SCRA/NWWC Midwest Swing Recap Griffin Wins Nwwc Opener At Eagle EAGLE, NE, June 8 -- Richard Griffin began his defense of his Non-Winged World Championship (NWWC) title with a thrilling 30 lap main event win at Eagle Raceway. It was Griffin's...
SCRA/NWWC Midwest Swing Recap
Griffin Wins Nwwc Opener At Eagle
EAGLE, NE, June 8 -- Richard Griffin began his defense of his Non-Winged World Championship (NWWC) title with a thrilling 30 lap main event win at Eagle Raceway. It was Griffin's third career NWWC win and his fourth of the Sprint Car Racing Association (SCRA) season.
"We're glad that we were able to come out and win the first race," Griffin said. "I've never won here at Eagle before and our run at Perris last weekend wasn't too good, so I'm real happy to come out and win one for the Ron Chaffin Team."
One point shy of a perfect night, Griffin started the evening by turning the fastest qualifying time to win the Sander Engineering Award. After finishing second in his heat and fifth in the JE Pistons Dash, Griffin felt confident that he would be able to make a solid run from his third row starting spot if he utilized the high banking near the fence. Even though he liked his chances, Griffin did fear that passing pole sitter Cory Kruseman might be too tough of an assignment.
"I told my Crew Chief Bruce Bromme, Jr. after the dash that we were good and to not do anything to the car. I wasn't a 100% sure we'd be good enough to beat Cory on the bottom, but I knew the top was going to be good depending on just how much the bottom wore out. The top did get to be a pretty long way around, but it made for a good race."
Griffin was not alone in his observation that Kruseman would be hard to outmatch on the bottom. As suspected, Kruseman beat outside front row starter Troy Rutherford into turn one on the start. At the end of lap, the Harlan Willis / Omni Turn No. 45 TCR driven by Kruseman was followed by Rutherford, Mike Kirby, Charles Davis, Jr. and Griffin. Of the cars running in the top-five, Griffin was the only man electing to run up the hill and lean on the cushion. Once he established some momentum, Griffin swiftly moved ahead of Davis for the fourth position on lap two. Three laps later, John Scott and Rip Williams tangled. Williams spun to a stop and was collected by Brian Venard, Bob Ream, Jr. and Rickie Gaunt as Scott somehow managed to scurry away from the accident scene. Williams was able to restart and eventually finished seventh.
Like an artist, Griffin continued to use his Arizona Race Mart No. 50 Jon Boy to sculpt the cushion to fit his needs once racing resumed. Working lap six, Griffin passed the Mark Alexander & Brad Geurin / Statewide Towing No. 5 Stinger driven by Kirby for third. After another restart, Griffin charged after Rutherford in the Gardner Motorsports No. 4 Sled and was driving so hard that he slapped the back straight wall on lap eleven. It wasn't the first time that Griffin had touched the concrete on this night. As if he was now accustom to white-walling his right rear Hoosier Tire, Griffin calmly proceeded to pass Rutherford one lap later.
"I hit the wall there in the dash and I think it was about the fifth lap or so that I hit the wall three laps in a row. All I could do was hope that I didn't cut a tire or something. I kept coming off the corner (turn two) weird and I really didn't think I was going to hit the wall, but I did," Griffin smiled. "We just stayed up there, kind of got the top cleaned off, and it seemed like the longer the race went the better the top got."
Griffin did get better as the race progressed, but so did Kirby, who joined the "Gasman" on the high groove and passed Rutherford at the midway point of the race. Kruseman reached lapped traffic one lap later which was to Griffin's advantage since the majority of the field was still running the bottom. Out of necessity, Kruseman moved to the top for a circuit to pass a few lapped cars. Once the bottom became momentarily clear, Kruseman immediately moved back down. Anticipating that Kruseman would go low again, Griffin launched off the turn four cushion and took the lead on lap 18.
"We got to lapped traffic and Cory moved up. I wasn't sure if he was going to stay up there or not. Knowing Cory, I knew it would be hard to pull him off the bottom until he got passed. It would be awful hard to pull anybody off the bottom when they're leading a race on a track like this. I think Cory ran the race he should have run considering where he started. We were just good enough to be able to pass him running the top."
