Time to Review: 6/3 thoughts 
It was a new month, as we're already into June. Round number six at Grays Harbor Raceway was completed, and there was a lot of wild action in all four divisions that were competing.

The Cut Rate Auto Parts A-Main was scheduled for 25 laps with Ryen Haney and Brandon Babcock on the front row. Babcock had the lead as the field went into turn three on the opening lap, but fourth-place starter Austin Kerrigan was already on the attack. Austin made the pass stick on Brandon out of turn two on the second lap, and it happened just before Daryl Brumfield went spinning in turn two. The top spot changed hands again on lap number three, as Jason Tole took it from Austin at the flagstand. The race was marred by numerous stoppages, as it had seven yellow flags and two reds. The first red flag happened on a first-lap restart when Haney spun in turns one and two and was rear ended by Kirk McGinnis. Taylor Miller crashed into the wall and Brumfield plowed into an infield tire. The second red occurred with five to go, as A. Kerrigan and Scott Fritts made contact on the backstretch while racing for third. Austin nailed the wall head-on before getting drilled by Mike Mann, while Josh Anthony was also collected. Nobody was injured in the wrecks. The race was called complete with Tole winning over Jack Parshall, Fritts, Haney (after being involved in three accidents), and 13th-starting Rodger Perry.

The 25-lapper for the Pacific Hardtop Racing Association dwarf cars got off to a rocky start when Henry Corbin, II and Leo Ward touched in turns one and two, sending Ward into a huge flip. Ward was unhurt. Dylan Chrisman was the leader on the first lap, but he had fifth-place starter Andy Lemmons and ninth-starting Ryan Martinez tracking him down. Lemmons passed Chrisman out of turn four on the following lap, while Martinez followed suit at the stripe. Martinez had the lead momentarily out of turn four to complete lap three, but Lemmons took it back down the backstretch on the next lap. Martinez said enough was enough, and took the lead for good on lap five at the finish line. Henry Corbin, III made his way up to second on lap eight, as he went to the inside of Lemmons in turn two. A quick yellow flag came out with eleven laps in the books, as Mike Clark spun in turn two. Martinez, the defending PHRA champion, has been very dominant this season and won over Corbin, III. Doug McVae passed Lemmons in turn one with two laps to go to finish in the third spot. Lemmons was fourth and Rich Holbert rounded out the top five.

It was young gun versus veteran on the front row for the 25-lap A-Main for the Shipwreck Beads modifieds, with Tyler Walker on the pole and Tom Sweatman was alongside. Walker was on his way to lead the first lap, but he got loose in turn four and went spinning. Kyler Moore and A. Kerrigan had nowhere to go but into Walker's car. Kris Asche spun into an infield tire behind them and Tim Phillips also went for a spin in turn three. The night was over for Moore and A. Kerrigan. T. Sweatman took command and didn't look back. Zack Simpson was running in second, followed by Brian Harding, Tyson Blood, and Scott Miller. Blood and S. Miller came together in turns one and two on the third lap to bring out another yellow flag. Shane Kerrigan spun nearby and collected Phillips. Harding took second from Simpson on the restart, while Lane Zerbin was on a tear from 16th and he passed Del Schnitzer for fourth out of turn four to complete lap three. Another yellow came out on the fifth lap when Cory Sweatman and S. Kerrigan tangled in turn two. During the caution period, Simpson lost third when he took his car to the pits with no brakes. The race was slowed down again on the next lap for debris (a wheel cover) on the frontstretch. Zerbin had a great restart, as he got by Harding for second. Unfortunately, the evening ended for Zerbin when he spun in turn one with seven laps to go. T. Sweatman turned in another sensational performance and he took his #11 modified to his second win of the year, while Harding finished a career-best second in a modified. Asche recovered for third, with fellow Shelton racers Schnitzer and S. Miller fourth and fifth. With his victory, T. Sweatman is the points leader by just two markers over S. Miller.

