The 2019 season at Grays Harbor Raceway kicked off Saturday night as the 360 Sprint Cars, Shipwreck Beads Modifieds, Cut Rate Auto Parts Street Stocks and Outlaw Tuners took to the 3/8 banked clay oval in Elma. Mother nature tried to put a stop to the evening with a rain delay to start the evening, but close racing greeted the fans once the event got underway.
Cut Rate Auto Parts Street Stocks
The 20-lap feature for the Cut Rate Auto Parts Street Stocks saw Ryen Haney of Elma took the early lead on the start, with a little help from Aberdeen driver Zack Simpson, who was right on Haney’s back bumper. Montesano driver Scott Fritts took over the second spot.
Simpson stayed right to the back bumper of Fritts for multiple laps before taking over the runner-up spot, setting his sights on Haney.
Jack Parshall of Hoquiam looked for the third position, staying right with Fritts.
Haney had tough company on Lap 8 as Simpson ran the low side of the raceway looking to make a pass for the lead. On Lap 9, Simpson took over the lead and slowly pulled away from Haney.
The battle turned into Haney and Fritts for the second position, with Fritts taking over. Lap traffic was not a match for Simpson as the checkered flag flew in a caution-free Street Stocks feature race.
Fritts, Haney, Parshall, and Matt White of Aberdeen rounded out the top five.
Shipwreck Beads Modifieds
Dan West Jr. of Shelton led the field to the green flag in the 25-lap Shipwreck Beads Modified feature event.
Seabeck’s Kyler Moore moved into the second spot as David Wolfard of Bremerton and Shelton driver Scott Miller battled for third.
Wolfard continued to stay in the top three, keeping within striking distance of West Jr. and Moore.
Lap 3 saw Moore get by West Jr. for the lead. Moore then started to pull away as lap traffic became a factor. Over the next few laps, West Jr. slowly closed the gap on Moore.
Miller moved into the third spot past Wolfard and looked to rundown Moore and West. Jr.
A caution on Lap 11 saw Tom Sweatman of Cosmopolis spinning to a stop in turn three. On the restart, Miller looked to the inside groove to make a pass at Moore for the lead. Miller looked to the low side a handful of times but Moore maintained momentum to stay in front.
West Jr. also joined in making it a three-car battle for the lead. A late-race caution allowed Moore some breathing room as Miller, West Jr. and Campbell River, British Columbia driver Chris Beaulieu battled for position.
Moore went on to take the checkered flag and pick up his first win of 2019 over Miller, West Jr., Beaulieu and Devan West of Shelton.
360 Sprint Cars
Twelve cars signed up for the 360 Sprint Cars division, with some great Northwest talent hitting the raceway.
Race two of the dual-track bonus with Skagit Speedway saw Devon Borden of Raymond, and last week’s winner in Skagit, Quilcene’s JJ Hickle, on the front row of the feature.
Hickle took the early lead with Borden running second, and Shelton’s Jay Cole running third.
Cole had tough company as Everett’s Tyler Anderson was making a run on the inside, but couldn’t make the pass.
Lap traffic quickly became a factor, allowing Borden to close in on Hickle for the lead. Borden made a pass off of Turn 4 on Lap 7. Hickle stayed right to the back bumper of Borden, not letting him out of his sight. A slight bobble by Borden allowed Hickle to race side-by-side with Borden, but Hickle couldn’t take over the top spot.
The battle for fifth between Granite Fall’s Bailey Sucich, Jason Reed of Elma and Mill Creek driver Cam Smith. Sucich continued to stay in the fifth spot.
A late-race caution for Jeff Dunlap of Renton allowed Hickle one last shot at Borden for the lead. Borden ran the low side of the raceway and looked smooth pulling away from Hickle.
Borden took the checkered flag, picking up his first career 360 Sprint Car feature at Grays Harbor Raceway.
Hickle, Cole, Anderson, and Smith rounded out the top five.
The 15-lap Outlaw Tuners feature saw some close racing as Ryker Walker of Centralia led the field to the green flag.
Olympia driver Zachary Stallsmith quickly took the lead from Walker, bringing Max Sanford of Belfair with him.
Tenino’s Chad Norton looked to the outside Sanford for second, racing side-by-side for a lap before Sanford continued to run in the second position.
Stallsmith continued to lead, but had no room for mistakes as Sanford and Norton were at his back bumper.
Hoquiam’s Tyler Sundstrom worked his way into fourth, looking to get around the front-runners for the lead.
As the top four were close to each other, lap traffic made things every interesting, as Stallsmith saw tough company from Norton, who a passes Stallsmith in turn three for the lead. Stallsmith made a pass a lap later, to take back the top spot.
Sundstrom worked his way into the second spot and staying right on Stallsmith’s back bumper. A pass down low in turn one saw Sundstrom take over the lead. Contact from both cars made the battle real interesting for a handful of laps.
Sundstrom picked up his first career win of 2019 over Norton, Sanford, Zach Dalrymple of Olympia and Cory Lash.
Racing resumes on Saturday with the first appearance of the season of the Washington Modified Tour. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. with racing scheduled to begin at 7 p.m.