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King, Wegner, Liebig among main-event winners in St. Helens motor sports event

COURTESY PHOTO: MIKE WEBER - Terry King of Warren leads the heat race Saturday at River City Speedway in his 1987 Buick Regal, followed by Portland's Tom Zywicki and Greg Brumbaugh of St. Helens. Local race car drivers Terry King, TJ Wegner and Dennis Liebig captured main event wins in the third round of Columbia County Racing Association (CCRA) motor sports season on Saturday at River City Speedway in St. Helens.

King, of Warren, was a two-time winner as he captured the Street Stock Division heat race and main event.

Wegner, of St. Helens, captured the Tuner Division main event.

Liebig came from behind with just three laps remaining to win the Dwarf Car Division main over fellow Scappoose driver Jake VanOrtwick.

A trio of Washington drivers — Devon Reed, Zander Kock and Clyde White — continued to enjoy early season success as they notched wins to remain undefeated in main events after three weeks of competition.

Reed, of Woodland, captured the Sportsman Division main and trophy dash.

White, of Longview, won the Modified Division main event and heat race.  

Kock, of Vancouver, won the Tracer Division (ages 10-15) main event and heat in his Dodge Neon. It marked the third straight main event win for the 10-year-old Kock.

Myke Landis, of Milwaukie, had a sweep as he won the Four Cylinder Division dash, heat and main.

Other main event winners included Greg Long, Justen McConville and Cody Crawford.

Long won the Pacific Mini Sprint Association (PMSA) main event and heat.

Crawford won the Micro Sprint Restricted main.

McConville won the Micro Sprint Open main event.

A thrilling Dwarf Car Division main included four drivers who each led at various times during the 35-lap race.

Two-time defending Dwarf Car Champion Teagan Fischer, of Warren, started on the pole of the 16-car field and led the first seven circuits with her TFT Construction/Finish Line Graphics-sponsored 1934 Ford Sedan two-third scale replica dwarf car.

Longview's Steven Schreiner, who celebrated his 25th birthday on Saturday, passed Fischer on the back straightaway and led lap eight.

Following a yellow flag caution period, Fischer moved ahead on the restart of lap nine and led one more lap.

Liebig then passed Fischer on the inside lane of the back straightaway on lap 10 and appeared to be in control while leading the next 17 laps.

VanOrtwick then moved up front on lap 28 and led the next five circuits in the TFT Construction race car owned by Tom Fischer, of Warren.

After a caution flag, Liebig passed VanOrtwick on the restart of lap 32 and led final three laps to get the win in his TFT Construction-sponsored open-wheel dwarf car.

Van Ortwick was the runner-up, followed by Shawn Dorie, of St. Helens, Ryan Martinez, of Portland and Jake Tupper, of St. Helens, to round out the top five.

"The last few laps were lots of fun, but when I made a mistake near the end and Jake (VanOrtwick) got around me, I thought that it was over," Liebig said. "I was finally able to get past him, though, with just three laps left. Jake is a good driver, and he's definitely tough to beat. I'm thankful for all the help I've had from my sponsor, Tom Fischer, and it's also nice having lots of support, too, from my girlfriend, Holly Cavett."  

Fischer, a 2019 St. Helens High graduate, won heat 2 and finished 10th in the main. Schreiner (heat 4) and Van Ortwick (heat 3) won heats. Josh Rogers, of Scappoose, was a two-time winner as he won heat 1 and the trophy dash. Adam Chaffee won the 15-lap B main event.

Defending series champ Bob Berg, of St. Helens, started on the pole position of the 30-lap Tuner Division main and led the first four laps in his Cozy Lawn Maintenance-sponsored 1997 Dodge Neon. Wegner then maneuvered past Berg on the inside of the front straightaway to get into the lead on lap five in his 2006 Nissan Sentra.

Wegner, 33, gradually built a large advantage and won by a half-lap over Zach Dalrymple.

Berg took third, followed by Cody Scouller and Joel Davis of Kelso.

