Portland Speedway report 2001-07-14

Portland, Ore. Eric Sayre of Vancouver, Wash. finally won the race he so long for, the Annual Budweiser 100 at Portland Speedway. The win was a return to form for the dirt racing ace who has struggled finding the right combination on the tricky ...

Portland, Ore. Eric Sayre of Vancouver, Wash. finally won the race he so long for, the Annual Budweiser 100 at Portland Speedway. The win was a return to form for the dirt racing ace who has struggled finding the right combination on the tricky Portland clay. Sayre was followed to the line by Don Jenner, Ray Elwess, Tom Pinkowsky, and Gary Morris.

Don Jenner got the evening started with a quick lap of 16.517 that paced the Grand American Modified field. Dan Fox bested Tigard's Richard Whiteman, Ray Elwess, and Jenner in the four-lap Trophy Dash for the four fastest from qualifying. Sonny Sayre lead Donnie Martin, Ed Farness, and Curt Zelmer in the first Heat Race. Then it was Boring, Oregon's Gary Morris blitzing the field in the second Heat Race over Sonny Modaff, Jenner, and Fox.

The 100-lap event started with drivers lining up for a 10-car invert that placed fast timer Jenner in the tenth position. The invert put Sonny Sayre and Ed Farness on the front role. By the end of lap one, E. Sayre had moved up to the third position from his sixth starting position. Donnie Martin controlled the point until a lap 6 caution for a spin by Curt White of Eugene, Ore. On the lap 10 restart, Chris Quinn lost his bid for the top five when he had to pit for a cut left rear that dropped the rising star a lap down to the field.

On lap 12, Martin spun while leading, he managed to refire the motor but fell to the tail end of the lead lap. S. Sayre assumed the lead closely pursued by his brother Eric Sayre with Morris in tow followed by Elwess, and Sonny Modaff. E. Sayre dove the outside of his brother to take the lead briefly on lap 17, but lost it as quickly as Morris drove his car in hard on the low side and took the lead as the two crossed the line on lap 18. Morris maintained the lead throughout the rest of the first 50-lap segment. On lap 51, Starter Russ Voight threw the yellow for the mandatory half time break that allowed the crews to refill the cars with fuel and make adjustments to the chassis. Anyone wishing to change tires would have to restart at the rear of the field.

During the break Sayre reflected on his chances of winning the race, "As they say in racing, catching him is one thing and passing is another," Sayre said. "The track is dry-slick and as long as we have some long green runs I'll be in good shape.

"We're alright, this is my kind of race," stated Tom Pinkowsky. Pinkowsky is a three-time Portland Speedway Asphalt Late Model champion who has found victory lane twice on the clay this season.

Don Jenner is also a two-time winner this season in Grand American Modified action and the hottest driver in the division. "I need the outside groove to come in for me to make my move," Jenner said.

Perhaps the happiest person in the pit area was Zoe Minsker who was all smiles after the first 50-laps. Minsker is the only female racer in the Track's premier division. Her goal all season has been to finish races and get seat time. "This is a lot of fun", Minsker commented. "I have a steep learning curve, I just want to finish." Minsker would finish the 100-lap event in 11th place one lap down.

Racing action resumed on lap 52 after the intermission with E. Sayre assuming the lead because Morris opted to change rear tires to start the second half in the back of the field. Sayre would lead the entire second half of the race, but the action was fast and furious behind as Morris had moved back into the top five by lap 90. Over the final 10 laps Jenner dogged Elwess for the second position and was finally able to move under on lap 98 to secure his 6th top five finish of the season.

Sayre took the checkers over Jenner, Elwess, Pinkowsky, and Morris. The win for Sayre marked the accomplishment of a dream he has had since he raced the pavement Late Models on the historic half-mile. Sayre dedicated the win to his grandmother who had never seen him win the "big one."

"This win is for my family, my crew, and you grandma," Sayre said as he pointed skyward. "We made some changes that we haven't tried this year. Running at some of the other dirt tracks has helped us, you had to run the track tonight like it was asphalt. I finally won something that I have been trying for a long time. When the track was pavement, this was the race to win, it is our Daytona 500."

Second place finisher Jenner has quietly finished in the top five all season. "I have always run this good all season, you guys just have not noticed me," Jenner stated. "Congratulations to Eric, if we had a few more laps maybe I would of had something for him."

"The power steering broke with 10-laps to go," an exhausted Elwess said. "I couldn't hold off Jenner, the car just did not want to turn. Prior to the last 10 laps the car drove great."

In the evenings other weekly action the NASCAR ShorTrack Sportsman took to the track for their 25-lap battle on the third-mile Bud Bowl. Chris West and Clyde White started the event on the front row, with divisional point leader Martin Stanwood in 10th.

Dan Harris of Portland, Ore. got the early jump on the field passing the front row starters by the completion of lap 1. As the field sped pass the line on lap-two, the #37 Timber Wolf Chevy of Doug Mitchell broke a water line showering the field in steam as the they went into turn one. The water on the track caused several cars to spin including Mitchell, West, Graham, and 2000 Late Model Champion Jody Tanner. By lap 10 the hard-charging Scott Winebarger of Portland, Ore. had moved his way into the top five. Harris continued to hold the point as he quickly established a multi-car lead over Stanwood and Brad Tanner.

Tanner's charge to the front was derailed by a spin which put the three-time winner this season to the rear. Winebarger by this time had used the outside groove to secure second position behind Harris. As the race was winding down to the last couple of laps, Winebarger started to show the form he exhibited on asphalt as he rocketed by Harris on the white flag lap. Winebarger went on to win by two car lengths over Harris, M. Stanwood, Dale Holland, and Mike Graham. The rest of the top ten were Jay Estes, Brad Tanner, Andy Church, Darrell Smith, and Chris Quinn.

Racing returns to Portland Speedway two times next as the hy-per-lube Northern Sprint Tour rolls into town for their third event of the season at Portland Wednesday, July 18. This special Wednesday evening show is part of the Northwest Speedweeks that pits the best 360 Sprint Car Drivers against each other in six straight nights of racing. Spectator gates for this special event open at 5:00 PM with racing starting at 6:30 PM. Ticket prices are $19 for adults, $15 for seniors and Military w/ID, $9 for juniors (11-17). Children 10 and under are free with a paid adult. Family packages are $48 (2 adults, 2) and reserved seating is $40. Advance tickets are available all Ticketmaster locations or online at www.portlandspeedway.com.

Then Friday, July 20 the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series Modifieds return along with the ShorTrack Sportsman, Street Stocks, Figure 8's, and Bumpin' Bombers. Spectator gates open at 5:00 PM with Qualifying Heat Races and Trophy Dashes starting at 6:45 PM with main events to follow. Adult admission is just $10. Log on to www.portlandspeedway.com for all the latest news and information about your action track, Portland Speedway-The Dirt Track.

-Derrick Shannon

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Series Stock car
Drivers Dan Fox