It was fast, smooth and quick for Roger Crockett at Southern Oregon Speedway Monday night, as the Eugene, OR driver went wire to wire in winning the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. Northern Sprint Tour's "Northwest Speedweek" opener on the third mile...
It was fast, smooth and quick for Roger Crockett at Southern Oregon Speedway Monday night, as the Eugene, OR driver went wire to wire in winning the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. Northern Sprint Tour's "Northwest Speedweek" opener on the third mile Medford, OR track.
"It was good to start on the pole, because there are some real good drivers in the field", stated the defending Northern Sprint Tour champion after the race. I couldn't tell what was going on behind me, but I knew I couldn't let up at all. My biggest concern was that someone would spin out in front of me."
Getting off to a fast start the top five shook out to Auburn, CA's Andy Forsberg, Shawna Wilskey of Mt. Vernon, WA, Dale Smith of Cottage Grove, OR and Chico, CA hot shoe Steven Allard running nose to tail behind Crockett. Within 6 laps Crocket's fast pace had him with a 10 car length lead over Wilskey as Allard and Forsberg diced for third another 10 car lengths back.
By lap 10 the field was well spread around the oval with lots of good races for position from 6th to past mid-pack. Jason Solwold of Sedro Woolley, WA, up from the 'B' Main, had moved to 4th and previous Speedweek winners Brent Kaeding of Campbell, CA and Fresno, CA veteran Steve Kent were battling for 7th with Edmonton, AB's Jeff Hodgson and Barry Martinez of Lynnwood, WA joining the fray at times.
The first of three amber lights came on when Solwold and Wilskey got together in the first turn just after Allard had taken 2nd place from Wilskey on the front straight. The contact had both cars spinning with Solwold continuing but not Wilskey. Although her run at the front was over, Wilskey worked back to a 12th place finish. During the yellow flag period, Forsberg exited the track to the pits and did not return.
Dale Smith brought out the yellow again two laps later with a spin and at the restart it was Crockett with two lapped cars for a buffer over Allard, Solwold, Hodgson, Kent and Kaeding.
Although the track was changing toward a single groove as the race wore down, Martinez, Central Point, OR's Billy Nutter and Jay Cole of Shelton, WA having a very close fight for 7th behind Kent and Kaeding, who had now changed position with Kaeding in 5th.
As Allard and Solwold fought for second place, Crockett again pulled away, opening a quarter of a lap lead on the duo before the last caution for Everett, WA's Jayme Barnes who stopped in turn two on lap 26 after contact with another car.
On the final restart Crockett had no lapped car buffer but there was not much doubt as to the winner as he again pulled away from the pack. Martinez moved to press Kent with a pair of laps left on the books but came up short at the line.
Following the racing action Allard thanked the Finley family for providing him with a great ride. He also commented, "I knew Jason was there, because I kept seeing his wheel along side me. But, he ran a good safe race and it was great."
"Third after three spins, not bad," commented Solwold, who had spun twice in his heat and had to race the B-Main. "I just had to be patient and wait till others got out of the groove. I haven't been on the road this year and I was a little nervous that I would be out of touch with other tracks. It was good and we're ready to try again for the win."
The B-Main got off to a shaky start, with first a spin by Chad Hillier of Sedro Woolley, WA and then on the restart a car failed to accelerate mid-pack causing enough contact in the field to put Grass Valley, CA's Brad Sweet out with front end damage.
A last lap spin in his heat put Kaeding into the B-Main, then slower cars cost him some spots there, but at the checkered he was leading the pack and into the "A" Feature event.
Solwold led the way for the first 12 laps of the 15-lap B-Main with Kaeding working to 2nd by lap 5. A lap 9 yellow helped close the gap, and Kaeding took the point with a back straight pass on lap 13. Wayne Williams of Monterey, CA took the original 2nd place spot with he and Kaeding almost spinning as they made contact on the back straight on lap 4. Williamson dropped back as Richard Brace, Jr. of Auburn, CA and Cole went wheel to wheel for third with first Brace, then Cole and finally Brace getting the position. Williamson had to settle for alternate and missed the transfer to the 'A' Main.
Nampa, ID driver Shawn Smith went wire to wire to take the 10-lap C-Main event. The closest racing was between Dan Dunlap of Renton, WA and Joe Ramaker of Boise, ID for the number two spot. Unfortunately, after 8 laps of nose to tail running contact in turn one slowed them enough to let Kevin Sharrah of Chico, CA make a pass on the high side and they both missed the transfer to the B-Main. Following Ramaker to fill out the top five was Denny Miller of Stony Plain, AB.
Heat race action saw a great race between Martinez and Kaeding in the first heat. With Martinez leading, Kaeding tried several times to make a pass with Martinez closing the door each time Kaeding poked his nose under him. On the final lap the made contact in turn three with Kaeding spinning to a stop high on the track and Martinez taking the checkered flag. Following across the line with transfer positions were Hodgson, Kent and D. Smith.
Heat two saw Nutter take the lead from Hillier on lap 2 and go to the win. With Hillier dropping back, it was Geoff Beck of Morinville, AB, Peter Murphy of Sydney, AU and Forsberg getting the move to the feature event.
Jimmy Carter of Cloverdale, BC took heat thereafter following Dan Menne of Ft. Jones CA for 7 laps. Crockett took 2nd on lap 9 with Jimmy Trulli of Placerville, CA getting g the last transfer spot. The final heat went to Barnes who led from green to checkered. Trailing were Allard, Wilskey and Shain Matthews of Marysville, CA.
Setting the A-Feature first six line up, the dash results were Crockett, Forsberg, Allard, Hodgson, D. Smith and Wilskey.
Fast time for the night went to Hodgson with a 12.344 sec lap.
Fast Time -- Jeff Hodgson -- 12.344.
Heat 1 -- Barry Martinez, Steve Kent, Jeff Hodgson, Dale Smith, Jay Cole, Kevin Sharrah, Tyler Pincemin, Brad Sweet, David Gilmore, Mark Torres.
Heat 2 -- Billy Nutter, Geoff Beck, Peter Murphy, Andy Forsberg, Chad Hillier, Herman Klein, Randy Pierce, Dan Dunlap, Melissa Yates, Doug Lippencott, Jason Solwold.
Heat 3 -- Jimmy Carter, Roger Crockett, Dan Menne, Jimmy Trulli, Marvin Smith, Richard Brace, Jr., Shawn Smith, Wayne Williams, Denny Miller, Wayne Kniffer, Glenn Borden, Jr.
Heat 4 -- Jayme Barnes, Steven Allard, Shawna Wilskey, Shain Matthews, Andy Gregg, Joe Ramaker, T. J. Winningham, Dawn-L Morrison, Lance Sponberg, Jeff Bell, Chris Schmelzle.
Dash -- Crockett, Forsberg, Allard, Hodgson, D. Smith, Wilskey.
C-Main -- S. Smith, Sharrah, Dunlap, Ramaker, Miller, Sponberg, Pierce, Gilmore, Kniffer, Torres, Bell, Lippencott.
B-Main -- Kaeding, Solwold, Brace, Jr., Cole, Williams, Klein, Pincemin, Gregg, Morrison, S. Smith, Borden, Jr., Hillier, Yates, Schmelzle, Sharrah, Winningham, Sweet, M. Smith.
A-Main --Crockett, Allard, Solwold, Hodgson, Kaeding, Kent, Martinez, Nutter, Cole, Carter, Trulli, Wilskey, Menne, Barnes, D. Smith, Brace, Jr., Murphy, Beck, Matthews, Forsberg.