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Freedom Cup Opener Goes To Mayden, M. Sanders, Hartman, And Skeslien
708
7/5/2024

7/5/2024

Cottage Grove Speedway


Freedom Cup Opener Goes To Mayden, M. Sanders, Hartman, And Skeslien

Freedom Cup Opener Goes To Mayden, M. Sanders, Hartman, And Skeslien
By Ben Deatherage
(Photo Courtesy of Jason Davenport Photography)
Cottage Grove, Oregon—On Thursday, July 4th, Cottage Grove Speedway celebrated Independence Day and the facility's sixty-eighth birthday. The occasion also marked the first of three nights of the Freedom Cup that will feature the Friesen Performance IMCA Modifieds presented by Wheeless Trailer Sales Service & RV Repair, Friesen Performance IMCA Northern SportMods presented by Roadhouse Billiards & Brew, the Todd's Auto Body Limited Sprints, and the Junior division.

The finale for the Friesen Performance IMCA Modifieds presented by Wheeless Trailer Sales Service & RV Repair began with a pair of CGS champions battling it out between Springfield's Jake Mayden and Braedon Hand, from Cottage Grove, wheeling the Frank and Judy Brewer-owned machine. Hand would lead the opening stanza but was overtaken by Mayden on the inside of turn four of the next trip around the track.

Mayden started to check out by a healthy margin, and behind him was a firecracker of a run from Cottage Grove native Brett Muth. Muth was rolling around nicely in sixth before he obtained fifth and then grabbed fourth. But he was not content with that as he got around the outside of Bennett Bray from Roseburg to move into third on the eleventh circuit.

Two laps later, Muth continued his remarkable run, showcasing his perseverance and skill and would climb up into second on lap thirteen. Meanwhile, Paul Rea made a surprising surge into the Top 5, following Muth's path to secure third place.

Things would cool down briefly for the lone stoppage of the main event with eighteen laps complete. When the green flag waved again, the competition heated up for the second position between Rea and Muth, keeping the audience on the edge of their seats. Rea eventually secured the runner-up spot, and Cottage Grove's Curtis Towns made an excellent restart to propel himself into fourth.

However, the remaining balance of the race saw Mayden simply dominate and score his second win of the season at Cottage Grove and in the Shaw Race Cars Western Region. Rea and Muth were the rest of the podium in second and third. Towns finished the race fourth, while Hand was behind him in fifth.

Despite six cautions, the Friesen Performance IMCA Northern SportMod presented by Roadhouse Billiards & Brew race was a good one. The main event opened up with Jordan Henry of Roseburg taking the lead from the get-go. The second lap would see all sorts of commotion as Creswell's Aaron Bloom slipped around Madilynn Ashley, from Jasper, for second. Simultaneously a maelstrom for fourth occurred with a three-car battle between Matt Sanders of Brookings, Coburg chauffeur Jesse Williamson, and Meridian, California transplant, now residing in Sweet Home, Jason Ferguson, only for a yellow to come out.

Sanders, Ashley, and Creswell Jason Kocks engaged in a fierce battle for third on the restart, providing unexpected twists to the race. Sanders eventually gained the advantage and secured the position just before another caution was raised.

Bloom and Sanders would square off for second when things got back underway. When the battle started to become inconclusive, Williamson stalked them both to take advantage if a mistake was to be made. Sanders grabbed second on lap eight and tried to run down the leader, Henry.

Henry was very good on restarts and checked out. But just when it seemed like the field was getting strung out, Sanders began to chomp into the pacesetter's advantage. A pair of cautions just past the halfway mark would help Sanders' efforts, eliminating Henry's lead.

After a lap seventeen restart, Sanders began to challenge on the bottom line, trying to get underneath Henry while Williamson tried his luck on the top of the track. Sanders's persistence paid major dividends, as he obtained the race lead out of turn two with five circuits remaining.

Sanders, who started eleventh, would break away from the rest of the pack to get his third win of 2024, but it was the first time this season he'd won at "The Grove." Henry was a respectable second, while Williamson would hit the line third. Throughout the second half of the race, defending Oregon State champion Trevor Points and Bloom would have a see-saw battle for fourth. The Salem teenager, Points, would end up beating out Bloom for the position.

Skyler Caster made the most of his Sprint Car debut as he grabbed the lead on the opening start of the Todd's Auto Body Limited Sprint main. From Medford and piloting the Don Waddell-fielded entry, Caster had an excellent first half of the race. T.J. Hartman, now living in Olympia, Washington, took the Axel and Kippy Walker-owned mount to the front with a lap eleven overtake to become the new race leader.

The only thing to slow down Hartman was a caution on the thirteenth circuit. When the green flag reemerged, he took care of business and scored the victory. Caster was a notable second, while behind him in third was Cottage Grove native Tim Minter. The rest of the Top 5 consisted of Ryan Hirschbock of Klamath Falls and Shady Cove's David Marble, in fourth and fifth.

Lastly, the Junior division had a thrilling conclusion to their feature. Springfield's Tynlee Mayden was the force to reckon with as she took the lead at the unfurling of the green. She would be in dominant form and deserted the rest of the pack. Tragedy would strike when she would have mechanical issues on the final lap and would coast out of the fourth corner. Paul Skeslien of Albany would chase her down and pass her at the line to score the victory.

Mayden was second, and Eugene's Shane Dowty completed the podium in third. Faith Bryant of Coos Bay and Eugene youngster Rowen Lancaster were fourth and fifth.


Submitted By: Ben Deatherage

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