Nutter Returns To Northern Sprint Tour Winner's Circle By Joel Dennis Bill Nutter of Central Point, Ore. put together an emotional win in the season opening Northern Sprint Tour race at Willamette Speedway in Lebanon, Oregon on Friday, April...
Nutter Returns To Northern Sprint Tour Winner's Circle By Joel Dennis
Bill Nutter of Central Point, Ore. put together an emotional win in the season opening Northern Sprint Tour race at Willamette Speedway in Lebanon, Oregon on Friday, April 28th. The victory ended a rather lengthy dry spell for the defending series champion. He didn't visit the winner's circle at all last season during that title run.
Though Nutter started on the pole for the 30 lap A-main that fielded 20 of the 26 cars on hand, it was not any easy task getting to the checkered flag first. Outside front row starter Dale Smith of Cottage Grove, Ore. And fourth place starting Roger Crockett of Medford, Ore. both made their way past Nutter early with D.Smith leading the first 16 laps. Behind them, however, the action was intense.
Many competitors deep in the field were banging wheels all the way around the tight quarter mile track. Great displays of driving by all resulted in everyone remaining in one piece. Only single car stalls brought upon early caution flags: Jared Ridge of Monroe, Wash. on lap 6, and Sutherlin, Ore.'s Rob Held on lap 11.
Business picked up throughout the race's mid point when drivers' results were made and lost. The leaders quickly caught traffic and Nutter used it to his advantage when he was able to pass Crockett for second in turn four on lap 16. He wasn't done yet as he almost immediately passed D.Smith for the lead just over a straightaway later in between turns one and two.
Everyone was able to catch their breath due to a yellow on lap 18 brought out by Gold Hill, Ore. resident T.J. Winningham spinning on the back straightaway. The restart had Nutter leading D.Smith, Crockett, Cottage Grove, Ore.'s Danny Horner, and Henry Van Dam of Enumclaw, Wash. The order would not remain that way for long.
On lap 21 the field once again caught up to back markers. A lap later, Sedro Woolley, Wash.'s Chad Hillier was able to get underneath Van Dam in turn two to take over fifth. That same position swap had been negated earlier by a caution flag. Both those men would again move up a spot over the closing laps.
Hillier was the first to accomplish that when D.Smith got high exiting turn four on lap 25 and fell from a close second down to fifth. His race then essentially ended when he had contact with a lapped car in turn one and spun to a stop. The yellow resulted in a green, white, checkered finish that set-up with Nutter leading Crockett, Horner, Hillier, and Van Dam.
Crockett conducted a last ditch charge but it wasn't enough to get around Nutter. What made the accomplishment that much sweeter is that Crockett is now driving for the team Nutter won last year's championship with. Horner, Hillier, and Van Dam remained the rest of the top five.
The bottom half of the top ten was Jay Cole of Shelton, Wash., Shawn Smith from Nampa, Idaho, last year's race winner Joe Ramaker out of Boise, Idaho, Shelton, Wash. resident Randy Van Aagten, and Sacramento, Calif.'s Herman Klein. Ramaker was the hard-charger of the race improving by twelve positions.
Fifteen laps was the distance for the B-main. The only red flag of the night occurred in this event and the race hadn't even officially begun yet. On the warm-up lap, Rookie of The Year candidate Chris Pattenaude of Ferndale, Wash. took a soft tumble in turn two. He came back to start the race, however, he pulled to the pits five laps in. Traffic had no major role in this one as Hillier finished ahead of fellow main event transfers Van Dam, Ramaker, Ridge, and Held.
The dash consisted of the quickest six qualifiers who transferred out of their heats. The finish then established the first six positions for the feature. Nutter earned the right to start on pole followed by D.Smith, Horner, S.Smith, Klein, and Crockett.
All three heat races ran quite smoothly. Pat Desbiens of Roseburg, Ore. won the first ten lap event. The other main transfers were Nutter, Winningham, Crockett, and Klein. Dale Smith won heat two ahead of Van Aagten, Horner, Randy Pierce from Nampa, Idaho, and Cole. Heat three went to Sultan, Wash.'s Derek Ingalls over Creswell, Ore. resident Dallas Zuniga, Robert McNulty out of Mt. Vernon, Wash., S.Smith, and rookie competitor Seth Bergman of Snohomish, Wash.
Klein's qualifying time of 13.321 was the fastest of the field.
Fast Time -- Herman Klein 13.321
Heat 1: 1. 4D Pat Desbiens, 2. 3N Bill Nutter, 3. 9T T.J. Winningham, 4. 11 Roger Crockett, 5. 5H Herman Klein, 6. 12 Jared Ridge, 7. 72 Glenn Borden Jr., 8. 68 Rob Held, DNS: 57 Chris Schmelzle
Heat 2: 1. 75 Dale Smith, 2. 7 Randy Van Aagten, 3. 75H Danny Horner, 4. 12P Randy Pierce, 5. 0J Jay Cole, 6. 33V Henry Van Dam, 7. 26F Shane Forte, 8. 21 Chris Pattenaude, DNS: 98 Joe Ramaker
Heat 3: 1. 91 Derek Ingalls, 2. 4Z Dallas Zuniga, 3. 14 Robert McNulty, 4. 32S Shawn Smith, 5. 23 Seth Bergman, 6. 24 Braden Etchison, 7. 5B Brad Holmes, 8. 5 Chad Hillier
Dash: 1. Nutter, 2. D. Smith, 3. Horner, 4. Crockett, 5. S. Smith, 6. Klein
B Main: 1. Hillier, 2. Ramaker, 3. Van Dam, 4. Ridge, 5. Held, 6. Holmes, 7. Forte, 8. Borden, Jr., 9. Etchison, 10. Pattenaude, 11. Schmelzle
A Main: 1. Nutter, 2. Crockett, 3. Horner, 4. Hillier, 5. Van Dam, 6. Cole, 7. S. Smith, 8. Ramaker, 9. Van Aagten, 10. Klein, 11. Zuniga, 12. Bergman, 13. McNulty, 14. Ingalls, 15. D. Smith, 16. Desbiens, 17. Pierce, 18. Ridge, 19. Winningham, 20. Held