Ross and Sanford notch first main event wins at River City Speedway
River City Speedway's fourth stock car race this year was nothing if not memorable for Broc Ross and Bill Sanford.
Each recorded their first-ever Columbia County Racing Association main event wins on June 2 at the Columbia County Fairgrounds motorsports facility in St. Helens.
Ross won the Street Stock Division main and Sanford won the Four Cylinder Division main. Bob Berg of St. Helens captured his second main event in the new Tuner Division class and Clark Tenney of Scappoose captured the Modified Division main event.
In the Tracer Division (kids age 13-16), Longview's Trenton Brogan captured his third straight main event victory. Crystal Flath of Corbett notched a sweep of the Pacific Micro Sprint Association while driving the Pirtle Transport open-wheel racer to victories in the trophy dash, heat race and main event.
The CCRA's fifth event is the Sam Brittain Memorial Race at 5 p.m. June 9 at the Columbia County Fairgrounds. This special speedway event will honor the memory of Brittain, a former CCRA president who passed away unexpectedly last summer at age 46.
Ross started on the front row of the Street Stock Division main and led the 30-lap race from start to finish to get the win in the Ross Diesel & Auto-sponsored 1987 Buick Regal owned by Terry King of Warren. Herb Thomas of St. Helens was runner-up, followed by Trevor Lively, David Weaver and defending division champion Greg Brumbaugh of St. Helens. Brumbaugh won the trophy dash in his CLT Trucking/Hoyt Construction 1985 Chevrolet Malibu.
"This was my first win ever in stock car racing and so it really was a lot of fun."
— Broc Ross
"This was my first win ever in stock car racing and so it really was a lot of fun," said Ross, who also won the heat race. "I help some other drivers out, too, including Bernie Lujan and Brad Beehler, and I work on their cars at my shop (Ross Diesel & Auto in Deer Island). I drove Terry's car in the last race, too, so I could just kind of get the feel of what it's like to compete in circle track racing and that was my first time ever on the track. I wish we had more cars though, which would make it a lot more fun with more competition and make it a better show for the fans. We're in first place in the point standings so I'm hoping that we can win the championship."
Ross of Deer Island is a co-driver with King and the duo sometimes alternates the position in the driver's seat of the Buick Regal if one of them is unable to participate. It marked the third top-three finish and second win for the King/Ross team. King won the season-opening race on May 5.
Sanford recorded a sweep in the Four-Cylinder Division as he won trophy dash, heat race and 30-lap main event. Sanford, from Belfair, Washington, drove his Crown Auto Sales 2004 Mitsubishi Eclipse and led from start to finish on the quarter-mile clay oval track to get his first CCRA main event win. Thane Landis was second, followed by Don Briggs, Jacob Schultz, Lynn Yeaman and Dan McDonald.
In the Tuner Division, Berg took the lead after passing Vancouver's Sam Simmet on lap eight and he led the remainder of the 30-lap main to notch his second win this year with his Cozy Lawn Maintenance/Eaton's Tire & Service Center 1997 Dodge Neon. Berg, 54, is a former CCRA Four-Cylinder Division champion (2016) and he's seeking to win the second title of his 26-year stock car racing career.
"I like the new class because it makes the cars more equally competitive," said Berg. "We can put any type of high performance parts on the cars and there isn't really any technical inspection required since there's very few rules for the class. We can use any kind of tires that we want. Lots of people did things like this before in the Four-Cylinder class and they were kind of bending the rules, although it wasn't really considered as cheating. Basically, we can do anything we want with the cars and you don't have to worry about the fact that it might be considered as cheating, so that's the main difference between the Tuner and Four-Cylinder class. I'm hoping that I can win the division championship this year."
Defending Four-Cylinder Division champion Joel Davis of Kelso took second in his Economy Auto Wrecking/Ram Light Truck Salvage 1996 Nissan Altima. Simmet took third, followed by his father, Sande Simmet, Rudy Stellflug and Hector.
Five years ago, Clark Tenney of Scappoose had a fabulous season, winning six main events to capture the 2014 Modified Division championship. Tenney was back in his familiar role as a speedway frontrunner, winning the 30-lap Modified Division main event. In addition, Tenney recorded a sweep with victories in the trophy dash and heat race with his 21st Century Towing/David's Automotive open wheel race car.
"We've been away from the track for a while and it's been a few years since I've won a race here," said Tenney, 52. "There's a big event here next Saturday with the Sam Brittain Memorial Race and we just wanted to make sure that we could run lots of laps and make sure that the car is running good for that race. I feel like we've got the car right where it needs to be for Saturday's big race. As a matter of fact, the last time we were at the track was during a memorial event for Sam last summer. The fuel pump broke on the car and we kind of felt like Sam might've indirectly had something to do with that. So we're really hoping that we can win the first Sam Brittain Memorial race. (Pit crew chief David McDaniel) does all the work on the car and I just get in it and drive. We're both really excited about coming out to the next race and we're really looking forward to that."
Defending Modified Division champ Stephen Kaptur of St. Helens was second in the Discount Race Car Parts car owned by Don West of St. Helens and Mark Hill of Scappoose took third place.
Brogan, 14, drove his Economy Auto Wrecking 1996 Nissan Altima to victory in the 20-lap Tracer Division main and Longview's Wendy Vough took second place. Brogan passed Vough halfway through the race on lap 10 and led the remainder of the event to get the checkered flag. Brogan, who is considered the top contender in the series, was a two-time winner as he also won the trophy dash.
"It was somewhat of a disappointing race since there were just two cars," said Brogan, who started his motorsports career at age 7 when he raced cage go-karts in Salem. "I would prefer to battle a little more and race with more drivers, but I still had lots of fun. I was lucky to avoid a two-car crash at the beginning of the race because it happened right in front of me. I get lots of help from my sponsor Economy Auto Parts and they help me fix the car whenever I need any repairs on it. My dad (Gary) has taught me a lot about racing and he's always been very helpful to me throughout my racing career."