Canadians Celebrate CamCat Classic
By BZ ZELLER
ROSEBURG, OREGON – Canadian’s Matt Mansell and Scott Aumen led every lap in their respective wins last weekend at Roseburg, Oregon’s Douglas County Speedway. Mansell went pole to checkered flag to win Friday night’s 40-Lap feature and Aumen led all 50 circuits to capture Saturday’s main. Chris Schmelze was third Saturday night making it an all-Canadian podium celebration. Mansell was the overall CamCat Tractor Classic winner, while Aumen finished second in points.
Aumen started the feature outside the front row and darted to the lead as the green flag waved. He wasn’t threatened until Lap 17 when Mansell pulled alongside the green No. 44 on the backstretch and showed his nose into Turn 3. Aumen held of the challenge and then labored through the next 30 orbits and craftily maneuvered through lapped traffic. Mansell had his best opportunity heading into Turn 4 of Lap 44 when Aumen was held up trying to make a pass, but Mansell also bobbled as his fellow countryman pulled clear.
“I slid high and ended up giving him (Mansell) a perfect opportunity,” Aumen said. “At one point (Lap 17) I actually saw the edge of his nose wing and heard his motor. Every lap the situation was on my mind. If I go low, will he go high? Or if I go high, is he gunna dip low?”
Mansell was clearly content with the second place finish which resulted in the event championship.
“My crew put together a wicked car and they keep turning out awesome cars every race,” Mansell said. “We had a couple good opportunities tonight. We were trying to save the tires, but I just used them up.”
The event was an annual memorial to Don Hein and Casey Diemert, both Roseburg racing legends. Matt Hein is a grandson to the late Hein and Aumen reflected to Diemert, a former competitor.
“I remember dirt racing with him in the 1990’s at Cottage Grove,” Aumen said. “It’s a real honor to win this trophy in his memory.”
The 2015 season point standings are now extremely tight following the only Northwest Sprintcar Racing Association tour stop in Oregon. Multi-year champions Andy Alberding, Winston, Oregon and Roseburg’s Matt Hein lead the field with 337 and 336 points respectively. Aumen, Duncan, British Columbia sits a close third with 335 points. Mansell and Schmelze, both of Victoria, BC, are fourth and fifth in points.
Tyler Muse, Monroe, Wash., Richie Larson, Prince George, BC, and Danny Mathews, Victoria, BC all recorded Heat wins Saturday. Schmelze, Rick Brown, Eugene, Ore., and Darren Yates, Duncan, BC all captured Heat checkers on Friday. Hein was fast qualifier Saturday and Mansell recorded quick time Friday.
As former greats were honored, one rising talent had a successful showing on his home track.
Alberding’s son, 16-year-old Kyle, completed his most successful tour stop of his rookie season. Kyle finished 11th of the 18-car field Saturday, completing 48 of the 50 laps. Andy wasn’t the only bloodline to the Alberding teen, as Kyle’s grandfather Rick Brown led the field to the green flag. Andy, who was slated to start the Main alongside father-in-law Rick Brown on the front row, had to replace a tire which forced him to start last. Kyle knew when the green flew; his father was going to be fast approaching.
“I know he’s (Andy) awesome at what he does, but he’s just another car,” Kyle said. I was trying to focus on holding the same line. I’m feeling a lot more confident after this weekend. It was pretty special racing with both Dad and Grandpa.”
Andy scored the most passing points, traversing from 18th to his fifth place finish. He was equally pleased with his son’s performance.
“We had a great setup for the main and ended up salvaging a good finish out a bad situation. We really needed a caution and a reset to make a run to the lead though.” Andy said. “I’m extremely proud of Kyle. He stayed in his comfort zone.
Andy confessed with a smile about passing his rookie son.
“It was early in the race and I had to get by him (Kyle). I’m glad I was able to pass him or I would have had to retire.”
The NSRA tour’s next stop is August 14 and 15 at Western Speedway in Victoria, BC.
Saturday Main: 1. Aumen, 2. Mansell, 3. Schmelze, 4. Hein, 5. A. Alberding, 6. Ron Larson, 7. Yates, 8. Brown, 9. Mitch Holte, 10, Richie Larson, 11. K. Alberding, 12. Tristan Haider, 13. Levi Rose, 14. Garrett McLees, 15. Tim Halliday, 16. Danny Mathews, 17 Tyler Muse, 18. Anthony Pope.
Heat 1: Muse, Holte, Brown, Mansell, Haider, Pope
Heat 2: Richie Larson, Ron Larson, Schmelze, Aumen, Rose, Halliday
Heat 3: Mathews, Yates, A. Alberding, Hein, McLees, K. Alberding
Friday Main: 1. Mansell, 2. A. Alberding, 3. Brow, 4. Aumen, 5. Ron Larson, 6. Hein, 7. Yates, 8. Schmelze, 9. Mathews, 10. McLees, 11. Richie Larson, 12. Rose, 13. Muse, 14. Haider, 15. Holte, 16. K. Alberding, 17. Halliday.
Heat 1: Schmelze, Aumen, Richie Larson, K. Alberding, Haider
Heat 2: Brown, Ron Larson, Hein, Muse, Rose, Halliday
Heat 3: Yates, Mansell, A. Alberding, Mathews, Holte, McLees