Northern Sprint Tour Wins Up Season In Trulli Great Way The 2004 Northern Sprint Tour season was wrapped up in a truly great way at State Fair Raceway in Yakima, WA on September 25th, as Jimmy Trulli gave lessons to the feature event field on...
Northern Sprint Tour Wins Up Season In Trulli Great Way
The 2004 Northern Sprint Tour season was wrapped up in a truly great way at State Fair Raceway in Yakima, WA on September 25th, as Jimmy Trulli gave lessons to the feature event field on how to get around the smooth three-eights mile clay oval. After gaining the lead on lap 15 the Placerville, CA driver led the 20 top cars of the 42 car field of entrants in a fast and furious battle, taking his first ever Northern Sprint Tour win and the $2500 winners cash at the end of the 40-lap A-feature event.
An emotional Trulli climbed from his car as the cheers of a very large State Fair Raceway crowd showed how much they had enjoyed the race. "It's a big win for me, really big. This seemed like the longest race I've ever run in my life", commented Trulli in his post race interview. "They race really hard here in the NST and the competition just keeps getting better. After that close racing with Jay (Jay Smith) I didn't realize how big a lead I had at the end and I was still just running hard."
Starting third, Trulli watched Jay Smith of Sedro Woolley, WA and Mt. Vernon, WA's Shawna Wilskey battle for the lead for the first ten laps but Trulli's use of the low groove started paying off as he reeled in Wilskey to take 2nd crossing the finish line at the end of lap 11.
With leader Smith running the higher groove on the berm, Trulli continued to find traction low and on lap 15 pulled even to run wing to wing and then get the lead out of turn four.
Trulli had just opened a small lead when the yellow flag flew for Chris Adams of Nampa, ID who coasted to a stop in turn two while running a solid third behind Wilskey on the 17th lap. Adams was pushed to the pits with no brakes and possible other problems and did not return.
On the restart Smith made a move to regain his lead and the two cars raced wheel to wheel, touching tires at times, for the next three laps. With the crowd on the edge of their seats, Smith jumped the cushion in turn three and tagged the wall, breaking something in the front end that had him almost hitting the turn one wall before stopping high in turn two on the 21st lap.
With J. Smith now relegate to the pits, Trulli got a good jump on Wilskey to open a small two car length lead as Wilskey went high against the berm looking for the speed to catch and overtake the leader. Behind Wilskey, the action for third through sixth had also been tight at times as Nampa, ID driver Shawn Smith, Brock Lemley of Bellingham, WA, Travis Jacobson of Lake Stevens, WA and Shawn Rice of Tacoma went wing to wing with several position changes. Rice, who had started a distant 13th, had come on especially strong about lap 15 and was picking off cars at a rate that had him in third as the top three opened a large gap over the field by lap 28.
With ten laps to go, Trulli had a comfortable lead and Rice was knocking on Wilskey's back nerf. They continued the close race until Rice was finally able to get by on lap 33 and hold the spot.
Though a quarter lap behind the top three, S. Smith, Lemley and Jacobson were still running in a pack and now were now joined by 15th place starter Dawn-L Morrison of Millet, AB in sixth place.
As the last five laps flew by Wilskey faded some and Rice was able to close the gap somewhat on Trulli but the Placerville drivers first Northern Sprint Tour win was not to be denied.
"This has been a great year running with NST", said Trulli in his post race interview. "The racing has been hard and clean and it's been a lot of fun. We're not sure about next year's plans, but we definitely will be running some races with NST. Thanks to every one -- my sponsors, my crew, the other drivers and crews and the fans for making it a great year."
"Wow, this feels like a win to me!!" was the comment from runner up Rice. "I knew it was going to be really tough against this competition and I never figured I could get to second after starting 13th. I sure hop I have enough fuel to make weight."
