Whisler's last-lap pass dooms Walters at Skagit
By Craig CassellDirtonDirt.com correspondent
ALGER, Wash. (Sept. 3) — Polesitter Jimmy Whisler of Lincoln City, Ore., made a last-lap pass on a restart with one lap remaining at Skagit Speedway to capture his second Northwest I-5 DIRTcar Late Model Tour victory of the season.
Whisler was prepared to settle for the second position before a lap-29 yellow when Rob Campos got into the turn-three wall, but he got second life with the caution and the chance to restart behind leader Greg Walters of Banks, Ore., who had taken the white flag when the caution appeared.
With the flagger displaying the green and white flags on the final restart, Whisler used the high groove to get around the low-running Walters and race to a $1,500 victory in a rare appearance for Late Models at Skagit, a sprint-car stronghold.
Walters, gunning for his second straight series victory, settled for a disappointing runner-up finish with early leader Jeremy Shank of Salem, Ore., in third. Mark Carrell and Rob Mayea rounded out the top five while John Duty, who was running fourth before pitting on lap 29 with fuel pressure problems, ended up eighth in the 30-lapper.
Whisler started on the pole but Shank jumped into the lead from outside the front row and led 13 laps at the 3/10-mile oval. Walters overtook Shank in lapped traffic and shortly thereafter, Shank tangled with the lapped car of Randy Neal on the frontstretch, sending Neal into the wall and leaving Shank and Duty with front-end damage.
Walters led on the restart and stayed in control through a lap-21 caution when Billy Workman Jr. got into the wall. He was still ahead and heading for apparent victory when Campos brought out the final caution that set up Whisler's heroics.
Notes: Whisler's drive a Rocket Chassis sponsored by Galluci's Pizzeria, Ester Lee Motor, Whisler Construction and Car Care Specialists. ... Whisler's only previous series victory came July 3 at Southern Oregon Speedway in Medford. ... A tough-to-handle cushion was the fast way around, but the high groove was tricky, especially later in the feature. ... The first of four cautions appeared for Joey Tanner, who was forced out early with rear suspension problems. .... John Duty led I-5 Tour points entering the event, but Jeremy Shank's third-place finish coupled with Duty's eighth-place run tightened up the title chase. ... Jimmy Schram's car had an oil fire in hot laps but the team made repairs before time trials. ... Fifth-place finisher Rob Mayea piloted one of Schram's Victory Circle Chassis, but Mayea plans to return to his own GRT Race car for the next series events. ... John Duty's 14.03-second lap was a Late Model track record. ... California visitor Matt Michelli broke a motor in hot laps and loaded up early. ... Greg Brooks broke a right-rear axle tube in his heat race and scratched from the feature. ... After a night off, the series wraps up Labor Day weekend with a pair of $1,500-to-win events at Willamette Speedway in Lebanon, Ore., on Saturday and Sunday.
I-5 Tour @ Skagit: (1) Jimmy Whisler, (2) Greg Walters, (3) Jeremy Shank, (4) Mark Carrell, (5) Rob Mayea, (6) Steve Moore, (7) Mike Miller, (8) John Duty, (9) Jimmy Schram, (10) Lisa Stroup, (11) Rob Campos, (12) Butch Valdez, (13) Billy Workman Jr., (14) Randy Neal, (15) Joey Tanner. Fast time (among 17 cars): Duty, 14.03. Heat race winners: Shank, Tanner, Duty. Dash winner: Whisler.