NST "Big E" Opener Goes To Lemley at Grays Harbor Raceway The Northern Sprint Tour traditionally opens the "Big E" weekend at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, WA, which features the World of Outlaws, with a Thursday night point race. At the August...
NST "Big E" Opener Goes To Lemley at Grays Harbor Raceway
The Northern Sprint Tour traditionally opens the "Big E" weekend at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, WA, which features the World of Outlaws, with a Thursday night point race. At the August 26th race, on a surface rougher than normal with a ton of traction due to new clay and five days of rain, 43 drivers took the challenge and when the checkered flag flew at the end of the A-Feature event, Brock Lemley had his first Northern Sprint Tour win. Not only was it the Bellingham, WA drivers first NST win, it was also his first time at the track and the first time he had raced with the Northern Sprint Tour.
"Boy, this is great", said Lemley. "This first win feels great and I'm really happy. I know there were faster cars than me out there tonight, and the rough track had some dropping out but I'm really glad to get the win".
In a race slowed by 6 yellow flags Jayme Barnes, starting 3rd, dropped low in turn two on the opening lap to take the lead as he and Billy Nutter exited the turn. Barnes, out of Everett, WA was hooked to the new clay and quickly opened a 10-car length lead over Central Point, OR veteran Nutter.
Barnes continued to control the lead with no problems the first 15 laps, running over and through the ruts as they seemed to have little effect on his race. After a quick lap 5 yellow for damage to the Travis Rutz car, Barnes led the top ten cars as they spread out around the track, with action slowing again on lap 12 after Rick Fauver stopped with a flat left rear tire caused when Barns and Fauver made contact the lap before.
Fauver, from Everett, WA was set to start fifth, but a trip to the pits just before the opening lap had sent him to the rear of the pack and now, the contact had Fauver going to the rear again.
Barnes' chance for a win go away on lap 21 when he lost his steering after hitting a rut in turn three and made hard contact with the turn four wall, possibly from damage in his contact with Fauver.
While Lemley's hard driving from his 9th place start had had gained him several positions, the exit of Shane Stewart of Bixby, OK due to the two spin rule and a near tip over by Dennis Moore, Jr. that brought out the yellow when the Grinell, IA driver stopped in turn four, helped ease the way to the front.
Nutter, who had lost three more spots after hooking a rut in turn one early in the race, was sitting in second place again when Lemley took the point and headed for the win.
Nutter had to stave off a challenge by the hard charger of the night Chad Hillier in the last three laps after a yellow when defending champion Roger Crockett and Brandon Harkness went to the pits.
"He (Lemley) did a great job", said Nutter. "We anticipated a rough track, what with the new clay and the weather, but Brock did what he needed to do to win."
Hillier, out of Sedro Woolley, WA had played the alphabet soup game by winning the C-Main, getting the final transfer spot in the B-Main and then using the smoother high groove throughout the race to come on with a strong third place finish close on Nutter's rear nerf bar in the A-feature event.
"It was a struggle earlier. We've been working on this motor all night trying to get it right, but we're still a bit off. Now I'll move to the #3 Huson Bros. tomorrow and see what we can do with the Outlaws."
While young Travis Rutz lead wire-to-wire in his B-Main win, the battle for third to fifth place seemed to be the tightest throughout the race.
Rutz, of Langley, BC, jumped to the lead over Nampa, ID's Shawn Smith at the green to open a solid 10-car length lead by the second lap. Nick Evans of Marysville, WA took second on the third trip around the track as Smith dropped back into a tight battle for third with Barry Martinez of Lynnwood, WA and Tim Levin also from Marysville.
The pack closed again after Steve Vague took a nasty ride in a series of flips in the fourth turn, after hooking a rut during lap five.
On the restart it was Rutz and Evans pulling away as Levin, Martinez and Smith went wing to wing exchanging position in the battle for third. Smith rolled to a stop on the back straight on the eleventh lap to once again close the group.
Under way again, Chad Hillier was now in the thick of the battle for third along with Martinez, Levin and a closing Randy Van Aagten of Shelton, WA. On lap 13, the final yellow flew when part of Martinez' front wing came off, setting up a mad dash to the checkered.
At the green flag Levin aced Hillier out of third as a disappointed Martinez fell to fifth and out of a transfer spot as Rutz and Evans went to the line.
Hillier took the C-Main lead from Brady Dart while running the high line on the back straight during the fourth lap. Once in front, Hillier never looked back at the rest of the pack. Third and fourth place finishers Alex Hantel and Chris Pattenaude both advanced to the B-Main due to cars unable to start.
It took three tries to get the first lap completed in the first heat with Jimmy Trulli taking the win. Nutter, Barnes and Tim Levin had a close race for the final transfer spot to the A-Feature with Levin ending up in the B-Main.
Heat two went to Nutter as Van Aagten saw hi right rear wheel exit the track over the turn four wall while running fourth. No one was hurt by the tire but someone's four-wheeler was going to need some work.
Jay Cole of Shelton, WA went nonstop from green to checkered to take the heat three win as Josh Dewitt gave chase all 10 laps.
Shawn Smith started the final heat of with a bang, flipping in turn four. On the restart Crockett was out front and he took the win over fellow Oregonian Jeff Thompson.
Setting the lineup for the A-Feature, Nutter took the win for the pole position as Barnes, Stewart, Fauver Jeff Hodges and Harkness followed.
Fast time for the night went to Fauver with the only sub 13 second lap, running a 12.937 second time.
Fast Time -- Rick Fauver -- 12.937.
Heat 1 -- Jimmy Trulli, Rick Fauver, Dale Smith, Jayme Barnes, Jay Smith, Tim Levin, Henry Van Dam, Chad Hillier, Alex Hantel, Barry Martinez.
Heat 2 -- Billy Nutter, Shane Stewart, Dennis Moore, Jr., Aaron Fell, Derek Ingalls, Eddie Evans, Brady Dart, Randy Pierce, Dan Dunlap, Randy Van Aagten.
Heat 3 -- Jay Cole, Josh Dewitt, Jeff Hodgson, Brock Lemley, Nick Evans, Travis Rutz, Steve Vague, Shawn Rice, Ron Reed, Steve Veltman.
Heat 4 --Roger Crockett, Jeff Thompson, Brandon Harkness, Dallas Zuniga, Dawn-L Morrison, Brad Holmes, Chris Pattenaude, George Graham, Shawn Smith.
Dash --Nutter, Barnes, Stewart, Fauver, Hodgson, Harkness.
C-Main --Hillier, Dart, Hantel, Pattenaude, Dunlap, Bob Smith, Veltman, Reed(DNS), Jeff Bell(DNS).
B-Main -- Rutz, N. Evans, Levin, Hillier, Martinez, Van Aagten, Rice, Hantel, Morrison, Dart, Pattenaude, Holmes, S. Smith, Pierce, Van Dam, J. Smith, Vague, Graham.
A-Main -- Lemley, Nutter, Hillier, Levin, Trulli, Cole, D. Smith, Fauver, Thompson, Zuniga, N. Evans, Crockett, Harkness, Barnes, Stewart, Moore, Jr., Dewitt, Hodgson, Fell, Rutz.