In an effort to make some extra money and also add excitement to the feature event, 2004 NST Champion Roger Crockett of Eugene, OR had made a deal with the promoters to forfeit his poll position and start from the rear. Unfortunately for Crockett, his night ended on the fourth lap as he made a quick stop and exit of the car in turn two as a broken power steering line sprayed him down and a small fire started. Although he had a guaranteed win amount, his chance for the $500 bonus on top of the $2500 winners money was over early.
In post race inspections, the third place car of Wilskey was disqualified for being light, moving S. Smith into that position.
In the B-Feature event, T. Jacobson pulled to the lead over poll sitter S. Smith as they exited turn two, and from thereon the racing was all behind him.
Bill Balog of Pasco, WA brought out a lap 6 red, flipping in turn four, which set up a good race between Andy Jacobson of Lake Stevens, WA and Enumclaw, WA driver Henry Van Dam. After they battled each other and Rookie of the year Nick Evans of Marysville, WA they both also got past Jay Cole of Shelton, WA who had nailed down third place early in the race.
Evans fell victim to Bob Stevens of Richmond, BS who picked up sever spots in the closing laps to take sixth.
Rookie Jared Ridge, in only his second ever night of racing in a sprint car, won the C-Feature event. The Monroe, WA based driver grabbed the lead at the green and had opened a 20 car length lead by the third lap as he smoothly circled the track.
David "Happy" Gilmore of Maple Valley, WA finished second with Auburn, WA veteran Dan Dunlap and Woodinville, WA's Brian Kirkpatrick put on a tight race for third before a smoking Dunlap exited with an oil leak. Steve Vague moved to fourth with Kelly Barnett filling the top five.
Heat race action got off to a bad start for former champion Rick Fauver. Fast qualifier of the night, the Everett, WA driver jumped a tire on the green and made hard contact with the turn one wall. With the front end destroyed, Fauver watched the rest of the race from the pits, having already locked down second place in season points. Rice went to the front on the restart and took the win in the ten-lap event.
Disappointment was the word of the evening for Alex Hantel in heat two. After taking the lead on a lap one restart, the Snohomish, WA rookie looked to be easily on his way to the win when the driveline broke on lap eight. Chris Adams of Nampa, ID took the lead as they restarted and went to the win.
Starting fifth, Crockett was in the lead at the mid point of the backstretch on lap one of heat three, where he stayed till the finish. J. Smith moved to second on lap 3 as he and Cory Chamberlin of Port Moody, BC raced side by side across the finish line. Chamberlin held to third.
Morrison held off several tries for the lead by feature event winner Trulli, to take the heat four win after opening a 5-6 car length in the final laps. Following Trulli to the line was central Point, OR veteran Billy Nutter.
On the dash start J. Smith's bid for the lead ended in disaster for Ed Evans. Running three wide past the flag stand, Evans was pinned to the outside wall as Smith's right rear tire made contact with Evans' left front, removing the tire, wheel and part of the front axel from the Marysville, WA drivers car.
Smith went on to finish second behind Crockett in the dash with Wilskey, Trulli and Josh Dewitt of Snohomish, WA following. E. Evans was out for the night.
Fast time with a 15.165 second lap of the three-eights mile oval went to Fauver.
Fast Time -- Rick Fauver -- 15.165.
Heat 1 -- Shawn Rice, Josh Dewitt, Chad Hillier, Kevin Kirkpatrick, Bill Balog, David Gilmore, Kelly Barnett, Jake Mann, Jeff Bell, Danny Kirkpatrick, Rick Fauver.
Heat 2 -- Chris Adams, Jayme Barnes, Ed Evans, Shawna Wilskey, Randy Pierce, Bob Stevens, Steve Kilcup, Mike Grable, Alex Hantel, Ron Reed.
Heat 3 -- Roger Crockett, Jay Smith, Cory Chamberlin, Brock Lemley, Henry Van Dam, Nick Evans, Jay Cole, Brian Kirkpatrick, Rod Perkins, Dan Dunlap.
