Night One Of Classic Brings Thrills And Excitement
By Ben Deatherage'
(Photos Courtesy of Madman Photography)
Cottage Grove, Oregon- The first night of the Grove Classic produced plenty of memories for race fans on Friday April 26th. A full pit area of race cars filled the Cottage Grove Speedway for the second race of 2013. 360 Sprints, Late Models, and Street Stocks were on the card for the evening that had more twist and turns than a country road.
Street Stocks may not have had the car count but the quality of the field was very good. With a handful of cars unable to make the start for the feature it made for a great race for the ones that were able to take the green.
Daniel Ray of Springfield started his season in the right direction earning the victory in his Pure Romance-Leslie Grimes/Brad’s Car Tunes #01 Camaro. Cottage Grove’s Jeff Casto set the pace early but would get sideways and forfeit the lead around lap four. Once Ray was in front he would never let go of the lead despite defending champion Darin Crooks doing his best to run him down.
“I felt it was a pretty good main event,” stated Daniel Ray, “I heard Darin back there once I got the lead and show his nose a couple of times. Earlier we were struggling a little bit on getting adapted after learning how to drive a Modified last year and adapting back to Street Stock mode.”
Crooks, of Cottage Grove, would place second in his #73 Nova followed by the #12 Camaro of Casto. Crooks would set fast time of the night at 17.812 seconds and won the trophy dash while Casto earned the heat race victory.
The Late Model feature produced some wonderful action as Rob Mayea led for much of the distance. The defending Late Model champion, in his J&S Farms/Cornett Racing Engines #37 Victory Circle, set a wicked pace and kept back all challengers until he spun in turn four on lap twenty-two. Mayea was able to keep himself going but would lose several positions and forfeit the lead.
Collen Winebarger of Corbett would pick up and run with the lead that was given to him after Mayea’s misfortune. Winebarger would keep his Discount Race Car Parts/All In Property Investments #1 MasterSbilt out in front for the rest of the distance to earn his first career Late Model victory. For Winebarger the weekend isn’t over as he is heading to Banks’ Sunset Speedway Park for the first race of the Northwest Extreme Late Model Series on Saturday.
“We had a good car all night,” said Winebarger, “as soon as we unloaded we made some changes and the car kept getting better and better. We had a pretty fast hot rod in the main event right out of the gate and I thought if I could keep working on the top we could eventually get around Rob but luckily he gave us more than a break in that deal.”
Two-time CGS Late Model champ Mark Carrell of Redmond would finish in second in his Mark’s Auto Body/Gray’s Racing Engines #26 Rocket followed by the Woodshed Bar & Grill/Phantom Race Gear/Xtreme Motorsports #111 X-Factor of Joey Tanner from Portland in third, who originally started on the pole. The balance of the top five consisted of La Pine’s Trent Elliott in his VisitLaPine.com/Country Financial #4E Victory Circle in fourth and Rob Mayea in fifth.
Earlier in the evening Collen Winebarger would set quick time at 14.095 seconds and Rob Mayea was the trophy dash winner. Earning victories in heat race action were Lebanon’s Tony Brakeall in the Sureflow Concrete Pumping Services/Swing Construction #13 Swartz and Trent Elliott.
In the 360 Sprint feature craziness occurred before the drop of the first green flag. Defending Grove Classic winner Roger Crockett of Medford won his heat race but bypassed the scales resulting in him starting deep in the feature. Original pole sitter Mitch Olson from Tacoma, Washington had mechanical issues that forced him to be pushed back into the work area while the field began to get shoved off and assembled.
Clarksburg, California’s Justyn Cox, teaming back up with famed car owner Harley Van Dyke in 2013, showed the way in the early stages grabbing the lead from the start. The Lucas Oil Products/K&N Filters/Naake Suspension Services #5H Maxim would set the pace for much of the race until just past halfway.
By that point Roger Crockett had worked his way up from his eighteenth place starting position to second and was quickly hunting down Cox. Cox would do his best to fend off Crockett until Crockett took the lead on lap seventeen. From there on Corckett in his familiar looking SKS Racing/Parker Racing Engines/Champion Racing Oil #11 KPC was gone. For Crockett it was his twelfth straight win in Grove Classic action a streak that was started way back in 2004.
“I went to the drivers meeting and I could of swore they said just the top three scale for the main,” commented a very happy Roger Crockett in victory lane, “It is what it is you screw up you start in the tail. We were able to overcome that from starting eighteenth and very excited we were able to make that happen.”
Justyn Cox finished a respectable runner-up position followed by Eugene driver Brendan Boyce in his Boyce & Sons Landscaping and Building Materials/Don’s Powdercoating #65 XXX in third. The rest of the top five finishers were made up of the Linder Powdercoating #22 KPC of Central Point’s Garen Linder in fourth and Mitch Olson who recovered to fifth after starting twenty-second.
Mitch Olson was fast all night earning the quick time award at 11.619 seconds. In heat race action Mitch Olson, Justyn Cox, and the Kovash Logging/Johanson Excavating #33V A.R.T. of Enumclaw, Washington native Henry Van Dam. Olson would earn the pole starting position through a trophy dash once all the heats were finished.
Racing action continues on Saturday April 26th for the final night of the Grove Classic. Classes that will be competing include 360 Sprints, IMCA Modifieds, and Hornets.
Tickets for the races are $12.00 for Adults, Senior/Military/Junior (13-17) $10.00, Youths (6-12) $5.00, and Children under the age of 5 are FREE. A Family Pass is offered for $35.00 which includes two Adults and up to four Youths. Pit gates open at 3:00 PM, front gates 4:00, time trials 5:30, and racing stats around 6:45. For the latest information on Cottage Grove Speedway log on to www.cottagegrovespeedway.com.
Friday April 26th, 2013
Cottage Grove Speedway
Cottage Grove, Oregon
Fast Time: Mitch Olson, 11.619
Heat Race Winners: Mitch Olson (1), Justyn Cox (2), Henry Van Dam (3)
Trophy Dash Winner: Mitch Olson
A-Feature: 1. Roger Crockett, 2. Justyn Cox, 3. Brendan Boyce, 4. Garen Linder, 5. Mitch Olson, 6. J.J. Hickle, 7. Jared Ridge, 8. Reece Goetz, 9. Cam Smith, 10. Vern Wheeler, 11. Seth Nunes, 12. Zack Spaulding, 13. Mike Romig, 14. Raquel Ivie, 15. Jesse Thistle, 16. Henry Van Dam, 17. Dan Philpot, 18. Allison Journey, 19. Kady Adelman, 20. Brian Boswell, 21. Jake Waddell, 22. Kyle Miller
Fast Time: Collen Winebarger, 14.095
Trophy Dash Winner: Rob Mayea
Heat Race Winners: Tony Brakeall (1), Trent Elliott (2)
A-Feature: 1. Collen Winebarger, 2. Mark Carrell, 3. Joey Tanner, 4. Trent Elliott, 5. Rob Mayea, 6. Paul Culp, 7. Mike George, 8. Kevin Ropchan, 9. Eric Luckman, 10. Kreg Britton, 11. Rob Williams, 12. Mike Peters, 13. Blaine Taylor, 14. Tony Brakeall
Fast Time: Darin Crooks, 17.812
Trophy Dash Winner: Darin Crooks
Heat Race Winner: Jeff Casto
A-Feature: 1. Daniel Ray, 2. Darin Crooks, 3. Jeff Casto, DNS Mark Henderson, DNS Don Garrett III