ELMA, Wshington — The third time was a charm at Grays Harbor Raceway Saturday night. After the first two attempts to get the 2010 racing season were cancelled due to rain the third try met with success although somewhat cold later in the evening.
It was a typical opening night in auto racing as there were frequent cautions and red flags in all of the classes during the night due to everybody working the bugs out of their cars and the kinks out of their driving skills after the winter layoff.
Hoquiam’s Zack Simpson let it be known that if anybody wants to take his championship crown away from him in the “Hobby Stock” series they are going to have go through him as he started the season right where he left off last year with a feature win in the 20-lap main event.
Seth Bergman of Snohomish made the trip down and came away with a win in “360 Sprints” 20 lap feature event. Bergman is a regular on the American Sprint Cars Series, Northwest Region and is expected to be back when the series makes it appearances at the Elma track in 2010.
Shelton’s Scott Miller set out to regain the title he lost to Montesano’s Josh Muller in 2009 when he took the checkered flag in the “Modifieds” time shortened 15-lap feature race when Muller came to a abrupt halt after his motor seized up.
Olympia’s Rory Clevenger started his defense of his 2009 crown on the right foot. Clevenger placed second in the “Hornets” 10-lap feature race which was won by Dana Austin, Olympia/James Hinkley, and Centralia. The “Cruisers are no longer a class at Grays Harbor, but the are welcome to race with the “Hornets”, starting at the back of the pack and do not receive any points.
Defending 2009 series champion Glenn Borden Jr. of Raymond led the twenty car field from the pole position with Shane Broers on the outside of row 1 and Jared Peterson, Stanwood and Bergman in the next row back.
Broers lasted only one lap before heading to the trailer with mechanical problem.
Borden held the early lead followed by Bergman, 6 time series champion Jay Cole of Shelton, Henry VanDam of Enumclaw and Mitch Olson of Tacoma.
Olson was not long for the top five as he headed for the trailer early in the race with mechanical problems.
Bergman got by Borden Jr. in turn 2 on lap 9 and was never out of the lead to the finish.
Both Cole and VanDam got by Borden Jr. by the mid-point of the race and Josh Dewitt of Snohomish got by Borden Jr. for fourth place late in the race.
Defending series champion Josh Mull of Montesano went from forth to first in the first lap, passing pole sitter and a former champion Craig Moore of Seabeck, Olympia’s Randy Ward and Aberdeen’s Greg Dineen in the process.
Ward and Dineen both exited the race just three laps into the season when the tangled on the back stretch and Dineen hit the wall.
By lap-4 it was a three car race between the three former champions, Muller, Moore and Miller.
The race was plagued with numerous cautions and a red flag when Dineen hit the wall.
Moore and Muller traded places with Muller regaining the top spot on lap-8 and Miller got by Moore at the same time.
Muller’s’ opening night ended on a sour note when his engine seized up and he came to an abrupt halt in turn on lap-13 which left Miller in the lead, followed by Seabeck’s David Wolfard, Moore, Aberdeen’s Joe German and St Helens driver Jeremy Martin.
Due to time limits on races, officials decided to finish the race on a green-white-checkered restart on the next green flag after Muller was towed from the track.
Moore got by Wolfard on the last lap for second, German held onto forth and Martin rounded out the top five.
It wasn’t the normal walk in the park for Simpson, he started on the outside of row two, behind pole sitter Tom Sweatman of Cosmopolis and Wilder and Parshall Racing teammate Jack Parshall of Hoquiam and Key Center’s Derek Junell.
Parshall is returning this year after a year off due to health reasons and Sweatman is veteran of many years on the asphalt at South Sound Speedway and both expect to challenge Simpson for the top spot along with Junell.
Parshall took the lead on the first lap, followed by Simpson, Junell. Sweatman and rookie driver Kalvin Probst.
Simpson went to the back of the pack after heading to the pits under the caution flag on lap-2.
Simpson had moved his way through the field to second place behind Parshall just past the midway point of the race and took over the top spot on lap-13.
Parshall challenged him a couple of times but couldn’t get by him.
Junell held onto third at the finish, Sweatman finished fourth and Eddie Blood fifth.
