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Keeping Pace

Mon., Sept. 21, 2009, 12:15 a.m.


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

Wrapping up the last regular season point race before the 22nd Annual Fall Classic at ASA Sanctioned Yakima Speedway were the ASA NW Late Model Tour, RJ’s Tire Factory Super Streets, Burger Ranch Sportsman and H&H Furniture Pure Stocks.

Courtesy: Kelly Hart, Yakima Speedway Media Relations

            Winning division Championships were Gary Lewis in the inaugural ASA NW Late Model Tour season, Mel Patnode defending his Sportsman title, Zack Beaman winning Rookie of the Year and champion in the Super Streets and duplicating that feat was Ron Pepper in the Pure Stocks.

            Kicking off the evening with qualifying were the Pure Stocks. Jay Younker the track record holder qualified quickest for the division with a 24.295 trip around the half mile asphalt track. Trophy Dash wins went to Pepper and Tyson Richter. There was just one heat race and that winner was Terry Cook. With just seven cars taking the green flag for the main event, Pepper needed to finish no worse than sixth even if Younker won the race to garner the championship. Pepper took care of business leading all 30 laps of the Pure Stock main capturing his first title.Younker, Cook, Jeff Liebert and Joe Estep rounded out the top 5.

            Winning one championship is tough, winning two even tougher and very hard to make those championships back to back. Mel Patnode held serve leading the points most of the 2009 season and with his second place finish in the main won his second straight Sportsman championship. Ironically enough chasing a car he owns across the finish line for that second place finish. Thomas Benscoter, Sr. won the 20 lap feature in that car beating Patnode, with Jeff Stevenson third. Patnode set fast time at 23.298. Stevenson won both the Trophy Dash and Heat Race.

            One of the better field of cars took the track in the Super Street division as 8 cars timed in. Mike Easley blistered the track at a near record pace setting fast time at 21.493. Mike Van Amburg and Chet Beaman, Sr. won the Trophy Dashes. The Heat Race was captured by Dusty John. Just 3 points separated the father and son duo of Chet Beaman, Sr. and Zack Beaman heading into the Main Event. With double points on the line it boiled down to who finished in front of whom. From the drop of the green flag, Zack Beaman ran in the lead pack of 4, while Chet Beaman was mired in the second pack unable to clear traffic and join the front four. At the completion of the main, there were 4 packs of two cars each. Zack Beaman couldn’t get around best buddy Randy Marshall, Jr. for third but he did finish two positions in front of Chet Beaman to wrap up the season title. Easley led the Main Event all 50 laps for the win holding off Van Amburg who had the car every which way including sideways trying to work his way around the Tumwater, WA driver.

            Congratulations to all 2009 Season Champions, and to all three divisions whose Main Event wins went green to checkered with no cautions in any of the final races on their Championship night.

            After a rainout on Labor Day weekend forced cancellation of the two-day ASA NW Late Model Tour event at Yakima Speedway plans were made to shift the Championship race from the track in East Wenatchee to Yakima Speedway. Heading into the weekend, Gary Lewis and Brent Harris were just 3 points apart in the standings. With a field loaded with former champions and multiple race winners both drivers had their work cut out for them. Drivers such as current Yakima Speedway Late Model champion Owen Riddle, former champion Mike Longton and multiple time Fall Classic or Apple Cup Champions Jeff Jefferson, Pete Harding, Garrett Evans and Erick Hargraves. Plus always dangerous Chris Hart, Kelly Mann, Mark Sundberg and Zach Niessner. Lewis and Harris brought their “A” game as Harris set fast time of 19.112 with Lewis second fast at 19.133, the only two drivers in the 19.1’s. This shortened Lewis lead to a single point setting the stage for the Main Event. The Trophy dash win went to Longton.

