By Andrew Kunas
COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. – There is something about Kyle Miller and racing non-wing sprint cars at Cottage Grove Speedway. On Saturday night, Miller continued his dominance of non-wing racing at the 1/4-mile, high-banked clay oval as he won his third consecutive Northwest Non-Wing Nationals and his Northwest Wingless Tour series record fourth win of the season.
Miller, from Eugene, battled with Cottage Grove’s Colin Baker throughout the 50-lap main event. Baker, who was looking for his first sprint car victory without the wings, managed to hold off Miller for most of the event on a wide, dry slick track. It was on the 38th lap that Miller was able to find a way around Baker as they worked their way through very heavy traffic. Baker was caught behind slower cars up on the high side of the track and Miller found an opening, going low and coming off the bottom of the track exiting Turn 4 to take the lead.
After his pass for the lead, Miller skillfully worked his way through traffic and put more lapped cars between himself and Baker and went on to win $2,000 aboard the Scott Miller No. 10 Triple X. Miller was also using a motor loaned to him from fellow racer Brent Hoover, whom Miller gratefully acknowledged in victory lane.
Baker finished an impressive second place in the Steelhouse Motorsports No. 23b Drummond-powered Lunatic Fringe, while local hero Dale Smith came home third in his brother Marvin’s No. 41 Shaver-powered Maxim. Tacoma, Washington’s Evan Margeson, who won his first NWWT sprint car main event in the first of Friday’s two split main events, finished fourth in the Margeson Racing No. 50 Shaver-powered Eagle. After starting ninth, Springfield, Ore.’s Zack Spaulding made a late race pass around Justen McConville to take fifth in the Spaulding Motorsports No. 24z, this coming one night after rolling his car upside down.
McConville, Jesse Thistle, Kyle Mehner, California visitor Steve Hix and Washington’s Jeff Bell rounded out the Top 10. Thistle, with his ninth Top 10 finish of the season, secured second place in the Northwest Wingless Tour sprint car series point standings.
A night after clinching his first NWWT championship, Gaston, Ore.’s Corey Esteban’s season came to a rough ending as he was caught up in an accident, which destroyed his car. Esteban, who had earlier won the B-Main event on a last lap pass, finished outside the Top 10 for the only time this year, but still finished a comfortable 146 points ahead of Thistle.
After points were accumulated on Friday, Miller, Margeson, Smith, McConville, Baker and Bell were locked into Saturday’s main event and did not qualify or run heat races. Thistle set fast time in qualifying with a lap of 13.345 seconds before he won his second heat race of the season. Mehner and Nichols won the other two heat races before Baker bested Miller in the trophy dash event.
In its third year of existence, the Northwest Non-Wing Nationals was a NWWT points event for the first time this year. Miller, who won the inaugural NWWT championship in 2009, has won all three editions of the event.
More information on the NWWT can be found online at www.nwwinglesstour.com.
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Northwest Wingless Tour sprint car series
3rd Annual Northwest Non-Wing Nationals
Cottage Grove Speedway
Cottage Grove, OR
September 24, 2011
Based off points from Friday’s events, the following drivers were locked into Saturday’s dash and main event and did not qualify or run heat races: 50 Evan Margeson, 10 Kyle Miller, 41 Dale Smith, 23b Colin Baker, 8j Justen McConville, 9 Jeff Bell.
Fast qualifier: 4 Jesse Thistle, 13.345 seconds
Heat 1 (8 laps): 1. 4 Jesse Thistle, 2. 24z Zack Spaulding, 3. 22 Mike Romig, 4. 52 Tim Alberding, 5. 04 Brad Rhodes, 6. 36 Corey Esteban, DNS – 18 Mike Carrothers. First three finishers transfer to A-Main.
Heat 2 (8 laps): 1. 7k Kyle Mehner, 2. 1T Tony Thomas, 3. 1v Raquel Ivie, 4. 27 Guy Weedman, 5. 57 Steve Hix, 6. 41z Chris Peterson. First three finishers transfer to A-Main.
Heat 3 (8 laps): 1. 64 Mark Nichols, 2. 14 Joe Bosso Jr., 3. 6m Phil Del Rosa, 4. 28 Mark Herz, 5. 2k Sterling Kane, 6. 9x Robert O’Neil. First three finishers transfer to A-Main.
B-Main (12 laps): 1. 36 Corey Esteban, 2. 52 Tim Alberding, 3. 27 Guy Weedman, 4. 57 Steve Hix, 5. 28 Mark Herz, 6. 41z Chris Peterson, 7. 04 Brad Rhodes, DNS – 2k Sterling Kane, 9x Robert O’Neil, 18 Mike Carrothers. First five finishers transfer to A-Main.
Dash (8 laps): 1. 23b Colin Baker, 2. 10 Kyle Miller, 3. 50 Evan Margeson, 4. 4 Jesse Thistle, 5. 41 Dale Smith, 6. 8j Justen McConville, 7. 7k Kyle Mehner, 8. 9 Jeff Bell. Finish determines first eight starting positions of A-Main.
A-Main (50 laps): 1. 10 Kyle Miller, 2. 23b Colin Baker, 3. 41 Dale Smith, 4. 50 Evan Margeson, 5. 24z Zack Spaulding, 6. 8j Justen McConville, 7. 4 Jesse Thistle, 8. 7k Kyle Mehner, 9. 57 Steve Hix, 10. 9 Jeff Bell, 11. 14 Joe Bosso Jr., 12. 1T Tony Thomas, 13. 22 Mike Romig, 14. 1v Raquel Ivie, 15. 28 Mark Herz, 16. 27 Guy Weedman, 17. 52 Tim Alberding, 18. 6m Phil Del Rosa, 19. 36 Corey Esteban, 20. 64 Mark Nichols.