Crockett Takes Shortened Northwest Speedweek Race Eugene, OR driver Roger Crockett avoided the problem of many of his 51 fellow drivers at Cottage Grove Speedway on July 13th to take the curfew shortened feature event on night two of the...
Crockett Takes Shortened Northwest Speedweek Race
Eugene, OR driver Roger Crockett avoided the problem of many of his 51 fellow drivers at Cottage Grove Speedway on July 13th to take the curfew shortened feature event on night two of the Northern Sprint Tour Northwest Speedweek. In a night that saw many drivers fall victim to the dry slick conditions, especially entering the second turn, the defending NST champion survived many restarts and the charges of Campbell, CA veteran Brent Kaeding and was in charge when the checkered flag fell just past the mid-point of the A-Main feature event.
"It's too bad this couldn't have gone the distance," said Crockett. And it was real hard trying to decide whether to go hi or low on the restarts. I think I changed my mind a dozen times, wondering what Brent would be doing."
The first yellow fell on lap 4 with a spin in turn two by Central Point, OR's Billy Nutter and then Ft. Jones, CA rookie Matt Menne did the same the next lap when three cars came together. On lap six Dale Smith of Cottage Grove spun in the corner and was clipped by his brother Marvin, who sustained enough damage to end his night's racing. The next lap it was Menne doing the spin cycle, which sent him to the pits under the two-spin rule.
As lap seven restarted, Nick Evans of Marysville, WA and Dawn-L Morrison of Millet, AB tangled exiting the second turn with Evans taking a high flying flip. Evans was finished for the night while Morrison was able to return on another yellow later in the evening. Also involved was Jason Solwold of Burlington, WA who was transported to the local hospital for observation with mid-back pain, using up a significant amount of time. This incident also sent fast qualifier Rick Fauver to the pits with a flat tire while running seventh.
Crockett gave notice that he had command of the race at the restart, opening a good 10-12 car length lead over Kaeding and Stephen Allard of Chico, CA until D. Smith again spun, this time at the opposite end of the track, which ended his night also.
On the restart Fauver's luck continued to go bad as he was bit by turn two, sending him to the back of the pack. After returning to action after the red flag stop, Morrison's night came to an end when she and Brandon Boyce came together with the spun car of Dallas Zuniga in turn two on lap 14.
Two laps after racing resumed Crockett opened a short lead over Kaeding with Stephen Allard giving chase in third. As lap 17 was about to finish the yellow was again displayed to slow the cars and the race checkered at the 10:00 PM curfew.
"Roger had a good car and I really wanted to race him in traffic," commented Kaeding, but you can't do it running two laps at a time." I really don't like having to checker the race like this, but we have to live with the curfew if we want to come back and race again."
Allard finished third for the second night in a row. "It's been a good two nights and I'd just found some stuff on the top where the car was starting to work. It's too bad we couldn't complete the race and see what we could do," he said.
In the 15 lap B-main Zuniga nailed the lead at the green with a quick jump to a 10 car length lead over Solwold. A slow down came on lap five when Bryce Fugate got sideways in the second turn and was tagged by Jeff Hodgson, Marc Mackay and Henry Van Dam. Hodgson, Of St Albert, AB was able to continue but Cottage Grove's Fugate and Makay, of Cameron Park, CA were through for the evening.
On the first couple of laps after the restart, the old proverbial blanket could have been thrown over positions 5 through 10 several times as they sliced and diced for position. Nearing mid-race Jimmy Trulli of Placerville, CA and Nampa, ID driver Shawn Smith went wheel to wheel for third place. On lap 13, Nutter was working the high side and passing cars when a yellow for Jeff Thompson in turn two regrouped the field and caused him a couple of gained positions. .
On the restart it was Solwold out front with a green, white, checkered finish on tap after Hodgson spun in turn four. Going for the finish Nutter mad a last gasp dash past Chris Schmelzle of Victoria, BC to take the last feature event transfer spot.
