Grays Harbor race summary 2002-06-22

Cole, Sturgill, Parshall, Nicholsons victorious in Elma. Some familiar faces visited victory lane Saturday night in three classes at Grays Harbor Raceway Park, while a flying fisherman also found his way to victory. Jay Cole won in Sprints, ...

Cole, Sturgill, Parshall, Nicholsons victorious in Elma.

Some familiar faces visited victory lane Saturday night in three classes at Grays Harbor Raceway Park, while a flying fisherman also found his way to victory.

Jay Cole won in Sprints, Dennis "The Flying Fisherman" Sturgill ran away with the Modifieds victory, Jack Parshall Jr. won yet another Hobby Stock main event, while the duo of Marvin and Bernie Nicholson took the Cruisers event, though they were the second ones to cross the line.

Cole, who set fast time on the night, started the main event from the pole after dominating the trophy dash. After the first attempt to start the race was unsuccessful, on the second attempt Cole broke away from Robert McNulty.

As Cole took off, McNulty soon found himself trying to fend off Mike Sellers. Sellers spun on lap 8 and kept going, but three other cars were swept up to bring out the yellow. Since he kept going without a push, Sellers maintained his position. During the yellow, he was moved up as McNulty had a flat tire.

Sellers and Ron Reed battled for second as Cole once again pulled away. With 10 laps to go, Cole suffered his most anxious moment of the evening as he tried to lap Buddy Messick, nearly flipping in the process.

Cole ended up winning by about a straightaway over Reed, followed by Sellers, Glen Borden Jr., Jeff Bell, Steve Walker, Steve Vague, Rob Johnson, Randy VanAagten, and Messick.

"I just stayed low, and tried to stay out of trouble," Cole said afterwards. "I was just trying to be smooth."

As for his near wreck while trying to lap Messick, Cole said, "I just didn't read where he was going good enough. I damn near goofed up--actually, I did goof up."

By the end of the race, Cole was glad the race didn't go much longer. "With three laps to go, it started banging and popping," he said. "I didn't want to have anything else happen."

Reed was pleased with his finish, especially in light of what happened earlier in the evening. During warmups for the first heat race, Reed spun and was hit by Rich Kelley, destroying both cars. Reed and his crew thrashed to get the car repaired.

"We had a lot of parts on the trailer," Reed said afterwards, pointing to the parts strewn around everywhere. "The car was not the way it should be, but we got it as close as we could. It will probably take a couple of weeks to really get it straightened out--.The crew worked their butts off. There was a time when I didn't know if we would make it or not."

Based on his improved performances of late, Reed is optimistic. "I think we have got a win on us," he said. "We're looking for a win this year."

In Modifieds, the night belonged to Sturgill, who netted his first win of the year. Sturgill started on pole, and quickly pulled away. Behind him, Scott Miller spun on lap 5, collecting a handful of cars.

A few laps later, Josh Muller worked his way past Don Jenner for second, but Jenner got back to Muller and spun him out. Jenner was sent to the back, while Muller was able to retain his second position.

On a late restart, Muller got under Sturgill in turn 1, but couldn't pull off the pass as the leader quickly stretched the lead again. Behind them, Miller had worked back up to third. However, on what was to be the last lap Miller spun, bringing out the yellow. Since that was the second caution he'd caused, Miller was done for the night.

When the race restarted, Sturgill once again pulled away to win over Muller, Jenner, Glenn Vincent, Craig Moore, Greg Dineen, Danny Daniels, Butch Betrozoff, Jeff Foster, and Steve Meyer.

Sturgill, who left immediately afterwards for his long drive back to Oregon, noted his pleasure both with his car and for his first win in some time.

Muller came back from a blown transmission in his heat race, but could not get around Sturgill. "I just needed him to slip and get crossed up. He didn't do that for me," Muller joked. "I don't know why he wouldn't do it for me."

Parshall started the Hobby Stock main event on the pole, allowing him to stay away from the first lap action. Rick Milbourne, Brandon Daniel, and dash winner Wayne Lemmon went three-wide for second, while behind them Tim Drake spun Mike Richey, and there was also contact between Lee St. Paul and AmyJoe Springer, who had won her first heat race earlier in the evening.

Once the race got going, Parshall and Daniel pulled away from the field. When Lemmon slowed on an early restart, Milbourne took over third and battled with Daniel for second, while Parshall opened up a margin.

Two late restarts gave Daniel a chance, especially since Parshall's car developed a push. With a couple of laps to go, Daniel nearly got by off turn 4. In a bizarre incident under the last caution, Daniel climbed the frontstretch guardrail briefly, though there was no damage to car.

Try as he might, Daniel could not quite make it by Parshall. Milbourne stayed in close contact in third at the end. Behind those three were Jamie Belisle, Terry Bower, Joe Richey, Springer, Drake, Chip Haney, and Floyd Livingston.

"That thing felt good," Parshall said afterwards. "We made some changes the last couple of weeks--we changed the motor and the front suspension. But it was still pushing at the end. We'll keep fighting it."

Parshall, who noted the win was his fourth in a row, noted it was a big advantage to start up front over Daniel. "That was a good race--he's fast."

Daniel nearly got Parshall on a late restart, and could just about taste victory. "Almost," he said with a smile. "It was a repeat from last race--I was trying to get inside of him."

On a late restart Daniel got to Parshall's inside but couldn't complete the pass. "I just timed it," he explained. "I left a little gap on the restart to get a good run. We'll get 'er. We just need to work on our car a little with the handling. It was pushing a little bit."

As for his guardrail climbing, Daniel said he was paying attention to race director Bob Valencia's readerboard. "I suddenly caught a rut and climbed the wall," he admitted. "I was hoping it wouldn't cause a flat. It was a little embarrassing."

In Cruisers, first lap contact between the duo of Joe Brenneman and Bob Tillman and the Marvin and Bernie Nicholson led to the warning that Brenneman and Tillman would be black flagged if they made more contact. On the last lap, Brenneman and Tillman nudged their way to the lead, only to be greeted by a black flag instead of a checkered flag, which went to the Nicholsons.

Regular racing resumes this coming weekend at GHRP. Gates open at 5 p.m., with racing around 7.

-ghrp-

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Series Sprint , Stock car