Stewart wins the Dirt Cup
Stewart is going home to
young driver out of Bixby was out front all 40 laps to win the 33rd
Annual Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup Saturday night at
Sixth in the Dirt Cup point standings, Stewart was involved in the pill draw for starting positions in the first three rows. Stewart was last to go, and all that was left was the second starting position. Being last to get a starting spot earlier in the evening was the biggest break of his career. Stewart was slow during the practice session for A-Main starters, but the Rudeen Racing team worked on the car the whole evening before starting the race.
the initial start, Stewart blew by pole-sitter Tommy Tarlton of
five laps had gone by before Stewart was in heavy traffic, allowing two-time
Dirt Cup champion Steve Kent of
Stewart nearly had a costly mishap on lap 20 when he got loose in turn two and nearly hit the wall. Stewart made the save, however, and kept rim-riding on the high side of the track. On lap 22, Tarlton got out of shape and then cut a tire, bringing out another caution. By that time, Tim Kaeding, who had earned the most points during the preliminaries but drew the four-pill, had moved back up to fourth after falling back on lap three when he hit the turn two wall.
lap 36, the final caution came out for Sedro-Woolley's
Chad Hillier, who brought Huson Bros. Racing machine
to a stop in turn four. During that caution, Travis Jacobson of
the final restart, Stewart rocketed away again as Kaeding gave chase. On lap
38, Kaeding started to struggle significantly as he was running out of fuel.
Both Kent and Brent's son Tim passed him on the same lap in a wild scramble
coming out of turn four. Lap 39 saw Tim Kaeding pass
Stewart picked the checkered flag for the biggest win of his career, with Kent and Tim Kaeding in tow. Brent Kaeding held on to fourth with Blake Robertson taking fifth place.
Six cars transferred out of the 25-lap B-Main. Robertson won it, with Pylant, Toni Lutar, Stephan Allard, Australian Peter Murphy, and Harkness going to the big dance with him.
Winning a 20-lap C-Main race was Mike Dunham. Gary Vaughn, Brian Ash, and Brock Lemley were the other drivers who transferred to the B-Main.
Kirk Fellers easily won the 15-lap D-Main by a sizeable margin. Roy Blumenhagen finished second with Kyle Johnson and Henry VanDam following him.
Stewart became the 16th driver to win Skagit Speedway's crown jewel event, and if he returns next year could become the 10th driver to win multiple Dirt Cups. Four other Dirt Cup champions were in the field, including Brent Kaeding, Kent, and Pylant. Jimmy Sills, winner of the event an unprecedented six times, also raced but fell out of the B-Main when he was running seventh, one spot out of a transfer. Between those four and Stewart are 13 Dirt Cup titles.
67 different cars competed on the 3/10-mile, high-banked, clay oval during three days of racing.
Weekly racing resumes next week, with 410, 360, and sportsman sprint cars taking to the clay.
Jim Raper Memorial Dirt Cup - Final Night
(15 laps) - Top four transfer to C-Main: 1. 77f Kirk Fellers, 2. 75
(20 laps) - Top four transfer to B-Main: 1. 11d Mike Dunham, 2. 17v Gary
Vaughn, 3. 8a Brian Ash, 4. 10L Brock Lemley, 5. 59 Andy Jacobson, 6. 75 Roy Blumenhagen, 7. 17 Jay Barnes, 8. 33v Henry VanDam, 9. 17h John Huggins, 10. 76e Josh
Edson, 11. 27 Kyle Johnson,
12. 69p Rod Perkins, 13. 66c
Drew Church, 14. 36 Travis Hawthorne, 15. 3p Dan Pierson, 16. 69e Nick Engberg, 17.
B-Main (25 laps) - Top six transfer to A-Main: 1. 10r Blake Robertson, 2. 14p Kevin Pylant, 3. 4x Toni Lutar, 4. 0 Stephan Allard, 5. 18 Peter Murphy, 6. 6 Brandon Harkness, 7. 69t John Tharp, 8. 68 Wayne Williams, 9. 8r Travis Rutz, 10. 73s Jim Skinner, 11. B41 Brad Pritchard, 12. 56 John Youngquist, 13. 17v Gary Vaughn, 14. 8a Brian Ash, 15. 7s Jimmy Sills, 16. 11d Mike Dunham, 17. 10L Brock Lemley, 18. 77b Jayme Barnes.
(40 laps): 1. 26 Shane Stewart, 2. 7n Steve Kent, 3. 83jr Tim Kaeding, 4. 69
Brent Kaeding, 5. 10r Blake Robertson, 6. V8 Jeff Hodgson, 7. 7t Jac
Haudenschild, 8. 5sp Rick Fauver, 9. 21 Tommy Tarlton, 10. 14p
Kevin Pylant, 11. 0x Trevor Green, 12. 88 Jesse Whitney, 13. 5spx Brian Brown,
14. 15 Aaron Fell, 15. 0 Stephan Allard, 16. 22 Travis Jacobson, 17. 3h