|Moderated by: ScottNSRA||
|Hein, Much the Best on A Night of Remembering|| Rate Topic
|Posted: Tuesday Jul 31st, 2012 02:46 AM||
Hein, Much the Best on A Night of Remembering
Post-race stories are supposed to be just that, a story of the evening’s events. But to truly grasp the magnitude and importance of the Rory Price memorial to the ASA/NSRA family you must go beyond just what happened during the night’s race. On March 31st 2006 it was just another night at the race track; ASA/NSRA had arrived a night early to get some practice in before the opening night of the 2006 season. I was serving my first night as the association’s reporter, but I never could’ve expected the story I was left with.
Rory Price was born to race, it was in his blood and though he had recently retired from racing, the passion still burned within. If you ever listen to friends and family talk about him, you are painted a picture of a great man, which was fun to be around and would do anything for anyone. Being the man and friend he was he had agreed to do a test run on a friend’s car; it was not going to be raced that weekend but would compete later that year with another series. I was standing just behind the front stretch wall watching the cars zip by as I often did, when I saw a red missile, barreling, nearly out of control, past the flag stand. The minutes that would follow, left behind a tornado of devastating blows throughout the entire northwest open wheeled racing community.
Rory Price tragically lost his life that night at Evergreen Speedway, and everyone that had ever been blessed enough to meet Rory, lost a little piece of themselves. Every year since his passing; friends, family and fellow competitors have gathered in a celebration of his life, a race in his name and a fundraiser in his honor. It is more than just another stop along the road to a championship for the ASA/NSRA drivers, this race runs deeper than just a big payout, and its reputation as a race has grown to a high level of prestige in which every driver desires the honor of hoisting the Rory Price Memorial trophy over his head.
That being said, the stage had been set, twenty-one cars from Oregon, Washington, Idaho, British Columbia and even Arizona had made the tow to take part in the Rory Price Memorial (RPM). With a packed house at Evergreen Speedway, the sprints of ASA/NSRA did not disappoint. Running for the first time on the much smaller 3/8’s mile, gave the sprints a shot at a track record they haven’t had in the past. Sierra Jackson put the crowd on their feet when she broke the all-time track as only the second qualifier to enter the track. It would be short lived though, fellow Idaho resident Johnny Giesler would break her record and be the first to ever cross into the 13 second bracket, but the sprints weren’t done yet. Andy Alberding would one up Giesler by again setting another record. The former track record of 14.577 set on July 27th 1985, would finally fall some 27 years and one day later with a time of 13.931. Qualifying fast time also elected Alberding the option of starting in the very back and if he could make his way to the front and win he would awarded an extra $1,000 and would be guaranteed the hard charger award which carried a $500 prize and a new right rear tire. After drawing a ten for the invert, Alberding elected to not go for the extra $1,000, laughing as he joked with fellow competitors, “I need all the help I can get.”
Fans at Evergreen Speedway sat patiently through dashes and heat races, before finally being rewarded. 20 winged sprint cars pushed off to start the main event, and as Robert Beck led them to the line for one to go green, everyone was on their feet cheering. All 20 shot out of turn four for the green flag, but it was Robert Beck who jumped to the early lead and one could see from the start he was on a mission. Jake Mann was quickly challenged for the second spot by Shawn Rice, the lone Arizona driver. By lap three the leaders had already caught lapped traffic, knowing it was going to be a factor, Beck maneuvered his way consciously through traffic. Lap five brought out the first caution of the night as Russell Root spun in turn one, Matt Hein and Jake Mann were battling for the third position, when the car spun directly in front of them. Both drivers escaped without incident. This would lead us to the first double file restart of the night.
