Coos Bay Speedway

Griff Smith (inside) laps an opposing car during a Junior Stingers heat race at Coos Bay Speedway on Saturday. 

COOS BAY — For Griff Smith it was business as usual Saturday. For Brody Montgomery, it was finally a first victory of 2020. And for Coos Bay Speedway, it was another busy night at the races even as other tracks in the state have started racing again.

Speedway owner Drake Nelson noted there were 65 cars in the various classes Saturday, even while a couple of the tracks in the Willamette Valley also were hosting races.

“It’s good for Coos,” he said of the turnout of drivers, including several from the valley. “It’s not 90 like we’ve been having, but it’s still pretty good.”

There were some similar results to what the speedway has been seeing. And that included the very consistent Smith winning another main event in the Junior Stingers division.

Smith, who just turned 13, continues to dominate the division for drivers 11 to 14 years old, and he took the main event ahead of Lily Metzgus of Myrtle Point and Teagan Montgomery of Bandon.

“The car is really fast,” Smith said, adding that he has been improving in how smoothly he negotiates the track and passing better when he needs to get by lapped traffic.

Last week, Smith turned a lap on the dirt oval at 80 mph, which is more than 5 mph faster than his top speeds from a year ago, said his dad, Bryce.

The biggest difference from last year is more competitors in the Junior Stingers division.

“It’s a lot funner,” Smith said. “I’m glad we can get more people out here.”

Smith has been seeing more competition this year, especially from fellow Bandon racer Alex Butler. Smith, Butler and Teagan Montgomery, who all are going to be eighth-graders at Harbor Lights Middle School, stared racing about the same time for similar reasons.

Smith grew up watching Braden and Trace Fugate and Brody Montgomery race at the track and jumped at the chance when the new division was formed. Teagan Montgomery is Brody’s cousin and Butler’s dad and grandfather both are racers.

On Saturday, Smith swept his heat race, the trophy dash — the speedway held those features for the first time this season — and the main event. But Butler almost beat him in the trophy dash, leading in the final lap when there was contact between the two cars and she hit the wall hard half a lap from the checkered flag.

Butler was a little sore from the contact and walked gingerly immediately after the accident, but later said she was ready to go again, if another car can be found for the final races of the season.

Butler has a history of scary incidents, including her car catching fire during a crash a couple of seasons. She said Saturday’s crash was a little scarier because of how hard she hit the wall.

Teagan Montgomery won the other heat race and finished second in the trophy dash behind Smith.

Brody Montgomery, meanwhile, got his first main event win of the season in the America’s Mattress Super Late Models division.

A past track champion, he said he’s been battling little issues all season.

“We hit it right on the nail tonight,” he said after holding off Coos Bay racer Preston Luckman, who a week earlier won the Tidal Wave 50 race at the speedway.

“It was fun,” Brody Montgomery said, adding that it was by far the best race of the season.

Luckman won the trophy dash, but also finished second in the heat race, behind Braden Fugate of Bandon.

Ryan Emry of Corvallis picked up his first win of the season in the Sportsman Late Models division after three straight runner-up finishes, beating Trace Fugate and Jared Simmons of Cottage Grove, and also won the trophy dash. Simmons won the heat race.

Meanwhile, in the popular Street Stocks division, Graig Osborne of Creswell appeared headed for another win before a wild final lap when the lead changed hands twice and Blake Lehman nipped him at the finish line. Osborne had won four straight main events at the speedway, but instead it was Lehman getting his first win.

Jason Kellam of Coos Bay won both the main event and heat race in the Mini Outlaws division. He beat Seth Christian of Roseburg to the finish in the main event after trophy dash winner Tahlen Rogers of Albany had a scary crash that left his car on its hood. Rogers walked away unhurt.

Christian did win the Hornets division ahead of John Henry of Coos Bay and Isaac Stere of Cottage Grove. He also won the trophy dash, beating William Hitner of Port Orford, and won his heat race. Kris Parker, one of six Florence drivers in the division, won the other heat race.

The evening also featured racing by the touring group Oregon Old Time Racing Hard Tops, mostly drivers from the Roseburg area.

Larry Mudge or Roseburg won the trophy dash in that division and Justin Krossman of Coquille won the heat race.

Results for all the divisions will be included in the Community Scoreboard in Saturday’s edition of The World.

All in all, it was another good night at the speedway, the drivers said.

Brody Montgomery gave credit for that to Nelson.

“Drake is doing everything he can to keep us going,” he said. “We’re super appreciative.”

The dirt track is back in action each of the next three Saturdays, as well.

This coming Saturday is the Street Stock Battle at the Beach, an event that also includes lucky rides for the kids. Saturday, Sept. 5 is Ladies Night. And championship night is Saturday, Sept. 12.

For a complete schedule and additional information, visit www.coosbayspeedway.us.

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