Keeping Pace

Longton Wins 2nd Annual Big Sky 150 On iRacing.Com Northwest Late Model Tour

Mike Longton (No. 37) battles Brent Harris (outside) for the iRacing.com ASA Northwest Late Model Tour Big Sky 150 victory at Mission Valley Speedway. (Photo courtesy M.E. Wright) (The Spokesman-Review)
Mike Longton (No. 37) battles Brent Harris (outside) for the iRacing.com ASA Northwest Late Model Tour Big Sky 150 victory at Mission Valley Speedway. (Photo courtesy M.E. Wright) (The Spokesman-Review)

Using the commit cone to perfection, Longton went to the outside on a restart on lap 13 putting him along side the leader Harris. Longton took the lead on lap 14 and he would relinquish it once on lap 133 to Harris, getting it back a lap later.

Courtesy: Scott Ellsworth, ASA NWLMT Media Relations

Marysville, WA (May 26, 2009): At Mission Valley Speedway in Polson, Montana, Mike Longton of Moxee, Washington won his first iRacing.com American Speed Association Northwest Tour feature. Longton got a check for $10,000.00, the winner’s portion of the $40,000.00 plus purse. Brent Harris from East Wenatchee, Washington finished a close second. Third place went to Erick Hargraves of Toppenish, Washington.

Longton was the quickest in qualifying on Saturday May 23 of the two day extravaganza. Rolling a six invert Longton had to settle for a 7th place start after a fourth place in the qualifying heat race. Using the commit cone to perfection, Longton went to the outside on a restart on lap 13 putting him along side the leader Harris. Longton took the lead on lap 14 and he would relinquish it once on lap 133 to Harris, getting it back a lap later.

The race had many challengers for Longton’s position including on two attempts at a side by side green/white/checker restart. Hargraves gave it try on the first and Harris on the second.

Many of the fans iterated that the racing was the best they had ever seen on the high banked 3/8-mile tri-oval. There was very little single file racing throughout the entire weekend.

During the winner’s interview Longton said, ‘This track is very hard to get the car to stick to the track. We were here last year but only had one hour of practice. This year we figured it out the best we could.” Continuing Longton commented, “I had the most fun I have had in racing with the side by side racing with Brent (Harris). We gave each other plenty of room.”

Harris in his post race interview said, “He (Longton) had the stronger car today. We tried but it was not enough. I want to congratulate Mike (Longton) and it was fun racing with him.”

Hargraves finished 3rd spinning across the finish line inches ahead of Kelly Mann from Monroe, Washington.

Wes Rhodes finished a miraculous fifth on the lead lap. Rhodes fell off the lead lap early after a flat tire caused him to make contact with the turn four barrier. Repairs caused Rhodes to fall back by two laps. The new for the series ‘Free Pass’ gave Rhodes the opportunity to get both those back. With an ill handling car Rhodes fell back again by one lap.  For the third time Rhodes was eligible for the ‘Free Pass’ parlaying that into the fifth place finish.

Last year’s winner of this event Gary Lewis of Snohomish, Washington started on the pole but it was evident from the start that they had not solved their mechanical woes that plagued them sporadically throughout the weekend. Lewis had to settle for an 11th.

The iRacing.com ‘Hard Charger Award’ goes to Mark Sundberg of Seattle, Washington. Starting next to last in the 26-car feature, Sundberg finished a respectful seventh one lap off the pace.

Next up for the iRacing.com ASA Northwest Late Model Tour on June 6, 2009 is a trip to Central Washington’s Yakima Speedway. The .50-mile oval has over the many years been a challenge. The new iRacing.com ASA NWLMT the Northwest’s only super late model stock car traveling series marks the first visit to Yakima. The new series is compilation of two former series merged into one. Both the Late Model Challenge Series and the Northwest Tour have appeared at the fast oval in the past with many of those expected to race having experience.

Official Finish Sunday May 24, 2009:

iRacing.com American Speed Association Northwest Late Model Tour

‘Big Sky 150’ Mission Valley Speedway – Polson, MT

Pos         Laps       Name    Hometown        

1- 155    Mike Longton                    Moxee, WA

2- 155    Brent Harris                        E. Wenatchee,  WA

3- 155    Erick Hargraves Yakima, WA

4- 155 Kelly Mann                            Monroe, WA

5- 155    Wes Rhodes                       Yelm, WA

6- 154    Joey Tanner                       Portland, OR

7- 154    Mark Sundberg Seattle, WA

8- 154    Allen Cress                          Albany, OR

9- 153    Jared Vorse                        Lacey, WA

10- 153 Don Vickery                        Seattle, WA

11- 153 Gary Lewis                           Bothell, WA

12- 153 Dave Garber                       Spokane, WA

13- 149 Jay Sauls                               Puyallup, WA

14- 136 Shelby Thompson            Spokane, WA                 

15- 134 Amanda MacDonald        Ephrata, WA

16- 127 Brad Stanwood  Portland, OR

17- 122 Kevin Richards   Newman Lake, WA

18- 109 Owen Riddle                       Naches, WA

19- 92  Dan Rhodes                          Yelm, WA

20- 78    Justin Drake                       Pablo, MT

21- 31    Mike Obrist                        Portland, OR

22- 11    Cory Wolfe                         Ronan, MT

23- 5      Alvin Brester                      Missoula, MT

24- 4      Agni Howell                        Kalispell, MT

DNS-      Chuck Dills                           Ellensburg, WA

DQ- 153 Kirk Hennefer   Missoula, MT




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







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