Twenty-two cars showed up for the Strawberry Cup this weekend in sunny Victoria, BC with only one car, the ...
Twenty-two cars showed up for the Strawberry Cup this weekend in sunny Victoria, BC with only one car, the #11 of Duane Zeinstra dropping out prior to Qualifying with engine trouble. Although a freak thunderstorm dropped pea-sized hail on the area around lunchtime on Friday, the weather was just right for Saturday's event. Mike Sullivan, Jr. took fast time in his #77Sullivan & Company sprint car. I believe the time was 13.395 (slightly over 107 mph average!) on this 4/10 mile, slightly banked oval against last year's track record of 13.26 held by 2001 NSRA Champion, Craig Deaver in his #15 sprint.
The first race for NSRA was the Design 500 B Dash and was taken by Jeff Montgomery in the #33 followed by Ralph Deaver in the #47, Chris Peterson in the #118 and Jeff Bird in the #55. Next was the Longacre Racing Products A Dash which did not result in any change to the starting positions giving the win to #15, Craig Deaver followed by "Quick" Rick Brown in the #98 Marquardt machine, Trevor "The Tornado" Montgomery in the Lemonty Racing #17 and Mike Sullivan, Jr. in the #77 car.
The event had such a good turnout, we had to run three Heats. The first went to the #2 LV Racing entry of Randy Vincent followed by Randy DuBois in the #79, "Quick" Rick Brown in the #98, the #91 car of Darren Yates, K&S Motorsports #47 car piloted by Ralph Deaver, Chris Peterson in the #118 Peterson Motorsports machine, and Jerry Erbele's #42 sprint.
The second Heat was chosen as the Kershaw Knives race, drawn by Rookie Dan Fisher of the #10 car during the pre-race Driver's Meeting. Due to strict border controls, the bowie knife was obviously not transported to the race. Delivery could be interesting as the winner of the heat was Trevor Montgomery of Victoria, BC. He took the win from his starting position at the back of the pack of seven cars. Second went to "Speedy" Allen Goetz in the #5 Great Western Transport hot rod followed by the #74 car of Rory Price, #33 of Jeff Montgomery, the #3 of Dirk Zeinstra, Mike Basher in the #95 "Black Widow", and the #11 of Duane Zeinstra who pulled off early with engine trouble after frantically replacing the rear end broken during hot lapping.
The last Heat Race consisted of eight cars, with Craig Deaver, last year's Champion, taking the checkers in first. Gary Isacson came in second with his #92 entry followed by Jeff Bird in the #55, Harold Anderson in the #4 Fleet Services entry, Mike Sullivan, Jr. in the #77 Dodge powered sprint, the #8 of Andy Gatey, Andrew Graham's #27 car and the #10 of Rookie Dan Fisher.
NSRA's Amsoil Main Event was troubled with a tremendous amount of caution laps and two red flags. Although I was on the backstretch and missed some of the details of the race, I can tell you of some of the incidents plaguing the race. Using the finishing order, I will be able to put them in order with Mike Basher out early after sliding up into the turn one wall with his #95 Black Widow hot rod. He hit hard enough to require a trip to Lejeune's shop the following morning for repairs to the chassis. The next one out was the #3 car of Dirk Zeinstra with terminal drivetrain problems. I missed the cause of Jeff Montgomery's early retirement but the #33's departure was followed by Mike Sullivan who had to park the #77 with more drive line or rear end trouble, possibly remenants of his Vernon troubles. The #2 car was the next one to drop out from damages resulting from an attempt to split two cars going into turn three to make it three wide. It didn't work and he was done for the night. Somewhere in the midst of all of these yellows (over thirty I think), a red was brought out for track cleanup from a spin at the end of the backstretch spreading water from a puddle at the inside edge of the track all the way across the ashphalt. This was a good time for a red, allowing the cars to refuel. I can't remember which lap it happened, but I think we only had 15 green flag laps down.
The second red flag of the night came out with a terribly hard hit by Andrew Graham as his #27 car seemed to have broken something going into turn one. His car appeared to head straight for the wall without any tire smoke from hitting the brakes of reduction of engine RPM's. Some guessed that possible steering problems or maybe a sticking throttle sent the car into the wall at speed. Andy sustained a broken tooth, split lip and I heard that his helmet was cracked! Pretty sore today I imagine.
I'm sorry for the lack of excitement in this report...I missed most of the action from my vantage point. I know there was a lot of hard racing going on as there were several attempts for taking turn three three-wide...one attempt actually worked and the three made it all the way to the front stretch without incident! With all of the yellows, the field was bunched up several times, keeping the competition close and giving the racers a better chance at the lead. The air turbulence from the wings of these super fast oval cars made the wiring hung across the end of turn four dance radically as the thunderous beasts sped beneath. A nearly packed stands full of sprint car fans watched as Trevor Montgomery in the Lemonty Racing #17 car took the checkers well after 11pm Saturday night. The long race came close to being shortened by curfew, but we were able to complete all 40 laps. Second went to defending 2001 NSRA Champion Craig Deaver in the #15 Deaver Racing car followed by Rory Price of Edmonds, Washington in his #74 car sponsored by The Sign Factory. Randy DuBois held onto his fourth place starting position in his DuBois Racing entry #79 and fifth place sent to "Quick" Rick Brown driving the #98 Marquardt machine.
The rest of the field ended the night as follows starting with Sixth place: "Speedy" Allen Goetz #5, Darren Yates #91, Jeff Bird #55, Harold Anderson #4, Chris Peterson #118, Gary Isacson #92, Ralph Deaver #47, Dan Fisher #10, Andy Gatey #8, Jerry Erbele #42, Andrew Graham #27, Randy Vincent #2, Mike Sullivan, Jr. #77, Jeff Montgomery #33, Dirk Zeinstra #3, and Mike Basher #95. Duane Zeinstra in the #11 was unable to start the main event.