Locals succeed in Labor Day weekend races
The Columbia County Racing Association's (CCRA) TFT Construction-sponsored Labor Day weekend races Sept. 1-2 proved to be quite successful for the trio of local drivers Bob Berg, Dennis Liebig and Jake Tupper, who each won main events at River City Speedway.
Drivers who also recorded main event wins included Devon Reed, TJ Landis, Don Jenner, Robert Jenner, Damien Owen, Jake Tupper, Dennis Liebig, Ryan White and Victoria Woolf.
In the Tracer Division, Kelso's Trenton Brogan continued to dominate the stock car racing class for ages 13-15. He swept both days of action and won all six races on the quarter-mile clay oval track in his Economy Auto Parts 1996 Nissan Altima.
With just one race left on the speedway schedule that concludes Sept. 15, six competitors have clinched CCRA division championships; the list includes St. Helens drivers Stephen Kaptur, Bernie Lujan and Berg.
Landis, of West Linn, won Four-Cylinder Division main events Saturday and Sunday to secure first place in the points standings and capture that championship.
Teagan Fischer, of Warren, won the Dwarf Car Division title for a second straight year.
Brogan has clinched the Tracer Division title.
A trio of St. Helens drivers are atop the Street Stock Division standings. Defending champion Greg Brumbaugh has 936 points, Trevor Lively 885 and Terry King 879. All three drivers have a shot at winning the division championship.
In the Sportsman Division, a two-way battle for first place exists with front-runner Reed, of Woodland, holding a slim lead over the husband/wife duo of Brad and Lisa Beehler of St. Helens. The outcome of the Sept. 15 season finale will determine who wins both the Sportsman and Street Stock titles.
The Beehlers have a chance to overtake Reed if they can get a top finish in their Ross Deisel & Auto/Liner Racing-sponsored 2004 Chevrolet Monte Carlo in the last race.
The duo did their best to narrow the margin in the standings as Lisa notched a runner-up finish in Saturday's 20-lap main.
"I felt pretty happy to get a second-place finish," said Lisa Beehler, who competed in a race for the first time in four years. "Brad got second, so we really had a pretty good weekend and I can't complain."
Reed had a sweep Saturday as he won the Sportsman main event, trophy dash and heat race with his Reed's Automotive/Dancin' Bare Tavern-sponsored Chevy. Herb Thomas of St. Helens, took third, followed by David Weaver and Andy Quilico.
"It's my goal to win the championship, but it's also kind of bittersweet because there's not a lot of competition," said Reed, whose son Martin, 13, competed for the first time ever while driving a Toyota Corolla in Tracer Division events.
"The Beehlers have a pretty fast car, too, so it could go either way in the final race of the year. Martin did OK for his first time ever driving a car, so he's still learning. It was nice seeing Ryan White back at the track, but he sure got lucky since he was able to start up front."
Brad Beehler took second place in Sunday's 25-lap caution-free race behind main event winner White of Sandy. White overtook Brad Beehler on lap 10 and led the remainder of the race while driving his Cedarscapes/Estacada Les Schwab 2001 Chevy Monte Carlo. Bud Russell of St. Helens took third, followed by Devon Reed, Jody Tanner and Weaver.
Russell and Reed both won heat races, and White won the trophy dash in a photo finish with Russell in his Justin Russell Trucking 2002 Chevy Monte Carlo. Their two cars were side-by-side at the conclusion of the race, with White's car just inches in front.
"Bud beat me on Saturday when we both competed at Madras Speedway and he took first place and I got second," said White, who competed Sunday in his first CCRA event this year. "It took the speedway officials some time to try and figure out who actually won. Bud, Brad and Devon and I had fun racing together, so we had a really good group of cars and it was a good race in the main event on Sunday."
Fischer, 17, drove her TFT Construction/Finish Line Graphics 1934 Ford Sedan two-third scale replica race car to sixth in the Dwarf Car Divsion main Sunday. She also took ninth on Saturday. Fischer's car broke down Saturday with four laps remaining in the 30-lap race, and she had a DNF (did not finish).
Liebig, of Scappoose, won Sunday's Dwarf Car main, followed by Josh Rodgers, James Brinster and Jake Van Ortwick. Anthony Pope took fifth place, and he won the trophy dash and heat race 2.
Tupper of Scappoose, won heat race 1, with Rodgers second and Fischer third.
"I had a good night of racing on Sunday, but the track was a little rough on Saturday and I had a tough time," said Fischer, a St. Helens High senior who is a member of the Lions volleyball team. "The track was really rough, and I hit a rut and it ripped off my skid plate and damaged the motor mounts, so I lost all my oil and couldn't continue driving," she said. "The track condition was a lot better on Sunday, though. It feels pretty good to win another championship. It was nice to have more competition (15 cars) this weekend instead of just having three or four cars like we've had here often. It would be nice to win the last race, but I'm just hoping to finish well without doing any damage to the car."
In Saturday's Reser's Fine Foods-sponsored race, Tupper, 18, drove his Freightwest Global/RS Race Products-sponsored open-wheel racer to victory in the Dwarf Car main. Liebig was second, followed by Rodgers, Kyle Frelich and Gary Wegener to round out the top five. Jake Van Ortwick of Scappoose took sixth place; he also won the trophy dash and heat race 1. Rodgers and Liebig also won heats.
Liebig took home the TFT Construction $1,000 first prize for scoring the most points in the two-day Dwarf Car Division races.
Berg, 54, drove his Cozy Lawn Maintenance/Eaton's Tire & Service Center 1997 Dodge Neon to a sweep of the Tuner Division on Sunday with victories in the trophy dash, heat race and main event.
Owen, the winner of Saturday's Tuner Division main, took second to Berg. Kelso's Gary Brogan was third, followed by Jason Scheibel, Troy Jewell and Trenton Brogan (Gary's son). Owen won Saturday's main, followed by Vancouver's Sam Simmet, Kelso's Joel Davis, Berg and Jewell. Davis and Jewell recorded heat wins.
Woolf won Saturday's Pacific Micro Sprint Association main and heat, and Josh Thompson won the dash. Fischer drove her Micro Sprint car in the series, too, as a double-duty driver competing in two speedway motorsport classifications. Fischer took third in the main and second in the heat.
Former two-time (2009, 2012) CCRA Modified Division champion Don Jenner showed he's still one of the best drivers in the series as he won four races.
Jenner drove his open-wheel racer to victory in the trophy dash, heat race and main event on Saturday for a sweep. Clyde White was second in the main, followed by Dustin Asher, Chris Quinn, Rick Graham and Kaptur, who captured his second straight series title.
On Sunday, Jenner won the heat and took fourth in the main. Robert Jenner won Sunday's main event, followed by Matt Jenner and Asher. Rick Graham took fifth place and won the trophy dash.