The 2006 MMRA West Grand National race was a great conclusion to a
successful season. Twenty four racers from Alaska, Canada, Colorado,
California, and Washington state converged on Oregon to decide the Western
PRO Division championship.
Although Friday was scheduled for pre-tech, practice, and
qualifying, only pre-tech took place due to rain that moved into the area
mid-day. Despite the setback, everyone was in good spirits as the
trailers were parked, cars were teched, and most importantly - the forecast
for Saturday was perfect.
Sure enough, the weather was perfect for Baby Grand racing,
and the speedway rearranged the schedule to provide 5 practice sessions,
qualifying, and a full 50 lap race on Saturday. Rookie Jonathan
Hubbert was the only casualty of practice as his number one rod exited the
case. California racer Bill Byington, a longtime supporter of Baby
Grand racing, graciously stepped out of his seat to let young Jonathan still
compete in the race. It was a true show of sportsmanship from a class
In qualifying, you could tell the importance of that bonus
point in a tight championship battle as the top guys were putting it right
on the edge. In the end, Canadian Rick Johnston set a new track record
of 16.520 seconds to pull within one point of defending champion and points
leader John Klayum of Alaska.
With 23 cars set to take the green flag, the fans were ready
for a great show and they weren't disappointed. Early in the event,
Colorado racer Richard Perry gave us all the biggest scare of the weekend as
he pulled to pit road losing consciousness. Paramedics quickly hurried
him to the hospital where he was diagnosed with dehydration and possible
carbon monoxide poisoning. The Colorado group is the most close-knit
in the west, and they rallied to his side, staying with him until he was
released from the hospital later than night.
As the race continued, the most significant issue occurred
when Doff Cooksey got together with Larry Theobald bringing out a caution.
The track ordered both drivers to the rear of the field, but they refused to
comply for several laps. Finally, both were disqualified from the
event for refusing to obey track officials.
At the checkered flag, the top 3 were all happy with their
day. Winner Michael Kipp earned the biggest win of his season, Dominic
Portera proved California Baby Grand racers can run with the best as he
finished a strong second, and third place runner Rick Johnston earned his
first ever MMRA championship ring.
In post race tech, MMRA officials checked ride height,
weight, carburetors, cams, compression, and bore and all cars were legal.
Winner Michael Kipp was the most relaxed explaining, "It's still a stock
It was another strong showing for Baby Grands in the west,
and the future looks bright for 2007. Thanks to all our racers who
overcame expensive fuel, breakdowns, getting lost, and even snow up north to
attend this event. All that remains is to crown our champions November
4th in Nashville. We hope to see you there!
Click here for full finishing orders and purse payouts
Click here for the final points
Click here for information about
the 2006 Championship Awards Banquet
here - End of the line for Jonathan Hubbert's 3 year old motor.
Click here -
Pete's favorite T-shirt of the weekend, modeled by Dominic Portera who
Click here -
Bill Byington's car, but there's a new rookie settling in the seat.
here - Fast Qualifier Rick Johnston, with pretty flowers, and award from
Baby Grands of Canada
Click here - Jeff
Holden, winner of the Trophy Dash
Click here - Race
winner - Michael Kipp