Kirby eventually moved ahead of Kruseman on lap 23, but lost considerable distance to Griffin who was much cleaner through lapped traffic. Kirby appeared to be equal to Griffin on the cushion, but just had too much ground to make-up and too few laps remaining. The last two laps did, however, get exciting after Griffin was held up in traffic. Griffin admitted after the race that he didn't want to get "tangled-up" with any lapped cars, so he ran the last couple last very conservatively. A strategy that worked well, but only by the narrowest of margins since he crossed the finish line with Kirby not far behind his rear nerf bar.
Kruseman and Rutherford finished third and fourth respectively while Troy Cline was able to pilot his Haas CNC Machine Tools No. 11 TCR from the 15th starting spot to a fifth place finish. Cline lost the TW Metals Hard Charger Award to local driver Bill Robertson who made his non-winged debut by putting together a 21st to tenth place run. <pre> SCRA RACE #15 - EAGLE RACEWAY, EAGLE, NE (NWWC #1) Date of Race: 06/8/01
SANDER ENGINEERING TIME TRIALS 1. Richard Griffin, Silver City NM, Chaffin 50 , 13.987 2. Bob Ream, Jr., BRAT Racing 8, 14.084 3. Cory Kruseman, Willis 45 , 14.114 4. John Scott, Scott Mtrsprts 83, 14.226 5. Michael Hinrichsen (R), Lake Mtrsprts. 16, 14.233 6. Mike English, Priestley 7 , 14.233 7. Troy Rutherford, Gardner, Jr 4 , 14.249 8. Steve Ostling, Fischer Mtrspts 29, 17.162 9. Mike Kirby, M&B Racing 5, 14.348 10. Danny Sheridan, Sertich 92, 14.377 11. Charles Davis, Jr, Morales 94, 14.385 12. Adam Mitchell, Escondido CA, Mitchell 99 , 14.467 13. Mike Spencer (R), Engstrom 44, 14.528 14. Lance Gremett, Gremett 85, 14.562 15. Rip Williams, Yorba Linda CA, Jory 3, 14.572 16. Troy Cline, Cline 11, 14.587 17. Brian Venard, Venard. 47, 17.253 18. Rickie Gaunt, Pratt 12 , 14.644 19. Hank Winter, Winter 33, 14.689 20. Glenn Crossno (R), Crossno 38, 14.881 21. George Gervais, Gervais 9 , 14.912 22. Kevin Doty, Dooling 6x, 14.928 23. Bill Robertson, Eckley 16x, 24. Ronnie Clark (R), Winter 138, 15.382 25. Kevin Frisbie, Frisbe 38k, 15.583 26. Jon Robertson, Pratt 12x, 16.161 27. Casey Shuman, Lake Mtrsprts 6, 16.596 28. Tony Everhart, El Cajon CA, Everhart 55, 21.333
HEDMAN HEDDERS HEAT 1 1. Venard, 2. Griffin, 3. Kirby, 4. Gervais, 5. Spencer, 6. Frisbie, 7. Hinrichsen
SHAVER ENGINES HEAT 2 1. Gaunt, 2. Doty, 3. Gremett, 4. Sheridan, 5. English, 6. Ream, 7. J. Robertson,
KSE PRODUCTS HEAT 3 1. Williams, 2. Rutherford , 3. Kruseman, 4. Davis, 5. Winter, 6. B. Robertson
SIMPSON RACE PRODUCTS HEAT 4 1. Scott, 2. Cline, 3. Everhart, 4. Mitchell, 5. Crossno, 6. Ostling, 7. Clark
JE PISTONS DASH 1. Kruseman, 2. Rutherford, 3. Kirby, 4. Davis, 5. Griffin, 6. Sheridan, 7. Scott, 8. Verne Sweeney,
JB ENTERPRISE B FEATURE 1. Ostling, 2. Ream, 3. Winter, 4. English, 5. Spencer, 6. B. Robertson, 7. Crossno, 8. Frisbie, 9. J. Robertson.
A FEATURE (30 Laps) 1. Griffin, 2. Kirby, 3. Kruseman, 4. Rutherford, 5. Cline, 6. Davis, 7. Williams, 8. Mitchell, 9. Ostling, 10. B. Robertson, 11. Gervais, 12. Gaunt, 13. Sheridan, 14. Venard, 15. Spencer, 16. Everhart, 17. Scott, 18. English, 19. Gremett, 20. Ream, 21. Winter, 22. Doty
Laps Led: Kruseman 1-17, Griffin 18-30