Grays Harbor race report 2002-06-01

Cole, Muller, Parshall winners in Elma. Close racing up front highlighted Saturday night action at Grays Harbor Raceway Park in Elma. Jay Cole took advantage of lapped traffic to claim the win in Sprints; Josh Muller withstood repeated ...

Cole, Muller, Parshall winners in Elma.

Close racing up front highlighted Saturday night action at Grays Harbor Raceway Park in Elma.

Jay Cole took advantage of lapped traffic to claim the win in Sprints; Josh Muller withstood repeated challenges to win his first Modified main event; Jack Parshall Jr. came from the back and held off Brandon Daniel to win in Hobby Stock; Luke Brogan and his "mystery" co-driver won in Cruisers. Joyce Jasper won the visiting 'bump-to-pass' class race.

Wilskey started the 25-lap Sprint main event on the pole after winning the trophy dash. She jumped to the early lead while Cole and Randy VanAagten briefly battled for second. Cole won the battle and tried to track down Wilskey.

The lead interval fluctuated as the leaders negotiated lapped traffic. With less than 10 laps to go, Cole took advantage of some traffic to grad the lead. With some help from lapped traffic, Cole was able to stabilize his position, and held off Wilskey for the win. Rounding out the top-5 were Steve Walker, Glenn Borden Jr., and Ron Reed.

Cole credited lapped traffic with helping him win, and surmised he probably would not have been able to get by Wilskey without the traffic. "I kind of just had to wait," he said. Was he concerned about being passed back for the lead? "I didn't think she would be able to get by on the high side, so I just protected the bottom," Cole said.

Wilskey took the blame for not getting through traffic as well. "He (Cole) just got a better view by being behind," she noted. "I just messed up and he got by. The car was probably good enough (to reclaim the lead) but by then it was five laps to go, and there was only one lane. I wasn't getting back by unless he slipped up."

Modifieds have been putting on some impressive shows this year, and Saturday was certainly no exception. Muller grabbed the lead from his pole position, and opened a small lead early. Leroy Lawhead and Glenn Vincent moved up to battle for second

On one of many restarts, Lawhead attempted to pass Muller for the lead, but couldn't make the move stick. Muller ran high most of the night, with Lawhead diving low. Lawhead tried again with a few laps to go, but ended up losing second to Vincent.

With two competitors breathing down his neck, Muller kept his cool and started running low at the end, helping to keep his challengers at bay.

Lawhead and Vincent were side-by-side on the last lap, with Vincent barely claiming the position. Behind the top-3 were Jon Swiglo and Kevin Beerbower.

Muller was "damn happy" to bag his first main event, and noted his car felt controllable throughout the race. "It takes a lot of luck to win," he said. "Next week, I might not even finish the race. I drove no different tonight than previously, I don't believe. It's just that everything came together."

By running low the last couple of laps, Muller thought he might be able to trick competitors expecting him up high. "I stayed low the last couple of laps," he said. "I knew they wouldn't be able to get by high."

While Daniel took the lead early in the 20-lap Hobby Stock main event, Parshall was quickly moving up. Parshall was forced to start in back after bending a spindle in his heat race. By the third lap, Parshall was already up to 3rd.

Daniel, Parshall and Kris Asche battled for the lead, with Parshall swinging by both competitors on one of many restarts. Parshall and Daniel swapped the lead back a few times before Parshall took the lead back for good on lap 17.

On the final restart with two laps to go, Parshall jumped to a small lead, but Daniel was able to close the gap back up. Despite getting loose in the last turn, Parshall was able to hold on and defeat Daniel, Asche, Terry Bower, and Wayne Lemmon.

Starting deep in the field, Parshall said he was initially going to be happy with fourth. That changed once the race started. "There were big ruts in the center of the track," he noted. "People were either going above or below them, and I drove right through the center."

Parshall enjoyed the lead battle. "I like good, tight racing," he said. "That was awesome. I followed (Daniel) high, then swung low through the ruts. He was pretty fast, and he got me twice."

Even though he didn't win, Daniel was still smiling afterwards. "That was fun," he said. "We've been working the last four weeks to get the car to turn. I thought I was going to get (Parshall) on the last restart when he got loose of turn 2, but I couldn't get alongside."

As laps wound down, Daniel had one main hope for getting back by Parshall. "I was hoping he would screw up, but Jack's a good driver," said Daniel. "In a close battle you hope someone messes up so you can get by."

Luke Brogan and his 'mystery' co-driver won in Cruisers taking the lead coming to the white flag. Joe Brenneman and Bob Tillman took the lead at the start, but suffered yet another blown tire as the white flag was in sight.

Most of the Cruisers competitors also competed with the visiting 'bump-to-pass' class. In this class, you have to bump someone to pass them, and that was certainly happening. When all the carnage ended, Joyce Jasper emerged the winner. And yes, there was a reason for her pig cutout on the top of her car. "My husband had painted the car pink, so he put a pig on it," Jasper said.

Next Saturday marks the first appearance of the year for the Northern Sprint Tour series in Elma. Gates open at 5 p.m. with racing around 7.

-ghrp-

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Series Sprint , Stock car