Rice Raids ASCS Northwest Victory Lane at Elma ELMA, Wash. (May 23, 2009) -- The finish couldn't have been scripted much better. A pair of Northwest sprint car veterans dueling it out in lapped traffic, both in search of their...
Rice Raids ASCS Northwest Victory Lane at Elma
ELMA, Wash. (May 23, 2009) -- The finish couldn't have been scripted much better.
A pair of Northwest sprint car veterans dueling it out in lapped traffic, both in search of their first career American Sprint Car Series Northwest Region victory.
In the end, it was Shawn Rice of Tacoma, Wash., who claimed the 30-lap feature Saturday night at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, Wash.
"I just couldn't make mistakes, otherwise I knew Henry (Van Dam) was going to get me," said Rice, who led all 30 laps to win the $1,500 prize. "I saw his nose wing coming in there."
Rice and Van Dam, of Enumclaw, Wash., sliced through traffic in the final eight laps, creating a dynamic battle that wasn't settled until Rice crossed the finish line less than a second in front of Van Dam.
"It's alright, but you never show up for second place," Van Dam said after his career-best finish in an ASCS feature. "I really, really wanted the win. I think we had the car to beat."
Van Dam, who started ninth, worked his way through the field before Rice was slowed in lapped traffic with a handful of laps remaining.
As the duo approached a lapped car entering turn three, Rice was able to pinch Van Dam off at the last moment, slowing Van Dam's momentum and piloting into the lead.
"He kinda chopped me, but that's racing," Van Dam said. "He did what he had to do. With weak brakes, there's not much I could do. The track was so fast that you don't (have) much room for error. If something does happen, you're into him and upside down."
But the race was far from over. After seeing the white flag, Rice was bumped up the track in turn one while trying to lap Snohomish, Wash., resident Jared Ridge, who hit a rut and slid up the track.
"He just hit the mud down there in the bottom," Rice said. "I just was trying to make sure there wasn't an opening for Henry. And it worked out."
Van Dam nearly pulled even with Rice exiting turn two, but Rice was able to drive the preferred line into turn three and earn the narrow victory.
Perhaps the driver who had the most fun was Chadd Noland from Central Point, Ore.
Noland, who was the last car to transfer out of the B main, battled problems all night before placing third in the feature -- his best-ever ASCS finish.
"This is unreal," said Noland, who was the Hard Charger of the race. "I'm blown away."
The gasket on the wing valve for the power steering broke in the heat race, spraying oil all over him and forcing the 17-year-old driver to shut down his car. That forced Noland to start last out of seven cars in the B main.
Noland rallied to take the final transfer spot in fourth, starting him 20th in the feature. Without a working wing slider and with his front wing shoved back into the body of his car midway through the race, Noland rallied to drive to his podium finish.
"I'd rather do that then start on the pole and win," Noland said. "That's just fun right there. It's crazy. Unreal."
Visalia, Calif., resident Steven Tiner, who also transferred out of the B main and started the feature 19th, finished fourth. Roger Crockett of Medford, Ore., rounded out the top five.
With 14 laps remaining, Crockett was running third when he was black flagged because his muffler was falling off the car. However, like Noland and Tiner, Crockett was able to work his way through traffic in the closing laps for a top-five finish.
ASCS Northwest Region Results from Grays Harbor Raceway (May 23):
Heat One (10 Laps): 1. 12-Jared Ridge, 2. 11-Roger Crockett, 3. 25c-Chad Groves, 4. 20-Mike Melwicks, 5. 42-Devin Madonia, 6. 5h-Justyn Cox, 7. 94-Steven Tiner, 8. 15-Brad Groves, 9. 9p-Jared Peterson.
Heat Two (10 Laps): 1. 0j-Jay Cole, 2. 15d-Dan Dunlap, 3. 33v-Henry Van Dam, 4. 72-Glenn Borden, Jr., 5. 7a-J.J. Hickle, 6. 44w-Austen Wheatley, 7. 8x-Otto Jorgenson, 8. 7n-Chadd Noland, 9. 19m-Nick Casey (DNS).
Heat Three (10 Laps): 1. 76-Shawn Rice, 2. 98m-Mitch Olson, 3. 9j-J.J. Dishneau, 4. 19- T.J. Hartman, 5. 12p-Randy Pierce, 6. 2-Zach Zimmerly, 7. 23-Colin Baker, 8. 29-Robby Vaughn (DNS).
"B" Feature (12 Laps): 1. 2-Zach Zimmerly, 2. 44w-Austen Wheatley, 3. 94-Steven Tiner, 4. 7n-Chadd Noland, 5. 8x-Otto Jorgenson, 6. 23-Colin Baker, 7. 15-Brad Groves. DNS: 29-Robby Vaughn, 9p-Jared Peterson, 19m-Nick Casey.
"A" Feature (30 Laps): 1. 76-Shawn Rice, 2. 33v-Henry Van Dam, 3. 7n-Chadd Noland, 4. 94-Steven Tiner, 5. 11-Roger Crockett, 6. 7a-J.J. Hickle, 7. 25c-Chad Groves, 8. 98m-Mitch Olson, 9. 12-Jared Ridge, 10. 15d-Dan Dunlap, 11. 19-T.J. Hartman, 12. 20-Mike Melwicks, 13. 5h-Justyn Cox, 14. 44w-Austen Wheatley, 15. 12p-Randy Pierce, 16. Oj-Jay Cole, 17. 9j-J.J. Dishneau, 18. 72-Glenn Borden, Jr., 19. 2-Zach Zimmerly, 20. 42-Devin Madonia.
ASCS Northwest Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Steven Tiner 430, 2. Mitch Olson 422, 3. Henry Van Dam 420, 4. Chadd Noland 416, 5. Jared Ridge 412, 6. Roger Crockett 400, 7. Randy Pierce 376, 8. Justyn Cox 372, 9. Chad Groves 347, 10. Andy Gregg 284.