A full night of racing kept fans at Grays Harbor Raceway Park entertained throughout Saturday evening, July 13. Jay Cole held off a late charge from Joe Ramaker to win the Sprint race; Dennis Sturgill led from the start to claim victory in ...
A full night of racing kept fans at Grays Harbor Raceway Park entertained throughout Saturday evening, July 13.
Jay Cole held off a late charge from Joe Ramaker to win the Sprint race; Dennis Sturgill led from the start to claim victory in Modifieds; Jack Parshall Jr. made it six straight in Hobby Stocks, while the Joe Brenneman and Bob Tillman duo survived a last lap shoving match to win in Cruisers. Don Billings won the Washington Sprint 100 race.
Cole and Glen Borden Jr. started alongside each other on the front row of the 25-lap Sprint race. Borden took the lead at the start, with Cole in hot pursuit.
Numerous cautions slowed the event, a common theme during the entire night. At the halfway point, Cole moved to the outside of Borden in turn 2 and completed the pass for the lead on the backstretch.
A few more cautions grouped the field together, but on each restart Cole was able to put some distance on Borden, who had his hands full trying to hold of Ramaker. After some close racing, Ramaker finally got by Borden coming to the white flag.
Ramaker closed the gap on Cole during the final lap, but it was not enough. Cole held on to defeat Ramaker, Borden, Rick Smith, and Donny Fry.
Cole enjoyed the early battle with Borden, and didn't know if he would be able to get by. "That was good," he said. "He was doing a good job. I thought my car was good enough to stay there with him, but I didn't know if I would get by him. The high side was good tonight. It was rough and scary, but fast."
Cole, driving a different chassis than he did to victory last week, noted he still didn't know after taking the lead if he would be able to stay there. "I was lucky to stay up there," he said.
Ramaker, racing in Elma for the second time, showed he quickly learned the track. "I think we could have had something for Jay," Ramaker said. "The yellows came out at the wrong times. (Cole and Borden) got a restart jump each time."
On the last restart, Ramaker was able to keep up with Borden and get by. "If I could have been right with Jay, it would have been a great battle," the runner-up noted. "But catching is one thing, passing is another."
In Modifieds, it took a while for the race to get going. On the initial start, approximately half of the 20-car field collided in turn 1, forcing a complete restart. On lap 2, Greg Dineen spun after earlier contact forced his left rear tire to blow.
Sturgill jumped to the lead from his second starting position, and was in front of the trouble. Behind him, a fierce battle was waged for the runner-up position. Scott Miller eventually got the position after battling with Randy Ward, Leroy Lawhead, Jon Swiglo, Craig Moore and others.
While Miller settled into second, Sturgill enjoyed a comfortable lead. That lead went away on lap 17 of 20 when the caution came out for debris. Just before the caution, two lapped cars collided and nearly spun right in front of the leader.
When the race restarted, Sturgill held on to his slight lead and defeated Miller, Lawhead, Swiglo, and Don Jenner. Upon taking the checkered flag, Sturgill added some entertainment. Trying to spin some doughnuts in celebration, Sturgill caught his engine on fire. Fire crews quickly put it out.
Sturgill, who claimed his second win of the year, was pleased with his car's performance. "The car was real good," he noted. "Once in the lead, I slowed it down. I knew no one had anything for me, and wanted to save the car. It was fun."
The win will likely be the last for "The Flying Fisherman," at least for a while. "It's too bad we're leaving for some commercial fishing," he said. "We're headed down to Mexico."
In Hobby Stocks, Parshall jumped to the lead at the beginning, and found himself in a tight battle with trophy dash winner Rick Milbourne and Jason Tole. While the three put on a great show, it didn't last as both Tole and Milbourne eventually pulled off with mechanical problems.
Wayne Lemmon inherited second place, and got intense pressure from Brandon Daniel for the spot. After a few yellows, Daniel made his move. He got by Lemmon on lap 17 of 20 for second place. Two laps later, Daniel pulled to the inside of Parshall for the lead.
Parshall, however, was able to get a good bite up high, and kept the lead. He held on to defeat Daniel, Lemmon, Brad Justice, and Joe Richey.
Parshall noted his car's rear leaf springs had been changed during the week, and the car was better after the change. Still, he had a close battle with Tole and Milbourne. "They were tough," Parshall acknowledged. "But tonight I think I would have had enough for them. The car was handling beautifully."
As for the late battle with Daniel, Parshall said, "I didn't even know he was that close. I got a little squirrelly, and he got under me. I got a good run off the turn^×I just hit that corner a little harder."
Daniel noted he was faster than Lemmon, and needed more time to set up Parshall for the lead. "I got up to him, but I needed a couple more laps to work on him," Daniel said.
What of the battle at the end? "He got the preferred line off turn 2," Daniel said of Parshall. "I was trying to not rub fenders, and he tried to pinch me down^Å.With a few more laps, I could have gotten by him, I think."
Contact once again highlighted Cruisers action. The three cars in the race got together in the last turn, with Brenneman and Tillman getting back to the line first. Meanwhile, Brad Drafs won the trophy dash for the visiting Washington Sprint 100s, and dominated the main event. However, Billings tracked him down and took the lead two laps from the end.
Next weekend marks the sixth annual Evergreen State Sprint Challenge, which concludes the Northwest Speedweek for the Northern Sprint Tour. The NST competes Friday and Saturday in Elma, with Saturday's winner getting a minimum $5,000 prize. Gates open at 5 p.m. both nights, with racing around 7.