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Hockett Completes the Oregon Trifecta; Its 3-for-3

[i Shawn Miller, LEBANON, Ore. (July 15, 2009)] – If it were up to Jesse Hockett, he’d stay in the Northwest the rest of his life.

On his first trip to Oregon, Hockett has won all three of the American Sprint Car Series Northwest Region features, including Wednesday night at Willamette Speedway.

“It’s a pretty good time,” Hockett said. “I can’t say enough about the way I’ve been treated out here.”

And Hockett has treated the spectators to a show three straight nights at three very different tracks.

“Nothing in racing compares to momentum and momentum right now is what we’ve got,” he said. “We’ve put the same setup on it three nights in a row and we’ve been standing out here three nights. It’s nothing trick, nothing different. We just stick to the basics.”

But the win was anything but basic for the Warsaw, Mo., native.

Hockett, who started on the pole, drove into lapped traffic on the ninth lap. After trying to lap Nate Morelock of Cottage Grove, Ore., for a couple laps, Morelock spun in front of Hockett exiting turn two on lap 10.

Hockett was forced to drive his car into the infield, which allowed Visalia, Calif., resident Steven Tiner and Paul McMahan of Knoxville, Tenn., to slip into the top two spots. However, Morelock’s car tipped on its side and Hockett kept his car from stalling as it sputtered back onto the track.

“(Morelock) was chopping on me three laps in a row and finally he chopped on me hard enough he spun out in front of me,” Hockett said. “He should know there’s a yellow car starting in front of him. If he sees a yellow nose, get out of the way. He was just trying to hold his line I guess. I was just happy to come out of that still running.”

For the final 20 laps Hockett survived three more cautions and lapped traffic to outlast Medford, Ore., resident Roger Crockett for the top spot.

“On this track it was really hard to pass tonight,” said Crockett, who won the Speedweek event at the Willamette Speedway last year.

“I know we were faster than him. When you put him on the pole, he’s gonna be hard to beat.”

McMahan, who started sixth, worked his way up to third place early in the race, but was unable to make a pass for either of the top two positions.

“You put a fast car out front like Jesse, it’s tough to catch,” McMahan said. “The pole position was the key tonight.”

Chadd Noland of Central Point, Ore., was one of the few drivers able to pass, moving from the B main to a seventh-place finish in the feature.

Noland, who spun out in his heat and was forced to start fifth in the 13-car B main, rallied for a second-place finish to earn the 16th starting spot in the A main. Once the green flag waved in the feature, Noland was able to pick cars off one by one.

“Honestly, I was driving (in the) infield,” said Noland, who was the Hard Charger. “My left rear (tire) was inside and my right rear was just right on the good stuff. Everyone was just entering too far and they’d skate, and my right rear just sucked me around the corner.”

Tiner finished fourth and Kyle Hirst of Loomis, Calif., rounded out the top five.

Speedweek continues Friday (July 17) with the first night of the two-day Fred Brownfield Memorial at the Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, Wash. The front gate opens at 3:30 p.m. with racing scheduled to start at 7 p.m. Tickets for both days are $56 for adults and $19 for children ages 6 to 14.

ASCS Northwest Region results from the Willamette Speedway (July 15):

Heat One (10 laps): 1. Roger Crockett, 2. 13-Jesse Hockett, 3. 68-Rob Held, 4. 25c-Chad Groves, 5. 8-Travis Rutz, 6. 26-Tayler Malsam, 7. 33v-Henry Van Dam, 8. 41-Dale Smith, 9. 83m-Mike Stallings.

Heat Two (10 laps): 1. 6-Kyle Hirst, 2. 94-Steven Tiner, 3. 2-Mike Melwicks, 4. 35a-Wayne Johnson, 5. 33-Nate Morelock, 6. 15d-Dan Dunlap, 7. 96x-Mack Brown, 8. 45-Jeff Rivers, 9. 5h-Justyn Cox.

Heat Three (10 laps): 1. 3d-Paul McMahan, 2. 98m-Mitch Olson, 3. 12-Jared Ridge, 4. Oj-Jay Cole, 5. 12p-Randy Pierce, 6. 7n-Chadd Noland, 7. 23-Colin Baker, 8. 94z-Zach Zimmerly, 9. (DNS) 6m-Phillip Del Rosa.

“B” Feature (12 laps): 1. 8-Travis Rutz, 2. 7n-Chadd Noland, 3. 25c-Chad Groves, 4. 33-Nate Morelock, 5. 23-Colin Baker, 6. 94z-Zach Zimmerly, 7. 41-Dale Smith, 8. 5h-Justyn Cox, 9. 45-Jeff Rivers, 10. 33v-Henry Van Dam, 11. 96x-Mack Brown, 12. 83m-Mike Stallings, 13. 6m-Phillip Del Rosa.

“A” Feature (30 laps): 1. 13-Jesse Hockett, 2. 11-Roger Crockett, 3. 3d-Paul McMahan, 4. 94-Steven Tiner, 5. 6-Kyle Hirst, 6. 98m-Mitch Olson, 7. 7n-Chadd Noland, 8. 12-Jared Ridge, 9. 35a-Wayne Johnson, 10. 2-Mike Melwicks, 11. 26-Tayler Malsam, 12. 25c-Chad Groves, 13. 68-Rob Held, 14. 8-Travis Rutz, 15. 0j-Jay Cole, 16. 33-Nate Morelock, 17. 23-Colin Baker, 18. 15d-Dan Dunlap, 19. 94z-Zach Zimmerly, 20. 12p-Randy Pierce.

ASCS Northwest Region Points (Top Ten): 1. Jared Ridge 1,262, 2. Steven Tiner 1,260, 3. Roger Crockett 1,248, 4. Mitch Olson 1,202, 5. Henry VanDam 1,167, 6. Chad Groves 1,133, 7. Randy Pierce 1,014, 8. Justyn Cox 989, 9. Chadd Noland 853, 10. Colin Baker 721.

ASCS Northwest Speedweek Points (Top Ten through Round Three of Five): 1. Jesse Hockett 450, 2. Roger Crockett 422, 3. Wayne Johnson 418, 4. Jared Ridge 412, 5. Jay Cole 408, 6. Steven Tiner 406, 7. Mitch Olson 398, 8. Chad Groves 380, 9. Kyle Hirst 376, 10. Mike Melwicks 366.