By Mike Weber
What could be a better way to conclude the stock car racing season at River City Speedway than by winning the final race? How about capturing a Columbia County Racing Association (CCRA) division championship along with a season ending win. That’s exactly what Bob Berg, Devon Reed, Greg Brumbaugh, Stephen Kaptur, TJ Landis, Teagan Fischer, Bernie Lujan and Trenton Brogan did by winning the Sept. 15 season finale race.
St. Helens drivers Berg (Tuner), Brumbaugh (Street Stock) and Kaptur (Modified) each recorded CCRA main event wins to cap a successful 14-race schedule Saturday at the Columbia County Fairgrounds motorsports facility in St. Helens. It also marked the second championship of their racing career for the trio of local drivers.
Landis of West Linn (Four-Cylinder), Reed of Woodland (Sportsman) and Brogan of Kelso (Tracer) won their first ever stock car racing titles.
Warren’s Teagan Fischer took third place in the 25-lap Dwarf Car Division main event behind Vancouver’s Mike Clark and winner Todd Hardesty of Scappoose. More importantly though, Fischer won a second straight series title with her TFT Construction/Finish Line Graphics sponsored 1934 Ford Sedan two third scale replica race car.
“My goal was to enter as many races as possible, finish each race and win the championship, so it’s been a good season,” said Fischer, 17, a St. Helens High senior and a member of the Lady Lions volleyball team. “I fulfilled the expectations I had at the beginning of the season. I had lots of fun racing this year and it’s pretty cool to be a two-time Dwarf Car champion. The track was a little slick, but it can never be perfect. I really look forward to racing every Saturday, so it makes me sad when the season comes to an end. My dad (Tom Fischer) helps me all the time and he’s been to almost every race and he always makes sure that my car is running well prior to each race. We’re in third place in our league (4-1 Northwest Oregon Conference, 5-2 overall) in volleyball, so we’re having a pretty good season and I hope that we make it to the state playoffs.”
Bernie Lujan of St. Helens notched a fourth place in the combined Sportsman/Super Sport main behind Brad Beehler, Andy Quilico and race winner Reed. Lujan won the first ever Super Sport Division championship, which was one of two new motorsport classifications at the speedway this year.
“It was pretty sad with so few cars and things are definitely not like they used to be at the moment, but hopefully it will get better,” said Lujan, who drove a 1984 Buick for owner Dennis Daniels of Rainier. “The low car count is kind of frustrating and sometimes I was racing in the Sportsman class. I’ll take it (championship) for what it is and I did show up for every race and I did lots of work on the car. I definitely want to thank Dennis and his wife Arlene, because they’ve just provided me with a wonderful opportunity. I also want to thank Ross Diesel & Auto, which is our sponsor and they’ve really helped us a lot.”
Reed started on the pole position of the main and he led the 25-lap race from start-to-finish in his Dancin’ Bare Tavern/Reed’s Automotive sponsored Chevrolet. It marked the second main event win and ninth top-five finish for Reed, who also won the heat race.
“It feels pretty good to win the championship, but I just wish that there was more competition and it would’ve been nice to have a few more cars,” said Reed. “This was the third race ever for my son tonight, so he’s still learning and he’s having lots of fun too.”
Reed’s son Martin, 13, drove a Toyota Corolla in the Tracer Division (youth’s age 13-16) and he took third place in the heat and the 10-lap main. Brogan, 14, had an absolutely phenomenal season in going undefeated as he won all 10 main events this year. Kelso’s Wendy Vough won the heat and was runnerup in the main and she finished second in the division point standings.
“I’m pretty happy to come out here and win a championship and it feels good to do something that my dad (Gary) couldn’t do,” said Brogan. “I didn’t really expect to win every main event, especially since it was my first year driving this car. I had fun racing with Wendy all season. I was stuck behind car number four (Martin Reed) in the heat race and the track was still pretty wet from the rain, so I was trying to avoid crashing.”
