When the final checkered flag of the 2001 hy-per-lube Northern Sprint Tour season fell at Riverside Speedway in Cottage Grove, OR, Burlington, WA driver Jason Solwold had finished the year the same way he had started it, in the winners ...
When the final checkered flag of the 2001 hy-per-lube Northern Sprint Tour season fell at Riverside Speedway in Cottage Grove, OR, Burlington, WA driver Jason Solwold had finished the year the same way he had started it, in the winners circle.
Pole sitter and 2001 season champion Roger Crockett of Rio Linda, CA led the way for the first 16 laps of the 30 lap feature event as Solwold out powered Bill Nutter and then Shawna Wilskey to sit in third when Dale Smith brought out the red on lap seven.
Smith, in a tight battle with Nutter and Jeff Thompson for 4th tagged the front straight outside wall with the right rear and then the front which sent him into a hard flip just past the flag stand. Another casualty of the incident was Montana driver Joe Ramaker, who tagged a stopping Brandon Harkness and folded the front end under to put him out also.
When the action resumed, Crockett again took the point with Solwold and Wilskey close behind. Jeff Thompson, Chad Hillier, Kevin Etchison and Barry Martinez followed in a group about 10 car lengths behind.
Gary Taylor took the high side and moved to 7th passing Martinez, Jay Cole and Rick Fauver, but going high again a couple of laps later was trapped behind a slower car and they all freight trained back by him.
By lap 13 the leaders were in heavy traffic, Solwold on Crockett^Òs tail one lap and then running with a lapped car between them the next. Coming out of turn two on lap 17 Solwold went to the inside of a slower car first to make the pass on Crockett for the lead as they raced down the back chute.
Solwold opened the gap to about a 10 car length lead by the two-thirds mark, but with 5 to go Crockett was closing the gap as Solwold worked through traffic again.
Once clear, Solwold was not to be caught, taking his second win of the season as Crockett, Wilskey, Thompson and Hillier followed in the top five.
Etchison and Martinez had spent most of the race battling for position, finishing sixth and seventh as Cole, Fauver and Taylor filled out the top ten spots.
Scott Aumen^Òs hard luck followed from Friday night when the third place starter dropped out of the feature on the opening lap when a bolt in the steering failed. He returned after the Smith crash, several laps down.
Hard charging drivers for the night included Brandon Harkness who picked up 8 spots, Etchison with 9 places and Cole who was up 12 positions at the finish.
In the winners circle Solwold thanked Huson Brothers Racing for putting together such a great team and said they were ready for next year.
There was plenty of action in the B-main that had Jeff Thompson and Dale Smith in a tight battle from the dropping of the green. Thompson took the initial lead with Smith taking over on the second lap.
A red flag stop came on lap 4 when Tony Menard got sideways in turn three and was tagged by Kevin Journey who ended up on his side with enough damage to end his night.
On the restart, Smith opened a good lead over Thompson with Hillier and Cole going wheel to wheel for third until a yellow for a spinning car slowed the proceedings two laps later. Under way again, the pack stretched out and Smith was able to keep a comfortable lead until he caught the slower cars with three laps to go.
Now the top three were again nearly nose to tail giving Hillier the opening to take second from Thompson as they came out of the last turn to take the white flag. At the finish line Smith still had control of the lead as he, Thompson, Hillier and Cole transferred to the A-main.
Rookie of the Year Jeremy Cooper led all 10 laps of the opening heat. In a heated race for the last transfer position, Barnes and D. Smith came together on the front straight on the 9th lap with both spinning off the track and going to the B-main. At the line it was Cooper, Aumen, Crockett and Ramaker.
Etchison ruled the second heat for the first five laps until Fauver took the point coming out of turn four on lap six and pulled away to a 15 car length lead at the checkered flag. Also getting a spot in the feature were Rick Smith in third and Jay R. Harkness in 4th.
Cale Carder led wire to wire in heat three as Martinez dogged his rear nerf bar almost the full distance, with the cars making contact on lap 8. Solwold and Nutter also had a race long battle for third with Solwold getting the spot.
The final heat went to Brandon Harkness over Wilskey, Taylor and Greg Brown. Wilskey had started sixth and picked off Brown and then Taylor on the last two laps.
In the dash, Wilskey went hammer down at the start and never lifted for six laps to take the win from her outside front row starting spot. Chasing her the distance were Crockett, Aumen, Solwold, Nutter and Fauver.
SUMMARY Fast Time - Roger Crockett - 11.117
Heat 1 - Jeremy Cooper, Scott Aumen, Roger Crockett, Joe Ramaker, Richie Peterson, Josh Edson, Brian Ash, Jayme Barnes, Dale Smith, Shane Forte.
Heat 2 - Rick Fauver, Kevin Etchison, Rick Smith, Jay R. Harkness, Chad Hillier, Jay Cole, Kevin Smith, MArk Hinkle, Melissa Yates, Jeff Thompson.
Heat 3 - Cale Carder, Barry Martinez, Jason Solwold, Bill Nutter, Cal Herdson, John Tharp, Kevin Journey, Tim Gallaway, Robin Wood, Gus Cooper.
Heat 4 - Brandon Harkness, Shawna Wilskey, Gary Taylor, Greg Brown, Danny Horner, Donny Fry, Tony Menard, Vern Scever, Scott Adams.
Dash - Wilskey, Crockett, Aumen, Solwold, Nutter, Fauver.
C-Main - Horner, Forte, Yates, K. Smith, Gallaway, Ash, Wood.
B-Main - D. Smith, Hillier, Thompson, Cole, Barnes, Herdson, Fry, Horner,
Hinkle, Tharp, Forte, Scever, Peterson, Edson, Menard, Yates, G. Cooper.
A-Main - Solwold, Crockett, Wilskey, Thompson, Hillier, Etchison, Martinez, Cole, Fauver, Taylor, B. Harkness, J. Cooper, J. Harkness, Nutter, Carder, Brown, R. Smith, Aumen, Ramaker, D. Smith.