Beck would again lead the field to the stripe, this time it was Rice to his outside. The two cars were side by side down the front stretch; Rice tried to pitch the car sideways into turn one but couldn’t carry enough speed to make a run on the determined Beck. Hein used the restart to overtake Mann, and Jeff Montgomery would follow Hein to the fourth position. Behind them Mann was starting to feel pressure from the Idaho tandem, Sierra Jackson and Johnny Giesler, both were on the move from their seventh and ninth starting positions. Two laps later disaster struck for the Idaho drivers though, Jackson was looking to make a move around Mann when the two cars touched tires, lifting the rear end of Mann’s car and sending both cars into a spin. Giesler was looking for a way around the accident but was collected with nowhere to go, the front of his car clipped one of the tractor tires on the inside of the track and shot him out to the middle of turn one. Andy Alberding was directly being the accident but was able to avoid being a part of the scene. The accident led sent out the red flag, which allowed crews to make any hand tool adjustments needed.
After the cleanup, the cars were fired off and relined. Beck was challenged again by Rice, but was able to maintain the lead, but a lap later, Beck pulled the black #3 to the infield on the backstretch. His high pressure power steering line had blown, spraying warm fluid all over the cockpit and subsequently ending his night. This brought out the third caution of the night. As the cars lined up again for a double file restart, the running order was Rice, Hein, Montgomery, Alberding, Todd Coleman, Chris Schmelzle, Darren Yates, Matt Mansell, Reece Goetz had quietly worked his way from last to within the top ten and Jason Thomas rounded out the top ten.
Rice led the field to the stripe and shot out of turn four like a cannonball. Hein spun his tires allowing Montgomery to sneak to the second position. Alberding tried to follow but Hein slammed the door shut. By lap 18 Goetz was continuing his impressive run by overtaking the fifth position and lapped traffic allowed him to challenge Alberding for fourth, Alberding was stuck behind two lapped cars running side by side. Back up front Hein regained the second position by going to the outside of Montgomery, and on lap 23 Hein would overtake Rice, who found himself stuck in traffic. Montgomery would also pass Rice and set his sights on Hein. A few laps later Rice found himself in the grass on the backstretch but was able to save the car and only lost one position to Alberding. Alberding quickly gave chase to Montgomery, while Montgomery chased Hein, who was looking for a window around lapped cars that were racing for position. “I didn’t know where those guys were but I thought I had a good lead, as well as the car was hooked, I thought I had some room.” Hein said about Montgomery and Alberding. His gut was right he had a full straightaway lead on the two trailers.
Lap 37, saw Goetz’s incredible run come to an end, just three laps short of the finish, he spun in turn two, ending his night. With fewer than 10 laps remaining the ASA/NSRA rules state the race will go single file restart with Hein showing the way, followed by Montgomery, Alberding, Rice, Schmelzle, Mansell and Yates all on the lead lap. Matt Hein proved to be too much for Montgomery and Alberding; and he would go on to win his third Rory Price memorial with Montgomery and Alberding in tow. Rice would hold on for fourth followed by Chris Schmelzle’s quiet but solid fifth place run. Matt Mansell finished sixth after to electing to drive with a dislocated elbow, and Darren Yates drove Mansell’s second car to a solid seventh place finish. After getting airborne and backing the car into the wall, Jake Mann was able to finish inside the top ten with an eighth place finish, followed by another local driver Todd Coleman in ninth. Because of lap counts, Reece Goetz was scored with a tenth place finish. Jason Thomas, Leroy Hudson, Kyle Secord, Robby Haslam, Russell Root, Robert Beck, Sierra Jackson, Johnny Giesler, Rally Root, Greg Middendorf and Tyler Muse made up the official finishing order.
After his third RPM win, Hein exited the car climbed up the back of the cockpit and threw his hands up and let out a huge yell to the fans. He jumped down and hugged his crew before taking off his helmet and accepting his trophy. It was a much needed win for a driver who has struggled all year to find his groove. “It’s tough when you have four races and wreck out of two of them.” He commented later. “We just haven’t been able to find the right setup, we’re not doing anything different, but the car has been different.” After a thrilling night, Hein and Alberding’s finish is sure to give them both a boost in the point standings. Giesler entered the night leading Jackson by eleven and Alberding by twelve, but there is sure to be a big shake up in the points when we meet again at South Sound Speedway on August 25th.
If you don't like the speed I'm going now, your really not going to like my other speed.
|Current time is 08:12 PM|
|NWRaceChat > RACETALK > ASA/NSRA > Hein, Much the Best on A Night of Remembering||Top|