The final main event was for the Summer Thunder Sprint Series. Trey Starks went for a spin on the opening lap, but the 30-lapper went green to checkered after that. Pole sitter Evan Margeson led the first lap, but outside front row starter Roger Crockett used the high line to take the lead out of turn four on the following lap. Crockett lived up to his nickname "The Rocket", as he started to lap slower cars by lap five. J.J. Hickle also went to the high side of Margeson in turn four on the ninth lap, and he made it work. Defending series champion and points leader Jason Solwold started eighth and methodically moved up through the field. He passed Robbie Price for fifth out of turn four on lap 15 before taking fourth from Chase Goetz at the same place on the following lap. Seconds later, Jason stole third from Margeson just after the flagstand. Solwold wasn't done, as he went to the inside of Hickle in turns one and two to get second on the 22nd lap. Solwold was coming up quickly on Crockett as the race wound down, but Crockett barely held on for the win by about four car lengths. Hickle came home third with Price fourth and Goetz fifth.

It was another thrilling night at GHR, so why don't we do a quick review on it? Let's do it now...

Teens and 20's, Part II: Grays Harbor Raceway continues to have very consistent car counts this season and last Saturday was another example. The STSS had 20 entries, while the street stock class and the PHRA had 19 drivers apiece. The modified division had 16 people signed in.

Father vs. Son: The father-and-son team of Shane and Austin Kerrigan were the only drivers to do double duty. They were alongside each other in row number two of the second street stock heat race. Shane went from third to first in one fell swoop on the second lap, as he passed Austin for second place in turn one before taking the lead from Haney out of turn two. Shane went on to win and he did a spin in turn one on his victory lap for extra style points. The Kerrigans shared the front row for the first modified heat, but Austin evened the score up by leading flag-to-flag.

Terrific Tole: Tole is looking to get back into the thick of things in the street stock class after winning the championship in 2013. Jason finished 11th in points in 2014, but improved to sixth in '15 despite going winless. He did even better in 2016 with two victories and ended up second in points. Thanks to his win last Saturday, Jason is just twelve points behind points leader and defending champion Parshall and one point ahead of Fritts for second. The top five drivers (Parshall, Tole, Fritts, Haney, and S. Kerrigan) are within 41 points of one another.

Ryan's on a Roll: Martinez has been red hot in the PHRA, as he has won four straight races. He won three consecutive times at Sunset Speedway (May 20, 27, and 28) before claiming last Saturday's race. Next up for the PHRA racers is a doubleheader at Cottage Grove Speedway Friday and Saturday. They'll be back at GHR on July 15, 28, and 29. The races on the 28th and 29th are part of the Shipwreck Beads Modified Nationals.

Five Alive: Wheatley continues to be at the top of his game in time trials this year, as he's now five-for-six. His time of 12.279 seconds was nearly a second quicker than his qualifying lap on May 20. 16 of the 19 racers who qualified had laps in the 12's.

Triple Threat: Doug Rutz had not one, not two, but three cars in last Saturday's race. Wheatley was in the #8R car with Chance Crum in the #8RC and Starks in the #8RX. Thank goodness some letters were placed on the wings, otherwise it would've been very confusing! Starks lost an engine in warm-ups and didn't get a qualifying lap in or run his heat race. Crum was the top finisher for the trio in ninth with Wheatley in tenth and Starks in 11th after starting dead last.

Roger and Roger Back Together: Crockett is the new driver of Roger Henderson's #7N machine, but he didn't say whether it was going to be a long-term deal. Crockett first drove for Henderson back in 1998 in the NARC/King of California Series, and reunited in '07 and '08. The first race of the year for Crockett in the #7N was over the Memorial Day weekend at Cottage Grove, where he won the $4,100-to-win Marvin Smith Memorial Grove Classic.

Number for the Weekend: 7...the number of street stocks that survived the shortened main event. There was a lot of carnage in this race and a number of cars left on the hook.

Hard Luck Award: A. Kerrigan. Austin left with two battered cars, as his street stock was destroyed with five laps to go and he was also involved in an opening-lap wreck in the modified main event.

"Never Say Die" Award: Asche. Kris came back from spinning on the first lap of the modified A-Main to collect a third-place finish in his first race in well over a year. The last time we've seen Kris was in the season finale at GHR in '15, which he won.