Brumbaugh, 56, led all the way in the 20-lap Street Stock Division main event in his CLT Trucking/Hoyt Construction 1985 Chevy Malibu. Gary Kordosky of Scappoose, was a close second as their cars were bumper-to-bumper at the finish line. Herb Thomas of St. Helens, was third, followed by David Weaver and Terry King to round out the top-five. It marked the first main event win this year for Brumbaugh, who also won the heat race. Gannin Thomas of St. Helens, also won the other heat race.
“We had a really good season and it was pretty special to win the final race, which was just a beautiful thing,” said Brumbaugh, who combined with co-driver Joel Beehler (two main event wins) of St. Helens, to win his second consecutive series title. “Winning another title was more than I expected. It wasn’t really my goal, but I was hoping to do it and it sure was sweet. I was happier than hell to win one, but to win two is something that I just didn’t see coming. It doesn’t get any better than this. Without my sponsors (CLT, Hoyt Construction, Brumbaugh Arena), I would really be in trouble though and I couldn’t do this without them.”
Berg, a former Four Cylinder Division champion (2016), took the early lead in his Cozy Lawn Maintenance/Eaton’s Tire & Service Center 1997 Dodge Neon in the main. Landis drove his Ford Focus up front on lap five and he led the remainder of the 25-lap race. Berg was a close second as their two cars were bumper-to-bumper at the conclusion of the race. Dan McDonald was third, followed by John Brown and Jacob Shultz. Brown from McMinnville, celebrated his 73rd birthday on Saturday while driving a 2010 Alliance Automotive Chevy Cobalt owned by Darrin and Natasha Rye of Warren. Landis and Berg each won heat races.
Berg, 54, drove his identical looking 1997 Neon in the 25-lap Tuner Division main and he led all the way to get the victory over runnerup Sam Simmet of Vancouver. Troy Jewell was third, followed by Ryan Potter, Sande Simmet, Joel Davis and Austin Henderson. Berg and Jewell notched victories in the heat races. It marked the first time that Berg drove both his cars in the Tuner and Four-Cylinder Division events.
“It’s been a good year and it was the first time in my career that I drove cars in two different class, so I had two good finishes,” said Berg, who captured the second CCRA title of his 27-year motorsports career. “I let TJ win that race (Four-Cylinder main), because he was running for points and I wasn’t. I’m real happy to win another championship.”
The trio of Kristi Somers, Dustin Asher and Kaptur each led a portion of the 15-lap Modified Division main. When it was all said and done though, Kaptur ended up in victory lane with the Malar Performance Engines/Hudson Garbage Service race car owned by “Papa” Don West of St. Helens. Asher took second, followed by Somers, West, Rick Graham and Celeste Hardesty. It was the third main event win and eighth top-five finish for Kaptur, who captured his second straight title.
“It feels good to win another title, but I just wish there were more cars in this class,” said Kaptur, 42. “I entered every race and that’s what it takes to win a championship. It was nice to get a win in the last race of the year and it’s a good way to end the season. It’s been great driving the car for Don, because if it wasn’t for him, I’m not sure if I would be racing at all in the Modified Division. Things worked out pretty good for us and we always help each other out. I really appreciate having the opportunity to race his car the last three years.”
The speedway will hold it’s 2018 Awards Banquet Oct. 20 at the Columbia City Hall.
2018 Race Articles by Mike Weber
Season Preview 2018
May 5th 2018 Article
May 12th 2018 Article
May 19th 2018 Article
June 2nd Article
Sam Brittain Memorial Race June 16th Article
June 30th Article
July 7th 2018 Article
July 28th 2018 Article
August 4th 2018 By Mike Weber
August 11th 2018 Article
August 25 Article
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Septemeber 15 Mike Weber Article
2017 Race Articles by Mike Weber
May 20th by Mike Weber
June 3rd by Mike Weber
June 17th by Mike Weber
June 24th by Mike Weber
July 8th By Mike Weber
July 29th by Mike Weber
Aug 5th by Mike Weber
August 12th Article
Aug 19th article
Sept 2 and 3rd article
September 16th 2017 Championship Mike Weber