Alger, WA – With blue skies on hand, the huge crowd at Skagit Speedway enjoyed a fantastic night of racing and fireworks with the running of the John Carroll Classic presented by IRI. 49 Sprint Cars and 16 Outlaw Tuners would do battle this evening, with highly popular drivers winning in all four divisions, including Austen Wheatley, Brock Lemley, James Bundy and Freddie Vela.
The 360 Sprints had a stout field of 22 cars in competition, and when the dust settled on the night, Brock Lemley piloted the Cody & Rachelle Anderlini owned #14 to its first victory in a wire-to-wire win. It was by no means an easy contest for the Bellingham, WA resident, as “The Flyin Fireman” Derek Roberts ran side by side with Brock early in the contest. With Brock on the cushion and Roberts rolling the bottom, the pair went wheel to wheel for the first few circuits until Lemley changed his line, moving down the track to find more speed. When he did, he streaked away to an advantage that Roberts could only eat into when slower traffic appeared. As the checkered flags flew, it was Lemley scoring the win, Eric Fisher making a late charge to second and Justin Youngquist taking third. Roberts would retire to the pits with engine issues over the closing laps. Heat winners were Austen Wheatley, Kelsey Carpenter and Michael Bollinger. Colton Heath was the quick qualifier at 11.835 seconds around the 3/10 mile clay oval.
The Sportsman Sprint Cars hit the raceway next, with James Bundy and Geoff Needham leading the field to green for the 20 lap feature. Needham got the jump on the start, but the race quickly went red as three cars collected in turn three, stopping the race for the first of what would end up being many times. When the race got back to action, it was Bundy taking the point with Needham following. While chaos ensued behind him (multiple cautions led to a total race duration of near 45 minutes), Bundy was smooth and calculated out front. Needham would tail James until lap 12 when he lost power, causing a chain reaction that caught nearly half the field up in a tangle in turn two. As the field reset, Bundy resumed his march, leading all 20 laps en route to the win. Rookie driver Robbie Price took second and defending division champ Steve Parker came home third. Heat race winners were Price, Paul Burdick and Needham.
The chaos continued into the Outlaw Tuner main event, where Freddie Vela ended up parking his car on the front stretch for the second time in 2014. Vela had been leading comfortably when the race was ended on lap 13, as the drivers had been banging and beating to the point where Matt Ploeg flipped violently down the back stretch, precipitating the premature end to the contest. Brian Michelson would earn second and Brandon Berg survived for third. Vela and Tyler Ketchum won heat races.
In the 410 Sprint Car division, Austen Wheatley finally converted his incredible car speed into a main event win. The Lake Stevens, WA driver had led portions of main events for the previous two weeks before mechanical gremlins had jumped up to bite him, costing him his potential first victories at the track he grew up watching. On this night, Wheatley would start 5th and track down Brock Lemley in clean air before making the pass and streaking away for his first win. Lemley ran second and Jesse Whitney took third. Whitney won the heat race and Tayler Malsam was quick time.
After racing concluded, the happy crowd was treated to an awesome fireworks display!
Skagit Speedway returns to action on Saturday, May 31 with the 360 Sprint Cars, Outlaw Tuners, Shipwreck Bead Modifieds and the first appearance of the year for the Street Stocks. Gates open at 5:30, racing begins at 7pm. For ticket information, log on to www.skagitspeedway.com or find us on twitter @skagitspeedway.
John Carroll Classic Presented by IRI
360 Sprint Cars
MyTrafficMan.net Quick Time – Colton Heath 11.835
Heat 1 – Austen Wheatley, Derek Roberts, Rod Perkins, Colton Heath, Lawrance Kirkham, Jeff Dunlap, Zeth Custer, Brett Cole
Heat 2 – Kelsey Carpenter, Justin Youngquist, Tayler Malsam, Phil Schemenauer, Bud Ashe, Greg Hamilton, Cale Brooke
Heat 3 – Michael Bollinger, Eric Fisher, Brock Lemley, Chris Schmelzle, Devin Madonia, Tyler Anderson, Steve James
Main (25 laps) – Brock Lemley, Fisher, Youngquist, Wheatley, Heath, Perkins, Carpenter, Malsam, Schmelzle, Anderson, Madonia, Kirkham, Ashe, Brooke, Bollinger, Dunlap, Roberts, Hamilton, Custer, Cole, Schemenauer, James
Sportsman Sprint Cars
Heat 1 – Robbie Price, James Bundy, Devin Barnes, Clayton Sibley, Victoria Cantu, Ashley Lewellen, Dave Mead
Heat 2 – Paul Burdick, Zach McCabe, Cory Swatzina, Cory Samuelson, Greg Otis, Joe Lyon
Heat 3 – Geoff Needham, Steve Parker, Roger Oudman, Tyler Fox, Bill Rude, Kenny Rutz
Main (20 laps) – James Bundy, Price, Parker, McCabe, Swatzina, Burdick, Fox, Lyon, Needham, Samuelson, Lewellen, Sibley, Rude, Cantu, Barnes, Otis, Mead, Oudman
Heat 1 – Freddie Vela, Tina Thibert, Brett Miles, Cliff Ballenger, Matt Powers, Joe Clark, Kevin Reuter, April Strick
Heat 2 – Tyler Ketchum, Brian Michelson, Brandon Berg, Becky Boudreau, Matt Ploeg, Clint Meins, Vance Hibbard, Howard Vos
Main (13 laps) – Freddie Vela, Michelson, Berg, Powers, Boudreau, Reuter, Miles, Meins, Ballenger, Ploeg, Strick, Ketchum, Hibbard, Thibert, Vos, Clark
410 Sprint Cars
MyTrafficMan.net Quick Time – Tayler Malsam 11.478
Heat – Jesse Whitney, Brock Lemley, Tayler Malsam, Matt Jensen, Austen Wheatley, Kevin Smith, Steve Vague, Shane Valliant
Main (25 laps) – Austen Wheatley, Lemley, Whitney, Vague, Jensen, Valliant, Malsam, Smith