By Andrew Kunas
WHITE CITY, Ore. – It wasn’t until Saturday morning when Roger Crockett woke up at home in Medford when he decided he’d try to go for a hat trick. Several hours later that evening, Crockett was standing in victory lane, having accomplished just that after taking the checkered flag in the IXL Metal Conditioner NorthWest Wingless Tour’s debut race at Southern Oregon Speedway.
Crockett, who runs virtually nothing other than winged sprint cars, had raced without the wings just twice before and won both times including a NWWT event in 2009. Crockett’s win on Saturday was his third non-wing victory in as many tries in his career, coming on his third different track no less. He led the last 25 laps of the 30-lap main event in the SKS Racing No. 11 BC-powered KPC.
Crockett started inside the second row for the event and immediately took over second place on the start, running behind Hillsboro, Ore.’s Theo McCarty. Crockett quickly went after McCarty and on the sixth circuit took over the lead position. From there, Crockett took off and was never threatened. Even as Central Point, Ore.’s Billy Nutter made a crowd-pleasing charge from the 15th position to take over second, there were several slower cars between himself and Crockett by the time he was in the runner-up position.
Crockett, who is currently the points leader in the ASCS Northwest Region winged 360 sprint car tour, said he was more comfortable compared to his prior outings without the wings, but admitted he had to stop himself from driving the car as if it still had wings on occasion. Still, Crockett’s natural talent as a race car driver was more than enough at a track where he’s won several times and also helped him become the NWWT’s fifth different main event winner in as many races this year.
Nutter, who set quick time in qualifying, had to start 15th in the feature after an accident in his heat race. While Crockett was dominating up front, the very popular former track champion put on a show for the fans as he skillfully worked his way through the field. Nutter, who also has rarely raced without the wings but is very familiar with Southern Oregon Speedway, was in the eighth position by Lap 4. On Lap 10, he was in fifth. He later passed Mike Romig and Kyle Mehner to take third and on Lap 21 he made the move around McCarty to take second place.
Nutter had too many slower cars between himself and Crockett to contend with to pose a threat to win, but still took a strong second place in the M&M Motorsports No. 6n Nutter-powered Zeitler.
McCarty, the current point leader for the IXL Metal Conditioner NorthWest Wingless Tour, finished third in the Ron Brown No. 14 Chevy-powered John Boy. Kyle Mehner of Clackamas, Ore. finished fourth in the Don Mehner No. 7k Gaerte powered DCR. After his earlier spinout, Kelso, Wash. driver Dylan Olsen stormed from the rear to finish fifth in the Scott Olsen No. 7 Nutter-powered TCR.
Medford’s Phil Del Rosa and Central Point’s Garen Linder and took advantage of a timely yellow flag for a stalled car that negated their dual spins after apparent contact in Turn 1. Del Rosa finished sixth in the M&M Motorsports No. 6m Nutter-powered Zeitler ahead of Linder’s No. 22 BC-powered Maxim.
Gaston, Ore.’s Corey Esteban quietly rode around to his second straight Top 10 finish as he took eighth in his own No. 11x Chevy-powered Eagle. Sandy, Ore.’s Mark Herz finished ninth in the Diane Herz No. 28 Howard-powered F5. Jesse Thistle of Creswell, Ore. unofficially rounded out the Top 10 in his own No. 4 Drummond-powered Maxim.
Nutter paced the field in qualifying with a lap of 13.901 seconds around the 1/3-mile, semi-banked clay oval, the only driver to time in under 14 seconds. Del Rosa topped Romig and Mehner in the first heat race and Linder won over Crockett and McCarty in the second heat race. Olsen scored his first career trophy dash victory later that evening after he passed Romig late to win ahead of Romig, Crockett and Nutter.
Saturday’s event was the NWWT’s first at Southern Oregon Speedway and it is believed to have been only the second ever non-wing sprint car event at the Medford-area facility since it opened in 1996.
The IXL Metal Conditioner NorthWest Wingless Tour is back in action on Saturday, September 4th with the 2nd Annual Non-Wing Challenge on Big E Weekend as the wingless wonders open up Big E Weekend at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, Wash. for the second straight year. They will race again at Grays Harbor Raceway on September 18th before closing the season October 9th at Willamette Speedway in Lebanon, Ore.
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Silverman takes midget main event
Dillon Silverman became the fourth different winner in as many events this season for the NWWT midget division on Saturday when he took the checkered flag at Southern Oregon Speedway aboard the Rick Young No. 12 Spike. Driving with the newly developed Chevy Ecotec motor, the Chico, Calif. driver took the lead on Lap 12 and never looked back from there.
NWWT midget point leader Doug Kammerzell of Arlington, Wash. passed Mike Gehringer on the last lap to finish second in the Carl Peter No. 81 Gaerte-powered Spike. Gehringer, from Pismo Beach, Calif. finished third in his own No. 27 Fontana-powered Auto Research machine.
Kammerzell set fast time in qualifying with 14.364 second lap around the track before winning both heat races. Gehringer held off Kammerzell to win the trophy dash later that evening.
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IXL Metal Conditioner NorthWest Wingless Tour
Southern Oregon Speedway
White City, OR
August 14, 2010
Fast qualifier: 6n Billy Nutter, 13.901 seconds
Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. 6m Phil Del Rosa, 2. 22 Mike Romig, 3. 7k Kyle Mehner, 4. 69 Joe Bosso Jr., 5. 28 Mark Herz, 6. 9t Truman Winningham, 7. 4 Jesse Thistle, 8. 6n Billy Nutter.
Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. 22L Garen Linder, 2. 11 Roger Crockett, 3. 14 Theo McCarty, 4. 7 Dylan Olsen, 5. 11x Corey Esteban, 6. 10 Bill Winsley, 7 8 Tony Offutt.
Dash (4 laps): 1. 7 Dylan Olsen, 2. 22 Mike Romig, 3. 11 Roger Crockett, 4. 6n Billy Nutter.
Feature (30 laps): 1. 11 Roger Crockett, 2. 6n Billy Nutter, 3. 14 Theo McCarty, 4. 7k Kyle Mehner, 5. 7 Dylan Olsen, 6. 6m Phil Del Rosa, 7. 22L Garen Linder, 8. 11x Corey Esteban, 9. 28 Mark Herz, 10. 4 Jesse Thistle, 11. 9t Truman Winningham, 12. 10 Bill Winsley, 13. 8 Tony Offutt, 14. 22 Mike Romig, 15. 69 Joe Bosso Jr.
Laps leaders: Theo McCarty 1-5, Roger Crockett 6-30