collected. For the restart, Wright got the lead and cruised to a very easy win over Norton. How easy was it? Willie lapped Chad on the backstretch on the final lap.

Next up were the street stocks and their 25-lap main. Shane Kerrigan led the first two laps from the pole until he slipped up high in turn four, allowing Jason Tole to go by to complete lap three. The first yellow flag came out on the seventh circuit. Mike Knox did a 360 spin between turns three and four and kept going. However, Brenton Schnitzer, Don Briggs, Jr., and Brian Izzi got tangled up behind him. Tole led the restart over the father-and-son duo of Shane and Austin Kerrigan. Seventh place starter Jack Parshall drove down low in turn four to pass Austin on lap eight to grab third, then went up high two laps later to steal second from Shane in turn four also. Another yellow flag was needed on the 12th lap when Ryen Haney stopped in turn two with a shredded left front tire. Ryen got a new tire and would finish eighth. Parshall inherited the lead from Tole on lap number 16, as they came out of turn two. Behind them, the Kerrigans battled for third and fourth. At the same time, there was a fight for fifth and sixth between Eddie Blood and Matt Babcock. Tole tried to use the cushion to get the lead back, but another yellow flag flew with five laps left when Schnitzer spun out of turn four and collected Izzi. Parshall had no trouble hanging onto the top spot and drove to his first win of 2014 over Tole. Shane got third over Austin in the battle of the Kerrigans.

After an opening lap yellow flag for Annika Johanson’s turn four spin, the 25-lap midget main went clean and green the rest of the way. It was Chance Crum with the jump over Ariel Biggs and Hannah Lindquist. Defending series champion Chase Goetz rode the cushion to pass Hannah at the line on the third lap and Ariel down the backchute the following lap to jump from fourth to second. It didn’t take long until Chase caught Chance and he took the lead away with a pass down low in turn one on lap number eight. Picking from where he left off, Chase got his second win of the season and Chance finished second for the second straight week. Dougie James was third.

Getting the early lead in the 25-lap modified main was Craig Moore. Tom Sweatman, Leroy Lawhead, and Kyler Moore went three-wide for second with Sweatman getting that spot on the third lap down the backstretch. Sweatman got his nose ahead of C. Moore at the finish line on lap four, but Craig stayed on the outside and got the lead back the following lap. Kyler looked to the inside of Tom down low in turn four on the sixth go-around, and made it stick. The Moores were now running one and two. The yellow lights flashed on the ninth lap, as Carl Larson crashed into the frontstretch wall. Sweatman took the high road around Kyler on the restart, and went after Craig. Another yellow flag flew in the air on lap eleven, as Scott Westley stopped in turn three after missing the pit entrance. Sweatman used the cushion once again on the restart and passed Craig at the finish line. Craig returned the favor with just four laps to go, as he took the high line around Tom out of turn four. Craig got the victory over Sweatman and Scott Miller.

I’m happy to finally have a night of racing in, and it would be better if I had two. At long last, my thoughts for 2014, episode one...

The Top Five Club: Even though the point standings aren’t released yet, it’s very close in the street stock class. Four racers have top five finishes on May 17 and this past Saturday: Parshall (third and first), A. Kerrigan (first and fourth), Briggs (second and fifth), and S. Kerrigan (fifth and third). All four guys are looking for their first track championship and aiming to dethrone three-time champ Tole.

The Champs Come Back: It was terrific to see two former modified champions back racing at Grays Harbor Raceway. They were Montesano native Josh Muller and Rochester‘s Lawhead. Josh won the first heat over C. Moore, while Leroy held off a late bid from K. Moore to claim the third heat. Josh is back in Washington state again calling McCleary home after living in Minot, North Dakota. He ran in the top five all race long in the feature and came home fifth. Leroy started the A-Main on the pole, but fell to eighth.

Knocking on the Door: A modified driver who is looking to go to Victory Lane before long is third-year racer K. Moore. He and Miller went back and forth for the third spot after the halfway point before Scott got the spot for good at the line with five laps to go. Kyler’s fourth place finish was one spot shy of equaling his best performance at GHR, as he had a third on August 25, 2012. His season got off to a very strong start, as he was second to his father Craig at Skagit Speedway on May 17. Kyler is getting better with more track time, and he did an amazing job keeping the more experienced drivers behind him.

Battle of the Sexes: The first midget heat race consisted of three girls (Johanson, Biggs, and Lindquist) and two guys (Todd Hartmann and Crum). Chalk that race to the girls, as Biggs was the winner. Lindquist held on to the second spot until she lost it to Crum out of turn four with three to go.

