U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. Northern Sprint Tour win to Nutter at 'The Grove' Action was fast, furious and close as the final race of the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. Northern Sprint Tour triple-header ended at Cottage Grove Speedway in Cottage ...
U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. Northern Sprint Tour win to Nutter at 'The Grove'
Action was fast, furious and close as the final race of the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. Northern Sprint Tour triple-header ended at Cottage Grove Speedway in Cottage Grove, OR on Sunday night. Central Point, OR veteran driver Billy Nutter held off a very determined Roger Crockett on an edge of the seat final eight laps of the feature event to win by barely a car length after leading all 30 circuits around the quarter-mile clay oval.
"I thought I was jinxed," stated a jubilant Nutter in the winner's circle. Picking up his third Northern Sprint Tour win after nearly a four-year dry spell Nutter exclaimed, "This just feels really great. Running with the Northern Sprint Tour is really tough and leading is the hardest racing you can do. Being in second is always easier because you're looking for the other guy's mistake, in stead of not trying not to make any." "I have to thank all of my crew, even the help I had last year. And, Cale's (Carter) motor had what it took. It's just great."
Out of Eugene, OR, Crockett started in third as Nutter took the lead over Shawna Wilskey at the green flag. With clear track ahead, the leaders were soon stretched out to back to sixth place. Vern Scever closed the group back up with a turn two spin on lap 4 but by lap 9 the top three; Nutter, Mt. Vernon, WA's Wilskey and Crocket were in traffic with Jayme Barnes of Everett, WA, Cottage Grove's Marvin Smith and Chad Hillier of Sedro Woolley close behind.
With the top five running close and working the traffic very well, Crockett took over second on lap 15 from Wilskey and started closing on the still leading Nutter. Wilskey coasted to a stop with a broken rear end on her machine on lap 21, bringing out the yellow flag. At the restart green flag, local hero Dale Smith took over second from Crockett but lost it in a race down the backstretch.
Racing came to a halt on the 23rd circuit of the oval when Steve Walker of Shelton, WA tagged a spinning Ron Myska and flipped on the back straight. Al of this happened as M. Smith, Myska, Glenn Borden, Jr. and Saturday night feature winner Barry Martinez were dicing for position mid-pack.
On the restart Crockett's front wing's front mount broke, giving lift instead of down force to the front end. Nutter was able to open a small lead as Crockett, with some problems in the corners, had D. Smith closing on his rear nerf bar and putting on pressure for the number two spot.
With just three laps to go, traffic was impeding Nutter's progress and Crockett was again closing. Coming down to the final lap Crockett cut off D. Smith in a try for a pass and then made a final Banzi try for the lead out of the final corner. Nutter found the power to take the win as the top three finished with just a few feet of distance between them.
Following the event Crockett stated, "It was pretty hard to hold onto at times after the wing came up, but I have to congratulate Billy on his win. He ran a hard race. Even with tonight's problem and last night's troubles we had a good weekend and took home one win. You can't give up and we are looking forward to the next race in two weeks and going for another win then."
Dale Smith finished the weekend with over $3000, three 3rd place finishes and a solid start on a run for the championship. Dale commented after the race, "I probably should have had a couple of seconds but I'll take the thirds, the money and the points. It all helps and we will head into the Grays Harbor Raceway show looking for a win".
Attrition in the B-main was high with only six cars taking the checkered flag behind winner Jeff Hodgson. Hodgson, of Edmonton, AB led all 15 laps with Nampa, ID driver Shawn Smith dogging his rear bumper for over half the race before retiring with motor woes.
Rookie Mark Torres brought out the yellow on laps two and seven, falling victim to the two spin rule for the first time and Mike Griffith fell out on lap six with mechanical problems.
After giving Hodgson a good battle for the lead, and dicing with Martinez for his second place spot, S. Smith coasted to a stop on the back chute with a major oil leak and a disappointing ending to what had been a great race.
On restart Greg Brown slowed going into turn one and was tagged by Tony Menard. Menard. Menard made about 5 cartwheels, shedding and bending enough parts in the process to put him out for the night but he didn't flip.
Although Martinez closed the gap on the leader in the last five laps, Hodgson never faltered and held for the win. Following the top two to the checkered flag and into the A-main were Jay Barnes and Vern Scevers. Melissa Yates missed making the feature for the second night by one position. Crockett took the lead over Randy Van Aagten on lap 4 of the first heat and held for the win.
In heat two Mike Morris and D. Smith got together on the opening lap in the second turn but both drove out of it with no problems. On lap 2, M. Smith and Torres made contact with Torres then into Roger Oudman. Oudman, of Sedro Woolley, WA, took a wild ride, landing at the flag-stand but walking away unhurt.
On restart, the Martinez #66 came out of gear causing an accordion effect that took it's toll on the front end of D. Smith's car. Smith came back out, minus a left front shock and with some bent front-end parts, and still managed to wrest second place away from his brother Marvin.
Kevin Etchison led all laps in the third heat with Myska and Nutter providing the best action as they diced for the runner-up spot. Wilskey took the final A-main transfer spot from Harris on lap four.
In the final heat it was Rory Price winning with no trouble. Matt Rogers, Walker and Borden, Jr followed him to the line.
Wilskey ran away with the dash race, running a lap faster than the fast qualifiers time, which was an 11.306 run by Crockett.
Fast Time -- Roger Crockett -- 11.306.
Heat 1 -- Roger Crockett, Randy Van Aagten, Chad Hillier, Jayme Barnes, Jay Barnes, Melissa Yates, Greg Brown, Mike Griffith.
Heat 2 -- Jay Cole, Dale Smith, Marvin Smith, Dawn-L Morrison, David Gilmore, Barry Martinez, Mark Torres, Roger Oudman.
Heat 3 -- Kevin Etchison, Ron Myska, Billy Nutter, Shawna Wilskey, Mark Harris, Tony Menard, Vern Scever.
Heat 4 -- Rory Price, Matt Rogers, Steve Walker, Glenn Borden, Jr., Shawn Smith, Jeff Hodgson, Randy Pierce.
Dash -- Wilskey, Nutter, Crockett, M. Smith, Jayme Barnes, D. Smith.
B-Main -- Hodgson, Martinez, Jay Barnes, Scever, Yates, Pierce, Gilmore, S. Smith, Harris, Menard, Torres, Griffith, Brown, Oudman.
A-Main -- Nutter, Crockett, D. Smith, Jayme Barnes, Hillier, M. Smith, Borden, Jr., Martinez, Morrison, Hodgson, Cole, Etchison, Jay Barnes, Van Aagten, Scever, Rogers, Price, Myska, Walker, Wilskey.