The weather won this race !
The weatherman was consistently calling for precipitation, possibly in the form of snow for race day. In spite of the “doom and gloom” forecast 13 race teams entered the speedway to set up their respective pit areas. The weather during the early afternoon cooperated rather well by keeping the raindrops in the clouds. The day was cold however barely reaching 40 degrees. A number of the teams had some concerns about air temperature especially during the evening racing. Cold air temps can provide for possible “icing” in the venturis on the intake manifold with the nasty side effect of a stuck throttle. Talking with some of the teams the consensus see med to be keeping the motor warm would ward off icing in the intake. Nose air inlets for the radiators were noticed getting taped up further than usual to keep more of the cold air away from the radiator helping to “get heat in the motor” and to be able to keep the coolant temp where drivers like it for maximizing their horsepower.
The race teams present went about getting their cars set up and the pit stalls arranged for servicing of the cars. Numerous tires were noted being changed as well as getting balanced for the night’s racing.
The track opened up for first practice for the ASA Northwest Sprint Car Series cars at 3 PM. Weather was still holding and all the cars present got in laps to get a feel for the cold surface of the track and their cars on the big five-eights mile. Only two of the cars had problems during the first practice. One being the # 7 Geico, DuBois Construction car driven by Randy DuBois that had backfiring during his laps on the track so he wisely came in to investigate the cause. He found a loose valve pushrod on # 4 cylinder, the result of a cracked lifter. The # 51 M & M Masonry, Sp eedway Autocraft, Damar car driven by Jake Mann had three “little” problems during practice. A sticky throttle, the brakes not working, and a coolant temp gauge that registered 280 degrees ! Jake stated the high coolant temp was the result of an air pocket in the cooling system. The team bled the brakes, corrected the sticky throttle, and added water to the cooling system for the second practice.
The weather was still cooperating for the second practice for the ASA Northwest Sprint Car Series cars and this time 12 cars hit the track to get a better feel for the cars on the big oval and the cold surface temperature of the pavement. The only problem of this session was again the # 51 car of Jake Mann. Over the winter the owners Kenny and Diane Waller rebuilt the entire drivetrain replacing the driveline, U-joint, and rebuilt the rearend. The new driveshaft was found to be just a little too long by only a quarter to a half-inch. As the car traversed the track bouncing over the bumps the driveshaft moved forward enough t o destroy the U-joint. After correcting the problems the first practice revealed, Jake Mann stated the car felt great on the track up until the failure of the driveline. Fortunately the Waller team’s race shop was only 2 miles from the track allowing team members to replace the driveline with last year’s parts to make the car race ready again. The thrash to get the car back together did cause the # 51 team to miss qualifying for the ASA Northwest Sprint Car Series cars.
Qualifying did take place for the sprint cars but it was to be the last cars on the track for the day. Since the # 51 car was reassembling their car eleven cars took the green flag for two laps of qualifying each. After the dust settled from qualifying the # 33j Malahat Auto Parts, Island View Construction, Six Mile Tirecraft, Beaver Buzz car driven by Jeff Montgomery, the 2006 ASA Northwest Sprint Car Series champion, held quick time of 19.617 seconds, one of only two cars to break into a nineteen second trip around the five-eight’s oval. The other car, the # 5 Western Transport, Shark Engines car driven by Randy Bauer managed a quick l ap of 19.848. From the quickest time of 19.617 to the 11th place time of 21.961, only 2.344 seconds separated the field.
As the qualifying closed for the ASA Northwest Sprint Car Series cars the edge of an ugly dark cloud passed over the track releasing its moisture. A relative brief spring shower ensued after which the track personnel promptly started drying the track. The track was just about ready for racecars again when the track officials canceled the race around 5 PM. There was a huge weather system on the radar headed directly towards Monroe and the Evergreen Speedway. Within a half hour daylight had disappeared to semi darkness and the rain followed directly after !
The weather with its attendant rain won this race ! Just an additional note, twelve miles east of the race track managed three inches of snow over the course of the night !!