Rochester, WA — Making his way from the back of the field, Quincy’s Mitch Kleyn found patience is a racers best friend at race number three in the Northwest Super Late Model Series (NWSLMS) season. Travis Sharpe, Kleyn’s car chief and spotter directed him from the back of the pack twice through traffic and several yellow flags. Kleyn found himself in the fourth position near the end of the “Rumble in Rochester 125” at South Sound Speedway. Turned out, that was the right place to be after an incident involving the top 3 cars brought out the red flag, and saw all three head to the pit area. Kleyn started on the pole for the green, white, checkered finish that followed. The packed house fans were on their feet as Kleyn and Yakima’s Chad Hinkle raced side by side for the remaining laps. Kleyn edged ahead of Hinkle at the checkered by .030 to take his first NWSLMS victory. “We came from the back two times and knew we had a great car” said Kleyn. “We stayed smooth and ran two great laps for the win! I want to thank my wife, Rhonda, for never wanting to give up, Travis Sharpe for giving us a great setup, and the whole Wild 1 crew for their support.”
Brandon Carlson of Victoria, British Columba, Canada finished third, Bob Presley of Olympia and Seattle’s Molly Helmuth rounded out the top five.
The evening started with Shane Mitchell setting the fast qualifying time of 13.534 on the 3/8th mile oval. With a roll of the dice, Mitchell landed an 8-car invert for the feature event. Rod Schultz Sr. and Brandon Carlson would lead the field to green.
You could feel the electricity rolling through the grandstands as Schultz Sr., took the early lead from Carlson and 18‑year old Brittney Zamora. Zamora, who graduated from high school with honors earlier in the day, quickly took the third position. By lap 60, Zamora, one of four female starters, had taken over 2nd from Carlson, whose car had gotten very loose. Zamora kept pressure on Schultz Sr. trying to take the lead position. His experience and knowledge allowed him to keep the track to his advantage. By lap 100, Mitchell had taken over the 2nd position and both he and Zamora pressured Schultz Sr. for the lead, while trading 2nd and 3rd back and forth between them. Both drivers tried the inside and the outside to no avail.
At lap 123, Mitchell finally got a nose inside Schultz Sr., who tried to close the door going down the front stretch. The glowing red brake rotors on Mitchell’s car indicated he was trying to get slowed up, but contact was made and Schultz Sr. headed straight for the turn one wall, collecting Zamora in the process. Zamora drove to the pit area to pull out some body panels and change a tire. Schultz Sr. left on a rollback, and Mitchell was posted for the contact as per the rules.
Kleyn, a two-time runner up in the series standings, becomes the only driver to compete in every event with the series since its inception.
It’s not very often that you have more than one female racer competing at an event. South Sound Speedway race fans witnessed four young ladies in the running at the Rumble in Rochester 125. All series regulars, Brittney Zamora finished 10th, Brooke Schimmel finished 7th, Stephanie Evans finished 16th. Molly Helmuth was the highest finishing female running 5th. Brittney Zamora leaves South Sound Speedway as the northwest’s first female super late model point leader.
The next event for the NWSLMS is at Douglas County Speedway in Roseburg, Oregon on June 17, 2017 at http://www.douglascountyspeedway.com.
Final Results – South Sound Speedway
|12||55||Rod Schultz Sr||123|
Lap leaders: 1- 123 Rod Schultz Sr., 124-125 Mitch Kleyn.
-By, Shari Garber, Speed51.com West Coast Correspondent