Wilskey takes U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. Northern Sprint Tour's "Evergreen State Sprint Challenge" $5000 to win event "You don't know the week I've had", were the first words from the jubilant Shawna Wilskey after taking the win in the 40 lap ...
Wilskey takes U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. Northern Sprint Tour's "Evergreen State Sprint Challenge" $5000 to win event
"You don't know the week I've had", were the first words from the jubilant Shawna Wilskey after taking the win in the 40 lap feature event of the "Evergreen State Sprint Challenge" at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, WA on Saturday night, June 19th. "The first of the week I wanted to kill may crew and last night they could have killed me but tonight, it all worked," she said as her crew and several others cheered, hugged and high-fived around her.
After being dominated by visiting California drivers since it's inception, the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co, Northern Sprint Tour's "Northwest Speedweek" and "Evergreen State Sprint Challenge" has seen and upset in 2003 with Northern Sprint Tour regulars taking 4 of the five races scheduled during the week.
Defending NST Champion Roger Crockett of Eugene, OR won the opening two nights with Jayme Barnes of Everett, WA taking race number three. With Wilskey's win of the final night, that left only Friday night's preliminary night going to an outside, Steve Kent of Fresno, CA.
Crockett, who had won the dash and had high hopes for the big $5000 Saturday night win saw his plans dashed when his right rear axel broke on lap 2 while he led the field down the back straight.
With Crockett out it was Barnes taking the lead with Wilskey, Jason Solwold of Sedro Woolley and Kent in close pursuit. Kent was running high looking for a way past Solwold when Wilskey out powered Barnes for the lead exiting turn four on the 5th lap.
As the field soon spread out, the leader was in traffic by the 10th circuit of the 3/10th mile oval and Kent was looking hard for a way past Barnes as Solwold, Jimmy Trulli of Placerville, CA, Jimmy Carte from Cloverdale, BA and Steven Allard of Chico, CA followed.
The second ten laps of the 40-lap feature event had Kent still looking for a way to catch Barns as he tried several racing lines in an effort to close the gap. A good three-way battle was going on between B-Main winner Ramaker and Jeff Hodgson of St Albert, AB and Shelton, WA's Jay Cole for 8th to 10th.
As the last half of the race started Kent finally made it past Barnes to second by Barnes quickly returned the favor and took the position back.
A yellow on lap 23 opened the track for the leaders but the were soon stretched around the oval in a high-speed ring. Barnes lost a little ground on lap 28 when he caught the berm in turn two, but was soon back on track and flying.
The last ten laps had the crow getting louder and louder as the announcer counted them down and Wilskey maintained her speed and lead. With five laps to go it was apparent no one was going to catch her unless she made a mistake, and that was not to happen.
After the run she said, "I knew Jayme could run high or low and might have a chance."
Barnes was pleased with his second place finish having been in the top three in 4 of the 5 races in Speedweek. "When I got past by Kent I went to the high side like him, got lucky and back into second. I have to really thank my crew as I destroyed my car last weekend and they put me back into another great one."
Kent, who was involved in an opening heat tangle said, "The car got bent pretty good in the heat crash. We did some things right after the dash and it was handling pretty good till I packed the right front wheel with mud. But, it's just one of those things and we'll take third".
B Main winner Joe Ramaker of Boise, ID took the point at the green flag with both Chad Hillier of Sedro Woolley, WA and Shelton, WA driver Randy Van Aagten giving chase in second spot. Hillier held the spot until lap 5 and from that point on Van Aagten trailed by as much as 15 car lengths to less than a car length as they went in and out of traffic.
After losing second, Hillier maintained third place but was threatened sever times by Shawn Smith of Nampa, ID. After carrying the battle for 3rd to Hillier several times, Smith was challenged for his spot in the closing laps by Drew church but held to the finish. Dawn-L Morrison of Millet, AB pulled to the middle of the track from the back stretch with 10 laps to go while running 6th to end the good run she had been in with Church and S. Smith.
