Grays Harbor: Finale report

Jason Meyers completes Grays Harbor sweep. ELMA, WA (August 23) - Jason Meyers picked up where Joey Saldana left off for the second straight race on his way to completing his first O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series double-feature sweep Saturday...

Jason Meyers completes Grays Harbor sweep.

ELMA, WA (August 23) - Jason Meyers picked up where Joey Saldana left off for the second straight race on his way to completing his first O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series double-feature sweep Saturday at Grays Harbor Raceway Park.

Saldana started on the pole and led the first 36¼ laps before his flat right rear tire gave Meyers first place. Meyers held off standings leader Steve Kinser to win his third "A" Feature of the year. Four drivers have combined to sweep seven double-feature events during the O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series' 25th Anniversary Season.

"This is awesome to sweep the weekend," Meyers said. "There's nothing better than pretty girls in victory lane. As well as we've run here this week, I'm kind of disappointed we're leaving. My guys, D.J. (Lindsey) and Bryan (Sundby), did a great job and gave me a perfect car all weekend. I have to thank Craig Dollansky and Scott Boyd and the entire VMAC team for giving me this opportunity - and what a great win, especially this close to VMAC's headquarters. I can't wait to get back and call Craig and Scott, but I'm sure they already know what's going on here.

"I can't wait for the day when Craig and I are lining up side-by-side for a race. I've talked to him a lot, and he's going to be back in the car before the end of the year. We're already working on some things for next year for me."

Meyers lined up next to Saldana in the Dash Race and the main event during each racing program at Grays Harbor. The 1996 Kevin Gobrecht Rookie of the Year beat Meyers across the finish line for the privilege of starting the "A" Feature on the pole both times.

Saldana drove the #17 Eagle Raceway Maxim into the lead as the green flag fell in Saturday's 40-lap main event. Kinser, who started outside the third row, raced past fast qualifier Roger Crockett, Paul McMahan and Jac Haudenschild to take over third place during the opening lap.

Saldana was 15 car-lengths ahead of Meyers when he entered lapped traffic during the sixth lap. Jason Sides, who started outside the fifth row, passed Crockett for seventh place with an inside move between the first and second corners early in lap 10. Randy Hannagan collided with Second Heat Race winner Jim Carter and stopped in turn four the next time around, tightening the field and opening the track ahead of the leaders.

Saldana controlled the ensuing restart and opened a nine-car-length advantage over Meyers within five laps. Meyers closed to within four car-lengths in dense lapped traffic during lap 21, however.

Haudenschild steered the #4 RaceToHawaii.com Maxim to the deepest point in the first corner to pass Kinser for third place one lap later, then raced nose-to-tail with Saldana and Meyers around the semi-banked, 3/10-mile oval throughout the 27th lap.

Meyers battled Saldana through turns three and four the next time around, but was unable to surge ahead. "The Wild Child" won a front-straightaway drag race with Meyers for second place several seconds later.

Tim Shaffer lost seventh place the next time around when Dennis Moore, Jr., spun into him, Toni Lutar and First Heat Race winner Mike Melwicks in the fourth corner. Haudenschild hooked the cushion and flipped as the field raced back to the finish line, almost hitting Kinser.

Meyers and Kinser exchanged second place as the green flag replaced the red, then raced side-by-side early in the 32nd lap. Meyers was half a lap behind Saldana when Joey caught the back-markers the next time around. The 2000 World of Outlaws Gumout Series Rookie of the Year closed to within four car-lengths when Saldana jumped the cushion in turn two early in lap 34. "The King of the Outlaws" steered his #11 Quaker State Maxim into the low groove in the first corner, but was unable to pass Meyers for second place one lap later.

Saldana was racing through turn one early in the 37th lap when his right rear tire exploded, causing him to stop and surrender the lead. Meyers drove the #7 VMAC Maxim away from Kinser as the race resumed and took the checkered flag with 10 car-lengths to spare.

"I like leading races, but about the worst spot you can be in is to be leading with four laps to go and have Steve Kinser right behind you," Meyers said. "I was trying to decide where to go on that restart. I'd been running good on the top, but I thought if I came off the top for the restart Steve might have a better angle on me in turn one, so I came off the bottom because it's harder to get a run on someone at the cone that way."

McMahan finished in third place, ahead of Sides, 16th-starting Daryn Pittman, Johnny Herrera, Shawna Wilskey, Danny Lasoski, Sammy Swindell and Donny Schatz. Swindell, the "A" Feature winner at Grays Harbor on August 23, 1997, started next to Schatz on the 11th row and each passed 12 cars to claim top-10 finishes.

Brian Paulus won the Third Heat Race, then drove P and P Motorsports' #28 Verdeilli Farms Maxim into 12th place from outside the ninth row in the "A" Feature.

The O'Reilly World of Outlaws Series will complete its Wild, Wild Northwest Tour at Cottage Grove Speedway Tuesday, then sanction the 11th Annual Harvest Classic at Calistoga Speedway Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

-WoO-

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About this article
Series World of Outlaws
Drivers Tim Shaffer , Shawna Wilskey , Danny Lasoski , Donny Schatz , Steve Kinser , Sammy Swindell , Craig Dollansky , Brian Paulus , Jason Meyers , Jason Sides , Joey Saldana , Paul McMahan , Randy Hannagan , Toni Lutar , Johnny Herrera , Roger Crockett