Heat 4 -- Dawn-L Morrison, Jimmy Trulli, Billy Nutter, Glenn Borden, Jr., Travis Jacobson, Shawn Smith, Andy Jacobson, Brad Holmes, Jared Ridge, Steve Vague.
Dash -- Crockett, J. Smith, Wilskey, Dewitt, E. Evans.
C-Main -- Ridge, Gilmore, B. Kirkpatrick, Vague, Barnett, Mann, Dunlap, Reed(DNS), Grable(DNS).
B-Main -- T. Jacobson, S. Smith, A. Jacobson, Van Dam, Cole, Stevens, N. Evans, Holmes, Perkins, Pierce, Ridge, B. Kirkpatrick, Gilmore, Vague, Balog, Kilcup, Bell.
A-Main -- Trulli, Rice, S. Smith, Lemley, T. Jacobson, Morrison, Hillier, Nutter, Borden, Jr., A. Jacobson, Van Dam, Barnes, Chamberlin, Cole, J. Smith, Adams, Crockett, K. Kirkpatrick, Dewitt, Wilskey(DQ).
<pre> FINAL 2004 SEASON DRIVER POINTS
Pos. Car # Name Home Town Points 1 11 Roger Crockett Eugene, OR 865 2 5SP Rick Fauver Everett, WA 717 3 3N Billy Nutter Central Point, OR 682 4 33T Jimmy Trulli Placerville, CA 672 5 75 Dale Smith Cottage Grove, OR 573 6 24N Nick Evans** Marysville, WA 486 7 V8 Jeff Hodgson St. Albert, AB 474 8 0J Jay Cole Shelton, WA 466 9 32S Shawn Smith Nampa, ID 445 10 3/24C/V8 Chad Hillier Sedro Woolley, WA 435 11 4M Dawn-L Morrison Millet, AB 416 12 9T TJ Winningham Gold Hill, OR 413 13 66 Barry Martinez Lynnwood, WA 398 14 76 Shawn Rice Tacoma, WA 386 15 57 Chris Schmelzle Victoria, BC 317 16 36 Travis Hawthorne Lake Stevens, WA 311 17 33V Henry Van Dam** Enumclaw, WA 305 18 7T Jeff Thompson Harrisburg, OR 303 19 34 Randy Van Aagten Shelton, WA 269 20 12P Randy Pierce Meridian, ID 231 21 72 Glenn Borden, Jr. Raymond, WA 216 22 4Z Dallas Zuniga Creswell, OR 214 23 5H Herman Klein Sacramento, CA 196 24 86 Mark Mackay Cameron Park, CA 149 25 88 Bryce Fugate** Bandon, OR 145 26 5H Brad Holmes Cosmopolis, WA 144 27 8 David Gilmore Maple Valley, WA 106 28 96 Eddie Evans Marysville, WA 104 28 1B Bob Brooke Southerlin, OR 104 30 26 Kasey Kahne Enumclaw, WA 85 31 4 Chris Adams** Nampa, ID 83 32 38 Ron Ellis Pleasant Hill, OR 73 33 7 Mark Torres Snoqualmie, WA 70 34 99E Alex Hantel** Everett, WA 64 35 21W Colby Weisz Colfax, CA 59 36 22G George Graham Seattle, WA 55 37 75M Dan Menne Ft. Jones, CA 41 38 9B Jeff Bell Marysville, WA 33 39 2K Kevin Etchison Eugene, OR 32 40 O8 Steve Vague Kirkland, WA 31 40 21D Dan Dunlap Auburn, WA 31 42 26Z Paul Zimmerly** Richland, WA 27 43 97R Ron Reed Montesano, WA 19 44 5 Ron Smith Medford, OR 8 45 55D Bob Smith Port Orchard, WA 7 46 91 Derek Ingalls Sultan, WA 5 46 19M Mike Sellers Aberdeen, WA 5 As of September 25, 2004 ** Denotes Rookie.