Next race: It looks like I won't be able to go up to Skagit Speedway June 22-24 for the 46th annual Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup presented by the Skagit Casino Resort because of work commitments. I'll be going back to GHR regardless for my next visit. Plan B is to come back next Saturday (June 17) for the Washington Modified Tour, 360 sprint cars, and Cut Rate Auto Parts street stocks. Plan C is the third annual Fred Brownfield Classic on June 30 and July 1.

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

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

[ view entry ] ( 138 views )   |  permalink  |  $star_image$star_image$star_image$star_image$star_image ( 3 / 330 )
Jumping the Start: Round #6 at Grays Harbor Raceway 
It isn't long until we have to turn our calendars over to June. In the meantime, Grays Harbor Raceway is set for round six this Saturday with four classes ready for action.

It’s round number four for the Summer Thunder Series, and it’s their first visit to GHR this season. Two-time and defending champion Jason Solwold leads the way with two wins and he holds a 30-point lead over Colton Heath. J.J. Hickle, Austen Wheatley, and Chase Goetz are in positions three through five.

The Pacific Hardtop Racing Association dwarf cars are always a popular draw in Elma, and they have five races there in ’17. Doug McVae won the season opener at Madras Speedway on May 6, but the driver who’s on a serious roll is Ryan Martinez. Ryan has won three straight races at Sunset Speedway on May 20, as well as this past Saturday and Sunday during the Spring Challenge Weekend.

In the Cut Rate Auto Parts street stocks, it’s a battle between second-year driver Scott Fritts and three-time and reigning champ Jack Parshall early on. Fritts edged out Parshall in a photo finish on May 6, but Parshall evened things up by bringing home the main event last Saturday. Parshall leads in points by only nine tallies over Fritts. Shane Kerrigan, Jason Tole, and Ryen Haney round out the top five.

As for the Shipwreck Beads modifieds, it’s anybody’s ballgame. Tom Sweatman was victorious in the Washington Modified Tour event on May 6, while Scott Miller scored his first victory of the season on May 20. Miller has a seven-point advantage over Kyler Moore with Zack Simpson, Sweatman, and Tyson Blood very close together. The top five drivers are separated by just 20 points and this season’s just getting started.

Grays Harbor Raceway is ready for another race featuring four divisions that are loaded with talent, and this night is sure to excite.

[ view entry ] ( 99 views )   |  permalink  |  $star_image$star_image$star_image$star_image$star_image ( 3 / 336 )
May 20 action is up 
Last Saturday's shots from GHR are up! I'll be back here in a week once again. Take a look around and try to stay cool...

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

[ view entry ] ( 92 views )   |  permalink  |  $star_image$star_image$star_image$star_image$star_image ( 3.8 / 124 )
Time to Review: 5/20 recap 
As we get into mid to late May, it finally felt like spring. There were a few more cars last Saturday at Grays Harbor Raceway than on May 6 and it was an incredible night with four classes lined up.

The 360 sprint cars had the first main event of the night to start things off right. Austen Wheatley and Chase Goetz started 1-2 and that's how they ran in the 25-lapper. Third place starter Cam Smith had a disastrous first lap, as he did a 360 spin in turns one and two. He kept going, but fell to the rear of the field and we stayed green. Jason Reed inherited third, but he lost it on lap number four as he went too high in turn two and dropped to sixth. That allowed Chance Crum, Reece Goetz, and Jay Cole to get by. The first yellow flag came out on lap five, as Shawn Rice came to a stop in turn two. Two more yellows were displayed on the tenth go-around. Chris Batalgia looped it in turn four, then Lance Sargent went spinning in turn three and Tyler Anderson also spun out on the frontstretch on the restart. The final 14 laps went uninterrupted, as Wheatley continued to lead C. Goetz when they came up on slower cars as the laps tick away. Wheatley was trapped behind Jeff Dunlap on the last lap, and C. Goetz tried to go on the outside of Wheatley in turns three and four. Austen and Chase drag raced to the checkers with Austen winning by mere inches! R. Goetz, Cole, and Crum completed the top five.

