ALGER - Shane Stewart and Travis Rilat put themselves in prime position to claim the $1,500 awarded to the winner of the A-Main feature on the first night of the 42nd Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup on Friday, June 21, at Skagit Speedway.
Stewart started on pole from the outside position and by the second lap took a half-lap lead. Not too far behind, though, was Rilat, who started from the second position on the inside.
Jayme Barnes suffered a power steering issue on lap 13, bringing out a caution, and that was as far along as the 410 sprint cars got before press time.
Stewart, a two-time Dirt Cup champion, and Rilat were into lap traffic by the 10th lap and both cautiously worked their way through traffic. Sixteen of the 22 cars were still on the lead lap when the lap-13 caution came out.
Kyle Hirst pulled out an exciting win on the final lap of the B-Main race, which had no cautions. Pole sitter Sam Hafertepe Jr. quickly jumped to the front of the pack from the start and maintained his position for 14 1/2 of the 15 laps. He'd built a sizeable lead with three laps to go, but with a half-lap left Hirst worked his 83JR car around Hafertepe Jr. to claim the win.
Hirst began the race in the second inside starting position. Behind Hafertepe Jr. finished Barnes, who started on the fourth outside position after completing only three laps of his heat race.
Eric Fisher crossed the checkered flag fourth, and local favorite Brock Lemley, who experienced engine troubles during time trials an hour before opening ceremonies, finished fifth to advance to the A-Main feature. Henry VanDam and Scott Parker rounded out the field of drivers transferring to the A-Main.
Jesse Whitney, Rilat, Stewart, Rico Abreu and Jason Bloodgood each won their individual heats, advancing directly to the A-Main feature. Whitney posted the top fast time with an 11.451.
Jason Meyers recorded the best lap during time trials, clocking in at 11.266 seconds. Jonathan Allard ran second with an 11.301, and Trey Starks' time of 11.320 was third fastest.
No C-Main was run due to lack of sprint cars.
Because the first night of Dirt Cup was washed out by rain, racing will resume early Saturday afternoon, June 22. Front gates will open at 11:30 a.m., and opening ceremonies are slated for 1 p.m. Opening ceremonies begin at 7:30 p.m. for Saturday night's championship event when the top sprint cup drivers in the country vie for the $20,000 top prize.
Allard, who won the Dirt Cup in 2011, is the defending champion after no one won last year for the first time in the race's history.
Reach Andrew Lang at email@example.com or call 360-756-2862.
B-Main results: 1. Kyle Hirst (83JR), 2. Sam Hafertepe Jr. (26), 3. Jayme Barnes (88), 4. Eric Fisher (7S), 5. Brock Lemley (8), 6. Henry VanDam (33V), 7. Scott Parker (12), 8. Kevin Smith (7), 9. Daniel Anderson (44), 10. Clayton Sibley (8S), 11. Steve Parker (23), 12. Luke Didiuk (9A), 13. Colton Akerstrom (31), 14. Glenn Reinstra (13GR).
Heat 1 winner: Jesse Whitney (88W). Heat 2 winner: Travis Rilat (39C). Heat 3 winner: Shane Stewart (57). Heat 4 winner: Rico Abreu (24). Heat 5 winner: Jason Bloodgood (6)
Reach ANDREW LANG at firstname.lastname@example.org or call ext. 862.