Moving Up Classes: It’s always neat to see drivers going from racing mini-sprints at Deming Speedway and stepping up to midgets or sprint cars. The midget division had two Deming racers, Crum and James, on the front row. Goetz, Lindquist, Tristin Thomas, and Mike Vollbrecht were in the field as well. The Deming graduates finished in the top four spots in the main event. It went Goetz, Crum, T. Thomas, and James.

A New Sprint Racer?: After finishing second in the midget points to Jared Peterson two years ago, Goetz has completely taken over this division. He won last year’s title with the strength of 13 wins, and he’s well on his way to another championship. He plans to move up to drive a sprint car like his older brother Reece. Reece was down in Oregon with the ASCS Northwest Region for the Triple Track Challenge. His best finish in the four-race series was a third at Willamette Speedway on Friday. By the way, Chase’s car is for sale!

Number for the Weekend: 5. Track champions occupied half of the top ten in the modified feature. You have C. Moore (winner), Sweatman (second), Miller (third), Muller (fifth), and Lawhead (eighth). Sweatman was the street stock champion at GHR back in 1989.

Hard Luck Award: Garrett Thomas. Garrett popped a motor during midget hot laps to bring his evening to a grinding halt. Mod racers Bill Rowe and Randy Ward also had their nights end before the heat races.

Best Appearing Car: I’m not sure who to pick, especially in the modifieds. There are so many to choose from! My selections are Muller and Miller. Josh’s #3 car is really beautiful with a multi-colored combo with orange numerals. Scott has a red, white, and gray mix on his #26 machine after racing a black car for many years.

“Never Say Die” Award: Briggs. After being involved in a wreck with Schnitzer and Izzi on lap number seven of the street stock main, Don rebounded for a top five finish. He was three-wide with Blood and Babcock in turn two with three laps remaining, and passed them both. Don jumped from seventh to fifth with that move.

Next race: The second round for the Summer Thunder Sprint Series at Grays Harbor Raceway next Saturday (June 7) with the street stocks and outlaw tuners. The STSS was supposed to have its opening round on May 3 at Skagit, but it got rained out. This will be the first race at Elma for the STSS, as they had a four-race series exclusively at Skagit last year. Travis Jacobson was the series champion, narrowly beating Travis Rilat.



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Jumping the Start: Memorial Day weekend doubleheader at Grays Harbor 
Grays Harbor Raceway is gearing up for a Memorial Day double-dipper, with numerous classes racing on Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s program has the modifieds, USAC Washington HPD midgets, street stocks, and outlaw tuners (hornets). Sunday’s card has the Skagit 410 sprint cars, mods, and streets.

GHR got its first race of the 2014 campaign in the history books this past Saturday. Mike Romig (Northwest Wingless Tour), Chase Goetz (midgets), Austin Kerrigan (streets), and Chad Norton (tuners) won the main events. The modified racers were at Skagit Speedway on Saturday, with Craig Moore winning over his son Kyler.

The 410’s have a race at Skagit on Saturday in the John Carroll Classic presented by IRI. The 360‘s, sportsman sprints, and outlaw tuners will be in action as well. The 410 points leader is Tayler Malsam, who also competes in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Malsam has a 410 victory under his belt on May 10.

I hope to dust off my camera and notebook, and finally get my racing season started!

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Mother Nature wins again 
We'll have to wait until next Saturday for take two to get Grays Harbor Raceway's season underway, as tonight's action was postponed because of rain. Next Saturday's races will consist of the Northwest Wingless Tour sprint cars, street stocks, hornets, and USAC Washington HPD midgets.

I'm still planning to go to the two-day show at GHR for the Memorial Day weekend. The modifieds, street stocks, hornets, and the midgets race on the 24th. The 25th will have the mods, streets, and a very rare appearance from the Skagit 410 sprint cars. Have a good Mother's Day weekend, everyone. Treat her nice!

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Jumping the Start: Grays Harbor Raceway season opener 
It’s finally here! Grays Harbor Raceway’s season opener is Saturday. This is the first year and race that GHR is operated by Steve Beitler, who has owned Skagit Speedway since 2001.

The 360 sprint cars, IMCA modifieds, street stocks, hornets, and USAC Washington HPD midgets are on the program for a full night of racing.

The reigning champions are Jay Cole (360’s), Joe German (mods), Jason Tole (streets), Chad Norton (hornets), and Chase Goetz (midgets). That makes it nine track titles for Cole, three each for German and Tole, and two for Norton. Goetz captured his first championship and he’s following in the footsteps of his brother Reece, who won the midget title in 2011. Reece moved up to the 360’s and has finished in the top three spots in GHR points in the last three years.

The midgets had their non-points season opener last Friday at Deming Speedway, and Tristin Thomas was the winner. Saturday’s race at Skagit was lost to rain.

Do you think the veterans or the young guns are going to win Saturday’s races? The seconds continue to tick away, Grays Harbor fans. Your time to go racing is getting closer and closer.

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