After a false start and a yellow flag for backstretch debris on the opening lap, the third time was indeed the charm to get the 25-lap main event for the Northwest Focus Midgets off and running. Defending champion Nick Evans started on the outside of the front row and passed pole sitter Hannah Lindquist on his way to a flag-to-flag victory. Garrett Thomas advanced to second in turn four, as he used the high side to get by Lindquist on the opening lap. Evans was pulling away from the rest of the pack, as he sliced and diced through lapped traffic as the race continued. Things changed on the last lap, as Lindquist lost third when she spun on the frontstretch after contact with Shane Smith for a very late yellow. This set up a green-white-checkered finish, but it's still all good for "Bad News". Nick won it over Thomas, S. Smith, Jonathan Jorgenson, and Nate Vaughn.

Next up was the 25-lap A-Main for the Shipwreck Beads modifieds, and it was British Columbia vs. Washington on the front row. Graham Cook was on the pole, but number two starter Scott Miller showed why he's a five-time track champion by leading green to checkered. This was an entertaining race with countless position changes behind Miller, even though it had seven caution flag periods. Zack Simpson was in the second spot for the most of the event, but he surrendered it to Kyler Moore at the line with three to go. Miller prevailed for his first win of the year over Moore, Simpson, Blair Shoemaker, and Tom Sweatman.

Former track champion Chad Norton was on the pole for the 15-lap feature race for the outlaw tuners, but Josh Wharton got the jump as the green flag flew. Norton lost second place to Cory Sweatman in turn two on the second lap, and then gave up third to Tyler Sundstrom in the same place on the following lap. The race came to a grinding halt on lap number five, as Jason Valentine and Zach Dalrymple made contact in turn one. As Dalrymple spun, D.J. Beaver and Brittany Diggle hit the berm with Beaver flipping on top of an infield tire. Beaver was uninjured. Wharton was still setting the pace, but C. Sweatman was quickly closing in. Cory's attack had to wait, as Ryan Onasch went for a spin in turn two with ten laps complete. Another yellow came out on the following lap, as Miranda Newbill stopped on the backstretch as her right front tire came off. C. Sweatman lost second on the restart, as his car didn't take off and slowed a crawl in turn one. Despite the late yellows, no one can stop Wharton from getting his first career win. Sundstrom was second, followed by Norton, 13th-starting George Lovell, and Dale Speas.

Mother Nature took rounds one and three, but the Grays Harbor racers and fans persevered to get rounds two and four. Looking at the weather for Saturday, it's a very safe bet that Mother Nature is going to be defeated yet again. Let's quickly review round four at GHR...

Teens and 20's: This isn't about how cold it was last winter, although I got down to 15 degrees in Olympia just before Christmas. Like the May 6 event, all four divisions had very sturdy car counts. The midgets led the way with 24 racers and they were the only class where a B-Main was necessary. There were also 18 modifieds, 16 tuners, and 14 sprint cars when everything was totaled up.

Last Lap Heroics, Part 2: Last Saturday had four (!!) heat races that were decided on the final lap. C. Goetz stole the top spot from Anderson in turn one in the second 360 heat. G. Thomas got by Otto Jorgenson down the backstretch in the first midget heat race, while S. Smith passed Lee St. Paul in turns one and two in the second midget heat. After a T-bone crash with Lane Zerbin on lap four in the third mod heat race, Simpson roared back to win by a nose over Brian Harding with a last corner pass!

Wheatley with a 4-fer: Wheatley has been on the ball in qualifying in 2017 aboard the Doug Rutz-owned #8R car, as he's four-for-five so far. After winning the Summer Thunder Sprint Series opener at Yakima on March 31, he's been bitten by bad luck the last three races. He spun out in turn two with two laps to go in the April 1 race at Yakima while running second and collected Crum. Then, Austen flipped at Cottage Grove Speedway on April 22 and destroyed the car. In the STSS event at Skagit Speedway on May 6, he was eliminated in an opening lap wreck on the backstretch. Austen turned his fortunes around with his second win of the season, but C. Goetz was breathing down his neck and almost took it away at the very end.

