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 In Memoriam:  Gary "Hollywood" Cressey

 

 Celebrating 50+ years of FEAR and FSCRA

 

 

60 MINUTES OF COX,              

       THEN 30 MINUTES OF FUNDEN!

By Ben Chandler

 

The 2017 racing season is now underway, and the first month of figure-8 racing action at Evergreen Speedway came to an end with another wet, cool evening, and one of our biggest races of the season, the “90 Minutes of FEAR”! But first, a short history lesson… Created exactly 10 years after the “Figure-8 Nationals” by Mickey Beadle and Mick Tomlin back in 1994, it started out as a 60-minute event, for the one existing division, and was won that first year by Ricky “the Kid” Deitz. 5 years later the big night was dedicated to the memory of “Big Ed” Ritchie, after a fatal heart attack during the 1999 race took his life, on April 24th. A popular and several term FEAR board member, Ed was a Viet Nam veteran and longtime driver who was inducted into our Hall of Fame the following year, at this same event. It was nice to hear his name mentioned Saturday night, as we shared a moment of silence on the 18th anniversary of his passing. It was also nice to see so many of the “old timers” that were racing that fateful night, still in the sport! Several former Champions, and fellow FEAR Hall of Fame members, like Ricky Deitz and “Cowboy” John Carlson were racing Saturday night in the “Outlaw” division, while Doug “the Grizz” Delfel and Steve “Mr. Excitement” Cox were representing us old-school FEAR members, in the Super-stock division.

Car count has affected so much of how both big races have evolved. Back when this race was created, we had 50 or more cars in the club, and you had to actually “qualify” to get in them! A couple of times I recall having to race my way in thru the “B” main, and one time needing a “promoter’s choice” spot. Thanks, Mickey! A few years back our current promoters, Doug and Traci Hobbs, tried running both big car divisions together, in an effort to fill the field, but the difference in performance of the 2 classes then was just too much, which wrecked a bunch of stuff. Special thanks to everyone at Highroad Promotions for trying to keep this, and so many other great FEAR tradition alive! The race has had an increase in the number of minutes a couple of times, once to “88 minutes” to honor the tragic loss of Sean Peters, and now to three 30 minute races divided among the 3 divisions, which for the second year, makes it “90 minutes” of FEAR!  But is it really the same prestigious, big-time racing event that it once was?

The damp night got going with the Stinger-8 division starting just 11 cars in the Main event. And there is a theme, as you will see!  First heat race winner, and defending Hornet Champ, Dawson Cox, (son of “Mr. Excitement”) came from the back of the pack in Matt Somerville’s #21 Integra, to pass the 10x Prelude of (fearracing.org sponsored) Cody Hoopes, around lap 27, and never looked back. Cody is the current point leader after his “Scout night” win over Jaime Corbett and Zach Bristol. Winner of the second heat race, Cody is a 2nd generation figure-8 driver, as his dad Troy Hoopes raced some years back in the X-treme division. And coming in 3rd was Jaime Corbett in his #76 Prelude. Son of FEAR super-star Vern ”the Crazy Cajun” Deitz, and brother of Ricky, the former Hornet champ also showed his sort of inherited skills and patience throughout the 78 lap event. Congrats to Dawson for the win, his Dad and Mom “Chrissy” are quite proud, of course… and I might add, Dawson is the first 3rd generation Evergreen driver to win a track Championship, that I am aware of. And he hasn’t even quite graduated from High school yet!

Next up, 17 Superstock Figure-8 cars started their race in even wetter conditions. 3-time Champion, Quenton “the One-armed Bandit” Borreson started in the middle of the pack with David Brandenburg’s fast, blue Gapp-built #17, and was working his way to the front, but by lap 10, Steve Cox had blown by “Q-man” and ALL of the other 15 cars he started behind, in Tom Gapp’s own #32 hot-rod. Borreson seemed to lose power around lap 24 and was unable to catch Cox as he nearly lapped the entire field! Several yellow flags, bad visibility and plenty of rain slowed the timed event to just 52 slippery laps, but nobody could keep up with the 4-time Champ known to all as “Mister Excitement”! Second place went to the #77 Camaro driven by Brandon Florer, following a good, tough battle with 3rd place finisher Brian Little. Borreson remains the 2017 point leader with a 4th place finish, of course, having won the first two races of the season, both over Tony Hill, with Doug Delfel and Eric Allison each sharing the podium.

And speaking of Tony, I understand he sold his #80 Chevy to “Demo” Joe Lapado, who was the only one to try doing double-duty on Saturday. Nice to see a new guy keeping it up…for 60 minutes! 13 “Outlaws” (and Joe) started the final 30-minute race of the night in even wetter conditions. You could tell who had relatively good tires, and it wasn’t the 2 Wilkinson cars, which spun out several times on the slick track. Contact with Ricky “the Kid” Deitz took the #76 out of the early lead and helped the defending Outlaw Champ, Seth Funden, catch up to the fast #83 of Zach Larson. Larson later got tagged in the intersection, around lap 25, with Chris Curtis piling in with the Boney Bros. #74, killing both of their chances at a podium finish. The restart had Seth Funden’s #40 ahead of the 5-time Champ, John Carlson in his new #50 hot-rod, and the even newer #45 of (2-time champ) Jake Repin. With 5 minutes to go, Carlson clipped Richard Shanebrook’s dead-in-the-intersection #98, which brought out the only clock-stopping Red flag of the night.

Only 7 “Outlaw” cars finished the grueling race, which went just 58 laps for the top 2 cars. It should be noted that some extra cash was generously added to the winner’s prize by the Boney Bros. team, and it went to race winner Seth Funden, over Jake Repin, in second…and appearing on the podium for the first time as an “Outlaw”, 3 laps back, but still in 3rd, and waaay ahead of his Dad, was the “Junior Cowboy” Bryant Carlson! Jessica Gray was a couple laps back in 4th, and a couple more back was #3 Keith Taylor. Congrats to Seth, and to all of the drivers who showed up and helped make it a pretty good li’l race!

The weekend off before the 8-cars return, and a busy summer schedule ahead, is now all listed online at the NEW evergreenspeedway.com web page. Better point listings, driver info for all divisions and even “my-lap” stats can be found there now, just look under “nascar”. Check it out, for all of your Evergreen Speedway questions! And an exciting NEW program is on the way, too… See you at the track!   BC

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