By Ken Keating
Western Speedway was the host for the West Coast Tire and Wheel Strawberry Cup with two days of racing with the Richlock Rentals WilRoc Non Wing Sprint Cars, the Winged Sprint Cars, and the CAMRA Super Modified Sprint Car Reunion.
The CAMRA cars are fully restored or well kept sprints and continue to run some tracks in the US on a regular basis. Some of these drivers are older but still get a kick out of driving fast race cars and they do race and are not there just for show. A couple drivers felt the wrath of the cement walls around Western Speedway as the went into the corners too hot or lost some traction and slammed hard into the barriers. As with typical racers, they went into the pits and made repairs and went back to the action when possible. Also on display was a Vintage 1930 race car that was commonly used in the Indianapolis 500. This car is in great shape and made several demonstration runs on both nights much to the delight of the large crowds both nights. Fans gathered on the front stretch for a meet and greet both nights to view these well prepared vintage race cars and all the drivers expressed the desire to return to Western Speedway again.
Gary Smith, from Victoria, piloted the fully restored Mark Meeres #7 Daffodil Special, to a victory in the Super Modified Sprint Car Trophy Dash Friday night. This car was driven by Gary’s father Roy Smith to many victories in the day. Chris Root, with his Scotty Manufacturing Roadster, and Chris Dackos from Corde Lane piloted their Super Modified Sprint Cars to victory on Friday’s Feature event program.
On Friday, Guy Barrett had a very fast race car, and on lap ten, took the lead and couldn’t be caught as he powered his Non Winged Sprinter to the chequered flag in the Feature event followed by Jeff ” The Hurricane” Montgomery. This race was full of caution flags as several drivers spun out. Matt Mansell followed suit with the Winged Sprints as he captured the chequered flag followed by Jeff Montgomery. Matt led start to finish and with just two laps left Montgomery slipped passed Robby Price to finish second to Mansell. These two drivers also went one – two in the Heat race. This result left Montgomery with a very slim point lead heading into Saturday’s run for the Strawberry Cup.
Day two produced more winners and exciting race action with all classes running for Trophy Dashes, Heat races, and Feature events. Rod Forgo, from Vernon, Rob Lindsey, from Portland, Oregon, Murray Jones, from Langley, and Rhody Hayes, from Richland, Washington picked up Dash wins for the Super Modified Sprint Car Series while Ryan Orchard and Darren Yates picked up trophies for the Non Winged Sprints and the Wing Sprints respectively. Jeff Cook, from Spokane, Washington; and Murray Jones won their respective Feature events in the Super Modified Sprint Cars on Saturday night. Jones raced here a few years ago with the Dwarf Car Series.
Sixteen cars took the green flag for thirty laps of racing in the Richlock Rentals Non Winged Sprint Car Feature event on Saturday but that only lasted one lap as the red flag came out. As Jeff Montgomery entered turn one, Brad Purdy ran up on top of Montgomery’s rear tire sending him airborne and into the path of Ryan Orchard. Orchard actually ran up and over Purdy’s car and then into the turn one and two cement wall. No one was hurt but their night was done. When racing resumed, Dave Emmerson and Mike Haslam raced side by side for several laps before Emmerson completed the pass and checked out. Mark Parkinson was left to battle with Guy Barrett and Jeff Montgomery for the next podium finishes. Emmerson cruised to the chequered flag with Parkinson holding on for second with Barrett, Montgomery, and Mike Haslam rounding out the top five positions. Emmerson also was awarded the Strawberry Cup for the Non Winged Sprint Car Series.
Duane Zeinstra led nine cars to the green flag for thirty laps of racing with the Winged Sprint Cars and he got out quickly and led for the first thirteen laps. On lap fourteen, a very fast Darren Yates slammed his car into the lead and followed quickly by another fast car with Scott Aumen behind the wheel and a Hurricane chasing behind. On lap sixteen, the yellow came out as Robbie Price wound up on his side skidding several feet on turn three and four. On the restart, Yates again took off and no one had anything for the #91 Sprinter as Yates captured the Wing Sprint Feature event followed by Aumen, Jeff Montgomery, Duane Zeinstra, and Aaron Willison rounding out the top five positions. When final tabulations were complete, Jeff “The Hurricane” Montgomery won the Strawberry Cup for 2015. Jen Wright and Laura Ashley Grant, dressed in gowns courtesy of Victoria Bridal Boutique, presented all the drivers with their respective trophies each night.
The next event at Western Speedway is scheduled for June 20th with the Wilson Transportation Island Stock Cars, Island Dwarf Car Series, the SDL Bins Mini Stock Series, OTRA, and the return of the Keg Steakhouse & Bar Late Model Challenge Series Twin 50s Feature event. Wade Bland won both Twin 50s on May 30th, the last visit for this Series.