Rutz vs. Goetz Bros.: The Rutz cars (Wheatley and Crum) were running first and third, while the Goetz Bros. Racing machines were second and fourth for every lap but one in the sprint car main event. Crum fell off the pace on the last lap while running third, so R. Goetz and Cole snuck by in the last couple of corners. That gave the favor to the Goetzes to take two spots on the podium, compared to one for the Rutz team.

Onwards to Oregon: The next race for the midgets is this Saturday for their first-ever race at Southern Oregon Speedway. The last time they were in "The Beaver State" was last July at Sunset Speedway with a 50-lap main event, which was won by Crum. The race at SOS is round number two of the Summer Challenge powered by Bardahl, as the first round at Deming Speedway on May 5 got rained out.

Superman Flies Again: Former track modified champion and Northwest Modified Nationals winner Blair Shoemaker made a very rare trip to Elma and he brought his #S11 car (with the Superman logo to boot) instead of Duane D'Amico's #27B. Blair had a so-so performance in heat two with a fourth-place run, but he mixed it up in the feature event with some tough GHR regulars for a spot in the top five. Blair got the job done by coming home fourth after starting very fittingly in 11th.

Jason Makes the Jump: Three-time street stock champion Jason Tole surprised a lot of people, as he unleashed a modified out of his trailer. He said it's his first mod start in nearly 20 years, back when the mods started running at GHR. After finishing fourth in heat number one, Jason started the A-Main in the tenth spot and stayed out of trouble en route to an eighth-place result.

Changing Places: I remembered a few times when I was at Skagit when the tuner drivers switched with other people on a very frequent basis. That's usually not the case with the tuners at GHR, but there were a lot musical chairs going around. Former champion Willie Wright came with his #17 car, but he's recovering from shoulder surgery and Valentine filled in. Onasch was back in his #11 Vikingmobile, as C. Sweatman was in a new #3 machine. Chris Greene was aboard Matthew Anderson's #29, Newbill was behind the wheel of Jason Parmelee's #33X, and Melvin Welch was back driving the #8X car after Dustin Tamplen drove it on May 6.

Number for the Weekend: 8. Eight is indeed great, as seven racers sported that number (Wheatley, Crum, John Stuart, Vaughn, O. Jorgenson, Steve Bulpitt, and Welch).

Hard Luck Award: Stuart and Tim Phillips (tie). John took a hard flip down the backstretch with two laps to go in the first 360 heat race. He was all right, but his sprint car was a mess. Tim was on the pole for the second modified heat, but his car never got up to speed as he took the green flag and he didn't make it out for the main event.

"Never Say Die" Award: Larson. Nik was running fourth in the midget main event until he suddenly lost power in turns one and two on lap number three. He dropped to dead last, but he got back up to speed moments later. Nik steadily moved up through the field and almost got back into the top five during the green-white-checkered finish. "The Dude" abides by crossing the line seventh.

Next race: Another trip to GHR next Saturday (June 3) for round six with the Summer Thunder Sprint Series, Pacific Hardtop Racing Association (PHRA) dwarf cars, Cut Rate Auto Parts street stocks, and Shipwreck Beads modifieds.

R.I.P. Chris Cornell (1965-2017) and Nicky Hayden (1981-2017)

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

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

[ view entry ] ( 138 views )   |  permalink  |  $star_image$star_image$star_image$star_image$star_image ( 2.9 / 70 )
Jumping the Start: Round #4 at Grays Harbor Raceway 
The score right now for this year is Mother Nature 2, Grays Harbor Raceway 1. GHR looks to even the score on Saturday with the 360 sprint cars, Shipwreck Beads modifieds, outlaw tuners, and Northwest Focus Midgets.

The 360's were supposed to have their first race of the year at GHR back on April 29, but it was rained out. Reece Goetz is the defending champion and he also has a midget title to his credit back in 2011.

The modifieds and the tuners are getting ready for their second race of the season. Reigning track champion Tom Sweatman won the May 6 modified main event, while his son Cory took the tuner feature that was also held on the 6th.

