EAST WENATCHEE, Wash. - Though he was fighting a tight racecar Saturday, Carson City's Dale Lamborn managed a third-place finish at the "world's fastest" quarter-mile racetrack in Wenatchee, Wash.
"It was tight all night," Lamborn said. "But it did get a little better after that first 20 laps."
The 50-lap main event was held at Wenatchee Valley's Super Oval. The impressive racetrack was resurfaced in 2002 and boasts a track record - 10.753 seconds, driven by Trevor Montgomery - on a quarter-mile asphalt track.
American Speed Association/Western States Supermodified Racing League points leader Troy Regier of Dinuba, Calif., who drives for S&S Motorsports in Carson City, wanted to break the record, but came away with an 11.001.
Regier said he was disappointed, but it was good enough for fast time Saturday night and put him in the trophy dash.
However, a vibration in the car halted Regier from participating in the dash. Tom Silsby and Steve Shaw, co-owners on the car, quickly went to work on the car to change the driveline.
"We could see signs where it was moving around," Shaw said. "It got me to looking at it and figuring out what was wrong. You don't have a lot of time to do anything about it."
After making a hotlap to check the feel of the car and changes, Regier returned to the pits.
"It's worse than before," Regier said to Silsby and Shaw, who then borrowed a driveline from DNA Racing to make yet another change. "It's acting funky."
When completed, Regier was pushed out onto the track. The car fired, but as soon as he hit the accelerator, the driveline blew out of the car, damaging the headers, exhaust, fuel line, chassis and body. The steel part missed hitting Regier's body by about 3 inches.
"We never have stuff breakdown like this," Silsby said. "I don't know what's going on. It's the same piece that broke on Eric's (Silsby) car last night in Spokane. Troy's car is pretty wounded."
"We still didn't know exactly what was wrong until it broke," Shaw said. "It was a new part and it failed.
"We won one race and all in all, being fast qualifier both nights, we did well. But, stuff happens."
The main event started with Lamborn in the third position, Amy Barnes of Minden in the fourth spot, Eric Silsby in eighth, and Kirk Wartman, driving for Courtney Lewis of Reno in ninth.
On the pole was Jake Mann of Monroe, Wash., in an NSRA sprint car. Mann led the race from green flag to checkered flag, although not without controversy.
A caution came out on lap 29 when 2006 Rookie of the Year Martin McKeefery slowed on the back stretch. McKeefery's car had popped out of gear.
At the restart, Jim Birges of Fresno, Calif., who was running second and banging on Mann's door to take the lead, cleanly passed Mann in Turn One and took over the lead in Turn Two.
The series executive director, Nathan Svoboda, called the restart back. Svaboda said the call was made because there is "no passing before the start/finish line," even though Birges made the pass in Turn One.
The finale was nonetheless exciting for the fans, who watched Mann win the race with Birges in hot pursuit and Lamborn right on Birges' nerf bar.
Rounding out the field were: Rick Veenstra, Wartman, Silsby, McKeefery, Kenny Hamilton, Bryan Warf, Barnes and Cameron.
Barnes was running on the high side of Warf on lap 24, when Warf, who was pushing hard and breaking loose coming out of each turn, ran high into Barnes and put both of them into the wall in Turn Three.
"Why? Why?" Barnes said of the wreck. "He hadn't run the high line all night long. And when I get around him to pass, he runs me ... It really sucks. I had a real good car tonight."
Barnes was third-fast time Saturday and finished fourth in heat race No. 1, which was won by McKeefery with Wartman finishing second. Mann won the second heat over Silsby in second and Lamborn third.
"I've been working on better qualifying and we did that tonight," Lamborn said. "We were top-five both nights in Washington.
"I just missed the handling setup, but I'm happy with the things we did."
With Regier missing Saturday's race and Jeff Russell, who is second in points finishing low in Friday's main event and missing Saturday's race because of part failure, the top-five positions have tightened and will make for interesting racing in weeks to come.
The ASA/WSSRL is scheduled to race Saturday at Meridian Speedway, Meridian, Idaho. For information, visit www.wssrl.com.
Contact Rhonda Costa-Landers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 881-1223.