James repeats Wild West Speedweek heroics with win at Douglas County

The Wild West Speedweek got its first repeat Friesen Performance IMCA Modified winner when Bricen James took the Tuesday night checkers at Douglas County Dirtrack. (Photo by Jeremy Means)

By Ben Deatherage

ROSEBURG, Ore. (June 18, 2024) – Bricen James and Chase Berkeley both raced back to victory lane while Ethan Killingsworth captured his first checkered flag of the 2024 IMCA Wild West Speedweek Tuesday at Douglas County Dirtrack.

James, who’d topped the opening night show at Yreka, banked $1,000 for his Friesen Performance IMCA Modified victory while Berkeley followed his Monday Coos Bay win with an impressive run from 11th starting. Killingsworth paced the Friesen Performance IMCA Northern SportMods.

A pair of former Speedweek champions made up the front row in the Modified tilt, with Troy Morris III and Kellen Chadwick fighting for the initial lead.

Morris used the top of the track and beat Chadwick to the line to pace the field. Chadwick settled into second with Jacob Mallet Jr. and James in pursuit.

Lapped traffic became a factor with eight circuits negotiated. Mallet got the second spot on lap nine but James and Chadwick quickly came to challenge. The 2022 Speedweek champ, James took over second on lap 12 but was well behind Morris.

The long green flag run would be interrupted by a pair of yellows. Timothy Allerdings moved into fifth before the final caution waved on lap 20.

When things got back underway, Collen Winebarger, Morris and James went three-wide in the first set of corners. The battle was narrowed down to James and Morris. Morris kept his faith up top but had zero room for error, as any bit of loss of control would put him in the fence.  

With six to go, James was again in hot pursuit of the lead. On lap 21, Morris got into the wall slightly in turn four, just enough of a break for James to get around him. 

Despite lapped traffic, James cruised to the win, his tour career ninth and second at Roseburg. Morris, Winebarger, Mallet and Ferrando completed the top five.

Tyler Pagel swiftly maneuvered to the front of the field in the Stock Car main, but his lead was short-lived as B.J. Wild overtook him on the second lap. Berkeley made a big leap from 11th to third in just a few laps.

A race developed into a three-car struggle for the runner-up position behind Wild. On lap nine, Donald Schott and Berkeley both got around Pagel, and the two drivers went at it for a second. The second and final caution came out with 10 laps completed. 

Berkely got to second on lap 13 and to first when lap 15 was scored. The final 10 laps saw some movement among the top five but ended with Schott, Wild, Sean Gentry and Myers running 2-3-4-5. The win was the tour career eighth for the two-time defending champion. 

The Northern SportMod finale was a caution-slowed affair that saw Matt Sanders get a big jump on the field early on.

Stop-and-go action kept the field packed together, allowing both Killingsworth and Buddy Kniss opportunities to threaten Sanders. Killingsworth challenged Sanders on lap 12 and nearly seized the lead, only for the yellow to come out.  

Fans were on the edge of their seats as Killingsworth threw another haymaker at Sanders on lap 15, but somehow Sanders was able to get back around him, and once more, the yellow came back out.  

Killingsworth finally got the lead on lap 18; just before the white flag waved, a lapped car made contact with third-running Kniss, ending their efforts for the evening. The green, white, checkered conclusion set up a showdown between Sanders and Killingsworth.

Killingsworth held back Sanders at the line for his second straight Speedweek win at DCDT.

Matthew Hagio, Trevor Points and Wagner were next

The IMCA Wild West Speedweek returns to racing Thursday, June 20, at Cottage Grove Speedway. That event will be broadcast by IMCA.TV.

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