It happened once again. For the last several races whoever has led the Late Model MidState Series 75-lap main event into the latter stages of that race, hasnít won. Last Saturday nightís race at Yakima Speedway was no different.
Due to a four-car invert, Brandon Riehl began the race on the pole. And he remained in the lead through three caution flags and constant challenges by Travis Bennett, who lost a tire in the late stages of the main event, Mike Longton and MidState points-leader Jason Jefferson, who began the race in tenth place due to a slow qualifying time.
Jefferson began his trek to the front slowly and with great caution, just saving his tires and biding his time until a door would open. By lap-15 he was in sixth place and gaining on the leaders, and when the halfway point passed, he was in third, behind Longton. For almost 25-laps the top-three remained in position, until Jefferson passed Longton on the outside of turn four, on lap 58. With Riehl in his sights, the standings leader began to think about another win.
As the field made its way around turns one and two, Jefferson began to gain on Riehl, but as they went into turn four Riehlís racer began to get loose, and Jeffersonís top-challenger for MidState Series bragging rights found himself off the asphalt and in the dirt. That left Jefferson to grab the lead, with Longton close behind and Jeff Bailey in third, with Riehl toward the end of the 21-car field, setting the stage for another classic finish by the two aggressive competitors.
At the drop of the green flag on the restart Jefferson sprinted to a 3.5 second lead, with Longton and Bailey still on his bumper. As they were passing the start-finish line for the white flag lap, Bailey lost control of his racer, just as the flag came out, causing him to spin across the frontstretch, and gathering up Rod Schultz with him.
Jefferson, Longton and Riehl were already on the backstretch and raced back to the checkered flag and win number nine for Jefferson, with Longton, Riehl, Ted Michelson, and Chris Cunningham crossing the checkered line in that order.
For the MidState Limited Sportsman division, B.J. Tidrickís hopes for his sixth win in a row were dashed by points-leader Rod Schultz, Jr.
Don Martin, who began the race on the pole, held the lead for 22-laps of the 40-lap main event until Shultz passed him on the start-finish line of that lap for the lead, with Tidrick gaining second, leaving Martin to settle for third.
For the majority of the race, Martin did all he could to hold off Schultz and Martin by maintaining his line. But that was not enough to fend off the one-two punch of the Limited Sportsman MidState points-leaders who finished one-two for the seventh time this season.
In the MidState Super Four class, former Mini Stock driver Kevin Gustafson grabbed the lead from pole-sitter Roy Macomber on lap two of the 20-lap main event and held his position all the way to the checkered flag. Despite four caution flags, Gustafson was able to hold off the field and build up multiple car leads. Macomber and Terry Barnes completed the podium finish.
Results: MidState Late Model Main Event: 1. Jason Jefferson, 2. Mike Longton, 3. Brandon Riehl, 4. Ted Michelson, 5. Chris Cunningham, 6. Mel Shenyer, 7. Dennis Wurtz II, 8. Christopher Kalsch, 9. Brad Rhoads, 10. Ed Thomsen, 11. Jeff Bailey, 12. Travis Bennett, 13. Lon Werremeyer, 14. Lenard Barthel, 15. Don Waterman, 16. Rod Schultz, 17. Ron Bemis, 18. Mike Nelson, 19. Jim Dobbs, 20. Jerry Jefferson, 21. Thurman Lucas. Top qualifier: Mike Longton (19.209) A Trophy Dash: Riehl, Bennett, Rhoads, Longton B Trophy Dash: Waterman, Shenyer, Olson, Cunningham
MidState Limited Sportsman: 1. Rod Schultz, Jr., 2. B.J. Tidrick, 3. Don Martin, 4. Nathan Hudson, 5. John Rose, 6. Randy Marshall, 7. Norb Barthel, 8. Darrell Tidrick, 9. Rich Peters, 10. Jack Mondor, 11. Kriss Clark, 12. Jeff Estabrook. Top Qualifier: B.J. Tidrick (21.620) A Trophy Dash: Schultz, Barthel, Hudson, B. Tidrick B Trophy Dash: Marshall, Mondor, Peters, D. Tidrick Heat Race 1: Marshall, Estabrook, Peters, Mondor, D. Tidrick, Clark Heat Race 2: Martin, B. Tidrick, Barthel, Rose, Hudson, Schultz
MidState Super Fours: 1. Kevin Gustafson, 2. Tommy Macomber, 3. Terry Barnes, 4. Jeff Raver, 5. Roy Macomber. Top Qualifier: Kevin Gustafson (21.999) A Trophy Dash: Gustafson, Barnes, Raver, R. Macomber Heat Race: T. Macomber, Gustafson, Barnes, Raver, R. Macomber