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Keeping Pace

Record Crowd Packs ERP For Big Rig Truck Series

ERP logo-courtesy K. Hart
ERP logo-courtesy K. Hart

Semi-Truck racing action thrilled North Central Washington on Saturday night as a record crowd packed Ephrata Raceway Park for the Rolling Thunder Big Rig Series' only stop at the quarter-mile.

Courtesy: K. Hart, Ephrata Raceway Park Media Relations

 Racing Saturday night at Ephrata Raceway Park saw a record crowd in the grandstands as the Rolling Thunder Big Rigs joined the Pepsi Cola Street Stocks, Super Stocks, Schaeffer’s Oil Mini Stocks and Ephrata Pioneer Muffler 2 Pure Stocks at the high-banked quarter mile paved oval.
            Nine Semi Trucks took the track and awed the capacity crowd as they hauled their 10,000 to 12,500 pound Mack, Peterbilt, Kenworth and International Harvester brand race trucks around the tight confines. With horns blaring, lights flashing and mighty roars of the diesel performance engines the crowd grew more enthusiastic with every lap. Picking up Trophy Dash wins for the Rolling Thunder Big Rigs were Tammy Rodstrom and Mickey Iverson. Iverson gave his trophy to a kid in the grandstands. The Heat Race wins were captured by Steve Smith and Jeff Swanstrom.
            By Main Event time the huge throng were worked to a fever pitch as they cheered all nine Big Rigs coming to the green flag. Rodstrom held the lead for the first few laps before giving way to John  Nelson. Nelson led the next five laps before hard charging Steve Smith in the red, white and blue All-American Big Rig #76 blew by for the lead. Smith held the top spot the rest of the way and was chased to the checkered flag by Dustin Smith, Swanstrom, Iverson and Rodstrom rounding out the top five. It was quite an amazing sight to watch these icons of American Highways racing side by side and bumper to bumper around our home town Saturday Night Short Track.
            A familiar face in a new race car topped the heap in the Super Stock division. Bart Hector, Sr. debuted a new car and came home the winner in the 15-lap Super Stock Main Event. Hector won the Trophy Dash and Heat Race but missed a clean sweep of the evenings events as Brad Morrison was fast time at 15.682.
            In the Pepsi Cola Street Stocks it was Quincy, WA driver Mitch Kleyn who found himself in winners circle once again. Most of the season has seen either Kleyn or point leader Skyler Leseman atop the leaderboard at the end of the night. In the Main Event Terry Osborn led the first 5 laps then it was all Kleyn. A late race yellow flag closed the gap between the leader Kleyn and second place Leseman but Kleyn had all he needed for the win. Finishing second through fifth were Leseman, Mike Hill visiting from Yakima Speedway, Rick Bretches and James (JR) Stratfull. Fast time went to Kleyn, with Randy Pugh and Kleyn winning the dashes. Stratful won the heat race.
            You would have thought it was a full moon the way the Ephrata Pioneer Muffler 2 Street Stocks went at it Saturday night. It’s not always the norm for these cars to behave like the Big Cars but there was plenty of banging and crashing to keep even the BIG CAR fans happy although they aren’t on the racing schedule until two weeks from now. Dustin Kapalo borrowed Colton Fishers car and set fast time with a 17.286. Terry McGraw and Kapalo were the Trophy Dash winners. Jake McGraw and Brad Arneson won the Heat Races. The Main Event took 5 attempts to get started. Two red flags and 3 yellow flags before one lap was completed took almost 14 minutes of their allotted 15 minute race time. After a brief lecture from track officials the cars ran a shortened 10 lap Main with Kapalo extending his point lead by winning, over Dallas White, Terry McGraw, Arneson and Josh Hector.
            The Schaeffer Oil Mini Stock fast time went to JR Miner with a 16.828 time in lap. Trophy Dash wins were captured by Sean Meyers and Bart Hector, Jr. Meyers won the Heat Race. In the Main Event Eddie Razey led the first 9 laps before giving away to Miner who kept the first place position the remaining 11 laps for the win. Razey and Hector, Jr. battled for second and third the rest of the way with Meyers sticking his nose in the fray as well.
            Oval track racing takes the weekend off August 21st but motocross will run under the lights. August 28th the Monster Trucks El Matador and King Krunch will be at Ephrata Raceway Park and more details are available online at
Fast time: 48 Scott Zahn 17.971 (new track record)
B Dash: 9 Tammy Rodstrom, 27 Dustin Smith, 88 John Nelson, 96 Brian Wilson
A Dash: 7 Mickey Iverson, 76 Steve Smith, 48 Zahn, 10 Dave Barr
B Heat: 76 Smith, 88 Hanson, 10 Barr, 7 Iverson, 9 Rodstrom
A Heat: 17 Jeff Swanstrom, 48 Zahn, 76 S.Smith, 27 D.Smith, 88 Hanson
Main: 76 Steve Smith, 27 D. Smith, 17 Swanstrom, 7 Iverson, 9 Rodstrom, 96 Wilson, 10 Barr, 88 Hanson, 48 Zahn
Fast time: 1 Mitch Kleyn  15.959
B Dash: 9 Randy Pugh, 4x James Stratfull, 95 Mike Bise, 46 Terry Osborn
A Dash: 1 Kleyn, 15 Mike Hill, 21 Skyler Leseman, 12 Rick Bretches
Heat: 4x Stratfull, 95 Bise, 21 Leseman, 46 Osborn, 15 Hill
Main: 1 Mitch Kleyn, 21 Leseman, 15 Hill, 12 Bretches, 4x Stratful, 9 Pugh, 46 Osborn, 95x Chris McCart, 95 Bise, 44 Steve Lincoln
Fast time: 07 JR Miner 16.828
B Dash: 44 Sean Meyers, 18 Jeremy Razey, 19 Eddie Razey, 50 Tim Clark
A Dash: 68 Bart Hector Jr., 84 Doug Brown, 1 Sid White, 07 Miner
Heat: 44 Meyers, 18 J. Razey, 68 Hector Jr., 1 White, 07 Miner
Main: 07 JR Miner, 19 E. Razey, 68 Hector Jr., 44 Meyers, 18 J. Razey, 1 White, 50 Clark, 84 Brown
Fast time: 37 Derrick Kapalo 17.286
B Dash: 32 Terry McGraw, 89 Glenn Hector, 20 Mike Mulalley, 9 Michael White
A Dash: 37 Kapalo, 09 Dallas White, 21 Josh Hector, 8 Bradd Arneson
B Heat: 28 Jake McGraw, 89 Hector, 71 Justin Dunagan, 62 Jeremy Larsen, 63 Nathan Schell
A Heat: 8 Arneson, 37 Kapalo, 21 Hector, 20 Mulalley
Main: 37 Derrick Kapalo, 09 D. White, 32 T. McGraw, 8 Arneson, 21 Hector, 20 Mulalley, 62 Larsen, 71 Dunagan, 25 Terry Collins, 63 Schell, 28 J. McGraw, 9 M. White, 89 G. Hector
Fast time; 4 Brad Morrison 15.682
Dash: 17 Bart Hector Sr., 4 Morrison, 7 David Macken, 1 Mitch Kleyn
Heat: 17 Hector Sr., 4 Morrison, 38 Drew Dixon, 77 Robert Kirk, 7 Macken
Main: 17 Bart Hector Sr., 4 Morrison, 1 Kleyn, 7 Macken, 77 Kirk, 38 Dixon

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Keeping Pace

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