COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. (July 24) - Shane Stewart was so fast even the frontstretch wall couldn't slow him down. At least not enough to allow anyone to catch the 33-year-old sprint car driver from Bixby, Okla. Stewart, the polesitter who at one ...
COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. (July 24) - Shane Stewart was so fast even the frontstretch wall couldn't slow him down.
At least not enough to allow anyone to catch the 33-year-old sprint car driver from Bixby, Okla.
Stewart, the polesitter who at one point bounced off a wall, led the final 19 laps of the Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car Dirt Series presented by K&N Filters versus the ASCS Northwest Region feature race at the Cottage Grove Speedway in Cottage Grove, Ore., on Friday night.
"I actually hit the cushion a little wrong coming off of (turn) four and hit the fence," Stewart said. "It just bounced me off. It seemed to be ok. You just get back in your rhythm and try not to do it again."
Stewart led the first five laps before Austen Wheatley of Lake Stevens, Wash., passed him exiting turn two. Wheatley sailed into the lead until he entered lapped traffic two laps later.
"I just got riled up," said Wheatley, a 16 year old in his first year of racing 360 sprint cars. "I started missing my marks. I just lost focus."
On lap 12, Stewart regained the lead on the backstretch at nearly the same spot he lost it. But as Stewart built the lead throughout thick lapped traffic, he edged closer to the wall exiting turn four until his right rear eventually bounced off the cement barrier.
It didn't seem to trouble Stewart, whose only challenge came from runner-up Wayne Johnson of Oklahoma City, Okla.
"I thought maybe he would have zigged when one of those other guys zagged," Johnson said of lapped traffic. "He's a great race car driver."
Despite a restart with 11 laps remaining, which brought the top two cars nose to tail, Stewart pulled away and rallied his way through lapped traffic in the final six laps to pick up his second ASCS National Tour victory of the season.
Jason Johnson of Eunice, La., passed Medford, Ore., resident Roger Crockett for third place in the closing laps.
"It was a great race and a great race track," Johnson said. "That was as racy as a race track you could want. It had a top, had a bottom. Fantastic."
Stewart, Wayne Johnson, Jason Johnson and Crockett are all locked in to Saturday's finale at the Cottage Grove Speedway, which pays $6,000 to win.
"It's great," said Crockett, who drove from seventh to second in his heat race.
"Tonight we had a pretty high (pill) draw. We were able to get through our heat and get up there. It's pretty relaxing knowing that we don't have to try coming from the fourth row to get through there (tomorrow)."
Paul McMahan of Hendersonville, Tenn., rounded out the top five, a spot ahead of Wheatley.
"It's bittersweet," said Wheatley, who had never qualified for a feature in his three previous ASCS National Tour events.
"I was out there, leading it. I started missing my marks and screwing up. It's frustrating knowing that we were that good and I screwed it up."
Snohomish, Wash., native Seth Bergman, who is competing on the ASCS National Tour this season, was the Hard Charger. Bergman started 17th and finished seventh in the feature.
However, being mired in heavy traffic wasn't Bergman's biggest woe of the day. In his heat race, Bergman accidentally pulled all of his tear-offs - which helps clear his visor of the dirt and mud - off his helmet on the second lap of the 10-lap race.
"It went from being aggressive to I can't see anything, so I was just riding around after that," Bergman said. "I couldn't see a thing. I was trying to wipe the visor off.
"We had a good car all night. Just an unfortunate deal in the heat (race)."
He held on for a sixth-place finish, which relegated him to the first of two B mains.
Bergman won the B main to transfer to the feature. Steven Tiner of Visalia, Calif., claimed the other B main victory.
The front gate opens at 4 p.m. on Saturday with racing scheduled for 6:45 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for seniors and juniors ages 12 to 17, and $7 for children ages 5 to 11.
Lucas Oil ASCS Sprint Car Dirt Series presented by K&N Filters and ASCS Northwest Region results from the Cottage Grove Speedway (July 24):
Heat One (10 laps): 1. 57-Shane Stewart, 2. 13-Jesse Hockett, 3. 44w-Austen Wheatley, 4. 3d-Paul McMahan, 5. 41s-Dale Smith, 6. 23-Seth Bergman, 7. 11- Chad Corken, 8. 91-Gary Taylor, 9. 53x-Andy Gregg.
Heat Two (10 laps): 1. 94-Danny Wood, 2. 41-Jason Johnson, 3. 25c-Chad Groves, 4. 10-Kyle Miller, 5. 1-Sean McClelland, 6. 12-Jared Ridge, 7. 12p- Randy Pierce, 8. 33v-Henry Van Dam, 9. 7-Darren Long.
Heat Three (10 laps): 1. 53-Jack Dover, 2. 11c-Roger Crockett, 3. 98m-Mitch Olson, 4. 75-Dan Menne, 5. 5h-Justyn Cox, 6. 88-Tim Crawley, 7. 51-Jason Solwold, 8. 6m-Phillip Del Rosa, 9. 10h-Steven Horner.
Heat Four (10 laps): 1. 9x-Gary Wright, 2. 2-Kenneth Walker, 3. 35a-Wayne Johnson, 4. 29-Travis Rilat, 5. 94t-Steven Tiner, 6. 18-Tony Bruce Jr., 7. 68-Rob Held, 8. 23t-Colin Baker, 9. (DNS) 33-Nate Morelock.
First "B" Feature (12 laps): 1. 23-Seth Bergman, 2. 12-Jared Ridge, 3. 29- Travis Rilat, 4. 91-Gary Taylor, 5. 33v-Henry Van Dam, 6. 18-Tony Bruce Jr., 7. 10h-Steven Horner, 8. 6m-Phillip Del Rosa, 9. 68-Rob Held, 10. 10- Kyle Miller.
Second "B" Feature (12 laps): 1. 94t-Steven Tiner, 2. 51-Jason Solwold, 3. 5h-Justyn Cox, 4. 75-Dan Menne, 5. 53x-Andy Gregg, 6. 12p-Randy Pierce, 7. 7-Darren Long, 8. 11-Chad Corken, 9. 23t-Colin Baker, 10. (DNS) 33-Nate Morelock.
"A" Feature (30 laps): 1. 57-Shane Stewart, 2. 35a-Wayne Johnson, 3. 41- Jason Johnson, 4. 11c-Roger Crockett, 5. 3d-Paul McMahan, 6. 44w-Austen Wheatley, 7. 23-Seth Bergman, 8. 53-Jack Dover, 9. 13-Jesse Hockett, 10. 51- Jason Solwold, 11. 18-Tony Bruce Jr., 12. 1-Sean McClelland, 13. 12-Jared Ridge, 14. 88-Tim Crawley, 15. 29-Travis Rilat, 16. 2-Kenneth Walker, 17. 94t-Steven Tiner, 18. 5h-Justyn Cox, 19. 98m-Mitch Olson, 20. 41s-Dale Smith, 21. 9x-Gary Wright, 22. 94-Danny Wood, 23. 25c-Chad Groves, 24. 91- Gary Taylor.