The midget racers completed two races thus far, and they finally get a chance to attack the GHR oval for the first time in '17. Defending series champion Nick Evans took the series opener at Deming Speedway on April 14 and Indianapolis, Indiana's Ross Rankine won the Skagit Speedway event on May 6 in impressive fashion.

Saturday's weather forecast is much better than last week with temperatures right around 70. That's absolutely perfect for racing at GHR. With four classes in action, it's no doubt that it's going to be an action packed night.

[ view entry ] ( 95 views )   |  permalink  |  $star_image$star_image$star_image$star_image$star_image ( 3 / 97 )
GHR season opener shots posted 
My pics from the GHR opener are up, and I'm glad that the racing season has finally started around our neck of the woods. Back at it next week!

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

[ view entry ] ( 114 views )   |  permalink  |  $star_image$star_image$star_image$star_image$star_image ( 2.9 / 410 )
Time to Review: 5/6 thoughts 
Grays Harbor Raceway's had its first race of 2017 last Saturday and what a night it was. There were four different classes on the program and they all put on a show for the crowd. The pits were tightly packed, as there were well over 60 cars in total.

The opening main event of the evening was the 20-lapper for the Cut Rate Auto Parts street stocks. Scott Fritts led from green to checkered, but three-time and reigning champion Jack Parshall was in his rear view mirror. Parshall stole second from outside pole sitter Tommy Hecker on the backchute on the opening lap, with Jason Tole following suit by passing Hecker in turn four. It didn't take long for the yellow lights to come on, as Ryen Haney and Jeff Daniel got together in turns one and two on the second lap. After driving away, Haney spun again on the backstretch in the infield mud. Fritts held onto the top spot but he had some tough company behind him with Parshall, Shane Kerrigan, Tole, and 12th place starter Kelly Fugate. Another yellow flag was needed on lap eight, as Daryl Brumfield and Brian Courts spun in turn four. At the opposite end, Tole went spinning in turns one and two and had to restart at the rear. The third yellow flag came out two laps later, as Hecker was battling for fifth with Austin Kerrigan and Hecker looped it in turns one and two. There were more problems on the restart as cars came together in turn one. A. Kerrigan, Taylor Miller, Will Madison, and Daniel were involved in the scrum. T. Miller had the worst part of the deal, as he was towed off with heavy damage to his car. S. Kerrigan made the pass stick on Parshall in turn two on the twelfth lap for second, but Parshall got the spot back in turn four. This happened just before Fugate lost fifth place when he spun in turn four. Doug Brewster got spun out on the restart by Daniel on the restart, then slowed to a crawl on the frontchute two laps later for yet another yellow. The officials cut the race to 16 laps and it set up a green-white-checkered situation. After a yellow for debris on the frontstretch, Parshall tried to look for a way to steal the win from Fritts. Jack went to the inside of Scott as they raced to the checkers, but Scott won by a nose for his first career victory! S. Kerrigan was third while Tole came back for fourth and A. Kerrigan finished fifth.

The 25-lap A-Main for the sportsman sprints was next. Bill Rude had the lead for the first two laps, but he surrendered it to former Skagit Speedway sportsman champion Kelsey Carpenter in turns one and two as they came for the third lap. As Carpenter checked out, Rude had Michael Millard and Devin Barnes all over him. Barnes passed Millard for third just before the finish line on the eighth lap, but Millard got it back two laps later at the stripe as well. There were two slowdowns in the event. Fast qualifier Derek Roberts spun out in turns one and two on the 12th lap, then Roger Oudman tagged the turn four wall on lap number 19 and went for a wild tumble. Oudman was A-OK. Carpenter was completely dominant in the race and won by over five seconds over Millard, who passed Rude on the final lap in turn one. Bailey Susich was an impressive fourth and Barnes was fifth.