The “sprints”, “Modifieds”, “Hobby Stocks” will return next Saturday night along with the”Midgets” who will finally get their season opener. Gates open at 4:30 with racing around 6:30.
|Whitney’s Auto Group “360 Sprints’|
|A Main. 1. Seth Bergman, Snohomish. 2. Jay Cole, Shelton. 3. Henry VanDam, Enumclaw. 4. Josh DeWitt. Snohomish. 5. Glenn Borden Jr. Raymond. 6. Shawn Rice, Tacoma. 7. Jared Peterson, Stanwood. 8. JJ Hickle, Quilcene. 9. Chris Schmelzle, Victoria, B.C. 10. JJ Dishneau, Maple Valley. Heat 1. 1. VanDam. 2. Bergman. 3. Borden Jr. 4. Trey Starks, Puyallup. 5. Rice. Heat 2. 1. DeWitt. 2. Evan funk, LaConner. 3. Cole. 4. Mitch Olson, Tacoma. 5. Dishneau. Heat 3. 1. Peterson. 2. Hickle. 3. Shane Broers, Sedro Wolley. 4. Steve Vague, Kirkland. 5. Logan Forler, Orting. Top Qualifier. Bergman: 12.800 – 105.469MPH. Top Points (Unofficial). Bergman 121. Cole 111. VanDam 106. Dewitt 104. Borden 103. Peterson 98. Rice 96. Hickle 95, Schmelzle 89. Dishneau 88.|
|Ship Wreck Beads “Modifieds|
|A Main. 1. Scott Miller, Shelton. 2. Craig Moore, Seabeck. 3. David Wolford, Seabeck. 4. Joe German, Aberdeen. 5. Jeremy Martin, St. Helens, OR. 6. Steve Signal, Olympia. 7. Dave Burns, Bremerton. 8. Del Schnitzer, Shelton. 8. Carl Larson, Castle Rock. 10. Josh Muller, Montesano. Heat 1. 1. Miller. 2. Muller. 3. Schnitzer. 4. Wolfard. 5. Randy Ward, Olympia. Heat 2. Greg Dineen, Aberdeen. 2. Matt Scherer, Aberdeen. 3. Martin. 4. Todd Hardesty, St Helens. 5. Moore. Top Qualifier. Muller: 16.986 – 79.477MPH. Top Points (Unofficial). Miller 116. Moore 110. Wolfard 103. Martin 101. German 97. Muller 97. Schnitzer 96. Signal 94. Burns 92. Larson 89.|
Cut Rate Auto Parts “Hobby Stocks” A Main. 1 Zack Simpson, Hoquiam. 2. Jack Parshall, Hoquiam. 3. Derek Junell, Key Center. 4. Tom Sweatman, Cosmopolis. 5. Brian Izzi, Olympia. 6. Eddie Blood, Olympia. 7. Kalvin Probst, Shelton. 8. Tom Hecker, Spanaway. 9. Koit Honea, Montesano. 10. Zach fuller, Tacoma. Heat 1. 1. Parshall. 2. Simpson. 3. Keith Knowlton, Bremerton. 4. Jay Biggs, Aberdeen. 5. Probst. Heat 2. 1. Junell. 2. Sweatman. 3. Blood. 4. Izzi. 5. Hecker. Top Qualifier Simpson: 20.029 67.402MPH. Top Points (Unofficial). Simpson 121. Parshall 115. Junell 111. Sweatman 106. Izzi 99. Blood 98. Probst 94. Hecker 92. Fuller 89. Honea 88. Knowlton 88.
|HiLine Homes “Hornets”|
|A Main. 1. Dana Austin, Olympia/James Hinkley, Centralia (Cruiser). 2. Rory Clevenger, Olympia. Michael Clingen, Ocosta. 4. Terry Bennett, Raymond/Clay Powers, Westport (Cruiser). 5. Zach Dalrymple. Heat Race. 1. Clevenger. 2. Cliff Gill, Aberdeen. 3. Jeremy Lueck, Fort Lewis. 5. Austin/Hinkley. Top Points (unofficial). Clevenger 105. Clingen-95. Gill 69. Lueck 68. Dalrymple 60.|