Except for three times, in previous U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. Northern Sprint Tour "Northwest Speedweek" races there was a visiting driver from California standing in the winners circle collecting accolades and cash. As current points leader...
Except for three times, in previous U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Co. Northern Sprint Tour "Northwest Speedweek" races there was a visiting driver from California standing in the winners circle collecting accolades and cash. As current points leader Roger Crockett proved at Cottage Grove Speedway on Tuesday evening, that's not going to be happening every race this year.
Making the Cottage Grove, OR track his second conquest in a row, Crockett may be setting his sights on matching Brad Furr's 1999 feat of winning all five Northwest Speedweek races. "It feels great to win over past multiple winners like Kent (Steve) and Kaeding (Brent), but we run every race to win, just like they do, and it's paying off," was Crockett's comment when asked his feelings on the win. "Taking all five would be great of course, but we will concentrate on winning each race as we run it," stated the Eugene, OR based driver.
On a track that was already going dry slick before the feature event, passing was not as easy as usual and finesse and smoothness worked better than horsepower to make advances.
Dash winner Jayme Barnes of Everett, WA took the lead from the pole after a yellow on the opening lap, and action was slowed twice again in the first 6 laps. One mishap sending Placerville, CA's Jimmy Trulli, Dale Smith of Cottage Grove and Shawn Smith of Nampa, ID to the pits and the final one putting Central Point, OR's Billy Nutter out.
Barnes retained his lead on the restarts with Crockett putting the pressure on until he was able to make the pass for the lead on lap 14. "I made a couple of mistakes early on that cost me, one when Roger got by," said Barnes in a post race comment, "but the last of the race ran good and I felt I could hold the position.
With Crockett out front the field opened up with a few individual battles as the leaders worked through traffic. Shawna Wilskey of Mt. Vernon, WA and Andy Forsberg out of Auburn, CA fought for fifth place with both drivers holding the position behind Campbell, CA veteran Brent Kaeding, and Sydney, AU driver Peter Murphy won a race long battle with Chad Hillier of Sedro Woolley, WA for 8th.
A big disappointment for Monday night's 3rd place finisher Jason Solwold, when pulled to the infield while running a solid fourth and challenging Kent after losing the gears in the rear end on lap eighteen. With the laps passing quickly it was soon checkered flag time with Crockett making it two in a row and looking for number three.
In the post race trackside interview by announce Fred Rannard, Jr., third place finisher Steve Kent commented, "With the track taking rubber and all the cars so close in speed, it was really hard to pass. You just about have to wait for a mistake on the part of the car in front of you." "Also," said Kent, "these drivers have really stepped up to the challenge and are getting better every year. They have better equipment and more experience, and it's getting harder to win every year."
The B-Main got off to a slow start with two yellow flags flying before the third time was the charm and racing got under way. Kaeding took the initial lead, but Hillier made good from the outside on the next two tries and held for 4 laps before relinquishing the top spot to Kaeding for good.
Hillier did challenge a couple of times when the leaders were fighting slower cars, but Kaeding made the best of the high groove to keep the lead. Trulli ran in 3rd the full 15 laps, keeping both St. Albert, AB driver Jeff Hodgson and Wayne Williams of Minden, NV at bay.
Although a yellow on the last lap closed the field, a clear track gave Kaeding an open run to the win with Nutter making a hard charge into the final transfer spot behind Hillier and Trulli.
The C-Main got off to a bumpy start for Vern Scevers and Barry Martinez when they did a double flip in turn one on the opening lap and damage to the cars ended the night for both drivers.
Once action resumed, Canadian driver Tyler Pincemin of Morinville, AB took the point and never looked back to the checkered flag. T. J. Winningham of Gold Hill, OR made a couple of good tries for the lead as traffic slowed Pincemin, but had no success. Winningham lost his transfer to the B Main on the last lap when he and Pincemin closed on a slow car in turn four on the final lap. Winningham went high, while fellow Morinville driver and teammate Geoff Beck took the low groove with Beck beating Winningham to the line.
The evening's racing action got off to a bang-up start, when Kaeding and Hodges did a synchronous double roll in turn two on the second lap while fighting for 5th place. Kaeding returned with a new wing but Hodges was out for the heat.
Forsberg had taken the initial lead, which he held for the win. S. Smith, Solwold and Tim Boychuk of Winterburn, AB also transferred to the A Main.
In heat two, young lion Brad Sweet of Grass Valley, CA led the first 6 laps with Joe Ramaker getting by when Sweet slid high in turn four. Also making the cut to the A Main were Kent and Carter.
Heat three went to M. Smith over his brother D. Smith with Wilskey and Barnes following.
The final heat was all Murphy's, who led wire to wire over Dan Menne of Ft. Jones, CA, Allard and Crockett.
Dash results read Barnes, Crockett, Kent, Solwold, Carter and Wilskey.
Fast time for the night went to Solwold with an 11.279 sec lap.
The tour now moves to Willamette Speedway in Lebanon, OR on Wednesday July 16, 2003
Fast Time -- Jason Solwold -- 11.279.
Heat 1 -- Andy Forsberg, Shawn Smith, Tim Boychuk, Brent Kaeding, Wayne Williams, Tyler Pincemin, Denny Miller, Vern Scevers, Shane Forte, Lane Sponberg.
Heat 2 -- Joe Ramaker, Brad Sweet, Steve Kent, Jimmy Carter, Billy Nutter, Glenn Borden, Jr., Chad Hillier, Bryce Fugate, Dawn-L Morrison, Jeff Bell, Mark Torres.
Heat 3 -- Marvin Smith, Dale Smith, Shawna Wilskey, Jayme Barnes, Richard Brace, Jr., Chris Schmelzle, Shain Matthews, Barry Martinez, Melissa Yates, Geoff Beck, David Gilmore.
Heat 4 -- Peter Murphy, Dan Menne, Steven Allard, Roger Crockett, Jimmy Trulli, Kevin Sharrah, Jay Cole, T. J. Winningham, Dan Dunlap, Randy Pierce, Andy Gregg . Dash -- Barnes, Crockett, Kent, Solwold, Carter, Wilskey.
C-Main --Pincemin, Beck, Winningham, Morrison, Forte, Torres, Pierce, Dunlap, Sponberg, Bell, Gilmore, Scevers, Martinez, Klein.
B-Main -- Kaeding, Hillier, Trulli, Nutter, Williams, Borden, Jr., Matthews, Cole, Schmelzle, Pincemin, Yates, Hodgson, Gregg, Miller, Fugate, Beck, Brace, Sharrah.
A-Main -- Crockett, Barnes, Kent, Kaeding, Wilskey, Forsberg, Carter, Murphy, Hillier, Sweet, Menne, M. Smith, Boychuk, Williamson, Solwold, Allard, Nutter, Trulli, D. Smith, S. Smith.