Northwest Speedweek Race Three Goes to Kaeding There were 45 cars at the Lebanon, OR three-tenths mile oval, Willamette Speedway, and Brent Kaeding showed them all that he was out to win the Northern Sprint Tour's third Northwest Speedweek race.
Northwest Speedweek Race Three Goes to Kaeding
There were 45 cars at the Lebanon, OR three-tenths mile oval, Willamette Speedway, and Brent Kaeding showed them all that he was out to win the Northern Sprint Tour's third Northwest Speedweek race. The Campbell, CA veteran sprint driver took the lead exiting turn two on a second lap restart and never looked back as he became the first repeat driver in the 2004 version of Northwest Speedweek at the July 14th event.
The #9T car of TJ Winningham of Gold Hill, OR got a good start as he put a 10-car length space between himself and Kaeding on the first lap, only to see it evaporate when the yellow flew for debris on the track, a side nerf off of another competitor's car. On the restart, Kaeding made the pass for the front coming out of turn two but was set back when the yellow flag was again waved.
On the second restart, Kaeding was able to make the pass and get in a complete lap before a turn one tangle involving Richard Brace, Jr., of Auburn, CA, Victoria, BC driver Chris Schmelzle, Jay Cole of Shelton, WA and Brad Sweet out of Grass Valley, CA had the caution flag flying again. This restart saw Shawn Smith of Nampa, ID slipping past Winningham for second as Kaeding pulled to a 20-car length lead.
Kaeding set a blistering pace and had a big lead on lap six when Jeff Thompson of Harrisburg, OR spun in turn one to bring out the caution flag. Contact with Sweet and Tim Boychuck of Winterberg, AB put Sweet on his side turning the yellow to a red flag.
With Sweet low and the other two cars high, Kaeding had to haul up to a quick stop. Although it was not a popular decision, after a lengthy discussion among the officials it was decided that the red light was on, Kaeding had not hit Sweet's car when he stopped and Kaeding would therefore not lose his lead position.
Back in action, it was Winningham closing on S. Smith but having little luck in mustering more momentum for a pass while Stephen Allard was searching the high side looking for another groove to race in. The Chico, CA driver, who squeaked into the feature with a 4th place B-main finish, evidently found something to his liking as he was up six spots by the finish of the race.
Mid-pack it was Everett, WA driver Rick Fauver and Herman Klein of Sacramento, CA in a tight battle dicing for 8th, one that lasted for the rest of the race.
Exiting turn four on lap 11, Chad Hillier of Sedro Woolley, WA took a hard ride when he and Barry Martinez made contact. Martinez, of Lynnwood, WA continued down the front straight while Hillier went flipping end over end.
Off and running again, the cars quickly strung out around the track until Schmelzle and Thompson and made contact in turn two with Schmelze spinning and Thompson coming to a stop at the other corner with a flat tire with 13 laps in the books.
Again running away from the pack, Kaeding was into lapped traffic by lap 17 and then deftly avoided Cole who spun in front of the leader on lap 24. On the restart Thompson spun and then lay over on his side to cause the last caution flag. Winningham's quick action to go above Thompson saved the night from another possible red.
The seven-lap run to the checkered was fast and furious with all cars running flat out. While Kaeding was running away with the lead, a possible disaster was avoided on lap 27 when Hawthorne and Evans came together on the front straight but quick action by both drivers saw them maintain control and continue racing.
Tuesday night's winner, Eugene, OR's Roger Crockett made a last half-lap charge to take third from Winningham but fell short by a few feet as the field followed Kaeding to the line.
"Tonight went great," said Kaeding. " We had a good car all night and that was good because TJ was fast tonight." "A great track. Sticky, fast and I could run the bottom. Really liked it." "We're off to Elma now. I've been hearing good things about that track and it sounds like it's going to what we like to run."
The happiest driver of the night was probably TJ Winningham. After the dash win and a second in the feature, Winning ham was overjoyed. "I just have good luck here," he said. "This track just seems to like me. Boy, this is just like a win to me tonight."
Third place finisher Shawn Smith was happy also. "This is a lot better than last year. I got he car going pretty good, everything went smooth and it was a real good run." When asked about the haul from Idaho, Smith commented, "There are very few dirt tracks at home, so we pretty much run with the Northern Sprint Tour and it's really great."
