Roger Crockett goes wire-to-wire to win Fred Brownfield Classic

ELMA — It took just under eight years between wins, but Roget Crockett isn’t complaining.

In 2009, Crockett won his first ASCS National Tour event at Grays Harbor Raceway. On Saturday, Crockett did it again and there was no doubt about it after going wire-to-wire to win the third annual Fred Brownfield Classic championship feature.

The championship win capped a phenomenal weekend for Crockett, who took fourth in the preliminary race on Friday and ran the three-eights of a mile clay oval well against a stacked field of 360 sprint car drivers in the event that honors former GHR promoter Fred Brownfield.

“Fred Brownfield meant so much to so many people,” Crockett said at the finish line. “The sport misses him. It isn’t just one area, one track that misses him. The sport really misses him. He was such an amazing guy, I get emotional talking about him.”

Lake Stevens’ Chance Crum made it a clean sweep in the Northwest Focus Midget Series weekend, taking the lead on Saturday on the sixth lap of the 25-lap championship feature and never relinquishing it for the victory.

ASCS Nationals

Crockett’s experience in 2009 was a bit different than what he went through this past weekend. However, it just made the finish that much more satisfying.

On the preliminary night of the then-Fred Brownfield Memorial, Crockett dominated for the victory in what was the ASCS National Tour’s first-ever appearance in Washington state. On the next night, Crockett and the field experienced a bumpy ride full of red flag stoppages and yellow flag cautions.

It turned out to be the precursor to a wild finish. Travis Rilat, of Forney, Texas, led most of the championship race before Crockett passed him late for the lead and the victory. For Crockett, he finished the previous two Fred Brownfield Memorial championship features as the runner-up and the win was emotional.

However, during the post-race inspection, Crockett’s car was disqualified for being too light. Rilat, who finished second, was declared the winner.

“We won a prelim here before and something silly happened to us to cost us a race win here as well,” Crockett said. “Keeping the car straight and the hammer down has always worked well here for me. I love it when it gets slick. We were able to run in the middle in turns three and four and it is just so much fun to run here. It was amazing tonight. The track was wide tonight and that made all of the difference.”

On Saturday, Crockett put the hammer down. He was locked into the championship feature by virtue of his fourth-place finish in Friday’s preliminary feature. While the rest of the field went through heat races, Crockett — along with Matt Covington, Aaron Reutzel and Johnny Herrera — drew for the top-four starting spots in the championship feature. Crockett earned the pole position from the draw.

From the opening green flag, Crockett was in control. Three early yellow flag cautions slowed the field, but Crockett never allowed anyone behind him to keep up.

On lap 11, Wayne Johnson took over second place from Herrera and pulled away to secure that spot. At that point in the race, Crockett held a near two-turn lead over the field and was slicing through lapped cars. Just as it appeared the race would finish without any bit of drama, Shelton’s Jay Cole spun out in turn 4 with two laps to go. A yellow flag caution came out and the field came back together.

For Crockett, he had three lapped cars in between himself and Johnson for the restart. Also, with two laps left, Johnson would need a quick pass of those cars and a possible mistake by Crockett to get close for any kind of a chance to pass for the lead. There were no mistakes and Crockett pulled away for the win.

“You never know how close people are, so you just have to keep on pushing,” Crockett said. “We had a bit of trouble there in one or two spots, but we just followed the line and got through them. For the championship race here, the car was excellent. We were working on some of the bugs in it, but it ran really well tonight. It made my night easier.”

Focus Midgets

Lake Stevens’ Chance Crum started 14th and finished 16th overall in the 360 sprint championship feature, but he already had his weekend sweep in the trailer.

Starting from inside the pack, Crum worked his way up to the lead that featured one red flag stoppage and two yellow flag cautions. Graham’s Nik Larson flipped onto his roof in turn 1 on the third lap to stop the race.

There were two more yellow cautions before Crum passed Nick Evans for the lead on lap 6. On lap 10, two cars spun for another caution, but all it did was allow Crum a chance to take off and run away from the field. From there, Evans fought off Seth Hespe, who is Fred Brownfield’s grandson and drove a car 92 that is a midget replica of Brownfield’s sprint car, for second overall.

