Portland, Ore. (September 22, 2001)Bob Jeffery of Salem, Ore. put the exclamation point on the 2001 racing season at Portland Speedway-The Dirt Track with a convincing victory in the 2nd Annual NAPA Auto Parts Dirt Stock Car Open presented by ...
Portland, Ore. (September 22, 2001)Bob Jeffery of Salem, Ore. put the exclamation point on the 2001 racing season at Portland Speedway-The Dirt Track with a convincing victory in the 2nd Annual NAPA Auto Parts Dirt Stock Car Open presented by Don-Frank Floor Covering Company Saturday night on the half-mile clay oval. The victory was worth $2000 to the 2001 Willamette Speedway champion. Brad Tanner of Clackamas, Ore. picked up the win in the Sportsman class, with Eugene, Oregon's Jesse Williamson winning the 30-lap Modified event.
Thirty-two Outlaw Late Models checked took part in qualifying and it was Willamette Speedway Hotshoe Bob Jeffery pacing the field around the "Monster" half-mile with a quick lap of 20.300/88.670 MPH. Qualifying became an important element for the competitors the fastest ten "Topless" Outlaw Late Models would qualify for the "Topless" Ten Dash for cash presented by Jody's Bar & Grill and Club Cabos. The quick ten were inverted which put Bob Jeffery at the rear as he eyed the $1000 prize if he could come from the rear to win. Mark Grill and Todd Bosart started on the front row and held the field at bay until caution came out on late 6 for the spin by Eric Sayre. Jeffery restarted in the fifth position with a narrow shot at getting to the front. Bosart held the point, holding off a late charge by Darren Coffel and Jeffery. Bosart collected $500 for the win.
Tim Zeller and David Cronk picked up victories in the two 4-lap Trophy Dashes, with Dave Kingsberry, Ron Brewster, and Brad Tanner taking victories in the 10-lap heat races Friday night. The main event grids were set after the heat races, and 15 cars would have to battle in a 20-lap "B" main, with the top four finishers transferring to the "A" main event.
Jayme Van started the "B" main from the pole and would lead the first two laps but would yield the lead to David Cronk who would go on to take the victory and transfer along with second place finisher Van. Finishing third and fourth respectively were Glenn Hackney and Randy Sapp.
Curtis Haumont and Brad Tanner would start the 35-lap feature race from the from row and Tanner would jump out to a quick lead in only his third start in a Outlaw Late Model. The action slowed for caution on lap 3 for a spin by Darren Coffel. The field bunched up for the restart, but Tanner managed to extend another big lead on and by lap 8 Tanner held a 15 car length lead on second place runner Mark Grill. Grill won the inaugural event in 2000 and looked to capitalize on his experience. Jeffery made his way into the into the top five from his 10th starting position by lap 10.
Tanner continued at the point but could not hold of Jeffery who had a setup that proved invincible. Jeffery took control of the race on lap 12 and never looked back. The race would be for second over the closing laps between Tanner, Bob Boyd, Grill, and Greg Walters. Tanner started to slid back as the veterans used patience to pass the youngster. Boyd moved around Tanner on lap 24, with Walters taking the spot on lap 30 as the yellow came out for debris on the track. On the restart Jeffery was hard on the gas and left Boyd and Walters out to dry, as he went on to win by 1.8 seconds over Boyd. Walters finished third with Tanner holding on for fourth. Todd Bosart rounded out the top five.
"This track is awesome," said Jeffery. "I love coming up to Portland, this track is fast and smooth and always a lot of fun to race on. I owe a lot to my crew, they always make me look good."
Second place finisher Boyd had to handle a bunch of lap traffic in order to get into the top five. "With the long straightaways you will always encounter lapped traffic here," Boyd said. "The guys drove great tonight which made for some great racing. I finished a lot better then I expected. I am just thrilled with second and can't wait to come back."
Brad Tanner drove to a career best fourth place finish with the Outlaw Late Models. "I still have a lot to learn about these cars," Tanner said. "I want to thank the Walters Racing Team for allowing me to drive one of their cars. I had a bunch of fun."
