EPHRATA, Washington -- One of the best fields of Late Model Stock Cars all season long greeted the crowded grandstands at Ephrata Raceway Park in Ephrata, WA for the Dynomax/Performance Corner Late Model Challenge Series race. It was round six for the series regulars, not including the Stateline rainout earlier this year. The story however centered around some Central Washington invaders and how they dominated.
Fast time was set by local driving hero #84 Christian Roeder of Ephrata with a 14.07 clocking which shocked the field. Roeder ripped off a perfect lap, after a first lap time that would have given him a top four spot of 14.56. Eighteen of the 28 cars turned 14 second laps.
The B dash cars of #11 Don Vickery (Seattle), #00 Brad Rhoads (Kennewick), #92 Tommy Rasmussen (Graham) and #09 Josh Braudway (Graham) were the first to try the racing surface. Friday night, Series promotor Jerry Losch and crew applied some traction compound to the venerable racing surface at Ephrata in an attempt to help the old gal get a grip! At the tale end of the first lap, Vickery wiggled off turn four and Rhoads powered past to take the win. The racing surface showed signs of life, as the cars seemed capable of working two grooves although the lower groove was clearly the fast way around Ephrata Raceway Park.
In A dash action, #41 Kevin Carver and the #20 of points leader Wilbur Bruce (Tacoma) held down the front row, with Roeder and #63 Kim Wennerberg (Wenatchee) in row two. On the start, Bruce powered into the corner hard with Carver tucked down on the white line able to hold on for the win. Roeder slipped under Wennerberg for third.
After heat races for the companion classes at Ephrata Raceway Park, the B main set sail. Twelve cars for 24 laps was the scheduled distance. Vickery starting from the pole won the race, with #66 Jeff Joldersma (Medical Lake) throwing some stiff challenges his way for a good second place run. The top four plus two provisionals earned move ups to the A main. Third finishing #45 Jeff Ford (Puyallup) and fourth finishing #91 Jason Hedrick. Via points, 5th and 6th finishing #2 Jim Losch (Tacoma) and #43 Ron Wolf (Auburn) took the remaining provisionals to round out the 22 car A main starting field. Two yellow flags in an otherwise very clean B main event.
Twenty-two of the best Late Models in the state lineup two by two along the too long dormant front stretch at Ephrata Raceway Park. A six car invert placed Roeder on the outside of the third row. The front row consisted of #69 Jim Johnson and #5 Richard Worley (Benton City), with Carver and Bruce in row two. Wennerberg was inside Roeder in row three. At the drop of the green, Johnson beat Worley into the corner and held on to the lead for three laps.
After giving up the lead to Worley, Johnson dropped back to seventh quickly, allowing Roeder, Wennerberg and #2x Terry Halverson (Wenatchee) to move up to the top 4. Worley led the next 16 laps and kept Roeder off his back until a lap 15 spin involving two cars closed up the field. After the restart and a few frantic single file nose to tail laps, Roeder powered by Worley on the 20th lap.
On lap 23 Kurt Meyer got into the dirt low in turn two setting off a chain reaction behind him in the dust cloud, somehow, Worley, Rhoads and points leader Bruce all wound up stopped, with car damage up high in turn two as everyone else came to the yellow.This is where Wennerberg and Halverson managed to get by Worley who was caught in the melee.
With the exception of a the four remaining yellow flag restarts and some interesting moments in traffic, Roeder was never seriously challenged. Wennerberg dogged Roeder on those restarts, pulling even with him on one occasion, but not able to get past. Halverson was close enough to Wennerberg to touch him a few times, but Wennerberg was as dominating in second as Roeder was in first.
By lap 38 Roeder was in lapped traffic, but other than the final three yellow for spinning cars well back in the race standings, he was never really seriously challenged. The race was clean, with plenty of passing and action all over the high banked quarter mile.
Eleventh starting Ron Oline #27 out of Tacoma was the top placing series regular. Oline finished 4th on the race track and third overall. Series points leader Bruce finished 16th and Carver was 18th. Hedrick was the first car off the lead lap in 9th.
The post race inspection of the top three finishers resulted in Roeder's #84 failing post race inspection. That gave the victory to Wennerberg, with Halverson moving up to second and Oline capturing third.
The next race for the Dynomax/Performance Corner Late Model Challenge Series takes place Saturday August 24th, at the beautiful, newly repaved Roseburg Speedway.
Fast Time - #84 Christian Roeder (ntr) 14.07
B dash - #11 Don Vickery, #00 Brad Rhoads, #92 Tommy Rasmussen, #09 Josh Braudway
A dash - #41 Kevin Carver, #20 Wilbur Bruce, #82 Roeder, #63 Kim Wennerberg
B main (24 laps) - #11 Vickery, #66 Jeff Joldersma, #45 Jeff Ford, #91 Jason Hedrick, #2 Jim Losch, #43 Ron Wolf, #08 Jack Eby, #75 Curt Phillips, #42 Mark Faw, #33 Jared Alseth, #88 Jerry Mullins
A main (100 laps) - #63 Kim Wennerberg, #2x Terry Halverson, #27 Ron Oline, #69 Jim Johnson, #92 Rasmussen, #72 Marty Pfaffle, #43 Wolf, #24 Rick Hager, #91 Hedrick, #2 Losch, #17 Kurt Meyer, #09 Braudway, #45 Ford, #66 Joldersma, #4 Tyler DeLong, #20 Wilbur Bruce, #16 Kevin Kinnear, #41 Carver, #11 Vickery, #5 Richard Worley, #00 Rhoads, #84 Roeder.
28 cars timed in. 29 in attendance.
Attendance 2200 screaming fans.
5 yellows for 10 laps. 2 reds.
8 cars finished on the lead lap.
Race leaders, #69 Johnson 1-3, Worley 4-20, Roeder 21-100.
Roeder failed post race inspection