Shank outduels Duty for Willamette victory
By Craig CassellDirtonDirt.com correspondent
LEBANON, Ore. (May 23) — Taking command on the third lap, polesitter Jeremy Shank of Salem, Ore., fought off challenges from eighth-starting John Duty of Portland, Ore., the rest of the way at Willamette Speedway for a DIRTcar I-5 Northwest Late Model Tour victory. Shank earned $1,500 for his second career series victory and first since July 8, 2006, at Willamette.
Shank (low) and Duty (high) ran side-by-side for a 15-lap stretch with Duty eventually easing down into the middle of the track. When Shank cleared the lapped car of Brady Sell of Brownsville, Ore., he edged away for good and wrapped up his 40-lap victory.
Duty survived a lap-37 skirmish with the lapped car of Tim Archer of Albany Ore., who got sideways in front of the second-running car in turn four to draw the race's final caution. The contact resulted in a big hole in the nose of Duty's car, but he held on to finish second in the race slowed by four yellow flags. Cody Sell of Brownsville was third followed by Rick Wyatt of Salem, Ore., and Troy Swayngim of Sodaville, Ore.
Notes: Shank's Swartz Race Car has an Innskeep powerplant with sponsorship by Left Coast Motorsports. ... Four of the night's five heat races were caution-free with Russ Sell's spin the only miscue. Sell, whose team swapped engines earlier in the day, dropped out of his consolation race with a broken water pump. ... Hometown driver Randy Boyd earned a transfer position through the B-Main but scratched from the main event with mechanical problems; Billy Workman Jr. picked up his spot as an alternate starter in the feature and finished 15th. ... Reigning series champion Rob Mayea of Bend, Ore., rebounded from missing the feature at the previous night's event at Cottage Grove (Ore.) Speedway. He ran as high as fourth at Willamette but nearly spun off turn two, losing several positions and ending up ninth. ... Jason Wines got hard charger honors for his 19th-to-12th run. ... Seventeen of 21 starters finished on the lead lap. ... Justin Dittman's race ended on the 37th lap with handling problems. ... Jimmy Schram was the race's first retiree with engine woes. ... Notable drivers failing to make the feature lineup: Ken Michelli, Randy Neal, Craig Hanson, Dane Smith and Jimmy Whisler. ... Justin Simpson of Eugene, Ore., missed the event altogether after suffering engine damage in Friday's I-5 Tour event in Cottage Grove; Simpson hopes to be in action Sunday after purchasing an engine from John Duty, who made a 90-minute trip to his Portland, Ore., shop to retrieve it. ... Saturday's 47-car showing was Willamette's biggest Super Late Model field of 2009 and the biggest on the West Coast in 2009. ... I-5 tour competitors wrap up the season-opening weekend with another $1,500-to-win event at Willamette on Sunday.
I-5 Tour @ Willamette: (1) Jeremy Shank, (2) John Duty, (3) Cody Sell, (4) Rick Wyatt, (5) Tory Swayngim, (6) Mike Miller, (7) Brett McCutcheon, (8) Ryan Gerig, (9) Rob Mayea, (10) Mark Carrell, (11) Todd Shandy, (12) Jason Wines, (13) Darren Coffell, (14) Brett James, (15) Billy Workman Jr., (16) Brian Cronk, (17) Robert Hoefs, (18) Brady Sell, (19) Tim Archer, (20) Justin Dittman, (21) Jimmy Schram. Fast qualifier (among 47 cars): Wyatt, 16.476 seconds. Heat race winners: Wyatt, Shank, Gerig, Miller, McCutcheon. C-Main winner: Rob Campos. B-Main winner: Coffell. Dash winner: Shank.