Grove Classic Produces Great Second Night Of Racing
By Ben Deatherage
(Photos Courtesy of Madman Photography)
In the first night of action on Friday at the Cottage Grove Speedway there was some great racing. Saturday’s program was just as good with a packed house on hand to watch the action of the final night for the Grove Classic. Classes that would compete during the evening were 360 Sprints, IMCA Modifieds, and Hornets.
In the 360 Sprints Roger Crockett had to work his tail end off in the first night of action after bypassing the scales after winning his heat race and start eighteenth but would still win the feature. In the second night the Medford driver had the luxury of starting on the pole position for the feature. But just because the SKS Racing/Al Parker Racing Engines #11 KPC started on the pole it didn’t guarantee a walk in the park for him.
Crockett would seize the initial lead and set a very quick pace around the famed ¼-mile clay oval early. It would only take a handful of laps before lapped traffic came into the picture but when it did Crockett would cut through it quickly. But little did he know Rob Held of Sutherlin was making a charge to the front.
Held, in the family owned Held’s Automotive/Budget Lumber #68 J&J, ran a distinct line on the very bottom of the race track that appeared to be just as fast if not quicker than the top where Crockett was. Just as Held was putting himself in a position to challenge for the lead a caution would occur on lap twelve.
On the restart Crockett would have open track to work with and Held now battled with the likes of Justyn Cox for second. The Harley Van Dyke owned Lucas Oil Products/K&N Filters/JRi Shocks #5H Maxim of Cox was quick up on the high side of the track. Cox would move into second place eventually after starting deep in fourteenth place.
As Crockett would continue to lead a final caution would occur on lap fourteen that would bunch the field up one last time. Crockett would take off and run away with lead once again and would show the way for the rest of the distance. For Crockett it would be a sweep of the features for the weekend and his thirteenth straight Grove Classic main event win.
“We had another really good car again,” commented Crockett, “I didn’t know how close anyone else was in traffic but patiently aggressive is my motto and it worked out for us tonight. It’s a pretty crazy streak we have going with this race (Grove Classic) but it shows just how good we can be at this track.”
Justyn Cox would finish in second while Bellingham, Washington’s Brock Lemley made some late moves to place the Vaillant Racing/Moto Transportation/Deming Speedway #88 XXX in third for car owner Darcy Vaillant. Rob Held would end the evening in fourth followed by the Kovash Logging/Johanson Excavating #33V KPC of Henry Van Dam from Enumclaw, Washington.
Earlier in the evening Mitch Olson of Tacoma, Washington was fastest in qualifying in the PMI Truck Bodies/Pettit Oil Company #27 KPC with a time of 10.744 seconds. Heat race winners were Olson, the Wheeler Racing/In & Out Gardens/ABC Powdercoating #21W Maxim of Central Point’s Vern Wheeler, Roger Crockett, and Henry Van Dam. Crockett would earn his pole position by picking up the win in the eight-car eight-lap trophy dash that was ran after the heat races were complete.
For the first time in 2013 the IMCA Modifieds graced the Cottage Grove Speedway. Defending track champion Troy McElroy from Shady Cove was the car to beat come feature time. McElroy would take the lead within the first five laps and cruise along to build a sizeable lead. The T&K Services/Affordable Self Storage #57M GRT by Yeager Racing would be out in front for the rest of the way despite a late challenge from Curtis Towns of Cottage Grove.
Towns would challenge McElroy for the lead in his SKS Racing/Valley Rose Construction #24 X-Factor with only a couple of laps to go but McElroy would keep the door shut. For McElroy it was the second straight year that he has won the first race in the Modified division at Cottage Grove.
“We had a lot of luck tonight,” stated McElroy, “Curtis was coming pretty fast and I don’t know if I could have held him off very much longer. I seen him once on the bottom but I shut the door on him so if he was going to get around me he would have to do it on the high side.”
