It was almost exactly the opposite of the night before.
After a first night of drivers going from the back of the field to the front, the second night of Clay Cup Nationals on Friday, July 17, at Deming Speedway provided wire-to-wire winners in the A-main events instead, as drivers battled for the front row of the final night with the pole positions being secured by favorites Jesse Schlotfeldt (600 restricted) and Liam Ryan (1,200 and 600).
Keith Wickard, who qualified 31st but finished third in his heat to start on the pole of the 600 A-main, held off Annie DeRemer in the most exciting race of the night.
DeRemer and Wickard battled through the race’s entirety, with both exchanging leads through the first three laps before DeRemer took the clean air for awhile, as she led laps 4 through 19. Wickard made the pass on lap 20 and held on for the final laps to get the preliminary night win.
“It feels great. I didn’t know if I was ever going to get one again,” Wickard said in a post-race on-track interview. “I got some luck thrown my way and it was great.”
Jared Peterson was the big mover, though, as night one’s winner went from 17th to fifth and Kaitlyn Hammer moved up eight spots to finish eighth.
Clennon Holloway won the 1,200 A-main as he started on the pole and raced well enough to hold on with the high groove.
Jared Gundersen raced from eighth to third, failing to get by second-place Steven Hendrickson for the last several laps, Tyson Cross went from 12th to fourth, running a great race, Brock Lemley went from 11th to fifth and Derek Holmwood moved up from 16th to ninth rounding out the big mover.
Katie Turner passed her dad, Galen, in her 600 restricted heat race to automatically qualify for the A-main and then ended up taking the win — her first career win — by a large margin, although won’t pick up any passing points in the final race, as she started on the pole.
“I felt kind of bad, but I needed to show him I can do it too,” Turner said of passing her father.
Jaden Thomas and Sawyer Sorgenfrei, however, were big movers as Thomas made a run to finish third and Sorgenfrei moved from 17th to 10th. Ashleigh Johnson finished second and Ryley Mayer and Ben Silliker rounded out the top five. Points leader Jesse Schlotfeldt took the night off after a perfect score on night one secured his position on the pole for the final night.
Joe Constance took a 600 B-main win to qualify for the A-main, but it was the battle for third, fourth and fifth places that mattered. While the top four spots were scheduled to get in, Ryan opted out of the 600 final event, having accrued enough points on the first night to sit on the pole for the final night, making the top five spots transfer positions.
Lemley was able to hold on to the fifth spot, holding off Kris LaBree while Stan Yockey and Dylan Resch had the battle of the race for third with it going to Resch, who made late pass on the inside. Kevin Wilkinson took second to round out the A-main field.
The first B-main to hit the track was the restricted race, as Sorgenfrei won the race for the second night in a row and Lizzy Johnson took the second spot, benefiting from a Galen Turner spinout in turn 4.
The 600 heat races provided plenty of drama, but Peterson, Isaac Abenroth, Ryan, Raio Morgan, Jacob Brown and DeRemer emerged victorious.
In the 1,200 class, heat wins went to Frosty Metcalfe, Jared Gunderson, Eric Turner and Dwayne Mackey. Ryley Mayer, AJ Harbaugh, Johnson and Silliker were heat winners in the restricted class. The first four cars of each heat were inverted from qualifying times to allow quicker drivers the chance to pick up additional passing points.
Quick times in qualifying went to Sorgenfrei (restricted), Ryan for the second straight night (1,200) and Peterson (600).
Reach Joshua Hart at 360-715-2238 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Clay Cup Nationals Final
Saturday, July 18
Time: Racing starts at 7 p.m.; Gates open at 5 p.m.
Where: Deming Speedway
Cost: Adult $17, Juniors/Seniors $14; Children $7