One of the most decorated drivers in the Pacific Northwest captured the crown jewel of Skagit Speedway after six words spoken on the public address system Saturday night: “Brock Lemley has won Dirt Cup.”
Bad weather forced an initial postponement of the Friday night preliminary event to Saturday morning. When Speedway officials arrived at the track early in the AM, it was evident that the continued wet weather through the overnight would make running a day race impossible, as track crews and push trucks would work all through the morning and afternoon to prep the track for the Saturday night finale’. Lineups for the evening would be based on Thursday night’s points, which put Lemley and Jason Solwold on the front row for the A Scramble, which would determine the starting order for the first three rows on the A Main. On the start of the scramble, four time and defending Dirt Cup Champion Jonathan Allard made a bold move to split traffic going into turn one and emerged with the lead from his outside row two starting position. Solwold maintained the second spot as Lemley drifted back to 4th, fighting with a broken visor on his helmet as he struggled to harness his racecar.
At the drop of the green flag on the A Main, Allard would set out to a half straight away advantage over Solwold, Kyle Hirst and Lemley as the field began to stretch out. Allard had nearly caught traffic by lap five when the first caution fell for Barry Martinez who had stopped in turn one. Lemley took full advantage of the restart, working the high groove of the racetrack and clearing both Hirst and Solwold as they came through turns three and four on lap seven. A quick caution after the pass for Logan Forler placed Lemley right on Allard’s rear nerf for another restart. Jonathan would get back out to a four car length lead as the pair rapidly raced toward the back of the field. It looked like Lemley would take the lead on lap 14, as Allard, racing hard amongst the cars he was attempting to lap, made contact with Matt Jensen, prompting a caution flag from head flagman Kirby Hoyle. Allard did not stop on the track during the incident, nor did Jensen, and per speedway rules, both were awarded their positions back. The field would restart but quickly go to yellow again as Solwold slowed with a nosewing coming off. When they got back to speed, it was Allard again leading Lemley, Hirst, Rico Abreu and Willie Croft. Abreu would pass Hirst on the restart, though the race would only stay green until lap 18 when Daniel Anderson had a tire go down on the back stretch. Croft would slip past Hirst on the next restart as Lemley again challenged Allard. It was another short stretch, as on lap 20, Eric Fisher and Marc Duperron made contact resulting in Fisher flipping in turn three. Speedway officials called for an open red flag and as teams rolled out to their cars, fans began noticing the right rear tire on Allard’s car was losing air. Allard’s crew was faced with switching the tire and getting sent to the back of the pack, or trying to re-inflate the existing tire and risking it, as a light sprinkle had started up around the facility. Allard opted to leave the low tire on, and with the track still in good shape, the race resumed. On the restart, Lemley blew past Allard to take the lead, and Abreu and Croft followed suit. Allard slowed to a stop on the track with the tire unable to support the car. During the caution, the rains continued to pelt the track. Lemley would restart on lap 21 and the teams tippy-toed around for a couple laps before the red flag was thrown, halting the race at lap 24 with Lemley leading Abreu and Croft.
Speedway officials consulted the doppler and noted track conditions, and after about 20 minutes, the decision was made to throw the checkered flag on the 2014 Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup presented by Jack in the Box, crowning Lemley the Champion. “Those were the longest 20 minutes of my life” said Brock in victory lane. “I was sitting in the car in turn one, not knowing what was going on, just freaking out in the car…then we heard the speakers and it was just a dream come true.” Lemley, from Bellingham, WA, joined Kasey Kahne, Jayme Barnes and Bobby Burrow as the only Washington natives in the modern era to win the Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup. The win was also the first for Bob & Lori Scott, who have been fielding a dirt cup entry yearly since 2005.The winner’s check totaled $20,000 for the car owners from Alger, WA. Abreu raced his way from seventh to second. Croft would bring home his car in third.
In action from earlier in the night, Kevin Smith won the B Scramble. Daniel Anderson made a lap 19 pass on Smith to win the B Feature. Notable from the A Main, 16 year Robbie Price of Cobble Hill, BC qualified for the A Main, started 11th and ended up 6th in his first Dirt Cup with a 360ci engine against the field of 410s. Eric Fisher of Burlington, WA also made the show in the Michael Harris owned 360 sprint.
The NW USAC HPD Midgets and Street Stocks joined the card as support classes on Saturday night. Lance Sargent scored his first career win in the Midget class, leading the last 4 laps of the 20 lap main event en route to his first victory as well as the first for car owners Renee Angel and Shane Biles. Garrett Thomas was second and Mike Vollbrecht was third. Heat race wins went to Sargent and Chase Goetz. In the street stock main, Austin Kerrigan ran down Brian Izzy and passed him on lap 16 to take his first street stock win at Skagit Speedway. Shane Kerrigan scooted by Izzy late to grab second.
43rd Annual Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup presented by Jack in the Box
B Scramble – Kevin Smith, Marc Duperron, Matt Jensen, Jesse Whitney, Daniel Anderson, Steve Vague
A Scramble – Jonathan Allard, Jason Solwold, Kyle Hirst, Brock Lemley, Willie Croft, Jared Peterson
B Main (20 laps, Top 8 Advance) – Daniel Anderson, Kevin Smith, Jesse Whitney, Barry Martinez, Matt Jensen, Marc Duperron, Eric Fisher, Skylar Gee, Bud Ashe, Geoff Needham, Steve Reeves, Luke Didiuk, Clayton Sibley, Steve Vague, Lawrance Kirkham, Shane Valliant, Ross Mathison, Kelly Miller, Bill Rude
A Main (24 laps, $20,000 to win) – Brock Lemley, Rico Abreu, Willie Croft, Kyle Hirst, Bud Kaeding, Robbie Price, Jared Peterson, Henry Van Dam, Tayler Malsam, Jason Solwold, Jonathan Jorgenson, Barry Martinez, Trey Starks, Marc Duperron, Logan Forler, Daniel Anderson, Kevin Smith, Matt Jensen, Jonathan Allard, Skylar Gee, Eric Fisher, Jesse Whitney
Lap Leaders – Allard 1-20 Lemley 21-24
NW USAC HPD Midgets
Heat 1- Lance Sargent, Chance Crum, Todd Hartmann, Tristin Thomas, Dougie James
Heat 2 – Chase Goetz, Garrett Thomas, Mike Vollbrecht, Hannah Lindquist
Main – Lance Sargent, G Thomas, Vollbrecht, Crum, Lindquist, Hartmann, James, T Thomas, Goetz
Lap Leaders – Goetz 1-15 Sargent 16-20
Heat 1 – Brian Izzy, Austin Kerrigan, Mike Knox Jr, Will Madison, Kelly Fugit, Doug Brewster
Heat 2 – Eddie Blood, Matt Babcock, Shane Kerrigan, Don Briggs Jr
Main – Austin Kerrigan, S Kerrigan, Izzy, Blood, Babcock, Madison, Fugit, Tim Phillips, Brewster, Briggs Jr, Knox Jr
Lap Leaders – Izzy 1-15 A Kerrigan 16-20