H.D. Craig continues mastery at speedway
In a night full of special features at the Hayden Speedway, it still came down to the regulars in the IMCA Modified class for the most excitement in Saturday’s Super Street Sprint.
The Modifieds started the main event with 12 cars, the most in a race all summer. Five yellows and seven lead changes later, H.D. Craig came away with his fifth main event win out of seven races this summer.
“It takes some patience and careful driving in a race like that,” he said. “Too many guys try to win it in the first two laps. The lap that matters is the last one.”
The thunder from 12 IMCA engines filled the night at the start at the race but after each yellow flag the field was reduced by at least one car. With three laps to go, the final yellow came out and seven cars remained at the restart.
Craig took over the lead with four to go and controlled the race after the final restart. He quietly moved up the pack after every restart and after a four-lap chase of Josh Nye, took the lead for the first time on lap 16.
Nye’s No. 00 and Rick Spangler’s No.18 came in with a photo finish for second and third. Initially Spangler was awarded second but after race officials reviewed a video, Spangler and Phil Goodwin were switched in the results. The ruling was that Goodwin was incorrectly forced to go to the back of the pack after he and Spangler ran into each other.
While the modified main event involved the closest action, the Speedway has a new speed champion.
A group of cars in the Dwarf Class came to Hayden from Vernal, Utah Saturday. Not only were the tiny cars the brightest on the track, but they clocked times faster than the modified racers during the night. Monte Morris was the fastest of the fast, winning both the heat and main event races in his No. 81 car.
For the most part, the other classes had winners decided with more than five laps to go in the main event.
The biggest surprise of the night was Troy Goodson’s sudden departure from the Super Street race. Goodson, who has dominated the Supers for several years, was leading by half a lap when he hit a rail and immediately left the track. Troy Kurth of Glenwood Springs was the benefactor of Goodson’s misfortune.
“I guess (Goodson) tore the sidewall of a tire,” Kurth said. “I had some bad breaks with the pin falling out of my break pedal and I broke a shock but I guess I had a little good luck tonight.”
In the Street Stocks, Samantha Johnston cruised the last six laps after a restart for the win, but it didn’t come easy. The nine-car main event made for some interesting moments when the lead pack of four cars started to lap the competition. The leaders were dodging in and out of the slower cars and Johnston, who led the whole race, was able to navigate the quickest.
In the Ultra Mini class Steve Bethka of Grand Junction had a large lead throughout the race but a restart with six laps left gave Ed Hatch a chance to challenge. Hatch came within half a car length twice but couldn’t catch Bethka.
“I love this track and it was worth the drive,” said Bethka, who normally races at the Olathe track. “We’re having so many problems with our track, it’s really, really nice to have a track like this to race on. I’ll have to tell some friends.”
Maybe some of his friends can come and give Matt Hoffman a challenge in the Mini Stock Class. Hoffman and his No. 13 continue to dominate the Mini stocks. Despite the best efforts of Steve Wilson and rookie driver Kim Owens, Hoffman swept the heat and main event again in the minis.
Before the main events, the Speedway hosted three cars in its first-ever demolition derby.
Opie Smith and his Lincoln Towncar survived a serious beating to the trunk to win the inaugural derby. The demolition derby went so well it will happen again in two weeks.
That will be when the Speedway opens its gates again for the Pro Stock Powerhouse Aug. 20.
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