by Bob Kehoe PORTLAND, OR (May 12, 2001) -- Under warm but somewhat overcast weather conditions here Saturday night, the historic grandstands at the Portland Speedway were packed with local fans who gathered to witness the action during the ...
by Bob Kehoe
PORTLAND, OR (May 12, 2001) -- Under warm but somewhat overcast weather conditions here Saturday night, the historic grandstands at the Portland Speedway were packed with local fans who gathered to witness the action during the Bi-Mart Spring Fling. On tap for their first of three 2001 season visits to Portland were the 360 Sprint Cars of the hy-per-lube Northern Sprint Tour on the Speedway's monster half-mile clay oval.
Also seeing competition on the half-mile for the first time this season was the NASCAR Grand American Modifieds -- the track's premier national points division that typically takes part in the weekly Bud Bowl events on the one-third mile clay oval.
Jayme Barnes led wire-to-wire in the 30-lap Northern Sprint Tour feature race. The victory was Barnes' first NST Series victory, and perhaps the biggest win thus far for the young third-generation driver from Everett, WA. The event was the second of the season for the series, which raced Friday night in Yakima, WA.
Finishing second after trailing Barnes the entire distance was Richie Peterson of Great Falls, MT. Despite several caution periods during the course of the race, Barnes was able to maintain his lead following each restart. Third place went to Dan Menne of Fort Jones, CA, who won last season's main event during the Northern Sprint Tour's debut at the historic Portland track. Fourth and fifth, respectively, went to Roger Crockett and Tim Levin. During NST qualifying earlier in the evening, J.R. Harkness of Acme, WA set quick time on the clock with a lap of 18.960 seconds.
The hy-per-lube Northern Sprint Tour returns to the Portland Speedway two more times during the 2001 season. The series will take part in the annual Open Wheel Spectacular presented by 76 Racing Fuel on June 23, and again on July 18 for the Les Schwab Sizzler.
Speedway regular Richard Whiteman of Tigard, OR drove to his first season victory in the Grand American Modified 20-lap main event, barely holding off a late race charge by Dan Obrist. Eric Sayre finished third, followed by Gary Morris and Ray Elwess.
Rather than single car qualifying, two 10-lap heat races determined starting positions for the Modified's feature event. Heat One was won by Eric Sayre, followed by Ray Elwess, Chris Quinn and Gary Morris. Picking up the win in Heat Two was Don Jenner, ahead of Tom Pinkowsky, Sean Gentry and Dan Obrist. The top three finishers from each heat went on to race in the Grand American Modified six-lap trophy dash, which was also won by Sayre over the second place Elwess.
The next scheduled event for the Portland Speedway's weekly NASCAR Friday "Bud Bowl" is Friday, May 18. Featured Divisions will be the Grand American Modifieds, Shorttrack Sportsman, Street Stocks, Figure 8, WAR! and Bombers. Ticket prices are $10 for adults, $5 for juniors (11-17), and kids 10 and under are free. For all NASCAR Friday "Bud Bowl" events, front gates will open at 5:00 p.m., with racing beginning at 6:45 p.m.