Towns would earn a respectable second place finish while coming home third was Don Muth Jr. from Cottage Grove in his Serendipity Spa & Salon/West End Performance #23 Shaw. Mark Carrell of Redmond crossed the line in fourth driving the Mark’s Auto Body #27 GRT by Phillips and fifth place would go to Creswell’s Gus Cooper in the Eastside Rollforming Specialties/BBQ Oil Barbeque Sauce #10 Pro. Heat race winners in IMCA Modified action were Cooper and Towns.
David Beals of Roseburg had the field covered all night long in the Hornet division. By the time the main event rolled along it looked as if no one had anything for him in his Double R Powdercoating #9. But just before the white flag came out Beals suffered mechanical problems and left for the pit area. The lead would be inherited by Junction City’s Kolby Clay who would put his West End Performance/Team S.D.M.F. #8 in victory lane for the first time of the season in his first start of the year.
“I’ll take this win any way I can get it,” Clay would say in victory lane, “the #9 was pretty fast. I don’t know if I could have got him if he hadn’t broke.”
The Pure Auto Works #7 of Josh Corley from Veneta would finish second while last week’s winner Joe Maricle, also from Veneta, was third in his #11. The balance of the top five included Cottage Grove drivers Mike Simmons in the Industrial Finishes/Kimwood Corporation #34 entry in fourth and his brother Jim in the Small Town Treasures/Nichol’s Napa Auto Parts #89 in fifth. Earlier in the night heat winners were Simmons and Beals while Beals won the trophy dash.
Cottage Grove Speedway will be back in action for a busy weekend next week. The first race for the Kage Karts will open the weekend on Friday May 3rd. Then on Saturday the 4th the Northwest Wingless Tour, Northwest Extreme Sprints (formerly Limited Sprints), IMCA Modifieds, Street Stocks, and Hornets will all be on the card. For more information be sure and log on to www.cottagegrovespeedway.com or call the new Northwest Tracks Hotline at (360)-699-RACE.
Saturday April 27th, 2013
Cottage Grove Speedway
Cottage Grove, Oregon
Fast Time: Mitch Olson, 10.744
Heat Race Winners: Mitch Olson (1), Vern Wheeler (2), Roger Crockett (3), Henry Van Dam (4)
Trophy Dash Winner: Roger Crockett
A-Feature: 1. Roger Crockett, 2. Justyn Cox, 3. Brock Lemley, 4. Rob Held, 5. Henry Van Dam, 6. J.J. Hickle, 7. Mitch Olson, 8. Cam Smith, 9. Reece Goetz, 10. Garen Linder, 11. Vern Wheeler, 12. Seth Nunes, 13. Brendan Boyce, 14. Jared Ridge, 15. Kyle Miller, 16. Jesse Thistle, 17. Zack Spaulding, 18. Mike Romig, 19. Raquel Ivie, 20. Kady Adelman, 21. Allison Journey, 22. Brian Boswell, 23. Dan Philpot, DNS Jake Waddell
Heat Race Winners: Gus Cooper (1), Curtis Towns (2)
A-Feature: 1. Troy McElroy, 2. Curtis Towns, 3. Don Muth Jr., 4. Mark Carrell, 5. Gus Cooper, 6. Braedon Hand, 7. David Schmidt, 8. Brian Gray, 9. Ron Wilson, 10. Greg McDonald, 11. Austin McTaggart, 12. Corey Russell
Trophy Dash Winner: David Beals
Heat Race Winners: Jim Simmons (1), David Beals (2)
A-Feature: 1. Kolby Clay, 2. Josh Corley, 3. Joe Maricle, 4. Mike Simmons, 5. Jim Simmons, 6. James Simmons, 7. Mike Swaim, 8. David Beals, 9. Kayla Simmons, 10. James Deatherage, 11. Derik Hand, 12. Jess Burk, 13. Justin Austin, 14. Opie Donaldson, DNS Shawn Hand