The opening night of the 2004 Sprint Invitational at Twin Cities Raceway was held under lights but, alas, was not held under a roof.
August rain finally drenched the central Kenai Peninsula Friday afternoon, making a mess of the dirt track just hours before one of its biggest events of the season.
The Kenai Peninsula Racing Lions - Circle Track Division used a grader to skim the worst of the mud off the track, then cars spent over an hour circling the track in an effort to dry it out and pack it down.
The racing started over two hours late and the program was drastically cut down due to the late hour. Each of the five classes ran just one 10-lap race.
The most action-packed race came in the B-Stock Division. The race featured 10 cars at the start, the most Twin Cities Raceway has seen in quite some time.
William Broussard took the lead in the second lap and held it all the way until turn 4 on the last lap. Coming out of that turn, Broussard and his Wilkes Works car went a little wide and Chris Thompson and his Bailey Building Supplies car were able to pass and take the lead.
Thompson's car got a little squirrelly in the dash for the finish and Broussard pulled alongside Thompson in a sprint for the checkered flag.
At that point, Thompson lost control of his car and rolled it, with the vehicle stopping just feet from the finish line and Broussard taking the checkered flag.
"I was hoping I would at least roll over the finish line," said Thompson, who took eighth in the race.
Thompson, who just started racing at Twin Cities Raceway again this year but has state titles in 1997 and 1998 to his credit, said the roll cage on the car held up great. He emerged unscathed from the crash and the car was in such good shape he planned to race in the second day of the Sprint Invitational on Saturday.
Both Broussard and Thompson agreed it was fun being in a field with so many cars.
"This was awesome," Broussard said. "If it was like this every weekend, I'd be out here every weekend."
Broussard and Thompson said the track turned out to be in good shape Friday night, calling the conditions a bit tacky.
The stock car drivers did not have as much problem with a big bump in turn 1 as the sprint car drivers did.
"It was like trying to get up and over a big mountain," said Cameron McGahan, who won both the 360 and 410 sprint car races.
There was no qualifying Friday, so the luck of the draw put McGahan in front in the 360 race. The track was not only bumpy, but it also was still slick if a car tried to get out of a groove and pass. McGahan and his Tesoro car ran a clean line in the 360 race and were never challenged for the lead.
In the 410 class, all the other cars had a series of ailments before even one lap could be completed and McGahan's NAPA car was the only one left standing, giving him the victory.
In other action Friday, Billy Meyers dominated a seven-lap Late Model field for a victory.
The races were to continue Saturday night at Twin Cities Raceway. The results were not available as the Clarion went to press.
2004 Sprint Invitational
at Twin Cities Raceway
Heat I (10 laps): 1. No. 89; 2. Jenn McKee; 3. Don Akers; 4. Brian Johnson.
Heat I (10 laps): 1. William Broussard; 2. John Howe; 3. David Meyer; 4. Joey Essex; 5. Ken Carlock; 6. J.C. Herbert; 7. Justin Haxton; 8. Chris Thompson; 9. Richard McGahan; 10. Art Anderson.
Heat I (10 laps): 1. Billy Meyers; 2. Chet Soares; 3. Jay Irving; 4. Robert Waters; 5. John Hecht; 6. Terry Bondtrock; 7. Mike Young.
360 SPRINT CARS
Heat I (10 laps): 1. Cameron McGahan; 2. Doug Fischer; 3. Ernie Seager; 4. Randy Barnes; 5. Ken Elliott; 6. No. 15.
410 SPRINT CARS
Heat I (10 laps): 1. Cameron McGahan.
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