ALGER, Wash. – Mother Nature tried her best, but at the end of the night, Skagit Speedway completed night one of the Monster Meltdown by crowning a first time winner with the Summer Thunder Sprint Series presented by Here 2 Wire and Finishline Graphics.
Lawrance Kirkham stood triumphant on the podium after 30 crazy laps of action to collect his first career Skagit Speedway win. Earlier in the evening, Kelsey Carpenter won the Sportsman Sprint Cup main event.
Heavy rains through the day and sporadic small showers during the night gave the drivers a tricky task to navigate Skagit Speedway’s new surface in the Summer Thunder Sprint Series main event. The initial start saw 12 cars collect up on the front straight, eliminating six of the front eight starters from the race entirely, and retiring a total of eight cars for the night. Lawrance Kirkham was the major beneficiary of the pileup up front, advancing from his sixteenth starting spot to the outside front row of the restart.
The Stanwood, Wash., driver took full advantage, darting into the early lead while Reece Goetz worked to run him down as the pair begin working on slower traffic. Goetz grabbed the lead on lap five from Kirkham with Robbie Price following him through. Goetz and Price began dicing amongst slower cars until disaster struck both drivers. Battling for the lead coming to the completion of lap eight, Goetz and Price made contact, sending Reece spinning to a stop and flattening Price’s left rear tire.
While Goetz would rejoin at the back of the field, Price was trapped in the work area as the race resumed with Kirkham back on point at lap nine. From there, Kirkham would endure multiple cautions and red flags to run to his first Skagit Speedway win. Goetz recovered from deep in the field up to second with Cale Brooke taking a career best third place. Jared Peterson was fast time. Price, Steve Reeves and Travis Jacobson won the heat races. J.J. Hickle won the B Main.
Previous to the Summer Thunder A Main, Kelsey Carpenter became the fourth winner of the Sportsman Sprint Cup with a win in the 25 lap main event. After multiple attempts to start the main event, and a number of crashes and dropouts, Lee Hornbeck ran out to the early lead with Jake Helsel and Carpenter chasing him down.
Hornbeck was tough in clean air, but lapped cars proved to be a huge challenge and that’s where Carpenter made his move. Kelsey first cleared Helsel then trapped Hornbeck on the bottom of the track while guiding the Bill Rude owned No. 33 around the high side of turn one and two to take the lead on lap nine. Helsel followed suit and went high side to clear Hornbeck and the slower traffic.
Navigating through more cautions, Carpenter was flawless out front in taking the win, followed by Helsel and Steve Parker in the top three. The win also gives Kelsey victories in three different divisions at Skagit Speedway in 2015. He was also the quick qualifier on the night. Heat race wins went to Lance Sargent, James Bundy, Devin Barnes and Joe Lyon.