Fauver Wins Northern Sprint Tour Evergreen State Sprint Challenge Opener While the fans may have been disappointed that NASCAR rookie sensation Kasey Kahne fell out earlier in the evening, Everett, WA driver Rick Fauver gave them their money's...
Fauver Wins Northern Sprint Tour Evergreen State Sprint Challenge Opener
While the fans may have been disappointed that NASCAR rookie sensation Kasey Kahne fell out earlier in the evening, Everett, WA driver Rick Fauver gave them their money's worth of racing as he held of several challenges by Brent Kaeding to take the Evergreen State Sprint Challenge opener at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, WA on Friday, June 16th. The three-eights mile high-banked oval provided Campbell, CA veteran Kaeding with several racing grooves to use for a pass to the lead, but Fauver deftly held the challenger at bay to take the win.
"After the dash, I knew we had a good car and I was going to be able to run a good race," commented Fauver in the winner's circle. "I was going to run a good race and if he (Kaeding) got ahead, well that's the way it is. Brent doesn't give up and I knew I just had to race hard to the flag."
Host to the Evergreen State Sprint Challenge, the last two days of the Northern Sprint Tour's Northwest Speedweek, fifty-six (56) cars vied for a shot at the more than $80,000 on line with Friday's winner getting $1000 and the Saturday night winner putting $5000 into his pocket for his work.
Looking hard at that $5000, Kaeding commented, "Tomorrows longer 40 lap race will give me much longer to work on the competition. Rick had a fast car tonight and we didn't get a lot of traffic where we could work on him."
At the green it was pole sitter Fauver staying low as Kaeding went higher into the first turn with Fauver out front at the end of the lap. A couple of laps later it was Kaeding trying the low side while Fauver looked to the high side.
As Fauver and Kaeding both settled in the high groove, TJ Winningham of Gold Hill, OR brought out the first yellow on lap 7 with a turn 4 spin.
On the restart, Stephen Allard took 2nd place but Kaeding put the Chico, CA driver back in third before the lap was completed.
Lap 9 showed the yellow again as Travis Hawthorne, Kaeding and Allard ran three wide in turn four with Allard and Hawthorne making contact.
On the restart it was Randy Van Aagton of Shelton, WA taking over the number three spot as Fauver put some space between his car and Kaeding's mount. Defending NST champion Roger Crockett, who started 12th, had made good time moving to the front until Millet, AB driver Dawn-L Morrison held the Eugene, OR based Crockett at bay for a good five laps as he tried to move by.
Kaeding's best shot at the lead came on a lap 13 restart when he ducked low into the first turn, but the veteran's slide to the lead out of turn two was cut short as Fauver slammed shut the door to retain his lead.
A lot of action behind the leaders was taking place as Allard dropped back to fifth, Van Aagten lost a spot to Crockett and Billy Nutter went up in flames going through turns one & two. Nutter deftly went high out of traffic, and then onto the apron and through a water puddle to put out the fire and avoid a yellow flag.
The final 10 laps were fast paced with Fauver opening a good lead and then saw it start to disappear as he came up on slower traffic. While Kaeding was able to close in the final laps, and make a final try on the white flag lap. His effort came up short with Fauver picking up his first NST win of the year. Shannon Wheatly and Shawn Rice started the B-Main off running wing to wing the first lap with Rice getting the lead on the circuit of the clay oval. As Wheatly dropped back it was Van Aagten second behind Rice as Enumclaw, WA's rising NASCAR start Kasey Kahne, running his first NST race at Elma since 1998, gave chase in third.
Van Aagten took the point position from Rice as they exited the fourth turn on lap seven. The top five opened to about five car length gaps leaving the dicing for position to those from 6th back. On a lap 9 yellow for a spun back marker, Kahne coasted to a stop of the front straight. To the dismay of the crowd, it was announced that Kahne's racing was over for the evening due to a mechanical failure.
Van Aagten led the last six laps of the race with Rice in tow but not threatening. The battle for fourth, the last transfer to the A-Feature event was hard fought with Jay Cole of Shelton, WA, Richie Peterson of Great Falls, MT and Edmonton, AB area veteran Sean Moran.
With two to go, Cole was settled in but the fight for fourth went to the wire so hard that loser Peterson slid into the turn one wall at the checkered.
Chad Hillier dominated the C-Main from the start by going to the high side and the front in the first lap. Following Sedro Woolley, WA's Hillier was Enumclaw driver Henry Van Dam who ran solid second the entire10 lap race. Todd Zeitler of Medford, OR took third as Ron Reed of Montesano, WA held off Creswell, OR's Dallas Zuniga and Josh Dewitt of Snohomish, WA to take the hotly contested fourth place position.
Kaeding took the first heat race with Barry Martinez of Lynwood, WA in the lead at the checkered flag in heat two.
Rookie Alex Hantel of Everett took a flyer on the opening lap of the third heat, tumbling down the front straight after contact with another car. Shawn Smith of Nampa, ID had no problem holding the lead for the win.
The final heat went to Nutter with the battle for second between Crockett and Travis Hawthorne of Lake Stevens, WA the race to watch.
The first non-qualifier race went to Paul Zimmerly of Richland, WA with Jeff Thompson of Harrisburg, OR taking the second non-qualifier race.
Kaeding was the dash winner while Fauver set fast time of the night with a 13.383 second time.
Northwest Speedweek concludes with the final night of the Evergreen State Sprint Challenge July 17th at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, WA.
Fast Time -- Rick Fauver -- 13.383.
Heat 1 -- Brent Kaeding, Stephen Allard, Dale Smith, Rick Fauver, Richie Peterson, George Graham, Richard Brace, Sean Moran, Mark Torres, Henry Van Dam.
Heat 2 -- Barry Martinez, Glenn Borden, JR, Jeff Hodgson, Nick Evans, Kasey Kahne, Brad Holmes, Jay Cole, Marc Mackay, Todd Zeitler, Bob Brooke.
Heat 3 -- Shawn Smith, Jimmy Trulli, TJ Winningham, Brad Sweet, Chris Schmelzle, Scott Russell, Matt Menne, Ron Reed, Shannon Wheatly, Alex Hantel.
Heat 4 -- Billy Nutter, Roger Crockett, Travis Hawthorne, Dawn-L Morrison, Chad Hillier, Randy Van Aagten, Josh Dewitt, John Youngquist, Randy Pierce, Shawn Rice.
Dash -- Kaeding, Fauver, Hodgson, Hawthorne, Sweet, Allard.
C-Main -- Hillier, Van Dam, Zeitler, Reed, Holmes, Dallas Zuniga, Dan Dunlap, Steve Vague, Jeff Thompson, Pierce, Paul Zimmerly, Bob White, David Gilmore.
B-Main -- Van Aagten, Rice, Cole, Moran, Peterson, Schmelzle, Hillier, Dewitt, Graham, Mackay, Van Dam, Menne, Russell, Youngquist, Brooke, Brace, Wheatly, Kahne.
A-Main -- Fauver, Kaeding, Crockett, Van Aagten, Allard, Rice, Cole, Trulli, D. Smith, Evans, Moran, S. Smith, Morrison, Borden, Jr., Martinez, Hawthorne, Winningham, Hodgson, Nutter, Sweet.