ELMA, Washington — It doesn’t matter if you only led a couple of laps in a race, unless those couple of laps just so happen to be the last remaining. That is precisely what J.J. Hickle of Quilcene managed to do in the season opening 360 Sprint Car event at the Grays Harbor Raceway. The (how old) pilot made a late race pass on leader Mitch Olson on lap twenty-eight for the point. Olson, of Tacoma, was on a rail all night long until a flat right rear tire crippled his efforts to pursue the victory.
Mitch Olson started the thirty lap feature on the pole and was untouchable once the green flag dropped. A lap three caution halted the action when young Tyler Anderson came to a halt on the backstretch. Where the action was during this time was the battle for second between seven-time champ Jay Cole of Shelton and Reece Goetz of Snohomish.
There was also a terrific race between T.J. Hartman of Puyallup, J.J. Hickle, and defending champion Henry Van Dam of Enumclaw all for fourth. As the field restarted another caution would occur on lap nine with Chehalis driver Jeff Westergaard spinning in turn four, it would be the final stoppage of the race.
As the long green flag run began it was Mitch Olson stretching his legs and building a huge lead. By now J.J. Hickle was running a distinct line that was able to catch him up with the remaining cars that were in front of him. As the remaining laps dwindled down Olson approached the tail end of the lead lap cars.
While trying to put a car a lap down leader Mitch Olson slowed down, which at first it appeared to be an act of caution until it was apparent his right rear tire was losing air pressure rapidly. By now J.J. Hickle was in second place and gaining Olson but was running out of time.
On lap twenty-eight J.J. Hickle made the move to take the lead and cruised on to the win. While Mitch Olson came about to take the white flag his right rear tire exploded. Jay Cole would finish in second place while Henry Van Dam was third. T.J. Hartman finished in fourth and Cody Ridge of Snohomish finished in fifth to complete the top five finishers.
In preliminary action Henry Van Dam was the fastest qualifier of the evening with a time of 12.979 seconds and T.J. Hartman and Jay Cole were both heat race winners.
Scheduled for next week’s action will be 360 Sprints, USRA Modifieds, Hobby Stocks, and Hornets. Gates open at 2:30 for the pits and 4:30 for the grandstands with racing starting at 6:30. Prices for the event are the following: Adults $13, Senior (62+)/Juniors (15-18)/Military $10, Youths (6-14) $5, Youths (5 and Under) FREE, Family Pass (Two Adults and Up To Four Youths) $30, and Premium Seating $20. For more information on the Grays Harbor Raceway log onto www.graysharborraceway.com.
Saturday April 21st, 2012
Grays Harbor Raceway
Fast Time: Henry Van Dam, 12.979
Heat Race Winners: (1) T.J. Hartman (2) Jay Cole
Main Event: 1. J.J. Hickle, 2. Jay Cole, 3. Henry Van Dam, 4. T.J. Hartman, 5. Cody Ridge, 6. Evan Margeson, 7. Mitch Olson, 8. Reece Goetz, 9. Tyler Anderson, 10. Jeff Westergaard
Lap Leaders: 1-27 Mitch Olson, 28-30 J.J. Hickle