DEMING, Wash. – Sunny skies and enthusiastic fans greeted the drivers competing in the Thursday night preliminary event of the 30th annual Clay Cup Nationals at Deming Speedway.
When the dust settled, Kyle Mitchell, Tyson Cross and Ashley Thompson picked up victories in the night’s A Features.
In what was an intense, physical contest, Kyle Mitchell topped the 600 Open division on a preliminary night for the second straight year. Mitchell took the lead from Jacob Brown on lap seven then held off a determined Liam Ryan over the course of a stop and start feature that saw numerous yellows slow down the action. Spud Allen took third in the main with a late pass of Brown.
Chase Schmidt was the fast qualifier. Heat wins went to Allen, Lance Sargent, Ryan, Mitchell and Brock Lemley. Kris Labree won the C Feature and Robbie Price won the B Main.
For the third straight year, Tyson Cross won a preliminary feature in the Shots 2 Go Espresso 1200 division. Cross picked up the lead on lap 11 following a spin by leader Tony Helsel. He lost the lead on the ensuing restart, as Nate Vaughn drove underneath to pick up the top spot. Cross battled back on the high side, grabbing the point back from Vaughn on lap 16 on the high side, then keeping Vaughn and Brock Lemley at bat to take the win.
Lemley picked off Vaughn late but didn’t have enough time to make a charge at Cross, settling for second. Vaughn settled for third after leading laps 12-15. Liam Ryan set quick time. Jacob Buckenmeyer, Derek Holmwood and Cross won the heats.
Ashley Thompson won the first ever preliminary A Main for the 600 Restricted class at Deming Speedway. Thompson took the lead from Ashleigh Johnson on the inside of turn four coming to complete the 8th lap to secure the lead and eventual win. Johnson held on for second and Jake Helsel raced his way to third. Tristin Thomas set quick time. Spencer Constance, Helsel, Dylan Resch and Galen turner won the heat races. Brandee Wood won the B Feature.