In the C-Main it was Hodgson leading all 10 laps with Shannon Wheatly of Lake Stevens, WA in second. As the top 5 positions opened, the action was mid-pack and at mid-point Mark Torres of Snoqualmie, WA and Anchorage, AK driver Steve Martin made contact on the back straight with Martin shedding his left front wheel and other parts as Torres continued down the track.
On the restart it was now Torres spinning in turn four with Paul Zimmerly of Richland, WA unable to avoid Torres as cars scattered high, low and into the infield. Under way again, the top four cars opened over the rest of the field with Travis Hawthorn of Lake Stevens, WA winning his battle with Zeitler for third with two laps to go.
In the non-qualifiers race it was all Danny Horner as the Cottage Grove driver beat David Gilmore to the line. Horner was disqualified for racing on non-spec tires, giving the win to Gilmore and also moving Randy Pierce of Meridian, ID to the C-Main.
In the dash, after a close first two laps, Crockett pulled ahead of pole sitter Allard to take the win.
The evenings first heat race saw a determined Evans hold off Kaeding for the win. Nutter led the way in heat two until exiting the race on lap 7, giving Allard the lead with running Morrison second.
Josh Dewitt caught the crowd's attention when he took a wild flipping ride off the first turn and in to the bushes on the third heats opening lap. Dewitt was unhurt and returned later in night. Crockett had the win as he opened his lead to almost half lap at times. Herman Klein and Winningham had a good race for second. In the final heat, Jay Cole went wire-to-wire to the win as a race long battle raged between Martinez and Fugate for last transfer spot. It was Martinez at the line.
Northwest Speedweek action now moves to Willamette Speedway in Lebanon, OR on July 14th. Rounding out Speedweek will be the Evergreen State Sprint Challenge at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, WA on July 16th and 17th. Scheduled to race at Grays Harbor Raceway is rookie NASCAR sensation Kasey Kahne of Enumclaw, WA.
Fast Time -- Rick Fauver -- 11.290.
Heat 1 -- Nick Evans, Brent Kaeding, Rick Fauver, Brad Sweet, Jimmy Trulli, Chris Schmelzle, Travis Hawthorne, Sean Moran, Jeff Hodgson, Scott Russell.
Heat 2 -- Stephen Allard, Dawn-L Morrison, Marvin Smith. Brendan Boyce, Marc Makay, Dallas Zuniga, Drew MacDonell, Shawn Smith, Pat Desbians, Billy Nutter.
Heat 3 -- Roger Crockett, Herman Klein, TJ Winningham, Dale Smith, Jeff Thompson, Richard Brace, Jason Solwold, Steve Martin, Shannon Wheatly, Josh Dewitt.
Heat 4 -- Jay Cole, Chad Hillier, Matt Menne, Barry Martinez, Bryce Fugate, Wade Fleming, Henry Van Dam, Todd Zeitler, Bob Brooke, Tim Boychuk..
Dash -- Crockett, Allard, Fauver, Kaeding, Martinez, Sweet.
Non-Qualifier -- David Gilmore, Mark Torres, Randy Pierce, Melissa Yates, Richie Peterson, Dan Dunlap, Jade Parker, Paul Zimmerly, Danny Horner(DQ) from win.
C-Main -- Hodgson, Wheatly, Hawthorne, Zeitler, Pierce, Peterson, Desbians, Horner, Dunlap, Torres, MacDonell, Gilmore, Yates, Zimmerly, Boychuk, Martin, Parker(DNS), Borden, Jr.(DNS).
B-Main -- Solwold, Trulli, Zuniga, Nutter, Schmelzle, Fleming, S. Smith, Hawthorne, Zeitler, Moran, Van Dam, Dewitt, Brooke, Thompson, Brace, Jr., Hodgson, Fugate, Mackay.
A-Main -- Crockett, Kaeding, Allard, Klein, Sweet, Martinez, Hillier, Cole, Nutter, Winningham, Fauver, Morrison, Trulli, Zuniga, Boyce, D. Smith, Solwold, Evans, Menne, M. Smith.