Familiar faces, stories at GHRP July 6. Some details changed slightly, but the main stories at Grays Harbor Raceway Park Saturday, July 6 had a familiar feel. Jay Cole held off Shawna Wilskey to win in Sprints, Leroy Lawhead won a close...
Familiar faces, stories at GHRP July 6.
Some details changed slightly, but the main stories at Grays Harbor Raceway Park Saturday, July 6 had a familiar feel.
Jay Cole held off Shawna Wilskey to win in Sprints, Leroy Lawhead won a close Modified battle, and Jack Parshall Jr. won his fifth straight Hobby Stock main event, once again holding off Brandon Daniel for the win. The duo of Kelsey Byrd and Joe Denini broke the string, claiming their first Cruisers win as midseason championship races were run. An impressive firework show capped the evening.
Cole started the 35-lap main event from the pole after claiming the trophy dash. As Cole took off in the lead, Wilskey quickly moved up from her 13th starting spot.
After a couple of early yellows, Glen Borden Jr. moved up to challenge Cole for the lead. That ended on lap 9, however, when Borden spun out in turn 1. Cole continued to lead on the restart while Wilskey battled hard with Donny Fry for third.
Following a red flag for a flip in turn 4, Wilskey got by Fry, and by lap 15 had passed Steve Vague for second. With the help of lapped traffic, Wilskey reeled in Cole, and the two put on a tremendous battle for the lead. Wilskey gave Cole a couple of bumps, and at one point the two nearly collided while lapping a car.
A late caution closed things up, but Cole was able to ease away on the restart, claiming victory over Wilskey, Fry, Vague, and Borden.
Cole's main goal was simple: "Stay low, and don't let her get under me," he said of holding off Wilskey. "I felt a couple of good pops. I know what she do^×she's good. I waited a couple of times on lapped cars^×I didn't want to pass them high, I wanted to stay low."
As often happens in Sprints, Cole noted how traffic played out was a key in the race.
In Modifieds, Lawhead and Don Jenner seemed to be connected by magnets. The two started on the front row, and ran bumper-to-bumper virtually the entire race. Action was slowed frequently by cautions, but after each restart Lawhead and Jenner continued their fierce battle.
Jenner pulled to the outside a few times, but could not get the traction to pull off a pass. Meanwhile, Scott Miller made it a tight three-car battle at the front.
After the last caution flag, Jenner tried once again to pass Lawhead on the outside, but couldn't get the job done. Lawhead held on over Jenner and Miller. Behind them, Jon Swiglo prevailed in a fierce battle with Craig Moore for fourth.
Like Cole, Lawhead's main goal was to stay low on the track. "I knew there was nothing up there, so I let (Jenner) try it," the points leader said. "I just kept telling myself to be smooth. If I didn't screw up and kept her low, I knew I would have it."
Jenner, in his first year at the Elma track, said there was nothing he could do. "I tried," he said. "The top of the track wasn't available. I tried it a few times, but couldn't do anything. The groove just wasn't up top tonight. Nobody went to the top."
Despite the loss, Jenner found reason to be optimistic. "I'm just happy," he said. "My car's getting closer, so I know I can run with these guys now. I feel a win coming anytime."
In what's becoming a familiar story, Parshall defeated Daniel in Hobby Stock for his fifth straight main event win, though he got some unexpected^×and unintentional^×help along the way.
Parshall started on pole after claiming the trophy dash, and on the start he and Daniel put some distance on the field. Daniel briefly got by on lap 9, but Parshall quickly regained control of the race.
Multiple cautions slowed the action. Daniel got by Parshall a couple of times, but a caution would come out the same lap, negating the pass. On one occasion a caution also helped Daniel, who fell back to fourth after nearly spinning but was saved by a yellow.
Behind the front two, Rick Melbourne and Terry Bower were in the top-five much of the night, and by lap 25 had been joined by defending series champion Jason Tole.
Tole, driving his title-winning mount for the first time this year, started the main event at the back after winning the B-Main. Tole quickly moved through the field, and by lap 27 joined Melbourne and Bower in a battle for third.
On the final restart with three laps to go, Daniel timed it perfectly and pulled to the inside of Parshall. Parshall held on, but nearly spun in turn 4, sliding down in front of Daniel. As Daniel jumped on the brakes, Tole pulled to the outside to battle for second.
As Daniel and Tole duked it out for second, Parshall pulled away slightly and claimed his fourth straight midseason championship night race. Behind him, Daniel hung on over Melbourne, Tole, and Bower.
Parshall acknowledged Daniel had the better car. "My car was gone," Parshall said. "I was fighting it. It was pushing going in, and loose coming off. I almost spun a few times. I thought it was a matter of time (before Daniel made the winning pass). He had the faster car."
Daniel also noted Parshall's handling problems, and lamented how cautions came out whenever he passed for the lead. Daniel also found he has good brakes. "I checked up for (Parshall) many times," the McCleary driver said. "He was getting pushy-loose. I had to check up more than I wanted."
When Parshall got loose at the end, did Daniel think of going easy on the brakes? "I thought about it, but I don't want to race that way," he said, noting he drove defensively at the end to hold off Tole.
In Cruisers, Kelsey Byrd and Jon Denini teamed up to claim their first win, despite some front end damage from a second lap melee that left the Joe Brenneman and Bob Tillman upset.
Regular racing resumes next weekend, plus the Washington Sprint 100s return. Gates open at 5 p.m., with racing around 7.