ELMA — Veteran driver Craig Moore of Seabeck spoiled Joe German’s season debut in the modified classification to highlight Saturday’s program at Grays Harbor Raceway.
Moore outdueled German to win the modified main. Henry Van Dam of Enumclaw took the 360 sprint car feature, while Tenino’s Chad Norton won the Outlaw Tuners and Corey Estaban of Gaston, Ore., prevailed in the Pacific Hard Top Racing Association dwarf car main.
The national World of Outlaws sprint car tour will make its annual Elma appearance on Labor Day. It will be preceded Sunday by the Summer Thunder Sprint Series.
Three-time Raceway modified champion German, of the Wishkah Valley, used Saturday’s race as a tune-up for the Fast Shafts IMCA Modified All-Star Invitational, scheduled for Sept. 5 at Boone, Iowa. German is the first-ever Washington-based driver to be voted into the all-star race.
In his first Elma appearance of the season, German was locked in a tight battle with Moore and Aberdeen’s Austin Kerrigan for much of the 25-lap feature. Moore blew a motor in the heat race, but borrowed a car driven by Mount Vernon’s Mel Decker for the main event.
In the lead since the seventh lap, German ran the lower side of the track, with Moore on the upper side. The Seabeck driver finally slipped past German to own the lead before Kerrigan (running third at the time) hit a tire that separated Turn Four from the infield on the 20th lap, bringing out the yellow flag.
Moore withstood a challenge from German on Turn One of the restart and pulled away for the victory. German placed second, with Scott Miller of Shelton taking third.
German and Kris Asche of Shelton were the heat-race winners.
Saturday’s main event victory was the sixth of the season for Van Dam.
The Enumclaw driver led from the outset, but encountered lapped traffic each time he attempted to pull away. That enabled Colton Heath of Marysville to stay on his bumper for much of the 25-lap feature. Heath even briefly took the lead at one point, only to have Van Dam regain the advantage.
A yellow flag on the 20th lap set up a five-lap shootout between the two pacesetters. Running the high side, Van Dam held off Heath for the remainder of the race. J.J. Hickle of Quilcene placed third.
Heath and Reece Goetz of Snohomish captured the heat races.
Norton overhauled Don Briggs Sr., of the Wishkah Valley midway through the main event. Those two and Aberdeen’s Willie Wright of Aberdeen staged a three-way battle for the lead in the early stages.
As the race turned into a green-to-checkered sprint, Norton wound up on top. Ocean Shores driver Jeff Daniel came from out of the pack to edge Wright for second.
Estaban got the jump on Kelso’s Jess Turner, Jr., on the final restart of the 25-lap main.
Starting well back in the field, Estaban worked his way through the pack, while Oregon driver Tim Hester and Turner exchanged the lead.
Turner owned the top spot when a yellow flag forced a restart. Estaban blasted to the outside and passed Turner on Turn Two and maintained the advantage for the remainder of the race.
Henry Corbin III of Mollala, Ore., also passed Turner to finish second.
Main Event: 1. Craig Moore. 2. Joe German. 3. Scott Miller. 4. Carl Larson. 5. Alan Muenchow.
Heat Races: Heat One — Kris Asche, Melvin Decker, Scott Westley. Heat Two — German, Kyler Moore, Muenchow.
Main Event: 1. Henry Van Dam. 2. Colton Heath. 3. J.J. Hickle. 4. Evan Margeson. 5. Eric Fisher.
Heat Races: Heat One — Heath, Van Dam, Margeson. Heat Two — Reece Goetz, Hickle, Tyler Anderson.
Main Event: 1. Chad Norton. 2. Jeff Daniel. 3. Willie Wright. 4. Ryan Onasch. 5. Don Briggs Sr.
Heat Races: Heat One — Onasch, Briggs, John Irvin. Heat Two — Norton, Wright, Melvin Welch.
PHRA Dwarf Cars
Main Event: 1. Corey Estaban. 2. Henry Corbin III. 3. Jess Turner Jr. 4. Kevin Benson. 5. Jess Turner Sr.
Heat Races: Heat One — Estaban, Jim Pavel, Turner Jr. Heat Two — Corbin, Turner Sr., John Chrisman. Heat Three — Eric Bergquist, Ryan McVae, Benson.