By Ben Deatherage - Lebanon, Oregon- A massive amount of race cars, including fifty-two Late Models, filled the pit area Saturday May 26th for the first of two races for the Clair Cup at the Willamette Speedway. Late Models, USRA Modifieds, Sportsman, and the Classic Sportsman were all on hand for Saturday’s action and the Late Models consisted of both the open engine DirtCar Super Late Models and the competitors in the DAA Northwest Extreme Late Model Series presented by Sherwin-Williams Automotive Finishes. In all of the divisions there were no repeat winners in a night that was full of upsets and surprises.
The Late Model feature was a nail-biting forty lap affair with Greg Walters of Banks and Rob Mayea of Bend battling with one another. Walters took the lead from his pole starting position and had the field covered until the yellow flag was waived on lap two to bunch the field up. It was a couple laps after the restart that Mayea seized the lead from Walters and started to pull away. Despite a few more cautions and a few challenges from Walters Rob Mayea held on to win the first night of action.
Greg Walters would finish in a respectable second place and Brady Sell of Salem would finish in third. The rest of the top consisted of Brownsville driver Russ Sell and Tim Goodwin from Lebanon. Fast time of the night was Rick Wyatt of Aumsville at a time of 16.247 seconds, Brady Sell won the trophy dash, and the heat race winners were Chris Mott of Salem, Redmond’s Mark Carrell, Jon Kauffman from Lincoln City, Jerry Schram of Vancouver, Washington, and Russ Sell.
Two consolation races that lasted for twenty laps transferred the top three to fill in the final six positions for the feature. In the incident filled first race Tangent driver Trevor Glaser was the winner with Billy Workman Jr. currently living in Mooresville, North Carolina in second and Casey Vitale of Albany in third. In the second race Jeremy Shank of Salem was the winner bringing with him to the feature Lebanon chauffer Jason Wines and Rob Ireland of Banks in third.
For night two it will be a completely separate show with no cars locked into the Clair Cup finale. Rob Mayea is eligible for a $500.00 bonus if he can win the second night for sweeping the features.
A great USRA Modified feature occurred with Bubba Foster of Dayton leading early off of the initial restart. Later on Jesse Williamson of Coburg managed to get around him take over the race lead and went on to win the feature to become the second different winner in as many races in the classification.
Mark Wauge of Jacksonville, winner of the previous week, eventually finished second after battling with Bubba Foster who would respectively finish in third. The balance of the top five consisted of Albany drivers and twin brothers Justin and Dustin Dittman in fourth and fifth. Fast time of the night was Kyle Yeack of Crawfordsville at 16.866 seconds the trophy dash was won by Craig Cassell of Albany and heat race winners were Curtis Towns of Cottage Grove and Craig Hanson of Albany. A consolation feature was run as well and Matt Duste of Central Point was the winner.
The Sportsman feature race saw some of the drivers starting from the back and headed to the front have some misfortunes including last week’s winner Brian Winkler of Newberg and fast time Brian Brown who both got together on the front stretch. Despite this Danny Altom of Lebanon managed to hold off a charging Justin Dittman to earn his first win of the season in his first start.
Justin Dittman was second and Chris Bishop was third. The fourth and fifth place finishers were Jeff Rash of Lebanon and rookie driver Sonny Wallace from Corvallis. The quick clocker was Brian Brown at 17.900 seconds, trophy dash winner was Justin Dittman, and the winners of the heats were Stacy Kreiger of Albany and Springfield’s Tim Archer.
In the Classic Sportsman feature there were some fast cars that had some misfortunes Kyle Yeack appeared to be the guy to beat until a flat tire on lap seven and Tim Cramlet of Lebanon had nowhere to go but into the front stretch wall on lap fifteen after another car made contact with him. Adam Walker of Lyons who led for so long the week previous found himself running away with the lead for the most part as terrific action occurred behind him and held on for the win.
Young Bricen James of Albany finished second in his first race of the season after a great battle in the top five between himself and three or four other cars. Justin Boetcher of Albany finished in third beating out Kyle Yeack who had rebounded after the flat tire and Sean Cronk of Portland completed the top five. Bricen James was fast time of the night at 18.544 seconds, the Crocker Cars Classic Sportsman Trophy Dash winner was Kyle Yeack, and Larry Ramedes of Dayton and Sean Cronk won their heat races.
Action continues on Sunday May 27th for the finale of the Clair Cup with $2,000 going to the feature winner in the Late Models. USRA Modifieds, Sportsman, and Classic Sportsman will all be back in action as well. Pit gates open up at noon, front gates open at 2:00 PM, and racing is scheduled to start around 6:00 PM more information can be obtained at www.trophymotorsports.com.