Hespe took third to get onto the podium. Before the race, Hespe led the field around the track in an honor lap for Brownfield, the late race promoter who helped modernize Grays Harbor Raceway before he was killed in an on-track accident in 2007.

Fred Brownfield Classic

Saturday’s Championship Night

At Grays Harbor Raceway, Elma

ASCS Nationals Tour

A Feature (30 Laps): 1. 7N-Roger Crockett, [1]; 2. 2C-Wayne Johnson, [8]; 3. 45X-Johnny Herrera, [4]; 4. 33-Colton Heath, [6]; 5. 52-Blake Hahn, [22]; 6. 95-Matt Covington, [2]; 7. 18-Jason Solwold, [20]; 8. 1-Craig Dollansky, [10]; 9. 23-Seth Bergman, [18]; 10. 99-Skylar Gee, [21]; 11. 87-Aaron Reutzel, [3]; 12. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr, [7]; 13. 33V-Henry VanDam, [11]; 14. 17-Cameron (Cam) Smith, [12]; 15. 57C-Chris Schmelzle, [15]; 16. 8R-Chance Crum, [14]; 17. 9R-Reece Goetz, [9]; 18. 2L-Logan Forler, [19]; 19. 33S-Lance Sargent, [13]; 20. 0J-Jay Cole, [17]; 21. (DNF) 42-Devin Madonia, [16]; 22. (DNF) 17W-Harli White, [5]

B Feature 1 (12 Laps): 1. 0J-Jay Cole, [1]; 2. 2L-Logan Forler, [2]; 3. 99-Skylar Gee, [6]; 4. 12-Jared Ridge, [5]; 5. 44W-Austen Wheatley, [4]; 6. 97R-Jason Reed, [10]; 7. 15-Jeff Dunlap, [7]; 8. 5R-Steve Reeves, [9]; 9. 9A-Luke Didiuk, [8]; 10. (DNF) 91-Chase Goetz, [3]

B Feature 2 (12 Laps): 1. 23-Seth Bergman, [2]; 2. 18-Jason Solwold, [4]; 3. 52-Blake Hahn, [8]; 4. 21P-Robbie Price, [1]; 5. 11M-Evan Margeson, [6]; 6. 6A-Kyle Miller, [10]; 7. 22X-Trevor Cook, [5]; 8. (DNF) 8X-John Stuart, [9]; 9. (DNF) 3-J.J. Hickle, [3]; 10. (DNF) 9-Shawn Rice, [7]

Heat 1 (8 Laps): 1. 33V-Henry VanDam, [1]; 2. 8R-Chance Crum, [2]; 3. 42-Devin Madonia, [4]; 4. 0J-Jay Cole, [6]; 5. 18-Jason Solwold, [5]; 6. 3-J.J. Hickle, [8]; 7. 11M-Evan Margeson, [7]; 8. 97R-Jason Reed, [3]

Heat 2 (8 Laps): 1. 2C-Wayne Johnson, [2]; 2. 57C-Chris Schmelzle, [1]; 3. 2L-Logan Forler, [3]; 4. 91-Chase Goetz, [4]; 5. 23-Seth Bergman, [7]; 6. 44W-Austen Wheatley, [8]; 7. 9A-Luke Didiuk, [5]; 8. 8X-John Stuart, [6]

Heat 3 (8 Laps): 1. 17W-Harli White, [3]; 2. 9R-Reece Goetz, [4]; 3. 15H-Sam Hafertepe Jr, [7]; 4. 21P-Robbie Price, [6]; 5. 22X-Trevor Cook, [2]; 6. 9-Shawn Rice, [1]; 7. 52-Blake Hahn, [5]; 8. 5R-Steve Reeves, [8]

Heat 4 (8 Laps): 1. 33-Colton Heath, [2]; 2. 33S-Lance Sargent, [3]; 3. 1-Craig Dollansky, [6]; 4. 17-Cameron (Cam) Smith, [8]; 5. 12-Jared Ridge, [5]; 6. 99-Skylar Gee, [4]; 7. 15-Jeff Dunlap, [7]; 8. (DNF) 6A-Kyle Miller, [1]