By Andrew Kunas
BANKS, Ore. – Over a year after scoring his first victory, Mark Nichols finally returned to victory lane on Saturday when he won the Northwest Wingless Tour sprint car series main event at Sunset Speedway, leading all but the first two laps of a 30-lap main event that went caution-free, the first such race for the NWWT this year.
Nichols, out of Eagle Creek, Oregon, did not get a good start as Beaverton, Ore.’s Chris Peterson got the jump on the initial start. Nichols, however, pulled alongside Peterson and the two ran side by side early on around the small 1/4-mile clay oval before Nichols, who had been first scored the leader on Lap 3 by the transponder system, finally established himself ahead of Peterson. From there, Nichols was never threatened aboard his own No. 64 Ferguson-powered Zeitler.
Nichols won his first career NWWT main event on July 30, 2010 at Willamette Speedway. Nichols has been racing with a new crew chief and gave praise to his crew for their help.
Peterson ran second for several laps before NWWT points leader Corey Esteban of Gaston, Ore got him late in the race. Esteban, however, had no time to catch up to Nichols and settled his fourth runner-up finish of the year in his own No. 36 Chevy-powered Eagle. Peterson ran third in the Ron Brown No. 41 Raybourn-powered Tognotti.
Vancouver, Washington’s Mike Romig, back after missing two races due to health issues, finished fourth in his own No. 22 Raybourn-powered Eagle. Marysville, Wash. visitor Jeff Bell, making just his second appearance with the NWWT this season, finished fifth aboard his own No. 9 Tim Levin-powered Maxim.
Portland’s Tommy Moreno paced the field in qualifying with a time of 15.364 seconds around the small clay oval. Romig and Nichols both won heat races that each sent its top three finishers to the trophy dash race. Nichols drew the second starting position for the dash and won it, earning the pole for the main event.
The next event on the schedule for the Northwest Wingless Tour sprint car series is Saturday, September 17th when the series makes its final 2011 appearance at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, Wash. The series then closes its third season of competition on Friday and Saturday, September 23rd and 24th, with the Northwest Non-Wing Nationals at Cottage Grove Speedway in Cottage Grove, Ore. More information on the NWWT can be found online at www.nwwinglesstour.com
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Northwest Wingless Tour sprint car series
September 10, 2011
Fast qualifier: 29 Tommy Moreno, 15.364 secdonds
Heat 1 (10 laps): 1. 22 Mike Romig, 2. 41 Chris Peterson, 3. 9 Jeff Bell, 4. 29 Tommy Moreno, 5. 4 Jesse Thistle, 6. 04 Brad Rhodes. First three finishers qualify for dash.
Heat 2 (10 laps): 1. 64 Mark Nichols, 2. 2k Sterling Kane, 3. 36 Corey Esteban, 4. 28 Mark Herz, 5. 25c Tim Marsh Jr. First three finishers qualify for dash.
Dash (6 laps): 1. 64 Mark Nichols, 2. 41 Chris Peterson, 3. 22 Mike Romig, 4. 36 Corey Esteban, 5. 2k Sterling Kane, 6. 9 Jeff Bell. Finish determines first six starting positions of main event.
Feature (30 laps): 1. 64 Mark Nichols, 2. 36 Corey Esteban, 3. 41 Chris Peterson, 4. 22 Mike Romig, 5. 9 Jeff Bell, 6. 2k Sterling Kane, 7. 29 Tommy Moreno, 8. 4 Jesse Thistle, 9. 28 Mark Herz, 10. 04 Brad Rhodes, DNS – 25c Tim Marsh Jr.
Lap leaders: Chris Peterson 1-2, Mark Nichols 3-30
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NWWT: The Northwest Wingless Tour sprint car series