Portland, OR September 15. The curtain fell on the 2000 racing season at the historic Portland Speedway with more than 100 cars showing up to do battle in three racing divisions in the first annual Stock Car Open. Mark Grill edged local Portland...
Portland, OR September 15. The curtain fell on the 2000 racing season at the historic Portland Speedway with more than 100 cars showing up to do battle in three racing divisions in the first annual Stock Car Open. Mark Grill edged local Portland favorite Eric Sayre by less than one foot as the Outlaw Dirt Late Model feature went green, white, checker for the 30-lap distance.
Sixty-three Outlaw Late Models rolled in the back gate for their first look at the new dirt surface. Due to the number of cars for this event Speedway officials opted for a pill draw to determine the starting positions for the heat races. The blind draw put a variety of cars in all the heats, so track position was critical. The top four finishes in the heats automatically were qualified to the "A" main event, everyone else had to transfer in via the "C & B" mains. Ron Brewster, Greg Walters, Bob Boyd, and Bob Jeffery picked up wins in the Outlaw Late Model 8-lap heat races. The "C" main event saw "Racer X" in the #6 (no info filed at the back gate) take the win along with Dusty Baker transferring to the "B". The "B" main was plagued by yellows and shortened to 10 laps due to a time limit. John Duty and Hershel McGriff Jr. ran strong and were able to transfer into the "A" main.
Twenty-two Outlaw Late Models took the green flag from starter Russ Voight and were able to battle side-by-side throughout the 30 lap affair. Mike Ray took the early lead and held the point until local Portland fan favorite Eric Sayre took command and held the lead over the next 22 laps. At one point Sayre was able to extend his lead to a straight-away advantage, as he negotiated the lapped traffic. With 5 laps to go the #5 of Mark Grill was able to close the gap and on the last lap Grill ran up on the back of Sayre as the two took the white flag side-by-side. Sayre's right rear started to go away which allowed Grill to make up the distance, as the two crossed the line for the checkered flag it was Mark Grill edging Eric Sayre by less than a foot to claim the hardware and the money in the open-comp event. Mike Ray rallied to finish third, with the #83 in forth and Gene Day rounding out the top five. "We have waited a long time to race at a track like Portland, so when we heard Portland was going to dirt, I was so excited. The surface is fantastic, it was really smooth and you could pass anywhere," Grill stated from victory lane. Grill went on to add, " I didn't think I could catch Eric, but I was able to get through the lapped traffic a little faster and it looked liked his car was going away."
Bob Trout picked up the win in the Street Stock class as the normal quarter mile division got an opportunity to run on the very fast and wide half-mile clay. The versatile Mike Mikelson made his way from his seventh starting position to claim the runner up spot in the 25-lap clash. The rest of the top five included R.J. Stevenson in third, with Ray Elwess in forth and Dale Holland in fifth.
Jeff Frazier of Stayton, Oregon drove the race of the night, starting shotgun in the sixteen car field. Frazier use the high and low groves to pass the entire field and claim the victory in the 25-lap IMCA/Grand American Modified feature event. Gary Morris rallied to finish second with Street Stock regular Ray Elwess finishing a strong third.
The Stock Car Open concludes the season schedule for Portland Speedway. Racing action will resume in April 2001 with an entire new Friday Night dirt format. Log on to www.portlandspeedway.com for all the latest updates regarding schedules, rules, and track information.