St. Helens drivers Justin McMullen, Bob Berg and Brandon Potter celebrated Father's Day with Columbia County Racing wins on Saturday, June 17, at the River City Speedway in St. Helens.
McMullen, 27, won the Street Stock Division trophy dash and main event in his McMullen Water Systems/Alliance Automotive 1979 Chevrolet Malibu, passing Portland's Tom Zywicki on the eighth of 30 trophy dash laps and leading the rest.
McMullen's dad, Scott, 45, followed him across the main event finish line in his Fast Lube & Oil Chevy Malibu.
"It was a pretty exciting Father's Day Weekend, and in previous years we've always had lots of success on this particular day, so it's kind of cool to continue that type of winning tradition," said Justin McMullen, the two-time defending Street Stock champion and current division leader. "I was glad to win my first trophy dash in almost two years, so that was nice. I didn't win one last year, and the last time I won a dash was during the 2015 season. We had our cars in the St. Helens parade on Saturday, then we went out to the track and enjoyed a pretty successful evening there. The track conditions were good with two grooves of racing that allowed us to have lots of side-by-side racing, and our one-two finish was really exciting."
Berg, the reigning Four-Cylinder Division champion, won in his Cozy Lawn Maintenance/Eaton's Tire & Service Center 1997 Dodge Neon as he seized a lead on the third of 20 laps for his first main event win of the year.
"My car was running good, and it was a great race, said Berg, 53. "I also won the Best-Looking Car Award in the St. Helens parade on Saturday, so that was pretty nice as well. The season has been going well so far, and I'm having lots of fun. I'm really looking forward to the Four-Cylinder Challenge race on Saturday [June 23], because I took second place in that series last year and I'm hoping to win it this year."
Potter, 24, took the lead from Stephen Kaptur on lap six and led the remainder of the 25-lap race to win the Modified Division main in his DFI Performance/Cozy Lawn Maintenance open-wheel modified race car for the second week in a row, and also won the heat race. He almost swept his events but came second Todd Newton of Portland in the trophy dash.
"I was good bit of fun to get another main event win," said Potter, whose race team includes his wife Gloria and two daughters Faith, 1, and Halo, 4, and his dad, Jim. "The season has been going pretty good, and hopefully we'll be able to win some more races. Last winter a good friend of mine passed away, and I felt emotionally inspired by his memory and I was really focused on dedicating my race performance as a memorial to him."
Kyle Frelich of St. Helens won the Paint to Pass, Brian Smith captured the Dwarf Car Division main and Bailey Hamilton won the Tracer Division.
Smith was a two-time winner as he won the Dwarf Car Division heat and main event. Andrew Andexler of St. Helens, a former series champion (2015) had his best race in two years with a runner-up finish in his 1932 Ford Coupe two-thirds scale replica dwarf car.
Braden Maltais was a three-time winner as he won the Micro Sprint Division heat race, trophy dash and main event.
Teagan Fischer, 16, a St. Helens High junior, took third place with her TFT Construction/Finish Line Graphics sponsored dwarf car.
Fischer maneuvered up from a last place starting position in the eight-car race and passed five competitors. She leads the division point standings. If Fischer stays atop the standings all season and wins the championship in September, she will set a record as the youngest driver in the speedway's 32-year history to win a title in a Columbia County Racing Association adult racing classification.
"I felt pretty good to get third place," said Fischer, who hopes to accomplish her goal and win the Dwarf Car Division championship. "At the beginning of the night, my car wasn't doing too well. My dad [crew chief Tom Fischer] helped me tremendously in improving the car's performance by just lowering the air pressure a little bit in the tires, and by the time I got into the main, it was running much better. My dad has always supported me well in my racing career, while working on the car to make sure it's running smoothly. It was an exciting race and sometimes it can be challenging to pass other cars, but I was able to do that without any problem."
Frelich won the dwarf car heat race.
The speedway was much-improved for fans in the grandstands as CCRA President CT Brownlow and track maintenance workers Ed Brasmer and Joe Carpenter helped prepare the quarter-mile clay oval and make sure that there were dust-free conditions throughout.
The next event is the June 24 First Responder & Military Night with free admission for such service men and women.
Street Stock Division
Heat 1: Hunter Gollyhorn, Tom Zywick, Trevor Lively, Gary Kordosky Sr., Alan Styles; Heat 2: Greg Brumbaugh, Justin McMullen, Scott McMullen, Terry King, Cody Smith, Corey West; Trophy Dash: J. McMullen, Zywicki, Brumbaugh, Gollyhorn. Main: J. McMullen, S. McMullen, Zywick, King, West, Brumbaugh, Kordosky Sr., Lively, Gollyhorn, Styles, Smith.
Four Cylinder Division
Heat 1: Jason Scheibel, Eddie Farness, Ryan Hicks, Natasha Rye. Heat 2: TJ Wegner, Joel Davis, Bob Berg, Sande Simmet. Trophy Dash: Davis, Scheibel, Farness, Wegner. Main: Berg, Davis, Wegner, Farness, Simmet, Rye.
Heat: Brandon Potter, Todd Newton, Stephen Kaptur, Ted Rees, Don West, Dustin Asher, Jim Potter. Trophy Dash: Newton, B. Potter, Kaptur, Rees. Main: B. Potter, Kaptur, Asher, J. Potter, Newton, Rees, West.
Heat: Devon Reed, Don Jenner, Chris West, Clyde White. Trophy Dash: White, Jenner, West, Reed. Main: White, West, Reed, Jenner.
Heat: Wendy Vough, Cailyn Farness, Bailey Hamilton, Devon Kampmann, Ryan Potter. Trophy Dash: Farness, Vough, Hamilton, Kampmann. Main: Hamilton, Farness, Vough, Potter, Kampmann.
Dwarf Car Division
Heat 1: Brian Smith, Danny Altom, Shawn Dorie, Lane Richmond. Heat 2: Kyle Frelich, Scott Dorie, Andrew Andexler, Glenn Hester, Teagan Fischer. Trophy Dash: S. Dorie, Smith, Frelich, Altom. Main: Smith, Andexler, Fischer, Hester, Frelich, S. Dorie, Richmond, S. Dorie.
Micro Sprint Division
Heat: Braden Maltais, Neal Hopwood. Trophy Dash: Maltais, Hopwood. Main: Maltais, Hopwood.
Paint To Pass Division
Heat: Kyle Frelich, Darrin Rye, Marty Liesegang, Greg Brumbaugh. Main: Frelich, Liesegang.