            With the invert at 8 cars, Harris started outside the 4th row and Lewis was in the 7th spot to his inside. Jared Vorse and Evans made up the front row and on the green flag lap Vorse spun his tires coming down to start the race letting Evans take the lead into the first turn. Vorse, Jefferson and Hargraves ran closely together in front of the 23 car field for the first 19 laps before the first of eight yellow flags flew for Hargraves who spun in turn two. Jefferson took over the lead on the 26th lap and held the lead till Lewis got by on the 48th lap for the first of three times on the night. Lewis lead was short lived as Jefferson took back the lead on the 57th lap. The longest caution free period of the over two hour race saw Jefferson lead until the 99th lap when Jared Vorse took over and led heading into the lap 100 break for tires. The ASA NW Late Model Tour broke up the 150 lap race into two segments, the first for 100 laps, the second segment being 50 laps.

            During that 10 minute break teams were allowed to make adjustments and change up to 2 tires. One of the 10 minute break rules however is that you must be out of your pit and on the race track ready to go at the 10 minute mark which is punctuated by an air horn. The only driver to not make it out was 5th running Joey Tanner. Tanner had worked his way into contention with a great run through traffic and had the car ready for a good late race run. The penalty for not answering the bell was the being relegated to the back of the lone of lead lap cars, meaning he’d be restarting 15th.

            Vorse took off on the race restart and opened up a nice size advantage. But Lewis was not to be denied as he repeatedly caught Vorse and put pressure on him in traffic. Nasty late race wrecks took out Harding and Kelly Mann with both bringing out red flag periods. On the 133rd lap Lewis found the right line and cleared Vorse taking the lead with Vorse clinging to second. Evans had fought his way back to third with Harris on his rear bumper cover scrambling to get up to battle with Lewis. When the smoke cleared, and the checkered flag flew Lewis, Vorse and Evans made the top 3 with Lewis the first ever ASA NW Late Model Tour Champion. Tanner rebounded for a 10th place finish to win Rookie of the Year honors.

            Longton won the Trophy dash.

            Yakima Speedway wraps up the 2009 racing season with the 22nd Annual Bud Clary Toyota Fall Classic on October 3rd and 4th. Late Models, Limited Late Models, Pro 4’s, Street Stocks and Hobby Stocks are featured at the two day show. Ticket information, entry forms and purse payouts are available at .





Fast time: Jay Younker 24. 295

A Dash: Ron Pepper, Younker, Jeff Liebert, Terry Cook

B Dash: Tyson Richter, Rob Allen, Joe Estep, Derek Raptcheff

Heat: Cook, Younker, Estep, Richter, Allen

Main: Ron Pepper, Younker, Cook, Liebert, Estep, Allen, Richter

Lap Leaders: Pepper 1-30



Fast time: Mel Patnode 23.298

Dash: Jeff Stevenson, Thomas Benscoter Sr., Patnode, Don Klang

Heat: Stevenson, Patnode, Benscoter Sr., Klang, Dan Wilson

Main: Thomas Benscoter Sr., Patnode, Stevenson, Wilson

Lap Leaders: Benscoter Sr. 1-3, Patnode 4, Benscoter Sr. 5-20



Fast time: Mike Easley 21.493

A Dash: Mike Van Amburg, Zack Beaman, Easley, Randy Marshall Jr.

B Dash: Chet Beaman Sr., Dusty John, Andy Beaman, Mike Pepper

Heat: Dusty John, Marshall Jr., Pepper, Z. Beaman, C. Beaman

Main: Mike Easley, Van Amburg, Marshall Jr., Z. Beaman, C. Beaman Sr., John, Pepper, A. Beaman

Lap Leaders: Easley 1-50



Fast time: Brent Harris 19.112

Dash: Mike Longton, Owen Riddle, Harris, Gary Lewis

Main: Gary Lewis, Jared Vorse, Garrett Evans, Harris, Riddle, Jeff Jefferson, Jay Sauls, Longton, Mark Sundberg, James Mugge, Joey Tanner, Christopher Kalsch, Martin Stanwood, Harold Raczynski, Amanda MacDonald, Kelly Mann, Brad Stanwood, Alan Cress, Erick Hargraves, Chris Hart, Zach Niessner, Pete Harding, Shelby Thompson

Lap Leaders: Evans 1-25, Jefferson 26-47, Lewis 48-56, Jefferson 57-98, Vorse 99-132, Lewis 133-150

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Keeping Pace

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