Jun 09 2009

Spokane Recap

It was a great weekend of racing at the newly refurbished Spokane Raceway Park.  It began on Saturday as most of us rolled in well before the 1pm gate opening time.  But we just wandered past the empty ticket windows and found a place to park our rigs.

Blue Skies and Smooth Staging Lanes

Blue Skies and Smooth Staging Lanes

Jay Livingston and crew have done a miraculous job in an incredibly short time to make a really great facility from what was clearly a neglected track.  All the key pavement areas are brand new, including newly reconfigured (and much more dragster-friendly) staging lanes, a smooth return road (with a long sweeper as the last chance option), and a great new track surface.  The restrooms are all bright and clean, the people are friendly and helpful, and it was a pleasure to race there.  The only thing they need now is freshened pavement (and more of it) in the pits, and this just might be my favorite Division 6 track.

Saturday started late, with a 3:00 first call, but they were running us as fast as we wanted so we got three qualifying rounds in before eliminations.  Emily Williams claimed the #1 qualifying spot with a 9.053.  There were 19 cars, meaning plenty of bye runs to go around.  In the end it was Bob Woodruff claiming the victory from Earl Cunningham in the final around 9:30pm.  As an example of how well they cared for us, Jay and a co-worker, personally hand-torched the track from start to about 1000′ before the final to insure clean runs in a very chilly evening.

Bob Woodruff and Roger Harper in the Sunday Final

Bob Woodruff and Roger Harper in the Sunday Final

Perhaps the most notable event on Saturday, though, was the terrible pit scooter accident Roger Harper had.  He collided with a backing race car on his scooter and did a “wicked face plant” (I think that’s the technical term).  After the medics rushed him to the hospital he returned by cab to the track, thoroughly bandaged up and looking much the worse for wear later that day.  And to claim the True Grit award for the weekend, he went on to race (and quite well) on Sunday — bandages, bruises, and all.

In addition, Moe Trujillo had engine trouble late Saturday, and was unable to make the round 1 call.  He needed to replace his engine, even though as luck would have it, the replacement was back home in Oregon.  But family came to his aid and showed up with the engine — just after 2am!  Moe, Tom Gresham, and a host of helpers managed to get it completely installed by 4:30am.  Long night and a heroic effort by the team.  Their luck remained sour, though, as Tom Gresham had lifter issues on Sunday and also failed to make the round 1 call.  Tough weekend for the Oregonians.

Bob and Connie Collecting More Money and Hardware

Bob and Connie Collecting More Money and Hardware from Ed Hauter, PNSCA President

Sunday dawned a bit less windy and with fewer threatening rain clouds.  We got in two good qualifying runs, although many were too quick the first time out — thanks to a liberal application of VHT by the raceway crew.  Jay wanted to avoid a repeat of Saturday’s first round where there were some traction issues.  Mike Seekins claimed the number one spot with a perfect 9.050.  And once again, Bob Woodruff went into the finals, this time against the ever-resilient Dr. Harper.  Showing no mercy for an ailing competitor, Bob took the win, leaving Roger to lick his wounds, both literally and figuratively.

All in all, it was a great time, thanks to Kelly Young who took some great shots (used in this post and can be found here).  The next PNSCA race is a while off, in Mission, BC on July 25th, hope to see you then.  In the meantime, the Division 6 Lucas Oil Series race is this weekend back in Spokane, hope to see you there as well.