ELMA — Out at the I-5 Quarter Midget track, a weekend of racing brought out 126 cars for the annual Region 9 race.
With Friday night set up as a test-and-tune night for visiting racers of the six member clubs of Region 9, racers from as far away as Langley, British Columbia, ran on the only dirt track of the quarter midget region.
With five of the tracks all running on asphalt, the I-5 track holds the honor of being the only dirt track.
As Region 9 race director, Denise Smutny is not new to quarter midget racing at all. Involved in racing since 1998, with her daughter, Smutny has held other top positions with the region and clubs.
“I like the facility here (in Elma), but being the only dirt track in the region it is not always popular. It’s a nice change of pace for the kids.”
Smutny speaks that the popularity is still there for quarter midget racing, but admits that the current economy does keep some away from the youth sport.
“Some clubs are running an average of 120 cars at club races, and at our next two region races we should see car counts of 175 cars.”
Greg Dineen, I-5 QMC vice president, spoke to the track performance and participation of the drivers.
“We had a good car count, just a few off last year, and the track was great. Rick Wickstrom (I-5 QMC Track Technician) did a fabulous job on the track. He put in several hours in getting it prepared, and we have not had to scrape or re-pack the track at all this weekend.”
Others commented on the great performance of the track and the special care that was taken between heat and main races to ensure the surface of the track was maintained.
“The track allowed the kids to run hard, this weekend,” continued Dineen.
With the facilities open on Friday, those hauling from a distance were able to set up camp, pull out their cars and get busy.
Friday night’s prep led into Saturday’s fill of heat races. With a total of 14 classifications of cars, it took 18 heat races to set up the main events. Junior Honda, the biggest group, held three heats with seven drivers each. Junior Honda was also among the deepest in sub-mains starting with an E-main, where most ran only as deep as a B-Main.
When it came down to it, the main events ran smoothly on Sunday, the final day of the event. With all the main events set to run, Mother Nature took care of her kids running the track, and held off any heavy showers to allow a quick-as-possible conclusion to the action-packed weekend of racing.
With the depth of the Junior Honda class, the A-Main was a thriller. The 30-minute time limit was almost invoked, as the racers could not seem to keep from spinning out or inflicting damage to other cars. The eventual winner, Colby Thornhill of the Little Wheels Quarter Midget Club running out of Graham, seemed to be threading the needle with Gavyan Yager in his “Yager Bomb” race car out of Yakima.
At one re-start of the race, the two traded out of first and second place with flawless racing. Each taking the other one low and utilizing the center lane to keep up with the other.
But a Yager Bomb caution pushed young Gavyan to the back of the pack on the final re-start, and Thornhill ran the rest of the race out front of his Little Wheels club partner Brenden Maltais.
For the local I-5 Quarter Midget Club, Mason Dineen had to run from the depths of a Senior Honda C-Main, taking first and advancing into the B-Main. Looking as if he might not make it, a late caution in the B-Main gave Dineen a third-place finish and pushed him into his first Regional A-Main race. As a transfer into the A-Main, his back seat position, 9 out of 10, meant that he would have to get around a large field of cars in only 40 laps. But with several early cautions, Dineen found himself starting to gain ground in the race and just behind his I-5 teammate, Brenden White.
At one point Colby Scheuber took a few laps on the back of Aly Pyles, as his car ran up the back of Pyles and his front wheel got lodged in her framework. The flagger’s call to let it go — in hopes that they would disengage from each other — caused an eventual pile-up at turn four, halting the race.
As racing resumed, Dineen fell back farther and could not make up the ground in his inaugural region race, but White managed a third-place finish for the club. Cody Hogarth came away with the checkered flag for the Senior Honda class.
In what looked to be another possible win for the I-5 club, Corbin Wickstrom sat in the pole position at the start of the race for the Light World Formula Class. This class held many experts with Jim Ferguson, Devan West, Devon Borden, Brooke Schimmel and Kole Raz among others in the field.
With the flip of the green flag, Wickstrom was thrown to the outside going into turn one, and by turn two a caution reset the field. Wickstrom had to hit the pit area as part of his shroud went flapping in the wind and had to be resecured before he could continue racing. Wickstrom could not recover, with the likes of West and Borden running out in front. But even Region racers Borden and West could not quite catch up to eventual winner, Kole Raz. With Raz leading the majority of the race and Ferguson having to leave the track due to what appeared too be a broken front axle after a spin around the dirt with Jason Hillyer, Schimmel snuck in between Raz and West by lap nine and rode in for second place.
The weekend ended in the early evening with just enough time for trophies to be awarded and families could hit the streets back to their homes just before night fall.
For the local I-5 club, it is back to club racing on Aug. 17. In between now and then, the QMA will hold the Dirt Grands in California and another Region race in Monroe.
A-Main Results – Top Four:
Junior Novice: 1, Caleb Grantham; 2, Taylor Thornhill; 3, Brianna Asay; 4, Miles Massie.
Senior Novice: 1, Taylor LaMont.
Junior Animal: 1, Ben Silliker; 2, Braden Maltais; 3, Colby Thornhill; 4, Brayden Hogarth.
Senior Animal: 1, Tyler Conley; 2, Matthew Roberts; 3, Dario Retych; 4, Dillon Huffines.
Junior Honda: 1, C. Thornhill; 2, B. Maltais; 3, B. Silliker; 4, B. Hogarth.
Senior Honda: 1, Cody Hogarth; 2, Kaiden Anderson; 3, Brenden White; 4, Jake Tupper.
Light 160: 1, Devan West; 2, C. Hogarth; 3, Kole Raz; 4, Devon Borden.
Heavy 160: 1, Brooke Schimmel; 2, B. Silliker; 3, Dana Geary; 4, Lindsey Barney.
Mod: 1, B. Hogarth; 2, B. Silliker; 3, C. Hogarth.
Heavy Honda: 1, D. Geary; 2, Latrell Pruitt; 3, Casey Smith; 4, Garrett Huffines.
Junior Stock: 1, B. Silliker; 2, Dominic Carter; 3, C. Thornhill; 4, Cole Alton.
Senior Stock: 1, Patrick Mullins; 2, J. Tupper; 3, Davey Ward.
Light World Formula: 1, K. Raz; 2, B. Schimmell; 3, Devan West; 4, D. Borden.
Heavy World Formula: 1, L. Barney; 2, Lizzy Johnson; 3, G. Huffines; 4, C. Smith.