Sprint cars take to the track at the Grays Harbor Raceway setting the stage for a Memorial Day weekend double header of racing. Roger Crocket, no. 11, took first on Saturday and second on Sunday spring boarding him into first palce in points to start the ASCS Northwest Region season.
ELMA — The American Sprint Car Series-Northwest Region opened its 14-race run at the Grays Harbor Raceway May 26-27 during the Spring Showdown.
Running out of Medford, Ore., Roger Crockett worked his magic from his fifth-position start to win the first night of the Memorial Day weekend double header. Crockett then followed up the second night with a second-place finish to Brock Lemley of Bellingham. Lemley finished fourth on Saturday.
Hobby Stocks and Modifieds rounded out the weekend. Saturday night winners for the USRA Modifieds were Lawrence O’Connor, Craig Moore and Joe German in the one, two three spots. Sunday night, Tom Sweatman pulled out all the stops, providing German second- and Moore a third-place finish.
Jason Tole of Hoquiam would take back-to-back victories in the Hobby Stock class. A disqualification at the conclusion of Saturday’s race took Brian Harding out of the winner’s circle and jumped up Tole, Brian Izzi and Eddie Blood as the top three. Tole would repeat on Sunday, this time clearly on his own, with Cory Sweatman and Harding following in.
Two Sprint main events brought the crowd to its feet as spectators watched the eager drivers battle it out during the weekend. The Sprint B Main whittled down the field, pushing four additional drivers into the A Main for each night.
The first caution for the 360 Sprints first night of racing was an all-out-stop red when Colton Akerstrom tangled with Luke Didiuk at turn four. Didiuk had to take the hook. With the restart, the field held steady for the first half of the 30-lap race.
JJ Hickle ran his pole position tight until he started to drop around lap 16 giving the lead to Jayme Barnes. Riding the rear frame of Barnes was Roger Crockett. The front-runners started lapping the field just as Hickle started to lag. But Barnes got loose trying to avoid Cameron Smith and dropped to fourth just before another all stop cooled the track when Jesse Whitney ended up on his side coming out of turn three.
With six laps to go, Crockett had new company up front from Henry VanDam and Mitch Olson. The trio led the remaining cars past the checkered with no other incidents in just that order. Brock Lemley and Travis Rilat rounded out the top five.
Sunday would host a similar top five. Having to make a run for it in the B Main the second night, Hickle, VanDam and Barnes left Olson behind and advanced into the A Main where Lamley and Rilat were already slotted taking top spots out of their heat races.
Lamley positioned at the pole worked through five cautions grabbing the checkered. Crockett, back to start at seven and Rilat on his outside, snaked through the traffic to finish second and third respectively. VanDam, worked from way back in the pack to push across for fourth.
Running as the third race of the night on Saturday, Craig Moore sat in the saddle with Jeff Foster on his shoulder. But it only took one lap for Lawrence O’Connor to overtake Foster and start a battle with Moore.
O’Connor took one lap away from Moore but saw Moore take it back and lead the majority of the first 10 laps of the scheduled 30-lap race. Foster had drifted back and tussled with Joe German, trading out third and fourth slots. By the third caution, as drivers tried to avoid the flying car parts of Zack Simpson, the field had settled in to a pair of mini races. O’Connor and Moore up front with Foster and German trying to out position each other in third and fourth. By lap 19 and the final caution for the race, it looked like Foster had taken the command over German and O’Connor would easily beat out Moore. But a final swing from the rear of Bill Rowe sending him into the infield, Foster let Graham Cook sneak through for a fourth-place finish. German had taken back third and O’Connor did take the win over Moore.
The following night, Tom Sweatman, who had started the Saturday event dead last but had worked himself up to edging the top five before the finish, took the payday Sunday. With only a few laps remaining, leader Matt Mitchell found himself in trouble and gave up the lead to Sweatman. For Sweatman, this is his first win of the season. This time, German was able to grab the second place away from Moore, who finished in third with Chris Beaulieu and Zack Simpson, with new parts, taking the final two spots.
The Mustang seemed to be the car of choice for this field of Hobby Stocks, but they could not match the double victory of the Chevy Monte Carlo and Jason Tole. What looked to be a Brian Harding victory on Saturday night, turned into a disqualification for Harding, awarding Tole the nights victory.
Harding, who had started in the second tandem at the start of the race, quickly broke out into the lead after pushing aside Eddie Blood. Blood chased Harding for the next six laps until a rear-end spinout in the middle of the pack in turn one brought out the fourth caution of five for the night.
On reset, Tole was able to replace Blood and start his own chase of Harding. A few laps later, a broken axle brought on by a collision at turn two, eliminated a pair of drivers from the race to leave an open path for Harding and Tole to battle over. At the conclusion of the 25-lap race, Tole was awarded the win following Harding in initially. Brian Izzi had slipped in past Blood for third and Shane Kerrigan tailed Blood for fifth.
With another win under his belt, Tole was ready for Sunday to make it a clean sweep for racing in the Harbor. This time his competition was Cory Sweatman who was able top keep Harding back in third. And again, Izzi had slipped in front of Blood to finish just ahead.
Scheduled for the first weekend in June, Grays Harbor Raceway holds it annual Fan Appreciation Night with a full compliment of your favorite dirt track racing with Sprints, Midgets, Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Hornets.