There was action aplenty in the B-Main where Billy Nutter led from start to finish. The Central Point, OR veteran driver took control on the opening lap and held the lead to the checkered flag.
Lap three contact in turn one saw Bob Brooke of Southerlin, OR flip with Nampa, ID's Randy Pierce up again the wall between Drew MacDonell of Chipman, AB and Anchorage, AK driver Steve Martin. Brooke and Pierce went to the pits. On the restart, Allard & Jimmy Trulli of Placerville, CA had contact with Trulli losing his front wing. The incident stacked up cars but all others made it through.
Lap 5 saw Allard out of groove in turn two and Dawn-L Morrison of Millet, AB made the pass on him for 4thplace. On lap 6 Trulli's handling problems cost him 3rd spot as Morrison put on the pass and he then brought out the yellow on lap 7 when he stopped on the track and was finished for the night. Henry Van Dam was spinning in turn one on lap 9 to bring on the yellow light as Allard and Jeff Hodgson fought at the opposite end of the track. Hodges spun and then went to the pits.
After a great run forward, Morrison started to fade the last two laps as did Glenn Borden, Jr. Borden, of Raymond, WA and Morrison were running out of fuel while Allard, making all out run, moved to fourth for the final transfer to the feature event.
A fast paced race with little passing, the C-main was led the full 10 laps by Josh Dewitt of Snohomish, WA. Slowed only by a lap 5 yellow and then a restart red when Shannon Wheatly spun and collected David Gilmore, who flipped, Dewitt opened good lead early and easily held for rest of race. Although it had little passing, Mark Torres of Snoqualmie, WA made a good move on lap 3 through turn two to get past Jade Parker and Scott Russell but fell short of a transfer to the B-main. Filling the top six at the line, it was Dewitt, Van Dam, Zeitler, Torres, Russell and Parker.
Hillier led wire to wire in the first heat with high-flying action on lap 8. Fauver got loose trying to miss another car and made contact with Borden, Jr. as they exited turn four causing Borden to flip. Randy Van Aagten made sure heat two went his way, leading the full 10 laps. In the tight third heat, Boychuck went flag to flag in a close race where the top six cars were never far apart. The final heat saw Thompson taking the checkered flag over Cole and Kaeding.
Northwest Speedweek action now moves to 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 -- 12.433.
Heat 1 -- Chad Hillier, Shawn Smith, Roger Crockett, Dale Smith, Jimmy Trulli, Rick Fauver, Josh Dewitt, Marc Mackay, Bryce Fugate, David Gilmore. Jimmy Voytek, Glenn Borden, Jr.
Heat 2 -- Randy Van Aagten, TJ Winningham, Richard Brace, Jr., Barry Martinez, Jeff Hodgson, Dawn-L Morrison, Drew MacDonell, Scott Russell, Henry Van Dam, Dan Dunlap, Billy Nutter.
Heat 3 -- Tim Boychuk, Chris Schmelzle, Brad Sweet, Herman Klein, Stephen Allard, Sean Moran, Bob Brooke, Randy Pierce, Nick Evans, Shannon Wheatly.
Heat 4 -- Jeff Thompson, Jay Cole, Brent Kaeding, Travis Hawthorne, Marvin Smith, Nick Evans, Todd Zeitler, Mark Torres, Steve Martin, Wade Fleming, Paul Zimmerly.
Dash -- Winningham, Kaeding, S. Smith, Crockett, D. Smith, Schmelzle.
C-Main -- Dewitt, Van Dam, Zeitler, Torres, Russell, Parker, Fugate, Dunlap, Zimmerly, Voytek, Wheatly, Gilmore.
B-Main -- Nutter, Fauver, Evans, Allard, Morrison, Dewitt, Mackay, Van Dam, Zeitler, Borden, Jr., Hodgson, Trulli, Martin, Brooke, MacDonell, Fleming, M. Smith, Pierce.
A-Main -- Kaeding, S. Smith, Winningham, Crockett, Nutter, Allard, D. Smith, Fauver, Klein, Martinez, Van Aagten, Evans, Cole, Hawthorne, Brace, Thompson, Schmelzle, Hillier, Sweet, Boychuk.