By Ben Deatherage
EUGENE, Ore. – One of the top contenders to challenge for the fifth annual Wild West Modified Shootout crown is Eugene’s Jesse Williamson.
The current Xtreme Motor Sports IMCA Modified campaign has treated him well with four feature wins in only a handful of starts. Two Modified main events have been won in the Modifieds at Cottage Grove Speedway while he also has won at the historic 1/4-mile clay oval in a late model.
“It has been a good year so far,” said Williamson. “We’ve been fast every time but in a couple of races we’ve broke when contending for the win.”
Williamson is the 2012 and 2013 Wild West Modified Shootout champion and is the only driver to repeat a Speedweek crown. Add to his résumé four Cottage Grove Modified Nationals, a Shipwreck Beads Northwest Modified Nationals crown and last year’s Lon Skinner Memorial victory at Southern Oregon Speedway.
He is the all-time leading winner in the history of the Wild West Modified Shootout with six but unfortunately did not manage to win during the 2014 tour. Williamson remains very confident that can return to victory lane during the upcoming Speedweek.
“We’ve been working really hard on the car,” he said. “I feel like we are the most prepared we have ever been for a Speedweek.”
All seven Speedweek features pay $1,000 to win, a minimum of $100 to start and are Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot qualifying events. Drivers with perfect attendance earn shares of a $3,000 point fund.
Teams from Oregon, Washington, California, North Dakota, Montana and British Columbia are expected to make the journey.
The tour opens Saturday, June 13 at Southern Oregon Speedway in White City, with following stops Sunday, June 14 at Siskiyou Motor Speedway in Yreka, Calif.; Monday, June 15 at Coos Bay Speedway; Tuesday, June 16 at Cottage Grove Speedway; and Wednesday, June 17 Sunset at Speedway Park in Banks.
After a travel day on Thursday, June 18, Speedweek concludes with Friday and Saturday, June 19 and 20 shows at Willamette Speedway in Lebanon.
Alex Stanford is the defending tour champion; Brian Poppa topped the inaugural tour standings in 2011.
Stanford is second on the Speedweek career wins list with five, followed by Poppa with four, Ken Schrader with two and Mark Carrell, Braedon Hand, Scott Lenz, Travis Peery, Nick Trenchard and Mark Wauge with one each