Sunset Speedway opens its season

With perfect weather and a pit area full of cars, the fans at Sunset Speedway were treated to some terrific racing on Saturday for the season opening event of the 2012 campaign.

After all of the cancellations, fans couldn't wait for the first race to start. Five classes were in action for the night with USRA Modifieds, Street Stocks, 4-Bees and USAC Ford Focus Midgets.

The 4-Bees feature saw Johnny 'Rotten' Adams stretch his legs from the pole starting position to lead every single lap and win the first race of the season. Mike Keeley battled and held on to second place while Joel Beehler finished third.

A good field of Street Stocks made it out for the first race of the year, and Craig Loomis was back in winning form. The defending Street Stock champion led the entire distance to pick up the victory despite three cautions during the race. Second- and third-place finishers were Joey Tardio and Jon Ireland.

The USAC Ford Focus Midgets made the trip to Sunset Speedway for the first of three appearances at the small bullring track. Jared Peterson won from the pole position to get his second straight Midget victory with the Northwest Series after capturing a win at the Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, Wash., last month. Garrett Thomas finished in the runner-up position with Ariel Biggs in third.

Despite a mishap on the opening lap with a car getting upside down, the Northwest Extreme Sprint Car Series event was dominated by Ricky Ashley, who led the distance to capture his first ever Sprint Car feature win in only his third appearance at Sunset Speedway. Sammy Wright finished in the second place position while Jesse Thistle finished in third place.

The debut of the USRA Modifieds proved to be a spectacle, as it went non-stop, wire-to-wire for 40 laps. Clint Petty was the front row starter and maneuvered himself through lapped traffic to earn his first win since 2003, holding off a field of challengers that included Mark Reser in second place and Brett James in third.

This weekend's action at Sunset Speedway Park will include the Northwest Wingless Tour, PHRA Dwarf Cars, Pure Stocks, 4-Bees and women's classifications. Gates open at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday with racing scheduled to start at 6.

Soccer standout earns scholarship

Sean Mills helped change the Pacific men's soccer team's fortunes as Northwest Conference champions in 2010, and now he will work to change the fortunes of children in India.

Mills, a senior double majoring in political science and economics, has earned a Fulbright Scholarship to study and teach in India.

Originally from Seattle, Mills will depart later this year to teach the English language to children in the city of Delhi. He will graduate from Pacific on Saturday.

To effectively teach English, Mills will learn the Hindi language as part of his experience.

'Learning Hindi will be an amazing experience,' he said. 'I love teaching and learning languages, and I look forward to applying it to my future studies.'

Mills recently completed his undergraduate research in economics with a senior thesis that explored successful school reform in Harlem, N.Y. He analyzed the effect early childhood education programs have had on statewide fourth-grade test scores for math and literacy. His research suggests that reallocating funds toward early childhood programs can result in long-term benefits for state-level educational goals.

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