Controversy Surrounds Apple Cup EndingPosted: Updated:
Canada's Korbin Thomas started in 11th for Sunday's running of the 46th Annual Apple Cup and quickly moved towards the winners circle in the famed event pulling off a last lap victory passing two-time winner Pete Harding for the title. A post race inspection disqualified Korbin Thomas moving Pete Harding into first place.
Wenatchee's Shane Mitchell and Moxee's Mike Longton sat on the front row for the 46th Annual Apple cup Super Late Model 125 lap main event featuring 19 cars and drivers from the West Coast and Canada.
Mike Longton took the early lead and Canada's Shane Harding claimed the second position by lap 4 followed by Shane Mitchell, Jeff Jefferson, Jason Fraser, Kelly Mann and Erick Hargraves. The field raced in a single file groove with Pete Harding passing and claiming the 9th spot from Yakima Speedway Defending Champion Owen Riddle by lap 14 and challenging Erick Hargraves for 7th spot by lap 21. On lap 22 Jeff Jefferson a past winner, who was running in 5th position was off the pace and pulled into the pits. Shane Harding passed Mike Longton for the lead on lap 25 and the lead cars started to use lap traffic to race for position. After 30 laps Shane Harding led the race followed by Mike Longton, Shane Mitchell, Jason Fraser, Pete Harding, Kelly Mann, Erick Hargraves, Dan Obrist and Owen Riddle.
The first yellow flag flew when Greg Contraberria spun out in turn two and the officials restacked the field. Erick Hargraves raced Kelly Mann and moved into the 6th spot on lap 35 followed by Dan Obrist. On Lap 40 Shane Mitchell, Jason Fraser and Pete Harding were able to pass Mike Longton to round off the top 5. The second yellow flag came out when Jake Bissett spun out and would have to go into the pits. On the restart Pete Harding passed Jason Fraser claiming third and went on to pass Shane Mitchell for second by lap 51 and son Shane Harding for the lead by lap 54.
Top 10 leaders on lap 60 were Pete Harding, Shane Mitchell, Shane Harding, Jason Fraser, Owen Riddle, Korbin Thomas, Mike Longton, Mark Sundburg and Dan Obrist.
Mark Sundberg was black flagged and sent to pit lane to serve a stop and go penalty on lap 64 for spinning Mike Longton between turns three and four and a caution flag fell. Mark Sundberg went to the back of the pack and defending Apple Cup Champion Mike Longton went into the pits for repairs, losing several laps but would end up finishing in 16th place.
On Lap 73 Shane Mitchell passed Pete Harding for the lead and the two pulled away from the rest of the field but Pete Harding would take the lead once again by lap 81 just in time as Greg Contaberria came out of turn 4, lost control, and hit the water barrels bringing the red flag out for track clean up.
Pete Harding and Shane Mitchell would battle side by side for the next 20 laps both passing each other for the lead multiple times with the lead finally going to Pete on lap 99. Owen Riddle moved into third place followed by Korbin Thomas both in contention for the win. On lap 106 Zach Moran spun in front of the leaders bringing out a caution and setting the leaders up for a 20 lap shoot out.
By lap 115 Korbin Thomas moved into 2nd place and the challenge was on to see which Canadian would end up in the winners circle. On the last lap the white flag flew just when Shane Harding spun off in turn 2 but then pulled on to the track in front of the leaders. Pete Harding went low and Korbin Thomas went high both avoiding the wreck and when they both came off of turn two Canada's Korbin Thomas had the advantage and went on to take the checkered flag.
Top ten drivers after post race inspection, Champion Pete Harding, Owen Riddle, Shane Mitchell, Bart Hector, Jason Fraser, Shane Harding, Kelly Mann, Zach Moran, Greg Contraberria and Mitch Kleyn.
INEX Legends Series made there first main event appearance at the Yakima Speedway Apple Cup with Bob Kronenberg and Rick McNeil bringing down the field for the green flag. Through several cautions and restarts the group started racing hard for the lead. Garret Sisk took the lead on lap nine but was passed on lap 14 by Garret Archer and Dwayne Swanson. The third and 4th place cars got together bringing out the yellow flag on lap 21 restacking the field. The top three cars of Garret Archer, Garrett Sisk and Dwayne Swanson began to pull away from the field with Garrett Sisk making multiple attempts to pass for the lead but 14 year old Garret Archer would go on to win the race and claim the first win of the INEX Legends Series of 2011 and become the series first Apple Cup Champion.
Todd Connell sat on the pole for the West Coast Promoters Street Stock Series and got off to a large lead for the Inaugural 60 lap main event. Wenatchee Washington's Josh Ingram would make a run and pass Mike Easley and Todd Connell for the lead on lap 14. On lap 18 Todd Connell, Shane Brim, Mike VanAmburg and Mel Patnode would all battle through lap traffic for second position. The first caution came out on lap 21 when Mel Patnode, Todd Connell and Mike VanAmburg would all try to pass a lap car in turn two, come together and Todd Connell would spin out. The field was reset with Josh Ingram still leading the race followed by Mel Patnode, Mike VanAmburg, Shane Brim and Rich Peters. Josh Ingram spent the next 39 laps driving through lap traffic and fending off multiple pass attempts from defending Apple Cup Champion Mel Patnode and went on to win the first West Coast Promoters Street Stock Series. Post race inspection would later disqualify Josh Ingram giving Defending Apple Cup Champion Mel Patnode back to back Apple Cup titles.
The Burger Ranch Sportsman series division got off to a rough start with a caution coming out on the first lap when several cars got together in turn 3. The field was reset for a complete restart with Lucas Valdez and Darrel Tidrick leading the field at the drop of the green. On lap 2 Greg Stevenson would spin off the track and hit the wall bringing out a caution and a red flag. Greg Stevenson was not hurt but would not go on to finish the race. Buck Noel Jr passed Darrell Tidrick for the lead on lap 14 followed by John Raney, Jerry Walker Jr, Mike Hill and Kyler Conduff. Third caution of the race would come out on lap 19 when Bobby Smith and Ed St. Mary got together. Yellow flag came out with 5 laps to go, stacking up the field and giving the drivers a chance to catch race leader Buck Noel Jr. With one lap to go John Raney raced side by side with Darrel Tidrick both cars beating against each other across the start finish line with Darrel Tidrick beating John Raney by a nose and taking home the second place trophy followed by John Raney, Jerry Walker Jr, Ron Morton and Kyler Conduff.
In the H & H Furniture Pure Stock Division Tyson Richter started on the pole and took the early lead. On lap 4 Joe Estep passed for the lead followed by Greg Gargett, Rob Allen and Jay Younker who did not qualify an had to start in the back of the pack. Chris Marang spun in turn 2 bringing out the first caution on lap 15 and the field was restacked. On the restart Rob Allen and Greg Gargett battled side by side for the 2nd position with Rob Allen winning the battle and gaining the opportunity to chase the race leader Joe Estep. Late in the race Jay Younker passed Greg Gargett for the third position but would not have enough time to catch Joe Estep and Rob Allen that would go on to finish First and Second.