Defending track champion Tom Sweatman and Skagit regular Kevin Smith shared the front for the Washington Modified Tour's 25-lap main with T. Sweatman leading wire-to-wire. They had problems getting the race going, as they had three yellows with only three laps in. The first yellow flew on the second lap for two reasons. Cory Sweatman spun in turn four, while Dan Kinnaman stopped in turn two with an expired motor and dumped a lot of fluid all over the racetrack. On the following lap, Zack Simpson made contact with Kyler Moore in turns three and four while racing for third. Simpson drove into the infield before coming back onto the track and rolled to a halt. Yellow flag number third occurred on the restart, as Tyson Blood and David Wolfard stopped in turn two. T. Sweatman still showed the way during a good stretch of green flag racing with Smith having to hold off Lawrence O'Connor, Jeremy Martin, and K. Moore. A. Kerrigan brought everything to a halt on the tenth tour when he stopped up high in turns one and two. Smith tried everything in his power to get by Sweatman for the lead, but nothing doing. He was three-wide with Martin and K. Moore as they came for lap twelve with Smith barely hanging onto second place. O'Connor brought out the last caution flag on the 15th lap when he slowed on the frontstretch. Martin got by Smith for second on the restart, but didn't have anything for T. Sweatman. Tom was victorious over Martin with K. Moore, Smith, and Scott Miller third through fifth. K. Moore passed Smith in turn four as they came for the white flag, but S. Miller was also in the thick of things in an awesome three-car battle.

C. Sweatman had the pole for the outlaw tuner 15-lap feature, but his car didn't get up to speed as the green flag flew and dropped to third. Josh Wharton nosed out George Lovell for the top spot on the opening lap, but Wharton lost power on the following circuit in turn four. Lovell and C. Sweatman were virtually dead even at the line to complete lap number two before Cory made the pass on George going into turn one. The race was clean and green until lap nine when Matthew Anderson got into the frontstretch wall and went for a spin. The restart was thrown out, as C. Sweatman and Lovell made contact in turn four with Lovell stopping with a flat right front tire. Behind them, Tyler Sundstrom was spun out by Zach Dalrymple. The final six laps went nonstop with C. Sweatman picking up the win over Don Briggs, Jr., Andy Jacaway, Sundstrom, and Dalrymple.

The Grays Harbor racers and fans evened up the score with Mother Nature, as they're tied 1-1. With the 2017 season now officially underway at Elma, it's time for a quick recap of the "delayed" season opener...

Mixing It Up: Although I was sort of disappointed with not seeing more cars in the pits, it was still a very diverse combination of those that were there. The modifieds had the highest count at 23 with the street stocks right behind with 22. The tuners had a full field of thirteen entries, while the sportsman sprint had nine people signed in.

Daily Double: Three people did double duty for last Saturday's race, and they had their workouts. The Kerrigans were racing in the street stock and modified divisions. Shane was third in the streets, while his son Austin was fifth. Shane came home tenth in the mods, while Austin was mired back in 17th after losing power early in the main event. C. Sweatman bowed out early in the mod main, but he drove Ryan Onasch's Vikingmobile to the win in the tuners.

Out of State, Out of Mind: Just two people in Saturday's race didn't come from Washington. Martin hails from Warren, Oregon (northwest of Portland), while O'Connor had use a ferry ride from his Port Hardy, B.C. residence (the end of the line of Highway 19 on Vancouver Island).

In the Catbird Seat: Collen Winebarger was the points leader with the Washington Modified Tour after winning both main events in Yakima on March 31 and April 1, but he was a no-show for Saturday's race. The new points leader is defending series champ K. Moore, who leads S. Miller by only six points. O'Connor is third in points and just sixteen markers behind K. Moore, despite a DNF. Craig Moore jumped twelve spots in the points to fourth thanks to his sixth-place finish, while Smith rocketed up 18 places to fifth. Another big mover in points was Tiana Berkeley, who finished a mediocre 11th on Saturday. It still propelled her from 27th to tenth in the standings. The next two races for the Washington Modified Tour will be held at Skagit this Saturday and May 27.

Chalk It Up to Ten: The number of different winners for the sportsman sprints in the GHR keeps growing. In eleven races dating back to late 2012, there were ten different winners. The only person who has more than one win is still Kenny Rutz, who doubled up in 2013. The sportsman sprinters are back at GHR on June 17 to finally have a repeat winner or even a eleventh different person go to the winner's circle.

