St. Helens race car drivers Broc Ross and Jim Potter captured main event wins in the Marson Trucking Sponsored event July 12-13 at River City Speedway in St. Helens. Scappoose drivers Jake VanOrtwick and Shawn Dorie also enjoyed remarkable success as both recorded Dwarf Car Division main event victories.
Longview’s Dan McDonald had an unforgettable performance too as he won his first ever Tuner Division main event, while also recording a sweep with wins in the trophy dash and heat race. Drivers who are newcomers to the track recorded impressive victories too, including BJ Wild of Madras, Chase Berkeley of Colville, WA and Kelly McDonald of Cottage Grove. Wild notched a sweep as he won the July 13 Modified Division main event, trophy dash and heat race. McDonald won the July 12 Road To The Iron Giant Street Stock Series race and Berkeley won the July 13 Iron Giant race.
The next event is a demolition derby with a total purse of $10,000 at 12 p.m., July 21 during the Columbia County Fair & Rodeo. The winner of the V8 derby earns $3,000 and the Four Cylinder derby winner receives $5,000. The eighth round of the Columbia County Racing Association’s (CCRA) 14-race stock car racing schedule is July 27 at the Columbia County Fairgrounds motorsports facility.
Ross notched an impressive sweep in the Street Stock Division as he drove to victory lane in the trophy dash, heat race and main event. Ross started last in the seven-car Street Stock Division main event while driving the Ross Diesel & Auto sponsored 1987 Buick Regal owned by Terry King, of Warren. Ross and King are co-drivers as they alternate the driver’s seat position each week at the track and they’re enjoying success as they lead the series point standings.
Ross took the lead on lap three after passing frontrunner David Weaver of Portland. Ross led the remainder of the 20-lap race and he won by half a lap over Weaver. Greg Brumbaugh, of St. Helens, took third followed by Chealsea McKinney, of Columbia City, Trevor Lively, of St. Helens, and Portland’s Tom Zywicky.
“It took a little while to get up front, so I just waited to see how things worked out and where everyone else was going to be at,” said Ross. “I made clean passes and I just tried to stay out of trouble and avoid any collisions. After I worked my way up front, then I was able to pull out to a comfortable lead. I had a good time. Terry and I are always working on the car to make improvements so that it will go faster. Terry is a good driver too, but we both have different driving styles. I have a very competitive spirit and I enjoy driving whenever Terry asks me to. We’re going to try and win the championship, because that’s what our goal is.”
Bob Berg, of St. Helens, started on the front row of the 14-car Four Cylinder Division main and he led the first 11 laps in his Eaton’s Tire & Service Center/Green Lion sponsored 1997 Dodge Neon. Berg, 55, had some bad luck though as he had a left front flat tire and he exited to the pit area.
Potter, a frontrunner who was following Berg in second, took over the lead in the Cozy Lawn Maintenance sponsored Neon, owned by Berg. Potter led the remainder of the 25-lap race on the quarter-mile clay oval on his way to the victory and a $500 first place prize. Myke Landis, of West Linn, was runner-up, followed by Vancouver’s Sande Simmet, Berg and Derek Vorseth. Bryce Gillis won the B main. Taylor Sayre, Travis Koch and Trenton Brogan won heat races.
Dorie won the Dwarf Car Division main July 12, followed by Shane Youngren, of Tigard, VanOrtwick, Ryan Martinez, of Portland, and Jake Tupper, of St. Helens, to round out the top-five. Martinez was a two-time winner on Friday as he captured the trophy dash and heat three. Josh Rodgers won heat one, John Chrisman won heat two and Rodney Cook won the B main.
On Saturday, Tupper was the early frontrunner in the Freightwest Global sponsored open wheel race car as he led the first 14 laps of the Dwarf Car main. VanOrtwick, who started eighth in the 17-car race, passed Tupper on lap 15 and moved into first place with the TFT Contruction sponsored car owned by Warren’s Tom Fischer.
Van Ortwick continued leading throughout the race, but Dorie was right behind while waiting for an opportunity to pass. Dorie, who started 12th in the lineup, nearly had the chance to do that too. Van Ortwick had a decent lead and had the momentum going his way until a lap 31 caution flag delayed the 17-car event.
On the restart of lap 31, Dorie and VanOrtwick’s cars were bumper-to-bumper and the two frontrunners battled closely for the remaining four circuits. VanOrtwick was able to hold on for the thrilling victory as he won by two car lengths over Dorie, in the Family Fun RV sponsored race car. Mike Mikelson took third, followed by James Brinster and Martinez to round out the top-five. Brinster won the B main. Mikelson, Youngren and Chrisman won heat races.
“We had a pretty good race tonight and getting the clean sweep was nice, particularly since it’s the first time that I’ve ever done that,” said VanOrtwick, who also won the dash and heat. “I started in the back, so I kind of had to work me through to the front and it wasn’t easy. The caution on lap 31 sure made it a little tougher and I wasn’t too happy to see that yellow flag with just four laps to go. I wasn’t worried, and I knew that I could still hold him (Dorie) off to get the win. It was nice seeing lots of cars here in the Dwarf Car Division. The season is halfway over now, and we’ll see how the second half of the season goes.”
