The 600 restricted class is rarely the main event, especially at Clay Cup, but with what Jesse Schlotfeldt is doing right now in his restricted car, it’s certainly something to watch.
The young man out of Arlington won six of the last seven A-mains at Deming Speedway going into the track’s premier event and he started off his Clay Cup Nationals bid in perfect fashion on Thursday, July 16.
The 2013 Clay Cup winner picked up the most points possible of any driver Thursday, as he was the fastest time in qualifying, went from fourth to first in his heat race and went from 16th to first in the A-main.
He ran the high groove to perfection, driving around inferior cars with ease, only getting challenged by AJ Harbaugh, although it was only a couple laps before Schlotfeldt ran around him on the outside. It’s hard to imagine anyone else winning Clay Cup in the 600 restricteds with the way Schlotfeldt is running right now.
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Behind Schlotfeldt was Harbaugh, Ryley Mayer, Ashley Thompson and Riley Watkins.
In the 1,200 A-main, Liam Ryan was the benefactor of a blown engine by Blake Brigge with about five laps left, as the No. 72 car was able to go up and around Brigge and Jared Gundersen. Ryan started near the back and picked up plenty of points in his quest for a fourth straight Clay Cup title. Brock Lemley picked up several points by making a big move up the field to finish third.
Zach Keefe and Ryan Cully rounded out the top five in the 1,200 class.
The 600 open A-main was not completed at press time.
With no 1,200 B-main, the 600 open B-main was one of the more interesting races of the night, as Kaitlyn Hammer led all 15 laps in a crash-heavy race but had to just inch out Cam Smith by .024 seconds at the wire.
Spud Allen used some timely positioning after a crash on lap 11 in turn 2 put him in the fourth position where he stayed to take the final transfer into the A-main. Allen tried to make a pass of Joe Constance in turn 1, but Constance went low to cut him off. The two made contact and Alden Ostrom hopped a tire and ended up with his roof facing the wrong direction. Constance was able to continue but finished ninth. Ostrom did not continue.
Sawyer Sorgenfrei won the 600 restricted B-main convincingly while Darius Walker held off Jaden Thomas for the second and final transfer spot into the night’s A-main.
In the 600 open, heat wins went to Shaun Holtorf, Austin Sheridan, Spencer Constance, Jon Farrell, Isaac Abenroth – who held off Kevin LaBree early in the race – and TJ Smith – who made a good pass late in the final heat race.
However, since points are the name of the game in Clay Cup, as drivers work toward the starting order on Saturday night, it was Jared Peterson and Lemley that made big moves in the heats for some additional points.
Steven Hendrickson, Tyson Cross, Lemley and Tanner Reid got heat wins in the 1,200. As for the restricteds, heat wins went to Schlotfeldt, Harbaugh, Riley Watkins and Bailey Suchich.
Liam Ryan was the fastest time in both the 1,200 and 600 open classes.
Reach Joshua Hart at 360-715-2851 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clay Cup Nationals Night 2
Friday, July 17
Time: Racing starts at 7 p.m.; Gates open at 5 p.m.
Where: Deming Speedway
Cost: Adult $14, Juniors/Seniors $12; Children $5