Rain makes for wild night of racing

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The safety of cars and the patience of everybody was tested Saturday at the Hayden Speedway's Pro Stock Powerhouse races.

Up through the main event for the Mini Stock class, everything went like a normal summer night at the Speedway. Opie Smith won his 2. consecutive demolition derby, Matt Hoffman cruised to his sixth main event title in the Minis and at 8:43 p.m. the 13-car field of the Street Stocks started to circle the track.

Then everything slowed down.

The wind came up and brought a storm from the odd direction of the northeast. Then the ambulance had to leave for an accident. It was announced that the races would be postponed for 15 minutes, because the track can't operate without the ambulance there. Besides, the rain and wind sent everybody looking for cover.

"If we can't continue we'll start again at noon tomorrow," announced Yampa Valley Auto Racing Association President Jaceson Van Grandt.

From the reaction of the racers it didn't look like too many drivers had plans to be back on Sunday.

Then, 15 minutes later, just as the ambulance returned, the wind and rain ceased.

"We're racing," Van Grandt announced over the radio.

By the time the Street Stocks started circling, the crowd was reduced by at least half and the announcer had packed up and left. The ones that left missed some of the more memorable races in the 2005 Speedway season.

The 1. of the moments came during the largest Street Stock race in several years for the Speedway.

On the sixth lap of the race, No. 33 Mike White, No. 14 Matt Beckett and No. 1 Dan Stahl were racing three wide on the third corner when their momentum took them all up the curve and straight into the rail. The red flag came out because Beckett and White couldn't get their cars off the rail. Their front fenders were stuck together and it took a total of 25 minutes to get them apart and off the track. That came after a 15-minute delay to repair a rail after a wreck on the backstretch.

Between all of the postponements Grand Junction's Bob Burgett and Samantha Johnston led the pack. Burgett held off Johnston for his 1. main event win at the Speedway. Burgett crossed the finish line at 9:45; an hour after the class had initially driven on the track.

"I came last race but I had engine problems," he said. "I'm up here because I'm tired of the demolition derby racing in Olathe.

"It was close to that here tonight, but Jaceson assured me this wasn't normal."

Things were back to normal in the Supers Streets.

After losing a tire two weeks ago, Troy Goodson of Meeker returned to his normal dominance. He has won all but two main events he has raced during the last two years. The other loss was because "The same thing happened to us last year where we had too much grip on the track and it took the tire right off," he said.

In the featured class of the night, four cars started in Pro Stock.

Gregg Kolbaba led throughout the race and just as he was crossing to the checkered flag, Joel Heinschel rode up on the rail on the backstretch and flipped his car.

For the 2. time, the red flag came out and everybody that was authorized to do so, ran to the flipped car. Heinschel assured everybody he was O.K.

It took another 15 minutes for him to get out of the overturned car.

As of Saturday night, Kolbaba was disqualified for moving during the red flag but officials were still planning to meet to discuss the violation. If it stands it means Heinschel finished third for his efforts.

The IMCA Modified race went off with only one major accident that took early leaders No. 25 Brandon Hughes and No. 50x Josh Anderson out of the race.

Grand Junction driver Ryan Spangler held off H.D. Craig for the win. Craig had to come all the way from last position at the start because he didn't race in the heats.

Spangler had some good things to say about his time in Hayden.

"It was a little rough at times, but it's one of the premier tracks," he said. "And you can bet I'll be back next week."

In a rare back-to-back schedule ,the Modifieds will be the featured class this Saturday. If at least 14 cars show up, the purse for the main event winner of the IMCA Modified Madness race will be $2,000.

"It should be a good one next week," Van Grandt said.

After all was said and done Saturday, the final flag came out at 10:30 p.m., which was the latest finish for the summer. "It took a while tonight, but we were able to finish up," Van Grandt said. "But those who left missed some interesting races."

David Pressgrove can be contacted at 970-824-7031 ext. 211 or dpressgrove@craigdailypress.com

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