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Saturday, August 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Sports

Race Team Focuses, Ignoring Rearview Mirror

By Paul Delaney Correspondent

As Jeff Zimmerman continues to close ground in his chase for a Northwest Modified Series championship, his eyes and mind are firmly focused on what’s ahead, not what’s past.

You see, for Zimmerman, history is a little painful time of the year. Twice in the last three years he’s seen his grip on a first-ever modified championship slip away.

Now, as he heads into Saturday’s next-to-last race in the series at Stateline Speedway, the Spokane open-wheel driver has the pressure off himself for a change, and is putting it on season-long leader, Colville’s Greg Ochs, whom he trails by just 18 points.

“We’re not even thinking about it (the championship),” Zimmerman said. “To us it’s just another race and we’ll let the cards fall where they may.”

Unlike in the nightmare finishes of the past, Zimmerman, finds his team peaking just at the right time, rather than falling apart. In the last five races Zimmerman has three wins and a runner-up last Saturday in Kalispell. “We’ve got a new crew this year and they’ve given us a real spark,” Zimmerman said.

The modifieds will be joined by the Columbia River Open Wheel Modifieds (CROW), plus the Streetstocks, Hobby Cars and Compacts in the final race before the season championships. Time trials start at 6 p.m. Saturday.

The championship race for the modifieds comes in three weeks on Sept. 23 when the series returns again to Stateline Speedway.

Tri City raceway hosts Tour finale

The NASCAR Northwest Tour will run its final race at its traditional Tri City Raceway site, in a two day event beginning with Saturday time trials and Sunday racing. Ron Eaton has already clinched the title, his third in 11 years.

Spokane teams and racers enjoying success include: Monte English (5th in points) driving for Ron Hall and Rick Schultz (7th). Rookies Mark Groskreutz (29th) has two top ten finishes in just four races while Kevin Richards (36th) has one top ten in two outings.

Rookie in points lead at Northport

Rookie racer Don Van Sickle and his 1966 Mustang hold onto the Superstock points lead as Northport International Raceway stages its 1995 season championship races Sunday.

Van Sickle of Colville, is in the tightest battle of the three classes at the track and with double points offered, is the only leader with a chance to have the competition catch him. Van Sickle leads by 45 points over hometown racer Mike Kyllo.

Both Mark Weaver in Modifieds and defending Volkswagen champ Mike Butler have clinched respective championships.

While the regular season draws to a close Sunday at Northport, the speedway does have another race on the schedule. The Tom Patrick Memorial Race, run in honor of the lone racer to die in five decades of racing at the track, will be run Sept. 17.

And in answer to your question:

A caller recently asked for an explanation on how one driver who finishes behind another can still win more money in a NASCAR Winston Cup race.

NASCAR headquarters in Daytona Beach answers saying a driver’s winnings are a combination of the promoters purse, bonuses from such things as leading the most laps, qualifying position and contingency awards (a driver’s use of sponsor products).

Case in point is the recent Brickyard 400 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Jeff Gordon, No. 1 qualifier, but sixth at the checkered flag, took home a purse of $299,200. His extra cash came from his pole position, plus two stints as the race leader.

Runner-up Rusty Wallace, the 24th starter, won over $250,500 while the 26th starter and third place finisher Dale Jarrett won $203,200. Gordon more than doubled the winnings of fifth place finisher Mark Martin.

Pit stops

Spokane Raceway Park will run a regular program of bracket drag racing and has a Street Stock Gold Cup Championship on the schedule for the half-mile oval on Saturday. Three more events remain on the drag schedule before the season championships, while stock cars have four weeks before titles are decided…The Spokane County ORV Park will host motocross and the 2nd Annual Pro-Am & NW Championship Series on Sunday. Sign-up is at 7 a.m. with racing set for 10 a.m….Spokane go-kart racers will be in Warden, Wash., on Saturday for that town’s annual street race…Stateline Fever Four racer Roman Gibson puts his racing hobby on hold and will be heading to North Africa to manage a Tanzinite Mine. Gibson ran his last event of the season last Wednesday…Two weeks remain before the Spokane-based U-19 unlimited hydro returns to racing at San Diego (Sept. 17). In the meantime the crew will be busy dyno-testing three completely refurbished turbine engines and installing a new wing. “The owner (Bob Fendler) and sponsor (Appian Renegade) have really stepped up to the plate (with money),” said driver and team manager Tom Hindley.

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