ELMA — Racing fever is starting to spread, as a favorable crowd witnessed the second full race of the 2013 Grays Harbor Racing season on May 4.
Brothers Chase (Midget) and Reece (Sprints) Goetz, took the final flag along with Modified winner Joe German.
For Chase, his second win in as many races so far this season, and for older brother Reece, his first. German, always a threat looked to finally get all his adjustments in order and won the battle over early leader Jeff Foster and mid-race leader, Scott Miller.
With a field of 14 tightly packed Modifieds on the track, the 30-lap Main event got off to a bit of a rocky start as Kyler Moore took an early spin, which caused a full re-start of the field.
Foster who was awarded the outside pole along side Zack Simpson, ran the first 20 laps out front. Simpson held for a few laps in second only to be replaced by German, who with Foster, started lapping traffic by the 13th circuit. Rayun McMichael started smoking up the track and had to leave early by lap five as Simpson caught up with the two leaders and followed them lapping the lagers by lap 18. Just as Simpson was giving chase, Del Schnitzer stalled out at the flag stand and had to be pushed off.
At the re-start, the trio of Foster, German and Simpson turned it into a three-car race that lasted just long enough for German to end up in the in-field having to dodge a rock and raise another caution at lap 20. The 11 cars left on the track, set for the final push, saw Miller work his way around Kris Asche, followed by Tom Sweatman and take the lead from Foster. German re-gained position over Sweatman, on the tail of Miller, as Foster continued to fall behind.
Miller was able to keep the lead for a few laps, but German was relentless and was able to slip around Miller with only four rounds remaining. The new trio of German, Miller and Sweatman took the final flag in that order with Craig Moore slipping in front of Foster for fourth.
For the Midgets, the longest race of the night, due to an oil leak that ran through both turns one and two, Chase Goetz recorded his second season win in as many races at Grays Harbor Raceway. Starting well back in the ten-car pack, Goetz quickly shuffled into the top five by the second lap. Thomas, who was able to skirt around Lee St. Paul, with the drop of the green flag, ran the field hard for 99 percent of the race. Montesano’s Jeremy Miller chased after Thomas for the first six laps until Goetz took over and followed the No. 14 the rest of the race. All was running smoothly for the three front-runners until oil started to spill out of the 11E, Ariel Biggs. Biggs, making her 2013 season debut at Grays Harbor, lost an oil line and finally came to a stop just before the track pit exit.
Officials stopped the race as ground crews had to turn the dirt to make the surface safety ready for additional racing.
The final eight drivers were lined-up nose to tail, as the track was re-packed before racing could resume. With the re-start, Thomas kept his lead with Goetz in pursuit, but shifting had started behind them. Rob Vaughn navigated around Miller and fell into the run for the front with Thomas and Goetz. The three distanced themselves from the rest of the pack on lap 23 of the 25-lap race. And it looked to be a lock for Thomas taking it home. But in the final lap, Goetz found an opportunity and edged out Thomas using the inside track rolling out of turn three to four and down the stretch, to beat him by a breath. Vaugh was close behind grabbing third with Miller and Doug James finishing the top five.
The cleanest race and possibly the quickest race of the night, eight 360 Sprints finished the night of racing. With what might be determined as an ugly start, race officials did not like what they saw on the initial green flag start of the Sprints, and lined them up for another. Henry Van Dam would take the initial lead, but lost it quickly to Reece Goetz. Even after a spin out involving Evan Margenson and Doug Peter in turn four, the single file cone re-start did not change the lead for Goetz. With lapping of traffic starting by lap eight, the race ran Goetz, Van Dam, and J.J. Hickle, looking for his two in a row win. Hickle started to feel the heat of Jay Cole and the two traded third and fourth for a few rounds. But by lap 15, the race was set with Hickle able to keep Cole at bay.
The race finished in less than 15 minutes and would be the first win for Goetz this season. For all of the top five winners it would be the second top five finish this season, just in a different order; Goetz, Van Dam,Hickle, Cole and Margenson.
The next race will be a Mother’s Day and Ladies Night Special, with discount rates for the ladies as they fill the stand to watch the first running of the Northwest Extreme Winged Sprints, Modifieds, the Street Stocks are back and the Hornets will run.