Saturday, August 24 was the second and final night of the 2019 Mark Howard Memorial Modified Nationals. Over 44 drivers from Oregon and Washington competed in the Mohawk Metal IMCA Modifieds during the weekend and produced some excellent results. Stellar action also came from the two other divisions on the card, the IMCA Sport Mods and 360 Sprints.
Bricen James managed to take full advantage of his inside front-row starting position and put his mount in front of the rest of the field to lead the first lap. Despite the Albany ace pacing the field, he had some fast company try and overtake him. It would be cautions galore in the first half of the race with six stoppages in the first 26 circuits. The frequent stops took lapped traffic out of the picture.
That was until the second half of the main event when it was an all-out battle for the top spot. James briefly lost the lead with a handful of laps remaining until he quickly reclaimed the position on the next corner. Bricen held all challengers at bay to win his first career Mark Howard Memorial Modified Nationals. He is the seventh different driver to have had the honor of accomplishing such a rare feat. It is also his fourth win of the season at CGS which now ties him for the most wins in the class this year.
Collen Winebarger, of Corbett, was a respectable second despite running down and challenging the leader for the vast majority of the main event. Klamath Falls’ Nick Trenchard finished second, and Nikki Biehn owned entry on the podium with a third-place result. The top five was rounded out by Bend native Chad Groves, in fourth and fifth finishing B.J. Wild, of Redmond.
It was non-stop action in the IMCA Sport Mod feature. Vancouver, Washington’s Tanner Krohling set the tone early and was the trailblazer for the first seven laps. Isaac Sanders, of Brookings, managed to make it around Krohling on lap eight and pulled away for the rest of the field.
Sanders showed a lot of speed but had his hands full in the last couple of laps. Jorddon Braaten managed to make a final lap gamble to beat Isaac to the line and pick up the victory. It is the fourth win for Braaten at “The Grove” this, year which ties him for the most wins at the famed quarter-mile clay oval. Braaten also swept the weekend by winning both nights.
Isaac Sander finished in second while Tanner Krohiling ended his night in third. Roseburg’s Jordan Henry got fourth over Matt Sanders, also from Brookings, in fifth.
Lastly, the 360 Sprint Cars had their finale soiree of the campaign. Tony Gualda, racing for British Columbia car owners Doug and Kathy Rutz, obtained the lead on the opening lap. There he remained for some time before being overtaken a few laps later. Kyle Miller, now living in Salem and running for car owner Kady Adelman, managed to take over the role as the new point man.
Tyler Thompson made a late-race bid for the top position and managed to secure the spot. The Harrisburg teenager held on the rest of the distance to win his first career 360 Sprint feature. Not only that but Thompson emerged out of his car as the 2019 Cottage Grove 360 Sprint track champion.
Kyle Miller ended his night second while Tony Gualda put in a third-place effort. Roseburg’s Matt Hein, driving the Brett Smith owned entry, got fourth while fifth went to Central Point veteran Garen Linder, also in a Doug and Kathy Rutz car.
Cottage Grove Speedway returns for another two night spectacular on Saturday, Aug. 31 and Sunday, Sept. 1. It will be the championship weekend for the Interstate Sprint Car Series. The Late Models and Hornets will be on the card on both races. On Sunday the Hornets have their big race of the year for the 2019 Froggy 44 Tribute To Melvin Walker. For more information and updates log on to www.cottagegrovespeedway.com or check out the official Facebook page.