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Keeping Pace


 (The Spokesman-Review)
(The Spokesman-Review)

Shane Mitchell debuted his new late model race car at Yakima Speedway on Saturday night but it was division points leader Owen Riddle that hand the hot hand en route to the main event victory.

Courtesy: Kelly Hart, Yakima Speedway Media Relations

Current point leader Owen Riddle passed visiting driver Shane Mitchell for the lead on the 47th lap of the 50-lap Late Model Main Event Saturday night and drove off for the win at ASA Sanctioned Yakima Speedway. Other Main Event winners for the night included point leader Mel Patnode in the Burger Ranch Sportsman, Greg Gargett in the CWI Security / EZ Credit Auto Sales Hornets and Peppie Rojas in the Morty’s Towing Bump To Pass cars on Star Rentals and Sales Night at the track.

            After Mitchell set fast time with a 19.122 second lap, Trophy Dashes were run with Erick Hargraves and Randy Marshall, Jr. winning races. For Marshall, Jr. it was his debut in a Late Model and he acquitted himself quite well in the Jack Mondor #28 car fending off fellow first-timer Taylor Riddle and second year driver Marcus Maggard for the win.

            At the drop of the green flag in the Late Model Main Hargraves, Mitchell and Riddle took off and set a blistering pace. Ron Bemis settled in fourth in his own middle pack, with Marshall, Jr., Taylor Riddle, Maggard, and Bill Mills running a group all their own off the pace. In the front, Hargraves was holding off Mitchell who was peeking high and low trying to find a line that would clear Hargraves.  The race was slowed by 5 yellow flags. The first came on lap 6 when Maggard went off the back stretch kicking up some dust and causing a small grass fire that track crews quickly put out. On laps 18 and 19 Taylor Riddle went off the end of turn 2 slowing the action. On the 20th lap, Marshall, Jr. drove deep underneath Bemis in turn one trying to take the 4th spot away before losing the handle and spinning in turn two. Bill Mills spun to avoid hitting Marshall, Jr. and both went to the back of the pack. On the ensuing restart it was once again Hargraves, Mitchell and Owen Riddle taking off and leaving the pack with Mitchell finally slipping under a loose Hargraves in turn two and taking over the top spot on the 31st lap. Owen Riddle followed Mitchell past and into second on the 33rd lap and set out to run down the checking out Mitchell.

            Riddle caught Mitchell in a few laps and the two started the two car bump and grind in turn two, with Mitchell pulling away out of the corners and Riddle catching up going into the corners. On the 47th lap, after numerous attempts to get underneath Mitchell, Riddle came off of turn 4 low and got a good run going into turn one, as Mitchell entered the corner the car got loose, opening up just enough room for Riddle to squeeze underneath and clear the #99 coming out of turn two. From that point on all Riddle was not challenged except for one brief stab going into turn 3 by Mitchell. Behind those two, Ron Bemis had closed on Hargraves for third and they went nose to tail coming out of turn four for the run for third to the checkered flag.

            Kudos need to be handed out to the two rookie drivers, Randy Marshall, Jr. and Taylor Riddle who both handled their cars well, drove hard and have good passes for positions. Their futures look good in Late Model racing for years to come.

            If consistency wins championships, then defending Burger Ranch Sportsman division champion Mel Patnode is on an unstoppable roll. Patnode picked up his second straight win motoring past Don Klang on the 11th circuit and into a lead he would never be seriously challenged for. The race was behind him as Thomas Benscoter, Sr., Jason Huffines, Don Klang and Buck Noel, Jr. ran their 4 cars wheel to wheel, nose to tail and door handle to door handle over the last 12 laps in a tight battle for second position. At the stripe it was Benscoter, Sr. for second, Noel, Jr. for third, with Klang and Huffines fourth and fifth. Earlier in the evening Patnode set fast time at 23.130 and Noel, Jr. and Jerry Walker, Jr. won the Trophy Dashes. Heat Race wins were collected by Jeff Liebert the Pure Stock point leader making a move up into the class and Noel, Jr.

            One other driver on recent roll is Greg Gargett in the EZ Credit Auto Sales / CWI Security Hornets. Gargett won his dash and the 20 lap Main Event for his second consecutive win. Keith Erickson and Josh Parmentier won the Heat Races, with Michael Beck picking up the B Trophy Dash. The Hornet Main Event had only one caution, as Ryan Kallenberger spun in front of a big pack of cars on the tenth lap and the event was slowed for safety as he was sitting parked sideways and unable to restart on the front stretch.

