Tanner Dominates the Tri-Cities Freightliner 125 by Scott L. Harra WEST RICHLAND, Wash. -- A standing room only crowd watched Kelly Tanner continue his march to a second consecutive NASCAR REB-CO Northwest Tour championship as he piloted...
Tanner Dominates the Tri-Cities Freightliner 125 by Scott L. Harra
WEST RICHLAND, Wash. -- A standing room only crowd watched Kelly Tanner continue his march to a second consecutive NASCAR REB-CO Northwest Tour championship as he piloted his Yoshida Sauces Chevrolet to the win in the Tri-Cities Freightliner 125 at Tri-City Raceway Sunday, August 31.
Tanner took the lead from Garrett Evans on lap 40 through the tri-oval. From that point until late in the race, Tanner dominated the race. A pitched battle for second place took place with Greg Biffle, Gary Lewis, Tom Sweatman and Garrett Evans all battling for the spot. Biffle in the Kalico Kitchen Chevy eventually took control of the spot on lap 97, passing both Evans and Lewis on the outside through the tri-oval. The three-wide racing had the capacity crowd on its feet.
A late race caution bunched up the field. Biffle was able to apply pressure on Tanner in the final few laps, but was unable to get along side the race leader for a pass. Lewis, Sweatman, and Evans followed Tanner and Biffle across the line for the checkered flag.
"We kind of paced ourselves. We had a 20 car-length lead and I was hoping for no yellows," said Tanner in victory circle. "Of course one comes out and the 10 lap rule came into play. I've won by that rule now and I've been beat by it. We were a bit tight in three at the end, but we were real good in the tri-oval and most of the races are won in the tri-oval. It was just a pleasure to be here and see so many fans here."
"We had a really really good car," said runner-up Biffle. "Unfortunately, we got together with Damon Lusk on the second lap and that messed up the front end alignment. No one's fault, just one of those racing deals. It made it real hard to turn. I used some nooks and crannies on the track to help turn the car."
Next race on the NASCAR REB-CO Northwest Tour is the Budweiser 125 at South Sound Speedway in Tenino, Washington, September 13.
NOTES OF INTEREST:
While Kelly Tanner appears to have things pretty well wrapped up for the championship, the battle for second place continues to be a wild one. The Tri-Cities Freightliner 125 shuffled the order of the top five a bit. Pete Harding entered the race in second and slid to third. Bill Lawrence started the race in third and came out in fourth. Gary Lewis used his third place finish to move him from fourth to second in the points standings. Rick Schultz maintained his fifth place standing.
Jeff Jefferson continued his improvement, winning rookie of the race for the fourth straight race. Jefferson started and finished the race seventh. The Totem Travel Rookie of the Year candidate raced in the top ten all night.
Chris Cunningham raced with no power steering, a tough feat on a track that is almost all turns. Despite the handicap, Cunningham worked his way up through the field from his 26th starting spot to finish 13th.
Tanner won his fifth Busch Pole of the season at Tri-City Raceway, locking up the season pole title with two races remaining on the schedule. The pole pulls Tanner into third place on the all-time pole winners list following Garrett Evans and Ron Eaton. Tanner was previously tied with Dirk Stephens. Mark's Unofficial NASCAR Northwest Tour Page http://www.aa.net/~cawsey/