(6/24/23 – Ben Deatherage) Algers, WA … After being denied a of NARC victory lane appearance in 2023, Justin Sanders finally broke through and scored a huge signature victory at the Jim Raper Memorial Super Dirt Cup finale. Piloting Demo Mittry’s Farmer’s Brewing/North County Plastering #2X Maxim, the California hot shoe collected $62,000 for the triumph and became the 28th different winner in event history. Sanders also cashed in an additional $20,000 by leading the entire 40-lap distance at Skagit Speedway.
“I can’t even talk,” said an emotional Sanders in victory lane. “First off, I got to thank (car owner Demo Mittry, Wayne Pirdy for coming out, my fiancé Brooke, and Hunter Brady for always busting his ass. He’s stuck with me all year when we’ve been struggling, and now to turn it around here at his home track is pretty cool!”
“We had to change motors before the feature,” he continued, “and we’d never run it before. It ran good, and I almost gave the race away when I smacked the wall in two and bent the ladder or knocked it out because the car was way different after that.”
After hurting their primary powerplant in the trophy dash, the Sanders squad scrambled to put the backup engine between the frame rails just in time. He would seize the lead on the initial start and take off in the open race track after starting on the outside of the first row. Sanders was seriously challenged after reaching the tail end of the field on lap seven by Dominic Scelzi in the the Scelzi Enterprises/Whipple Superchargers #41 Maxim.
As the laps progressed, Scelzi was forced to go on the defense as he was pressured by Corey Day driving the Jason Meyers Racing-fielded Meyers Constructors/Four C’s Construction #14 KPC. Those two would battle ferociously before a stoppage on the 11th circuit. Traffic would become a factor again on the 14th circuit, but the red flag appeared for an upside down Andy Caruana. He was uninjured in the melee.
When racing resumed for long green flag run, Sanders powered his way back to slower traffic at the 25th lap mark. The highspeed game of cat and mouse intensified when Indianan Zeb Wise, in the Rayce Rudeen Foundation/Hager Reality Services #26 Maxim, made a push to the front with only 10-laps remaining.
On the 33rd circuit, Wise made a well-timed attack on Sanders, only for the leader to find another gear. They would battle again with three circuits remaining on an open race track, but Sanders answered the call to score his 14th career series win.
Sanders continued, “Once I saw (Zeb Wise’s) nose in one and two, I knew I had to go no matter what it took to get through those lapped cars. I had to throttle down as hard as possible and run the middle or bottom. I don’t know how I did; I just happened to come away with it.”
Wise finished a very close second, with Day filling the podium in third. Scelzi would come across the wire in fourth, followed by the Shane DeWald Trucking/NexGen Diesel Exhaust Fluid #18T KPC of Tanner Holmes in fifth.
“I’m pretty disappointed,” commented Wise. “I wanted to win that race pretty bad. We had a good car for the night. I just wished some of those cautions hadn’t come out so early. We needed to get to traffic, and we had the best car in traffic. My guys worked hard to give me a good car all weekend, and we made the best of it.”
“There’s nothing to complain about running third to these two guys,” stated Day. “I wish we could have swept the whole thing, but we just didn’t have the race car that they did. I struggled really bad in three and four, and getting to lapped traffic and slowing the pace down was my only chance, but every time we got there, a yellow came out.”
Cole Macedo and Jason Solwold finished sixth and seventh, chased by Shane Golobic. Colby Copeland and sixteenth starter D.J. Netto completed the top ten. Justyn Cox earned the Williams Roofing Hardcharger honors after climbing ten positions in the running order from his 12th row starting spot.
Colby Thornhill and Trey Starks were also involved in red-flag incidents in the feature. Nobody was hurt.
(Photo by Wildlight Motorsports Photography)
A-FEATURE (40 Laps): 1. 2X-Justin Sanders; 2. 26R-Zeb Wise; 3. 14-Corey Day; 4. 41-Dominic Scelzi; 5. 18T-Tanner Holmes; 6. 21-Cole Macedo; 7. 18-Jason Solwold; 8. 17W-Shane Golobic; 9. 16A-Colby Copeland; 10. 88N-DJ Netto; 11. 21S-Jesse Schlotfeldt; 12. 83V-Dylan Bloomfield; 13. 42X-Justyn Cox; 14. 8-Aaron Reutzel; 15. 29-Willie Croft; 16. 73-Chase Johnson; 17. 2L-Logan Forler; 18. 96-Greg Hamilton; 19. 7-Tyler Thompson; 20. 95-Justin Youngquist; 21. 115-Nick Parker; 22. 46JR-Joel Myers Jr; 23. 53-Jessie Attard; 24. 19-Colby Thornhill; 25. 55-Trey Starks; 26. AU96-Andy Caruana
METTEC TITANIUM LAP LEADERS: Justin Sanders 1-40
WILLIAMS ROOFING HARDCHARGER: Justyn Cox +10
KAEDING PERFORMANCE CENTER B-FEATURE (20 Laps): 1. 96-Greg Hamilton; 2. 73-Chase Johnson; 3. 95-Justin Youngquist; 4. 19-Colby Thornhill; 5. 42X-Justyn Cox; 6. 53-Jessie Attard; 7. 46JR-Joel Myers Jr; 8. 69-Bud Kaeding; 9. AU96-Andy Caruana; 10. 17-Cam Smith; 11. 99-Eric Fisher; 12. 2JR-Kelly Miller; 13. 14B-Bailey Jean; 14. 9-Sean MacDonell; 15. 0-Ashleigh Anstensen; 16. 1M-Mike Brown; 17. 57-James Bundy; 18. 00S-Corey Summers; 19. 10G-Dana Glenn; 20. 44W-Austen Wheatley; 21. 9A-Luke Didiuk
SUNNYVALLEY “POWERED BY BACON” POLE SHUFFLE:
Round 1- Trey Starks def. Corey Day
Round 2- Trey Starks def. Cole Macedo
Round 3- Trey Starks def. Zeb Wise
Round 4- Dominic Scelzi def. Trey Starks
Round 5- Dominic Scelzi def. Justin Sanders