By: Gary Jacob|
Where: Elma, WA
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Elma, WA --
Leading just the final 3 laps after race dominator Dennis Silva blew an engine, 17 year old Kellen Chadwick from Knightsen, CA pocketed $5,100 for his victory in the 40 lap, $30,000 CenturyTel sponsored Northwest Modified Nationals Saturday night at Grays Harbor Raceway Park. After a limited effort in the outlaw karts and mini sprints, K Chadwick was rookie of the year in the dirt modifieds at Antioch Speedway in 2001. He wheels a Brad Coelho Chassis and was debuting a new Bill Bowers built engine at this event. One of the five cars entered in the race by Medford, OR car dealer Ron Martin, Silva collected $500 from Rainmaker Collision for his dash win, then paced the rich A Main from lap 3 until his motor blew on lap 38. This race is the richest dirt modified race west of the Rocky Mountains and drew a 69 car entry this year. Another trio of Medford racers trailed winner K Chadwick with Mark Wauge a $2,600 second. A modified rookie after a strong dwarf car career, Jon DeBenedetti scrambled back to a $1,600 third after getting spun out of second on lap 18. Jeremy Richey pocketed $1,300 for fourth and fast timer Duane Cleveland was a $1,100 fifth. Friday night preliminary feature winner Randy McDaniel lost a pair of cylinders in the 40 lapper and ran 7th for a $850 payday with another Medford racer Scott Weldon in sixth. The father of the race winner, Chad Chadwick was 8th. Eighteen of the 20 A Main starters came from Southern Oregon or Northern California. Race sponsor Glenn Vincent from Shipwreck Beads was so impressed by the large turnout that he added $1,600 to the purse, adding $100 each to the top ten A Main and the top 6 non transferring B Main slots.
The rich A Main starts the top 16 in weekend points and four transfers from the 25 lap B Main. The teams had a final heat race on Saturday night to add to their point totals and those 7 heats were started completely inverted off the weekend point standings. Richard Papenhausen came from the rear to win heat 1 over Jesse Williamson. Fixing his car after a hard crash on Friday night, track regular Kevin Beerbower won heat 2 from the front row with DeBenedetti second. The car that won this race in 2001 with Brian Poppa driving was wheeled by Skipper Klimcheck in 2002 and he walked away from a wild series of flips in this heat. Tom Glover came from the rear to win heat 3 over Scott Winebarger. Rebounding from a tangle with Larry Follett early in the race, K Chadwick won heat 4 from last starting with Dennis Sturgell second. Having broken in hot laps on Friday night, Josh Muller returned with a win in heat 5 over Scott Miller. McDaniel impressed with his win from last starting in heat 6 over Jon Trenchard from Klamath Falls, OR. Having moved north to Vancouver WA a couple years ago, former Pearsonville, CA Speedway star Kenny Miller won heat 7 with Jon Swiglo second. The top six from the weekend points then drew for their starting order in the dash that determined the order for the front 3 rows in the rich 40 lapper. Silva drew outside front row row and led all 6 laps for the $500 win with pole starter Williamson second ahead of McDaniel, DeBenedetti, C Chadwick and K Chadwick.
