June 22nd 2019
By Mike Weber
St. Helens stock car racing drivers Joel Beehler and Jim Potter both enjoyed a successful day at the track while capturing main event wins in the June 22 Rainier Truck/RV Center sponsored race at River City Speedway. Beehler won the Street Stock Division main event for the second week in a row, which followed his June 15 victory.
Potter enjoyed a successful debut in his first race on the quarter-mile clay oval track this year as he captured the Tuner Division main. Columbia County Racing Association (CCRA) division leaders Myke Landis and Zander Koch remained atop their respective point standings after getting main event wins. Landis of West Linn, recorded a main event victory in the Four Cylinder Division. Koch of Vancouver, captured the Tracer Division main for his fifth straight win in the series for youth’s age 10-17. Koch, 10, drove his Dodge Neon to a division sweep while notching victories in the main, heat and dash.
Newcomer’s Frank Elwess and Kevin Smith also had an outstanding day as they both notched main event wins. Elwess of Portland, recorded a Sportsman Division sweep as he won the main event, trophy dash and heat race while driving a 1980 Chevrolet Camaro owned by Gresham’s Neal Hopwood. Defending Sportsman Division champion and current point standings leader Devon Reed of Longview, WA, was runnerup to Elwess in all three events with his Dancin’ Bare Tavern/Reed’s Automotive sponsored Chevrolet.
Smith of Elma, WA, earned the biggest payday at the track as he captured the 15-car Pape Machinery sponsored Modified Division main along with an $800 first place prize, which was the largest amount awarded to a driver this year at the track. Doug Lockwood was second, followed by Tyson Blood, Cody Jones and Sean Fox to round out the top-five. Defending Modified Division champion Stephen Kaptur of St. Helens, won heat 1, Gresham’s Aaron Elwess won heat 2 and Blood won the trophy dash.
The CCRA’s sixth event at the Columbia County Fairgrounds motorsports facility in St. Helens is the Reser’s Fine Foods July 12th race at 5 p.m., which includes a $5 Friday admission for all fans. The Road To The Iron Giant is featured, which is a two-day event for the traveling stock car racing series that will continue at the speedway with a back-to-back race July 13. That Saturday race will include a special $500 first place prize for main event winners in the Tuner and Four Cylinder Divisions.
Beehler, the defending Street Stock Division champion, was a two-time winner as he drove the CLT Trucking/Hoyt Construction sponsored 1985 Chevy Malibu to a heat race victory along with the main event win. Beehler, 26, took the lead from Broc Ross on the 10th lap and he led the next 10 circuits of the 20-lap race to get the victory. Ross of Deer Island, won the trophy dash and he was runnerup to Beehler in the main in the Ross Diesel & Auto sponsored 1987 Buick Regal owned by Warren’s Terry King. Portland’s David Weaver took third, followed by Chelsea McKinney and Matt Taylor.
“Yes it was very cool to win again and it’s definitely been lots of fun for me the last two weeks,” said Beehler, who is co-driver of the Malibu along with car owner Greg Brumbaugh of St. Helens. “Greg will be competing in the next race (July 13) and I just drive whenever he’s unable to make it to the track. I’m just trying to help our team win another championship. Greg always keeps the car running pretty darn good and I know he enjoys driving it as much as I do.”
Potter entered his first race this year and he took the lead on lap three after passing Vancouver’s Dan McDonald for the lead. Potter led the remainder of the 20-lap race to get the victory in the Green Lion/Cozy Lawn Maintenance 1997 Dodge Neon owned by Bob Berg of St. Helens. McDonald drove the Carquest sponsored 2006 Chevy Cobalt owned by CCRA President Darrin Rye to a runnerup finish.
It was a memorable event for Potter, who wore the driver’s suit for the first time that was formerly used by his father Ray, who passed away back in January. The Potter family has organized a memorial event for Ray Potter, which will be held Aug. 31st at the speedway. Ray Potter was a former driver who enjoyed a successful motorsports career while competing at numerous tracks throughout the Northwest, including Portland Speedway, which closed in 2001.
Scott Beaudoin of St. Helens, took third and new division leader TJ Landis of West Linn, took fourth in his Tri-Pod Development 2003 Ford Focus. Cody Scouller was fifth, followed by Joel Davis of Kelso and Longview rookie driver Wendy Vough. Defending Tuner Division champion Berg (heat 1) and McDonald (heat 2) won heat races and Landis notched a trophy dash victory.
“The transmission in my car blew up in the dash with just one lap remaining,” said Berg, 55, who was unable to compete in the main with his 1997 Eaton’s Tire & Service Center Dodge Neon. “I was hoping to race at Banks next weekend (June 29), but that’s probably not going to happen now. I have a whole graveyard of Neon’s in my backyard with five cars that I can get parts off of whenever I need one. My wife Tiffany did a really good job driving a Neon in the Four Cylinder Division and getting a second place finish in the heat and sixth in the main.”
Myke Landis (TJ’s brother) of West Linn, was a two-time winner as he captured the Four Cylinder Division heat and main in his 2003 Canby Graphics/Landis & Landis Construction sponsored Focus. Vancouver’s Sande Simmet took second, followed by Gresham’s Lynn Yeaman, Sandy’s Jacob Shultz and St. Helens drivers Sharmaine Jobanek and Tiffany Berg. Myke Landis and Jordon Beaudoin notched heat wins and Simmet won the trophy dash.