Jay Cole Takes Northern Sprint Tour's Biggest Race Jay Cole from nearby Shelton, Wash. put the home track crowd into an utter frenzy with his 40 lap Northern Sprint Tour victory Saturday night at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, Wash. He hadn't...
Jay Cole Takes Northern Sprint Tour's Biggest Race
Jay Cole from nearby Shelton, Wash. put the home track crowd into an utter frenzy with his 40 lap Northern Sprint Tour victory Saturday night at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, Wash. He hadn't won a series event in eight seasons. The $5,000 pay check was also a big way to end the annual Evergreen State Sprint Challenge.
Kasey Kahne out of Enumclaw, Wash. led the "A" main field of 20 cars - out of the 41 in the pits - to the green. Cole would quickly move from his third starting spot to second place on lap two around Bartlett, Tenn.'s Jason Sides. The leaders would settle while the back two-thirds of the field was a beehive of activity.
Lap 12 saw the leaders catch the tail end of traffic. Kahne was trying to find his way through the back markers when Cole made his move down low off of turn two and took the top spot. The pass would begin a minor descent for Kahne: Sides took second place from him on lap 18, and then it was Fresno, Calif. competitor Steve Kent claiming fourth just two laps later. He would then fall yet another spot to fifth on lap 22.
That same lap was when Cole's biggest challenge put him to the test. Sides got a good run down low off of turn two but Cole defended his ground and was able to maintain the lead entering three. Cole wouldn't be seriously contested again for the duration; including two restarts.
The race went green until lap 27 when Travis Rutz of Langley, B.C. came to a stop high in the fourth turn. Just two laps after that the weekend's only red flag flew when Quilcene, Wash. resident J.J. Hickle snap rolled violently between turns three and four. The week's worst crash fortunately resulted in Hickle walking away under his own power.
The lap 29 restart allowed for Kahne to make a big move around both Crockett and then Kent to climb back to third, and that's the way things would ultimately wind up: Cole ahead of Sides, Kahne, Kent, and Medford, Ore.'s Roger Crockett. The rest of the top-10 was Henry Van Dam out of Enumclaw, Wash., Mitch Olson from Tacoma, Wash., last night's winner Travis Jacobson of Lake Stevens, Wash., Shelton, Wash.'s Randy Van Aagten, and Danny Horner from Cottage Grove, Ore.
The overall Speedweek title went to Kent for the fourth time in his career. His 364 points over the five races in six nights at four tracks held up over Sides' 361. The rest of the top-5 were Horner with 332, Crockett with 331, and Olson who produced 284 points.
Rick Fauver from Everett, Wash. used the low line from his "B" main pole position to take the early lead in the 20 lap race. Fourth starting Bill Nutter of Central Point, Ore. stayed on the cushion to jump up to second by the time the field reached the back straightaway. A quick caution in turn two of the second lap came out when Kirkland, Wash.'s Steve Vague spun out of a top-5 position and Derek Ingalls out of Sultan, Wash. had no where to go; both were able to restart.
Fauver continued to lead and was being heavily pressured by Adam Main of Grass Valley, Calif. and Dallas Zuniga from Creswell, Ore. who had both gotten by Nutter. That's when the leader made the error the rest of the field was waiting for. He ran high entering one on the thirteenth lap and that allowed Main to get by. The slip-up also allowed Zuniga and Nutter to get three wide with Fauver. The trio remained that way until the back chute's mid point when contact resulted in Nutter heavily damaging his front end. He had no control entering turn three and pushed up the track where he clipped Nampa, Idaho's Chris Adams who then spun in turn four. Both were done.
Just two laps were run when the green flag came back out before Rob Held from Sutherlin, Ore. stopped in turn two bringing out yet another caution. On the restart Zuniga would slide back from third until he eventually lost the fourth and final transfer position to T.J. Winningham out of Gold Hill, Ore. on the last lap. By way of the lap thirteen yellow, Fauver was reinstated to the lead and would take the win over Main, Hickle, and Winningham. Zuniga would start the feature event however when Snohomish, Wash.'s Jared Ridge experience mechanical problems prior to the green.