Randy Pierce of Nampa, ID all 15 laps of the C-Main with Lance Sponberg of Tumwater, WA, Renton, WA's Dan Dunlap and David Gilmore of Maple Valley following
A very nasty double flip as the cars came to the starting line of the opening heat sent three cars to the pits before the green flag had barely waved. Contact between Schmelzle and Pincemin as they crossed the chalk line put Pincemin sideways in front of Ron Reed. Reed's car went up and flipped twice with Pincemin taking a nasty tumble also. Kent, with no way out also made contact but stayed on all four wheels. Damage to the cars ended Reed and Pincemin's night while although bent, Kent's car returned later in the evening.
After the cleanup, Schmelzle took the lead on the restart, holding the spot until the 6th lap when a strong charge in turn three by Carter carried him to the front. Solwold grabbed second the next lap with a dive into turn one in front to Schmelzle.
Barry Martinez and Hillier swapped the top spot a couple of times on the first lap of the second heat before Martinez settled into the lead for good as Hillier let Menard and S. Smith get past on a turn one bobble the next lap. Trulli and Dupperon gave the crowd their moneys worth, as they diced most of the race for fourth.
In the third heat Allard grabbed went outside from the second row to take the lead from Bell and Church and went to the win. Bell held third behind Church as Barnes and Nutter put on a good show as they fought for position.
Local driver Brad Holmes controlled all 10 laps of the final heat with M. Smith challenging mid race. Behind Hodges, Wilskey and Walker moved up through traffic to fill the top five in a very fast heat.
Crockett led the top six to the line in the dash, with Barnes, Solwold, Wilskey, Trulli and Kent filling the first three rows for the start of the feature event.
Jason Solwold was fast qualifier, leading a 38-car field with a time of 13.507 seconds.
The top 10 Northwest Speedweek drivers sharing the 20/10 $5000 bonus money with $1000 to the winner were: 1)Roger Crockett, 2)Jason Solwold, 3)Jayme Barnes, 4)Steve Kent, 5)Shawna Wilskey, 6)Jimmy Carter, 7)Jeff Hodgson, 8)Steven Allard, 9)Jimmy Trulli, 10)Billy Nutter. Among those entered were three drivers currently leading points races that elected to race the Evergreen State Sprint Challenge. Jason Solwold -- 360 & 410 divisions at Skagit Speedway, Jimmy Trulli -- California Civil War Series and Drew Church -- Northwest Sprintcar Racing Assoc. (NSRA)
Fast Time -- Jason Solwold -- 13.507.
Heat 1 --Jimmy Carter, Jason Solwold, Chris Schmelzle, Mark Torres, Rory Price, Randy Van Aagten, Denny Miller, Tyler Pincemin, Ron Reed, Steve Kent.
Heat 2 --Barry Martinez, Tony Menard, Shawn Smith, Jimmy Trulli, Roger Crockett, Chad Hillier, Geoff Beck, Dan Dunlap, Randy Pierce.
Heat 3 --Steven Allard, Drew Church, Jeff Bell, Billy Nutter, Jayme Barnes, Joe Ramaker, Jay Cole, Marc Dupperon, Tim Boychuk.
Heat 4 --Brad Holmes, Marvin Smith, Jeff Hodgson, Shawna Wilskey, Steve Walker, Dawn-L Morrison, Lance Sponberg, David Gilmore, Peter Murphy.
Dash -- Crockett, Barnes, Solwold Wilskey, Trulli, Kent.
C-Main --Pierce, Sponberg, Dunlap, Gilmore.
B-Main --Ramaker, Van Aagten, Hillier, S. Smith, Church, Torres, Holms, Miller, Menard, Beck, Walker, Bell, Boychuk, Dunlap, Sponberg, Pierce, Gilmore, Morrison.
A-Main --Wilskey, Barnes, Kent, Solwold, Carter, Allard, Nutter, Trulli, Cole, Dupperon, Hodgson, Van Aagten, Schmelzle, Martinez, Hillier, Ramaker, Murphy, S. Smith, M. Smith, Crockett.