Dan McDonald started sixth with his Ram Light Truck Salvage sponsored 2004 Nissan Sentra in the nine-car Tuner Division main. McDonald took the lead on lap six after passing Berg, who was doing the impressive double-duty driving while competing in two CCRA motorsport classifications in his Neon on Saturday.
McDonald led the remainder of the 25-lap event and won by a straightaway length over Joel Davis, of Kelso. TJ Wegner, of St. Helens, was third, followed by TJ Landis, of West Linn, Potter, Berg, Matt Brown, of St. Helens, Jason Scheibel, of Longview, and Scott Beaudoin, of St. Helens. Wegner won heat race two.
“This is great, and this is the reason I come out here to race with people like Bob Berg and I’m so glad to get a win,” said McDonald, whose Economy Auto Wrecking race team includes pit crew chief Dick Gaboury, 70, of Rainier. “The track officials and the volunteers that come out here with the safety crew do an amazing job. At the last race here (June 22), my car was engulfed in flames and they quickly came over and put the fire out and I didn’t even get hurt. Dick Gaboury has helped me tremendously and whenever I need anything for the car, he always gets it for me.”
Brad Martin, of St. Helens, led the first 16 laps of the 10-car Modified Division main with his Reser’s Fine Foods sponsored race car. Wild overtook Martin on lap 17 for the lead and he remained up front for the remainder of the 30-lap race to win by half a lap over Martin. Mark Carrell took third, followed by division leader Clyde White, of Longview, Jeremy Martin, of St. Helens, Vancouver’s Matt Jenner, Woodland’s Devon Reed and St. Helens drivers Stephen Kaptur, Don West and Rudy Chappelle.
“We had a good group of drivers competing with the fastest cars that we’ve had in any race this season,” said White, of Longview, who
leads the CCRA Modified Division point standings at the midway point of the season. “This was the real deal and it was a legitimate, high quality type of race with an excellent group of top notch and talented drivers. Those guys are really good and to get fourth out of all of these top drivers just validates the high competition level that we have in the modified class. I could’ve easily been up front and maybe had a chance to win, but I had lots of fun. I’m having a good season and it’s great whenever I can put the car on the trailer and I don’t have to worry about fixing anything.”
Kelly McDonald had an impressive performance in winning Friday’s 45-lap Iron Giant main event and heat three in addition to taking second in the four-lap trophy dash. Vancouver’s Chris West was a two-time winner as the won the dash and heat one in his Swan Island Sheet Metal sponsored 1979 Chevy Malibu. Terry King, of Warren, won heat two in his Buick Regal. Bernie Lujan, of St. Helens, took seventh place in Friday’s main event.
Lujan enjoyed even more success on Saturday’s second day of the Iron Giant V8 Muscle Car Challenge Series while driving a 1976 Buick Regal owned by Dennis and Arlene Daniels of Rainier. Lujan, 50, had a chance to win and he was one of the frontrunners in Saturday’s highlight event at the speedway.
“I’m absolutely happy to get third, but it would’ve been nice to get first place,” said Lujan, who took sixth place in the 2018 Iron Giant series point standings. “The tires kind of started to cause a little trouble and so that kind of slowed me down somewhat. But at the end of the race, I couldn’t really have asked for a better finish, so I’m very happy. These guys are all fast drivers and I just keep working on the car to try and make it faster. It was very exciting to lead the race and definitely finished much better than I expected to, because I thought I would probably get a top-five.”
Chris Sine led the first 21 laps of the race in his Hilltop Racing 1967 Chevrolet Nova. Lujan passed Sine on the inside of the back straightaway and led the next two laps. Berkeley, 20, passed Lujan on the outside lane of the back straightaway on lap 24 and he stayed up front for the remainder of the race in his Fast Lane Automotive/Colville Printing 1984 Monte Carlo. Berkelely, who collected a $1,000 first place purse, won by two car lengths over West. Lujan took third, followed by Joey Tardio and Josh Sheller to complete the top-five. Tardio, West and Berkeley won heats. Sine was a two-time winner as he won heat four and the dash.
“He’s (Lujan) a good, clean racer and he sure helped us out on Friday when we had some bad luck and he let me borrow some parts that I needed for my car, so he’s a pretty good guy,” said Berkeley, who competed for the first time ever at River City Speedway. “It’s a really technical track, I had a lot of fun and I’ll definitely come back here to compete in the Iron Giant series again next year.”
It marked the second year that the popular traveling series was held in St. Helens. The Iron Giant, under the direction of promotor James Whitehouse, is in its third year and it has grown with each succeeding year since its debut in 2017. The 12-race traveling series includes visits to 10 race tracks located in California, Oregon and Washington. The seventh event is July 27 at Douglas County Speedway in Roseburg.