The track put on a fireworks display as the field ran a four wide pace lap prior to the start of the 40 lap finale. From the favored outside front row slot, Williamson paced the first 2 laps of the 40 lapper with debris forcing a yellow flag. On the restart, Richard Whiteman broke for another quick yellow flag and both Williamson and Scott Weldon pitted. On the restart, Silva raced into the lead over DeBenedetti, McDaniel and K Chadwick as C Chadwick fell back in the pack. Roger Lorenzini Jr pitted after he got into the fence on lap 6 with Wauge passing K Chadwick for fourth. Spins by Weldon and Markey James forced a lap 9 yellow flag. Papenhausen climbed into fifth on lap 15 and Wauge got by McDaniel for third on lap 17. Glover broke for a lap 18 yellow flag. On the restart, Wauge got into the rear of DeBenedetti and turned him in turn 2 with Papenhausen collected in the incident. Wauge was left in second as both DeBenedetti and Papenhausen restarted in the rear. On the green, Silva led Wauge, McDaniel, K Chadwick and Richey. Seventh place Dennis Sturgell broke for a lap 24 yellow flag. K Chadwick drove around McDaniel on the outside for third on lap 26 as Silva pulled away from the field on each green flag. California's Joel Hale broke for a lap 28 yellow and Williamson lost his driveline for a lap 29 yellow. McDaniel lost his second cylinder and slowed with the rebounding DeBenedetti driving by Richey for fourth on lap 31. K Chadwick was able to get inside Wauge for second on lap 32 and that left him in the right spot when race dominator Silva lost his engine on lap 38. DeBenedetti had taken third from Wauge on lap 36, but he nearly flipped when he got onto the inside berm in turn 3 on lap 37 handing third back to Wauge. K Chadwick led just those final 3 laps for the rich win with Wauge second over DeBenedetti, Richey, fast timer Duane Cleveland, Weldon, McDaniel, C Chadwick, Aaron Shealer and Glen Lake.
The final four A Main starting slots were determined in the 25 lap B Main. Joel Hale from San Pablo, CA led all 25 laps for the win. Rebounding from his hard Friday night crash, Jon Swiglo worked his way into second on lap 16 and had a pass of Hale nullified by a caution flag. Swiglo then threw a wheel to end his night on lap 18. Lake finished second ahead of Shealer and Weldon as race sponsor Glenn Vincent just missed the transfer in 5th. After all night and day repairs on his car from Friday night's crash, GHRP point leader Leroy Lawhead ran sixth over Trenchard and Matt Scherer. Cottage Grove ace Chris Murphy had a flat tire riding in 4th place and Larry Follett crashed dueling for a transfer spot. Don Jenner won the 15 lap C Main when race leader Scherer got out of shape on lap 13 restart. Scherer ran second over Vincent and Brett Jobe. Only two cars were scheduled to transfer into the B Main, but Vincent also made the move when Klimcheck could not race his badly damaged mount. K Miller repeated his heat race win with a victory in the 15 lap D Main as Carson City, NV's Robert Smotherman made a late charge for the second transfer spot. Beerbower ran third over Butch Betrozoff and Gino Hinkle. Terry Buckner flipped in this event without injury.
Summary Heat 1-Richard Papenhausen, Jesse Williamson, Ron Possinger Jr, Roger Lorenzini, Chris Murphy. Heat 2-Kevin Beerbower, Jon DeBenedetti, Dale Underwood, Chad Chadwick, Gino Hinkle. Heat 3-Tom Glover, Scott Winebarger, Scott Weldon, Derek Ofenham, Dennis Silva. Heat 4-Kellen Chadwick, Dennis Sturgell, Joel Hale, John Ireland, Larry Follett. Heat 5-Josh Muller, Scott Miller, Mark Wauge, Glen Lake, Clint Petty. Heat 6-Randy McDaniel, Jon Trenchard, Don Walker, Markey James, Butch Betrozoff. Heat 7-Kenny Miller, Jon Swiglo, James Wolfard, Richard Whiteman, Mike Linder. Dash-Silva, Williamson, McDaniel, DeBenedetti, C Chadwick, K Chadwick. D Main-K Miller, Robert Smotherman, Beerbower, Betrozoff, Hinkle, Petty, Chris Quinn, Possinger, Danny Fowler, Ofenham. C Main-Don Jenner, Matt Scherer, Glenn Vincent, Brett Jobe, Craig Moore, Gary Morris, Eddie Day, Gary Lee Morris, Walker, Danny Daniels. B Main-Hale, Lake, Shealer, Weldon, Vincent, Lawhead, Trenchard, Scherer, Ray Elwess, Scott Miller. A Main-K Chadwick, Wauge, DeBenedetti, Jeremy Richey, Duane Cleveland, Weldon, McDaniel, C Chadwick, Shealer, Lake, James, Silva, Lorenzini, Hale, Williamson, Papenhausen, Linder, Sturgell, Glover, Whiteman.