Hy-per-lube Northern Sprint Tour --Northwest Speedweek Willamette Speedway -- Lebanon, OR July 17, 2002 Already $38, 500 has been paid out this week and feature event action at Willamette Speedway in Lebanon, OR provided the closest racing fans...
Hy-per-lube Northern Sprint Tour --Northwest Speedweek
Willamette Speedway -- Lebanon, OR
July 17, 2002
Already $38, 500 has been paid out this week and feature event action at Willamette Speedway in Lebanon, OR provided the closest racing fans have seen so far in the hy-per-lube Northern Sprint Tour's 'six races in six days' Northern Speedweek series. They also got to see a new face in the winner's circle as Steve Kent of Fresno, CA kept Campbell, CA veteran Brent Kaeding from making it three in a row.
Kent finally pulled off the win after a fifth and third place finish in the first two races. "We just haven't been right, but the crew just kept working and hoping we'd turned things around," Kent replied when asked what had made the difference tonight. "Traffic was tough tonight and Brent was pushing hard."
Kaeding said, "It was one hell of a show. We had a good two groove track and this was the best show of the week." Heading south for Golden State racing this weekend, Kaeding's Speedweek racing is over with his pocket book $4700 fuller.
Making a great run in third was current hy-per-lube Northern Sprint Tour points leader Roger Crockett of Eugene, OR. Crockett's night almost came to an end on the first lap when he and Jeff Hodgson came together entering the third turn on the first lap, as both drivers went for the lead. Crockett went over a wheel and bounced through turn three before gathering it up and blasting away in the lead.
"The hit with Hodgson bent my steering arm, and it was like driving without power steering the whole race", Crockett commented in his post race interview. "I should have had that one won."
The 30 lap event was slowed only twice, first when Hodgson stopped on lap 4 from damage done in his shunt with Crockett, and again a lap later when Steven Tiner spun in the first turn. Kent went to second from fifth in the first lap and despite his problems with the steering, Crockett was able to keep Kent at bay for 13 laps.
Already in heavy traffic on the narrow Willamette track by lap 10, Kent tried passes both high and low before his successful one exiting turn four on the thirteenth circuit.
With the race running at a torrid pace Kaeding was putting the pressure to Crockett and finally made his final pass for the night by diving under Crockett going into the third turn on lap 16.
Kaeding took the fight to Kent, to no avail, and despite the amount of lapped cars they were working through the top three could have been covered by the proverbial blanket for the major part of the last half of the race.
While the majority of the fans were watching the top three duke it out, there was plenty of action farther back. Bill Nutter of Central Point, OR, who had went through the fence and outside the track the previous night at Cottage Grove Speedway, took passing honors for the race moving up eight spots.
Taking good advantage of every opening, Nutter picked his way from the last row to finish in 11th place. Ron Myska of Vacaville, CA tailed Nutter having picked up 6 positions.
Just below the podium finishers were Dale Smith, Shawna Wilskey and Jason Solwold to fill the top six.
For the last third of the race Kent's biggest problem was Herman Klein. Klein, of Sacramento, CA was determined not to go a lap down and was running just fast enough that Kent couldn't manage to set up a pass. Down to the final corner the leaders were fighting the slower cars and exiting turn four Kaeding made one last try on the out side, tagging the wall just before the flag stand and coming up a half car length short of the win.
Chris Schmelzle took control of the "B" Main at the start and never relinquished his hold on the lead. Schmelzle took the point from Wilskey on the start. With Wilskey and Rick Fauver swapping second place, Jeff Thompson and Chad Hillier were hotly contesting fourth place.
Disaster was averted on lap 3 when Don Fry ran up on Hillier's right rear tire coming out of turn four. Although he lost several spots, Fry managed to keep his car from making contact with any of the other cars. Action did come to a stop with 6 of the 15-lap event down when contact entering the first turn put Glenn Borden, Jr. up and over. Jay Cole, Richard Brace and Tony Menard were also involved.
When racing resumed Wilskey made a quick pass of Fauver to take second for good as Hillier put Thompson down a position and pressed Fauver for third. As the top 5 opened up a bit it was close racing from 6th to the back of the pack.
In the final laps Wilskey looked to be trying for the win but with the top 4 going to the "A" Main and getting their time back she didn't push. Hillier on the other hand was pushing Fauver, and both were closing on Wilskey at the flag.
Greg Brown was best in the passing department as he picked up 5 spots to finish 6th behind Thompson.
In the "C" Main Jayme Barnes took control at the green with no contention during the race. Robert McNulty brought out the only yellow flag with two to go when he spun in turn 4.
Joe Ramaker finished second with Richie Brown in third.
Cale Carder led the first 4 circuits of the opening heat but Kaeding took the lead coming out of turn two on the halfway lap. Fauver and Hodgson tangled in turn four on lap seven with Fauver taking and end over tumble.
Heat two belonged to Klein who went wire to wire in a no stops race. Ron Myska followed with D. Smith third
Billy Nutter checked out in the third heat as Kent moved from 5th to 3rd in to get his transfer spot.
In heat four Steve Tiner lead all 10 laps with a good race long battle for 3-5 between Thompson, Forsberg & Crockett. After several tries, Crockett made an out side pass for fourth work in turn four of last lap to take fourth.
The dash went to Dale Smith, who was celebrating his 39th birthday by racing, with Kaeding moving up from 6th to third. Kaeding made a hard try for 2nd but Hodgson didn't give an inch and held solid.
Action will now move north to State Fair Raceway in Yakima, WA for race four of the series and another chance for a driver to take home $1750 for the win.
Fast Time -- Brent Kaeding -- 13.022
Heat 1 -- Brent Kaeding, Cale Carder, Jeff Hodgson, Travis Hawthorne, Glenn Borden, Jr., Dawn-L Morrison, Geoff Beck, Richie Brown, Rick Fauver.
Heat 2 -- Herman Klein, Ron Myska, Dale Smith, Jason Solwold, Chad Hillier, Jayme Barnes, Chris Schmelzle, Don Fry, Jay Cole.
Heat 3 -- Billy Nutter, Johnny Rodriguez, Steve Kent, Dan Menne, Shawna Wilskey, Todd Heikes, Richard Brain, Joe Ramaker, Greg Brown.
Heat 4 -- Steven Tiner, Scott Aumen, Andy Forsberg, Roger Crockett, Jeff Thompson, Robert McNulty, Geoff Beck, Jason Finley, Gus Cooper.
Dash -- D. Smith, Hodgson, Kaeding, Crockett, Kent, Forsberg.
C-Main -- Barnes, Ramaker, R. Brown, Pincemin, McNulty.
B-Main -- Schmelzle, Wilskey, Fauver, Hillier, Thompson, G. Brown, Morrison, Heikes, Beck, Barnes, Ramaker, Cole, R. Brown, Fry, Cooper, Brace, Borden, Jr., Menard.
A-Main -- Kent, Kaeding, Crockett, D. Smith, Wilskey, Solwold, Forsberg, Aumen, Fauver, Schmelzle, Nutter, Myska, Klein, Hawthorne, Rodriguez, Menne, Tiner, Hillier, Carder, Hodgson.