The 6 lap dash featured a slightly altered format for the evening. Due to the separate points system used for the Evergreen State Sprint Challenge, the top six drivers in points from Friday night on through qualifying and heats for Saturday were entered into the race. The finish though would still determine the first six starting spots of the "A" main. Kahne took the victory over Sides, Cole, Crockett, Jacobson, and Kent.
The 15 lap "C" main was led all the way by Snohomish, Wash.'s Seth Bergman. The race was slowed twice by caution flags. The first was on lap 7 when Chris Pattenaude out of Ferndale, Wash. spun in turn two, and the second was on lap 13. That two car incident started with a Maple Valley, Wash.'s David Gilmore spin and ended when Meridian, Idaho's Randy Pierce had no where to go. The latter of the two was the only one to continue on.
The race went green the rest of the way. Following Bergman to the "B" main were Shane Forte of Junction City, Ore., Winningham, and Adams. Adams was out of contention to move on until the last corner of the race when Ken Brogan from Olympia, Wash. spun out of third place. Brad Holmes from Cosmopolis, Wash. would serve as the potential alternate for the "B".
There were no transfers from the heat races with the use of the points format. Instead the points earned in qualifying and the heats were added to the drivers' totals from Friday night. Those overall totals were then used to set the line-ups straight-up for the evening's dash and three main events. The number of heats and the duration of each remained the same as per usual at four and ten respectively.
The final quick time to be earned in the week went to Jacobson at 12.864 seconds.
Northern Sprint Tour
Grays Harbor Raceway, Elma, Washington
Saturday, July 29, 2006
Quick Time -- 7J Travis Jacobson 12.864
Heat 1 (10 Laps) -- 1. 4Z Dallas Zuniga, 2. 91 Derek Ingalls, 3. 33 Jason Sides, 4. 7J Travis Jacobson, 5. 9 Kasey Kahne, 6. 8E Evan Funk, 7. 08 Steve Vague, 8. 68 Rob Held, 9. 26 Rick Fauver, 10. 5H Brad Holmes, 11. 21 Chris Pattenaude
Heat 2 (10 Laps) -- 1. 8R Travis Rutz, 2. OJ Jay Cole, 3. 26 Rick Fauver, 4. 23 Seth Bergman, 5. 24 Braden Etchison, 6. 26F Shane Forte, 7. 75H Danny Horner, 8. 14 Robert McNulty, 9. 7C Cale Carder, 10. 7AK Steve Martin
Heat 3 (10 Laps) -- 1. 73 Marc Huson, 2. 32S Shawn Smith, 3. 33V Henry Van Dam, 4. 11 Roger Crockett, 5. 9T T.J. Winningham, 6. 4 Nick Engberg, 7. 18 Steve Kilcup, 8. 7H J.J. Hickle, 9. 12P Randy Pierce, 10. 8 David Gilmore
Heat 4 (10 Laps) -- 1. 35A Adam Main, 2. 7N Steve Kent, 3. 3N Bill Nutter, 4. 5 Herman Klein, 5. 7 Randy Van Aagten, 6. 4C Chris Adams, 7. 98M Mitch Olson, 8. 12 Jared Ridge, 9. 58W Steve Witte, 10. 97R Ron Brogan
C Main (15 Laps) -- 1. 1. Bergman, 2. Forte, 3. Winningham, 4. Adams, 5. Holmes, 6. Martin, 7. Pattenaude, 8. 14 McNulty, 9. Brogan, 10. Pierce, 11. Gilmore
Dash (6 Laps) -- 1. Kahne, 2. Huson, 3. Cole, 4. Crockett, 5. Jacobson, 6. Kent
B Main (20 Laps) -- 1. Fauver, 2. Main, 3. Hickle, 4. Winningham, 5. Zuniga, 6. Klein, 7. Bergman, 8. Carder, 9. Forte, 10. Vague, 11. Adams, 12. Ingalls, 13. Witte, 14. Malsam, 15. Etchison, 16. Held, 17. Nutter, 18. Engberg
A Main (40 Laps) -- 1. Cole, 2. Sides, 3. Kahne, 4. Kent, 5. Crockett, 6. Van Dam, 7. Olson, 8. Jacobson, 9. Van Aagten, 10. Horner, 11. Fauver, 12. Main, 13. Funk, 14. Winningham, 15. Huson, 16. Kilcup, 17. Zuniga, 18. Smith, 19. Hickle, 20. Rutz