By Andrew Kunas
BANKS, Ore. – Three weeks ago, Gary Davis left the race track with a destroyed race car. Saturday night at Sunset Speedway however, Davis had a new car put together and this time came away with his first career Northwest Wingless Tour sprint car series main event win, capping off a clean sweep of the entire program.
Davis, out of Albany, Ore. and a former USCA champion, led all but four of the scheduled 30 laps in the main event, taking over the lead from NWWT points leader Corey Esteban on Lap 5. From there, Davis never looked back as he won by more than three seconds at the finish line in his No. 9 Chevy-powered Triple X. He became the 13th different driver to win a Northwest Wingless Tour sprint car series main event and the third to sweep an entire program in four completed NWWT shows this year.
Davis now sits seventh in the NWWT point standings, using the race he missed on April 30th at Cottage Grove Speedway as his throw-out. June 4th at Coos Bay Speedway, Davis destroyed a car in the heat race and was forced to sit out the main event and not any crucial main event points that could potentially have put Davis at or near the top of the point standings now, if not for a bit of bad luck that night on the Oregon Coast..
Davis started on the pole at Sunset Speedway after winning the six-lap trophy dash event, but it was Esteban of Gaston, Ore. who took the early lead from the outside of the front row. After yielding the lead to Davis, Esteban ran second the rest of the way and finished there aboard his No. 36 Chevy-powered Eagle for his second Top 5 finish of the year. Esteban is also the only driver to have been in the trophy dash in every NWWT event this season.
Mike Romig of Vancouver, Wash. earned his second consecutive podium finish aboard his No. 22 Raybourn-powered Eagle. With the point standings now reflecting the single throw-out for all drivers, Romig jumped from fourth place into second place, just ten points behind Esteban. Jesse Thistle, who was second in points entering the night, fell to third after his seventh place finish on Saturday.
Mark Nichols of Eagle Creek, Ore. earned his series best third Top 5 finish of the year with a fourth place run in his No. 64 Ferguson-powered Zeitler. Mark Herz of Sandy, Ore. scored his first Top 5 finish of the season in the Dianne Herz No. 28 Howard-powered F5.
Davis and Romig each scored heat race victories, the first of the year for both drivers. Davis paced the field in qualifying with a lap of 15.993 seconds around the very small 1/4-mile, slightly-banked red clay oval.
The next event on the schedule for the Northwest Wingless Tour sprint car series is another event at Sunset Speedway on Saturday, July 9th. More information on the Northwest Wingless Tour, the premier touring non-wing sprint car series in the Pacific Northwest, can be found online at http://www.nwwinglesstour.com.
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Northwest Wingless Tour sprint car series
June 25, 2011
Fast qualifier: 9 Gary Davis, 15.993 seconds
Heat 1 (10 laps): 1. 9 Gary Davis, 2. 64 Mark Nichols, 3. 29 Jay Barnes, 4. 28 Mark Herz, 5. 8 Tony Offutt.
Heat 2 (10 laps): 1. 22 Mike Romig, 2. 69 Joe Bosso Jr., 3. 4 Jesse Thistle, 4. 36 Corey Esteban, 5. 04 Brad Rhodes.
Dash (6 laps): 1. 9 Gary Davis, 2. 36 Corey Esteban, 3. 22 Mike Romig, 4. 29 Jay Barnes, 5. 28 Mark Herz, 6. 4 Jesse Thistle. Finish determines first six starting positions of main event.
Feature (30 laps): 1. 9 Gary Davis, 2. 36 Corey Esteban, 3. 22 Mike Romig, 4. 64 Mark Nichols, 5. 28 Mark Herz, 6. 8 Tony Offutt, 7. 4 Jesse Thistle, 8. 04 Brad Rhodes, 9. 69 Joe Bosso Jr., 10. 29 Jay Barnes.
Lap leaders: Corey Esteban 1-4, Gary Davis 5-30