NWS: Portland Speedway report 2001-05-04

PORTLAND, OR (May 4, 2001) - NASCAR Late Model and Northwest Tour Series veteran Tom Pinkowsky edged a hard-charging Mike Obrist and Eric Sayre to take the win in the Weekly Racing Series Grand American Modified Division 35-lap feature event here...

PORTLAND, OR (May 4, 2001) - NASCAR Late Model and Northwest Tour Series veteran Tom Pinkowsky edged a hard-charging Mike Obrist and Eric Sayre to take the win in the Weekly Racing Series Grand American Modified Division 35-lap feature event here Friday night. Finishing fourth was the season's first main event victor, Dan Fox, with Ray Elwess following in the fifth position in a field of 17 starters.

Due to inclement weather over the past month, this was only the Division's second main event of this young season on the Speedway's 1/3rd mile clay oval. Pinkowsky, a resident of Vancouver, WA., finished third in the season's opening race.

Earlier in the evening during Grand American qualifying, Eric Sayre posted the quickest time of 16.680 seconds, followed by Don Jenner (17.028) and Donnie Martin (17.171). The season's record thus far remains in the hands of Dan Fox with a hot lap of 16.149.

Starting from the outside of the second row in the 35-lap feature race, Pinkowsky kept his Fatty Patty's/Class Act Coatings/Tom's Performance Machine/Dyson Oil sponsored car in touch with the front three cars of Chris Quinn, Gary Morris, and Obrist. On lap 12, Morris and Quinn made contact on the back straight and became entangled in an incident that also involved the car of Richard Whiteman, bringing out the race's only caution flag.

The front order on the restart was Obrist, followed by Pinkowsky, Ray Elwess and Dan Fox. Obrist held his lead until lap 19, when Pinkowsky used a lapped car and the inside line to take over the point in Turn One, then managed to hold off the hard-charging Obrist and Sayre the rest of the distance to the checkered.

After the win Pinkowsky, in his first dirt track season following many years of running on the asphalt, readily admitted he and his crew are on a steep learning curve but are happy to have made the transition. "This is affordable racing and it's fun to be back. For us dirt racing is all new so we still have a lot to learn with this new car and chassis. The competition is tough, though it's interesting that three former asphalt drivers finish 1-2-3 tonight."

The KUFO Fan Appreciation Night also offered action by the Speedway's other regular weekly racing divisions: Shortrack Sportsman, Street Stocks, Figure 8s and Bumpin' Bombers.

The scheduled 30-lap main for the Shortrack Sportsman saw plenty of great action but was shortened to a timed event at 15 laps due to three early race caution periods. In the green-white-checkered run to the finish, Brad Tanner of Clackamas, OR stayed in front of Martin Stanwood, Darrell Smith and Jody Tanner to record his first division win of the 2001 season. The driver of the Jody's Bar & Grill/Darrel's Economy Mufflers/B&M Machine Camaro said afterwards, "This was an exciting night of racing. I knew we'd get up front - we had a good car."

It was a clean sweep in the highly competitive Street Stock Division for Scott Puncochar and his Louis Construction Co./Clay's Differential Camaro. Puncochar, of Hillsboro, OR, started it off with a win in his Heat Race, followed shortly by a victory in the Street Stock Trophy Dash. In another final two-lap dash to the checkered flag following a caution period, Puncochar led hard-charger Jeff Brookshire, John Nusom and Dustin Wilkenson across the line. "I was doing all I could to keep Brookshire behind me," said Puncochar. "I'm just glad to be part of a good group of drivers."

In the Figure 8 Main Event, John Mayfield of Vancouver, WA drove to a strong finish in his Toyota Pickup sponsored by John's Foreign Auto Wrecking, Dusty's Machine Shop and FTSI. Finishing second to Mayfield was the Datsun sedan of Joe Cherington, while Chris Page's Toyota and Shawn O'Neil's Nissan took the third and fourth positions.

Jeremy Brookshire of Eagle Creek, OR was the Bomber Division's Trophy Dash winner. Unfortunately, due to noise curfew limitations, there was not enough time remaining for Main Event.

The next scheduled event for the Portland Speedway's weekly NASCAR Friday "Bud Bowl" is Friday, April 11th. Featured Divisions will be the Grand American Modifieds, Sportsman, Street Stocks, Figure 8 and the track's brand new all-women's division called WAR! - for Women's Auto Racing. Ticket prices are $10 for adults, $5 for juniors (11-17), and kids 10 and under are free. For all NASCAR Friday "Bud Bowl" events, front gates will open at 5:00 p.m., with racing beginning at 7:00 p.m.

That event will be followed on Saturday, April 12th when the hy-per-lube Northern Sprint Tour stages what promises be a very exciting night of racing on the Portland Speedway's half-mile clay oval - the first time the Speedway's outer track will be in use this season. As part of the program, the Grand American Modifieds will also compete on the half-mile. Gates open at 4:00 p.m. and the on-track action begins at 6:30 p.m.

-Derrick Shannon

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Drivers Dan Fox