|Joined: ||Saturday Oct 10th, 2009|
|Location: ||Washington USA|
|Bittrolf battles by Champ
By C.J. Whistledech
Longtime WMRA competitor Glenn Bittrolf slid past defending series champion Tony Seidelman on lap sixteen to claim Saturday night’s feature at Cottage Grove Speedway. For Bittrolf of Springfield, OR it was a second career win and the first victory by a Volkswagen powered midget in recent memory.
With point leader Evan Margeson electing to skip the event, the evening had a different feel from the onset. Mitch Hoffses set the pace in his potent Esslinger/ Spike, posting a qualifying time of 13.53. Bittrolf was an impressive second fast at 14.28. Joining them in the dash were 7/7 winner Lance Hallmark with 14.45 and Seidelman just a tick slower at 14.50. In a fully inverted lineup, Seidelman powered from the pole to the top groove with Hallmark, Bittrolf and Hoffses in tow. Fast man Hoffses joined Seidelman on the cushion but Bittrolf didn’t relinquish third without a fight. At the checkers it was the #98 of Tom & Judy Maples, Hallmark in his own Pontiac/ Drake, Karl Hoffses’s #5 and Bittrolf piloting his own VW/Beast.
Sadly Hoffses’s night ended while hot-lapping prior to the heat race. A sour note was reported by railbirds and young Mitch’s night was through. Hopefully damage to the exotic powerplant is limited. The balance of the field swarmed into turn one with Poulsbo, WA visitor Garret Johnson seizing the point. Hallmark was already second by the completion of the first lap followed by rookie Scott Charters. Johnson raised a few eyebrows in his USAC legal Ford Focus but Hallmark was not to be denied. Both Seidelman and Bittrolf pushed toward the front while Charters found himself challenged by Steve Veltman. Charters spun his Chevy II powered mount on lap four but the restart did little to shuffle the order. Hallmark won the heat in convincing style, Seidelman placed second with Bittrolf third.
In the main event Seidelman rocketed to the top of the track to lead the first circuit over Hallmark, Johnson, Charters, Bittrolf and Veltman. Within another lap (runner up in Grays Harbor points) Johnson found his rhythm, shot past Hallmark and was vying for the lead. Seidelman was having none of it however and using all muscle of his Ed Pink Ford, began to pull away. Bittrolf meanwhile chose his route by Charters, diving from the high groove to the pole in one ballsy swoop. Veltman chose a more conventional path, powering underneath the neophyte entering turn three. Johnson was back challenging for the lead when Charters spun in turn two for the event’s first yellow. Seidelman continued to set the pace after the restart while Bittrolf fought his way by Hallmark. Suddenly Hallmark began to slow, the victim of a detached spark plug wire.”The McMinnvlle Madman” pulled into the infield on lap thirteen without causing a yellow. The leader continued to climb the banking in search of adhesion. Johnson had a lock on second until being forced to retire with overheating three laps later and a second yellow was thrown. Now Bittrolf was able to close right up on Seidelman and Charters zapped Veltman for third on the restart. Bittrolf was working the bottom to perfection and when he pulled alongside the leader, there was little the defending champ could do. Similarly, Veltman was struggling with the lack of power steering and had nothing more for Charters. Bittrolf cruised to a deserved win, Seidelman hung on for second, Charters scored a career best third and Veltman survived to finish fourth.
Next event for the WMRA Dirt Midgets is August 4th again at Cottage Grove. We hope to see you there!