Ready, Set, Sprint: Millard was a Northwest Focus Midgets regular and he made the switch by buying a sportsman sprinter from Dave Mead (who's now racing a midget) last summer. Michael started his 2017 season with the long haul down to Chico, California's Silver Dollar Speedway March 10 and 11 for the Silver Cup. He was at Skagit's season opener on April 22, but took a nasty flip down the backstretch on the opening lap. Michael kept it shiny side up last Saturday and crossed the finish line in second. On the other hand, 15-year-old Susich was a Deming Speedway graduate, and she was making just her second sportsman start. Bailey was also at Skagit's opener, where she finished a very respectable sixth. She almost won last Saturday's first heat race, but Carpenter got by her in turn one on the last lap. Bailey ran in the top five all race long in the main event, and she passed Barnes for fourth at the stripe with five laps left.

Going in Circles: A couple of sportsman drivers had some trouble during qualifying and brought the crowd to their feet. Oudman did a 360 spin in turn four on his opening lap and Bert Johnson, Jr. did the exact same thing just before taking the green flag. Just before completing his second time trial lap, Johnson clipped an infield tire in turn four and went spinning again. He kept going, but coasted down the frontstretch.

A Baker's Dozen: As mentioned earlier, there were thirteen tuner drivers that took part and I'm not sure if that's a record for them. Of those thirteen racers, five made their first GHR start (Jacaway, Dale Speas, Amber Tock, Anderson, and Dustin Tamplen). The tuner class is going up in attendance as of late, as they had eight cars for the 2015 season opener and ten in last year's opening event.

Number for the Weekend: 0.048...the margin of victory between winner Fritts and runner-up Parshall. If there's a way to finish off the first main event of '17, there you go.

Hard Luck Award: Steve Bulpitt. Steve scratched before the modified heat races and called it a night.

"Never Say Die" Award: Tole. After spinning out on lap eight while running third, Tole came back in the top five with four laps to go and snared fourth. Haney and Hecker also rebounded from their spinouts for sixth and seventh, respectively.

Next race: I'll be back at GHR next Saturday (May 20) for the 360 sprints, Shipwreck Beads modifieds, outlaw tuners, and Northwest Focus Midgets.

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

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

[ view entry ] ( 125 views )   |  permalink  |  $star_image$star_image$star_image$star_image$star_image ( 3 / 116 )
Jumping the Start: Round #2 at Grays Harbor Raceway 
Last Saturday's season opener at Grays Harbor Raceway was rained out, so take two to get the year underway will be happening this Saturday night. The Washington Modified Tour will roll into town for round number three of '17 along with the sportsman sprint cars, Cut Rate Auto Parts street stocks, and outlaw tuners.

The Washington Modified Tour had their first two races of the year at Yakima on March 31 and April 1 with Collen Winebarger sweeping the weekend. Winebarger holds a 26-point advantage over Lawrence O'Connor. Defending champion Kyler Moore, Scott Miller, and Grey Ferrando are separated by only three points for positions three through five.

The sportsman sprints come to Elma for the first of three visits to GHR. They had their first race at Skagit Speedway on April 22, which was won by Kelsey Carpenter. Last Saturday's race was also rained out. Kevin Kirkpatrick and Devin Barnes captured the main events at GHR last year.

The Cut Rate Auto Parts street stocks tried to get their season up and running last weekend, but Mother Nature foiled their plans. Jack Parshall is the three-time and reigning champ at GHR and he's looking to make it four straight.

Lastly, the outlaw tuners are gearing up for their first race of 2017. Don Briggs, Sr. is the defending champion of this class and he picked up two victories along the way. He scored a very memorable win last May, as he passed former tuner champion Chad Norton on the last lap and won by a nose.

Although it's a week behind schedule, Grays Harbor Raceway is finally looking to get the ball rolling with its 2017 campaign. With four different classes on the program, it's going to be a very fun night of racing.

[ view entry ] ( 107 views )   |  permalink  |  $star_image$star_image$star_image$star_image$star_image ( 3 / 117 )

<<First <Back | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | Next> Last>>