Normally a consistent threat to win in the Outlaw Late Model class is Eric Sayre. Sayre won the last time the exotic machines visited the half-mile clay but motor problems sidelined the Vancouver, Wash. competitor. "I think I hurt the motor a little," Sayre said. " I just shut it off and came in. We have a race next week and tonight just was not my night."
The Grand American type Modifieds were also on tap and were led in Qualifying by local track favorite Eric Sayre with a quick lap of 23.502/76.589 MPH. Jesse Williamson making a rare appearance at Portland took the honors in the 4-lap Trophy Dash, with Tigard's Richard Whiteman and Eugene's Ryan McTaggart claiming victories in the 10-lap Heat Races.
Rick Zurich and Richard Whiteman started the 30-lap feature from the front row, but were moved to the rear of the field for contact that resulted in both cars spinning and bringing out the yellow on the first lap. The field was realigned for a complete restart and Buddy Murphy out of Cottage Grove, Ore. leaped to the lead and would hold the point until lap 10. McTaggart dogged Murphy for several laps but the handle started to go and by lap 9, the Eugene campaigner dropped back to fifth.
Williamson started in 7th and quickly established the outside groove as his preferred line and moved into the top 5 by lap 6. Williamson used the slower cars to his advantage and by lap 10 found himself on the bumper of Murphy. Williamson assumed the lead on lap 13 and would go on to win for the first time on the half-mile clay oval. Williamson was followed by Murphy, Sean Gentry, McTaggart, and local competitor Whiteman rounding out the top five.
"This feels real good to win here," Williamson said. "I have raced on the smaller track, but this is the first time on the half-mile. It took a little time to figure out but once I started working on the outside, I knew I was fast and I could win."
2001 Portland Speedway Rookie-of-the-Year Zoe Minsker had an early end to her evening with a lap 6 crash with Zurich. "I had no where to go," Minsker explained. "I am disappointed, but I learned a lot this season and look forward to next year."
The third division on the racing card for the weekend were the Sportsman/Street Stock cars. Local track Hotshoe Scott Winebarger set fast time with a quick lap of 26.739/67.317 on the "Monster" half-mile. This event marked the only time the Street Stocks would see the half-mile clay all season and several drivers found they missed the setup, as normally fast runners on the third-mile found themselves searching for speed on the bigger track. Brad Tanner took home the honors in "A" Trophy Dash with Rob Evans taking home the hardware in the "B" Dash. Heat Races were won by Ed Hayes, Herb Thomas, Brian Overturf, and Scott Winebarger.
Ed Hayes ran the most laps of any driver all weekend as he showcased his talent by taking the checkers in the "C" and "B" main events. Transferring from the "C" along with Hayes were Trevor Brotherton, Terry Talbot Jr., and Corrine Flath form the local WAR! division. Making the transfer from the "B" main were Hayes, Tom Moore, Brotherton, and Herb Thomas.
The 25-lap "A" main event James Simeroth and the Champ Jody Tanner on the front row. Tanner quickly established himself in the lead followed by Simeroth, Mike Graham, and Dale Holland. The field began to stretch out over the first couple of laps. The second caution came out on lap 7 when the radiator on Holland's Chevy blew sending the four-time winner this season into the turn 2 wall. The incident also collected Jody and Brad Tanner, along with Mike Graham. All driver were able to continue except for Holland who ended his night on the hook.
By lap 10 Brad Tanner was able to work his way back to the front and took the lead from Winebarger. Winebarger's car started to pick up a push allowing Tanner to extend his lead. Tanner would hold the point though the remainder of the event extending his lead to as much as 10-car lengths over Winebarger. Winebarger held on for second, with Graham rallying to finish third. Ricky Ashley and Simeroth rounded out the top five.
"It was a tough night," Tanner said from victory lane. "I was involved in three different incidents out on the track and I was really concerned about the air box. I am real happy to be able to win given those circumstances. I want to thank my dad (Jody) for all his support and confidence all season. I so much to him."
The 2nd Annual Stock Car Open concluded the racing events for Portland Speedway's 76th racing season. Racing will resume in April 2002 with the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series returning for the 20th year. Race fans and competitors can log on to www.portlandspeedway.com for all the latest news, schedules, rules, and information about the Northwest's Center for Dirt Track Racing.