Justyn Cox Wins 2019 Marvin Smith Memorial Grove Classic; Nick Evans Scores Northwest Focus Midget Series Victory
By Ben Deatherage
(Photo Courtesy of Josh Ryan Photos)
Cottage Grove, Oregon- Despite losing the Saturday program to rain, Cottage Grove Speedway managed to get one night of racing completed over Memorial Day Weekend. The Marvin Smith Memorial Grove Classic, on Sunday, May 26th, attracted thirty-four 360 Sprint teams and over twenty Northwest Focus Midget Series entries. Cars represented the states of Oregon, Washington, California, Idaho, and Oklahoma as well as the Canadian province of British Columbia.
Justyn Cox, of Clarksburg, California, started on the pole of the forty-one lap 360 Sprint finale. Racing for Canadian car owners Doug and Kathy Rutz, Cox set a rapid paced for much of the race despite several stoppages throughout the course of the main event. As the laps remaining count reduced, a contender was starting to emerge from the depths of the field.
Aromas, California pilot Justin Sanders, running the Willie Kahne owned entry, gave chase to Cox. Sanders had bounced back from a major set back of having to start seventeenth in the original lineup but through a heavy gas peddle foot and intelligent decision making through heavy traffic Sanders managed to improve his running position lap after lap, eventually to second. The two battled in and out of lapped traffic but somehow Cox retained the lead.
A late race caution on lap thirty-nine set up a green-white-checkered finish with no lap cars separating Cox and Sanders. Cox held on despite being challenged the rest of the distance. Cox became the first ever Californian to win the Marvin Smith Memorial Grove Classic and the first time owners Doug and Kathy Rutz have been in the winner’s circle of this event.
Justin Sanders was a respectable second and making it a complete Californian podium Tony Gualda, of Hollister and also racing for Doug and Kathy Rutz, finished in third. Marysville, Washington’s Colton Heath, in the Alan Larson and Kelly Welch machine, was the last car on the lead lap and credited with fourth while Dustin Freitas, originally from Hawaii but now residing in Sacramento, California, rounded up the top five, in fifth.
Qualifying was split into two groups with Quilcene, Washington driver J.J. Hickle and Harrisburg teenager Tyler Thompson both setting quick time. Heat race wins went to Justin Sanders, Rob Lindsey of Sherwood, Dustin Freitas, and Roseville, California veteran Sean Becker in the Dan and Cindi Menne owned mount. Justyn Cox was victorious in the six-car six-lap Trophy Dash to earn his pole starting position.
The Northwest Focus Midget Series was on tap for their annual visit to CGS. Nick Evans, of Granite Falls, Washington, got the job done and won the main event. A.J. Fugitt, Nik Larson, Tristin Thomas, and Hannah Lindquist completed the rest of the top five finishers.
Cottage Grove Speedway has two races on tap for next weekend’s action. On Friday, May 31st, the Karts will race for the third time this year while Saturday, June 1st, is Driver Appreciation Night on the ¼-mile clay oval. Classes on the card include the Todd’s Auto Body Sprint Cars, Mohawk Metal IMCA Modifieds, Late Models, IMCA Sport Mods, Street Stocks, and Hornets. A large crowd is expected and Front Gates will be opening up at 2:00 PM.
On Friday for Karts the Pit Gates open at 3:00 PM and the Pit Meeting (with Hot Laps/Racing to follow) at 6:00. General Admission is FREE, Pit Passes $10.00, and Car/Driver Entry $35.00. On Saturday the Pit Gates open at 1:00 PM, Front Gates 2:00, and Time Trials at 5:30 with Racing beginning at 6:00. Tickets are $10.00 for Adults, Seniors/Juniors/Military $10.00, Youths (6-12) $5.00, and Children (5 & Under) are FREE. CGS offers a Family Pass (2 Adults and up to 4 Youths) for $35.00, VIP Skybox Seating is $25.00 each, and Pit Passes are $30.00. For more information and updates log on to www.cottagegrovespeedway.com or check out the official Facebook page.
Marvin Smith Memorial Grove Classic
Sunday, May 25th, 2019
Cottage Grove Speedway
Cottage Grove, Oregon
Heat Race Winners: Justin Sanders (1), Rob Lindsey (2), Dustin Freitas (3), Sean Becker (4)
Trophy Dash Winner: Justyn Cox
B Feature 1: 1. Kyle Miller, 2. Logan Forler, 3. Kinzer Cox, 4. Tyler Driever, 5. Chris Bullock, 6. Don Waddell, 7. Duke Johnson, 8. David Marble, 9. Greg Hamilton
B Feature 2: 1. James Setters, 2. Tanner Holmes, 3. Orion Redmond, 4. Vern Scevers, 5. Tyrell Mead, 6. Brian Boswell, 7. John Stuart, DNS Jason Solwold, DNS Jared Hood
A Feature: 1. Justyn Cox, 2. Justin Sanders, 3. Tony Gualda, 4. Colton Heath, 5. Dustin Freitas, 6. Sean Becker, 7. Matt Hein, 8. Kyle Miller, 9. Rob Lindsey, 10. Orion Redmond, 11. Vern Scevers, 12. Seth Bergman, 13. Jake Wheeler, 14. Tyler Thompson, 15. J.J. Hickle, 16. Garen Linder, 17. Tanner Holmes, 18. Kinzer Cox, 19. Devon Borden, 20. Steven Snawder, 21. Tyler Driever, 22. James Setters, 23. Nate Vaughn, 24. Logan Forler
Northwest Focus Midget Series
Heat Race Winners: Mike Stryker (1), Matt Loving (2), Nik Larson (3)
Trophy Dash Winner: A.J. Fugitt
A Feature: 1. Nick Evans, 2. A.J. Fugitt, 3. Nik Larson, 4. Tristin Thomas, 5. Hannah Lindquist, 6. Mike Stryker, 7. Michael Vollbrecht, 8. Matt Loving, 9. Chris Greene, 10. Alden Ostrom, 11. Ashley Thompson, 12. Jesse Conway, 13. Breanna Brostrom, 14. Ray Stebbins, 15. Elijah Gibbs, 16. Glenn Bittrolf, 17. Guy Tow Sr., 18. Greg Thornhill