Fox Feels at Home on Portland Dirt By Bob Kehoe PORTLAND, OR (April 13, 2001) -- Dirt track veteran Dan Fox wasted no time establishing himself as a strong contender for the 2001 NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Grand American Modified Division ...
Fox Feels at Home on Portland Dirt By Bob Kehoe
PORTLAND, OR (April 13, 2001) -- Dirt track veteran Dan Fox wasted no time establishing himself as a strong contender for the 2001 NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Grand American Modified Division championship at the Portland Speedway's season-opener Friday. Fox came away the winner of the night's main event on the historic Speedway's new 1/3rd mile clay oval. Finishing behind Fox and rounding out the top five, respectively, were Donnie Martin, former Speedway Late Model Champion Tom Pinkowsky, Curt Zelmer, and Chris Quinn.
Fox started the race on the inside of the third row due to the invert. At the drop of the green flag front-row starters Ray Elwess and Donnie Martin set the quick pace, closely followed by the cars of Don Jenner and Eric Sayre. Following the first caution on lap 6, Elwess maintained his lead but was now being hounded by a fast-charging Richard Whiteman and Fox, now in third place. The front three remained together until lap 12, when Elwess and Whiteman, running side by side fighting for the lead, made contact with each other in Turn 4, with both ending their night up against the outside wall, bringing out the second caution and moving the patient Fox to the point.
Fox also became the season's first recipient of the Valvoline Challenge Award -- a weekly cash bonus given to the Grand American Modified Division driver who is able to combine a main event win after setting the fast time during the one-lap qualifying session. Earlier in the evening Fox put down a quick lap of 16.149 seconds, ahead of second fastest Don Jenner (16.447) and Ray Elwess (16.623).
With time running short for the race, originally scheduled for 35 laps, officials elected to restart the field for a green-white-checkered final dash. Fox got a strong jump on Martin, Pinkowsky and Zelmer, with the order remaining the same when starter Russ Voight threw the checkered flag. Following his win, Fox said, "The night couldn't have been better and that the only adjustment the crew had to make during the evening was to adjust tire air pressure." "The car has been great since we rolled it out for the first practice session here at the track a few weeks ago. I also have to give a lot of credit not only to my crew, but also my sponsors Malar Performance Engines, Portsmouth Club, www.competitionmotorsports.com and Raceline Agency."
Delayed one week due to weather, the KUPL Opening Night Presented by Quality RV offered plenty of early-season action by the Speedway's other regular weekly racing divisions: Sportsman, Street Stocks, Bumpin' Bombers and Figure 8 cars.
Logging a nearly perfect night in his Sportsman Division Camero was Portland 's Scott Winebarger, who started out by setting a record-setting qualifying time of 18.420 seconds, just ahead of second and third place qualifiers Brad Stanwood (18.742) and Dale Holland (18.831). Winebarger went on to dominate his heat race and then record the win for the Sportsman Main Event over Holland, Stanwood and Andy Church. "Each of those wins came with a few bumps and bangs," said Winebarger, "It was a great night for our Rapid Fire Engine Supply/Mad Mike Racing, Marty's Transmission Camero."
Dustin Wilkenson made a gritty last-lap move on Brad Tanner to record the win in the Street Stock Main. Nudging himself first inside through Turn 4, Wilkenson then drag raced Tanner to the finish, crossing the line by less than a fender's length and giving the opening night crowd a great show. "Brad gave me a lot of room in Turn 4 and I took advantage," Wilkinson said.
Ron Henderson was the season's first Main Event winner in the crowd-pleasing Figure 8 race and the night ended with Stan Asanovic's victory in the Bomber Class.
The next scheduled event for the Portland Speedway's weekly NASCAR Friday "Bud Bowl" is Friday, April 20th. Featured Divisions will be the Grand American Modifieds, Sportsman, Street Stocks, Figure 8 and the track's brand new all-women's division called WAR! -- for Women's Auto Racing. Ticket prices are $10 for adults, $5 for juniors (11-17), and kids 10 and under are free with a paid adult. For all NASCAR Friday "Bud Bowl" events, front gates will open at 5:00 p.m., with racing beginning at 6:45 p.m. For a complete schedule of events log on to www.portlandspeedway.com.