Wegner recorded a sweep as he also won the trophy dash and heat race.

"The track was in very good condition, and I had lots of fun, so it was nice to come out here and get a win," said Wegner, who competed in his first race this year at St. Helens. "My wife, Shelby, will also drive the car and compete occasionally too, so that will be fun for her as well."  

An interesting aspect regarding the top five drivers was that three are former CCRA Four Cylinder Division champions. Wegner (2015), Berg (2016) and Davis (2017) each won titles before moving up to the Tuner Division, a classification for four-cylinder cars with 150 horsepower or higher. The Four-Cylinder class is for cars with less than 150 horsepower.    

Landis started on the pole position of the 12-car Four-Cylinder Division main, and he led from start to finish in his Tri-Pod Development/Landis & Landis Construction-sponsored 2003 Ford Focus. Landis won by eight car lengths over Max Sanford, of Portland. Sande Simmet, of Vancouver, took third, followed by Lynn Yeaman, of Gresham, and Trenton Brogan, of Kelso.

"I actually had my first race ever last week (May 25) at Sunset Speedway in Banks, and that helped me get warmed up for racing here," said Landis, 47. "I enjoyed watching my brother, TJ, last year, when he won the Four-Cylinder Division championship, and I decided that I wanted to start competing here, too. It sure was lots of fun going 3 for 3 and getting the sweep."

Two-time defending Modified Division champion Stephen Kaptur, of St. Helens, led the first nine laps of the Modified main event in his Malar Performance Engines/Discount Race Car Parts-sponsored car owned by Don West of St. Helens. White overtook Kaptur on lap 10 and led the remainder of the 20-lap race in his PNE Construction/Eric's Frame Repair-sponsored car to get his second straight series win.

"Stephen was doing good, but he just got behind a lapped car and I was able to take advantage of that and get the lead," White said. "Stephen has a fast car, but we just need to get a few more drivers out here to compete with us."

West, 72, took third place in the main, and Mark Hill, of Scappoose, took fourth. White won the heat race, and Kaptur won the trophy dash.

"It was nice winning the trophy dash, so I had a pretty good night," Kaptur said. "The car was running pretty good, so I was happy about that, and the track condition was just awesome. We had lots of cars and a big crowd, too, so it was overall a very good day for the track.

"Clyde is good driver, he has a fast car and he's hard to beat. I'm starting to feel very comfortable in my car, though, and so I know we'll continue to have some success all year.

"Don West helps me tremendously. I was pretty busy this week at work and so he made sure the car was ready to go. If it wasn't for Don's help, I definitely wouldn't be able to compete in racing."  

King started on the front row of the six-car Street Stock Division main. He led the 20-lap race from start to finish to record his second win in his Ross Diesel & Auto-sponsored 1987 Buick Regal. Trevor Lively, of St. Helens, was runner-up, followed by two-time defending champion Greg Brumbaugh, of St. Helens, Tom Zywicki, of Portland, and Matt Brown, of St. Helens. King won the heat race, and Zywicki won the trophy dash.

"Oh, man, it felt good to win, which really makes me happy, and it was nice seeing a few more cars out here too," said King, 48. "It was a definitely a fun night of racing, and it was good turnout with lots of fans here. The track was in good condition with very little dust, so that was good, too. It's nice to be leading the point standings, and my goal is to win the championship, but you never know what's going to happen."  

Reed, the defending Sportsman Division Champion, was a two-time winner as he won the Sportsman Division trophy dash and main. Reed led from start-to-finish to capture his second win this year in his Dancin' Bare Tavern/Reed's Automotive-sponsored Chevrolet. Frank Elwess, of Portland, was second, followed by Portland's David Weaver and Gary Kordosky, of St. Helens.

In what turned out to be one of River City Speedway's best motor sports events this year, a season-high 84 cars participated in the third round of CCRA stock car racing.

The next event at the Columbia County Fairgrounds facility is the June 15 Fan Appreciation Race, beginning at 5 p.m, and including special admission of just $25 for a car load.   

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