            Once again the Morty’s Towing Bump to Pass cars was joined by a large field of competitors from the Dirt Track and once again the Main Event was a rolling Demo Derby. Three yellow flags flew in the first 6 laps before a red flag halted the action to remove a driver from a car in a precarious position outside turn 4.  Thirteen cars took the green flag, with one sitting in the pits unable to start for the biggest field of the season in this division. Peppie Rojas led the race twice, at the beginning 3 laps and the last 10 laps for the win over Donnie Stevens, and last week’s winner Jake Breshears. The Trophy Dash winners were Bobby A. Trujillo and Rojas. Rojas made the clean sweep of the night with a Heat Race win and the other Heat Race was won by Rich Strmiska running his first race of the season at Yakima Speedway.

            Yakima Speedway is taking the weekend of August 1st off for the Vintiques gathering in Yakima, but will return with a big 6 class show on August 8th. Check the schedule on the website, for full details.


RESULTS 7/25/09



B DASH 22 Peppie Rojas, 07 Tim Stockwell, 00 Robert Westfall, 44 Donnie Stevens

A DASH 88 Bobby A. Trujillo, 4 Julie McAlpin, 37 Merle Stiltner, 77 Jake Breshears

A HEAT 22 Rojas, 4 McAlpin, 31 Fat Albert, 88 Trujillo, 77 Breshears

B HEAT 06 Rich Strmiska, 007 Leo Wood, 51 Josh Parmentier, 44 Stevens, 66 Dan Strmiska

MAIN 22 Peppie Rojas, 44 Stevens, 77 Breshears, 88 Trujillo, 31 Albert, 00 Westfall, 4 McAlpin, 06 R. Strmiska, 007 Wood, 07 Stockwell, 66 D. Strmiska, 71 Eddie Abrams, 37 Stiltner

LAP LEADERS 22 Rojas 1-3, 31 Albert 4-5, 44 Stevens 6-9, 22 Rojas 10-20



A DASH 22 Greg Gargett, 34 Chris Marang, 4 Ryan Kallenberger, 26 Jessica Tidrick

B DASH 76 Michael Beck, 71 Anthony VanLeuven, 9 Chris Morrison, 41 Tyler Breshears

B HEAT 16 Josh Parmentier, 69 Daniel Morfin, 76 Michael Beck, 71 VanLeuven, 24 Eric Coble

A HEAT 12 Keith Erickson, 22 Gargett, 34 Marang, 26 Tidrick, 18 Tim Breshears

MAIN 22 Greg Gargett, 16 Parmentier, 12 Erickson, 26 Tidrick, 06 Josh Washington, 69 Morfin, 18 Tim Breshears, 41 Tyler Breshears, 76 Beck, 24 Coble, 71 VanLeuven, 34 Marang, 4 Kallenberger, 91 Tyler Breshears, 9 Morrison

LAP LEADERS 16 Parmentier 1-11, 22 Gargett 12-20



FAST TIME 04 Mel Patnode 23.130

A DASH 5 Buck Noel, Jr., 04 Patnode, 95 Thomas Benscoter, Sr., 42 Jason Huffines

B DASH 96 Jerry Walker, Jr., 5x Jeff Liebert, 08 Ron Morton, 12 Ed St. Mary

B HEAT 5x Liebert, 96 Walker, Jr., 08 Morton, 12 St. Mary, 00 Dan Wilson

A HEAT 5 Noel, Jr., 42 Huffines, 04 Patnode, 95 Benscoter, Sr., 63 Don Klang

MAIN 04 Mel Patnode, 95 Benscoter, Sr., 5 Noel, Jr., 63 Klang, 42 Huffines, 96 Walker, Jr., 5x Liebert, 12 St. Mary, 08 Morton, 00 Wilson

LAP LEADERS 5x Liebert 1-2, 63 Klang 3-10, 04 Patnode 11-30



FAST TIME 99 Shane Mitchell 19.122

B DASH 28 Randy Marshall, Jr., 27 Marcus Maggard, 15 Taylor Riddle

A DASH 51 Erick Hargraves, 99 Mitchell, 10 Owen Riddle, 42 Ron Bemis

MAIN 10 Owen Riddle, 99 Mitchell, 51 Hargraves, 42 Bemis, 59 Bill Mills, 28 Marshall, Jr., 27 Maggard, 15 Taylor Riddle

LAP LEADERS 51 Hargraves 1-30, Mitchell 31- 47, Owen Riddle 48-50

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Keeping Pace

Motorsports correspondent Doug Pace keeps up with motorsports news and notes from around the region.