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Next up, 70 cars are expected for Saturday's Ray Potter Memorial event in St. Helens

PMG PHOTO: MILES VANCE - Joey Tardio of Forest Grove (front, shown here on July 12) and Warren's Terry King were back to battle in the Sportsman Division main event  during the Columbia County Racing Association's Saturday, July 18, event at the River City Speedway in St. Helens.If Week 1 of the abbreviated Columbia County Racing Association schedule was great — and it was — then Week 2 must have been twice as good.

The second week of racing at the River CIty Speedway brought 43 cars in five different classifications to the St. Helens track on Saturday, July 18.

One local driver who enjoyed tremendous success was Jim Potter of St. Helens, who drove the Cozy Lawn Maintenance-sponsored 1997 Dodge Neon to a sweep of Four Cylinder Division events on Saturday at the Columbia County Fairgrounds facility. Potter won the Four Cylinder four-lap Dash-For-Cash, the eight-lap heat race and led from start-to-finish to capture the 30-lap main event in the Neon, owned by Bob Berg of St. Helens.

Potter will drive his new 2005 Rocket late model car in the second annual Ray Potter Memorial Race at 5 p.m. July 25 at the speedway. The event is a tribute to Potter's father Ray, a former stock car driver who passed away in January 2019 at 76. Jim Potter's son, Ryan, 16, will also compete Saturday in the Tuner Division in another Neon owned by Berg. Numerous other drivers are also expected to participate with the number of cars will likely to reach the highest total (approximately 70) at the track this year.

"We wanted to really make a push to continue the memorial race, but with COVID we were unsure if we would even be able to do it this year," said Jim Potter. "My brother (Bill) and I were able to work things out and get this event organized so that we could keep it going for a second straight year and we're really looking forward to it. We're hoping to get lots of cars entered in the race and so it's going to be lots of fun."

In the other events, Chris West of Woodland, Washington, won the Sportsman main, Vancouver's Arron Elwess took the Modified main, Danny O'Neil of Vancouver set the pace in the Pure Stock main and Andie Keller of Oregon City captured the Tracer Division main.

West and Warren's Terry King started on the front row of the 14-car Sportsman Division main. West grabbed the lead after the first lap around the quarter-mile clay oval and led the remainder of the 30-lap event to get the victory. King, the 2019 Street Stock Division champion, has made a smooth transition after moving up to the faster Sportsman series and notched a second straight top-three finish. King, 49, took third place behind Joey Tardio of Forest Grove and earned an $80 purse while driving his Ross Diesel & Auto-sponsored 1987 Buick Regal. David Weaver of Portland took fourth place.

"I kind of gave it away though early and I just couldn't get past West after he took the initial lead … but I was close by him throughout the entire race and also at the end along with (Tardio)," said King, who won the heat race while going from last to first in the six-lap event. "West is a good driver. I knew that he would not make any mistakes and he wouldn't spin out and he really ran a good race. I was happy to get third because the guys that finished ahead of me had pretty fast cars and they're both good drivers."

Keller took the checkered flag in the Tracer main, which is an entry-level class for kids ages 10-16. Rhianna Brown, a junior home-schooler from Warren, was runner-up, followed by Paige Gump of St. Helens. Brown is also a soccer player who competes on the Scappoose High girls soccer team. The Brown family has three generations of family members who compete at the track. Rhianna's grandfather, John Brown, took third place in the Four Cylinder main, and her father, Matt, also competes at the speedway.

Like all the events this year, no fans are allowed to attend races at the speedway due to COVID-19 restrictions. After Saturday's Potter Memorial, the next event follows on Aug. 1.


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