Wofford claims fourth
April 16, 2012
Apple Cup: Wofford claims fourth again
April 15, 2012 by Marcus Michelson
Driver matches Fall Classic finish ||
YAKIMA,Wash.— Wapato’s J.C. Wofford made a statement in the Apple Cup Super Late Model main event Sunday at Yakima Speedway.
He showed that his fourth-place finish in last year’s Fall Classic was no fluke.
Wofford backed up that performance with another fourth-place finish on Sunday, the final car on the lead lap.
“It’s all about consistency,” Wofford said after the race.
Consistent would be an apt description of Wofford’s day.
Starting in 10th position, he dodged trouble early and moved into the top five on lap 27, when Pete Harding and Mike Longton wrecked in turns one and two.
He would move into fourth on lap 35 when leader Shane Mitchell turned down pit lane with a smoking engine.
Wofford just kept plugging away.
“We went out trying to be conservative,” Wofford said.
That proved to be an excellent plan, as half of the 18 cars that started the race failed to finish.
Wofford’s biggest worry early was the slick conditions on the half-mile oval.
Apple Cup rules specify that drivers must start the race on the same tires they qualified on. That means that at the drop of the green flag, the entire field was on nearly 30-lap-old tires.
The only time tires can be changed is if one goes flat, so there’s no way to change onto new tires without a driver seriously disrupting his race.
“It was like ice out there,” Wofford said. “I guarantee the leaders were feeling it too.”
Wofford also dodged a bullet with a mechanical issue.
“We had a bad oil leak,” Wofford said.
The leak was causing enough smoke that track officials checked the back of Wofford’s car during a caution period on lap 102. Officials also checked the cars of Owen Riddle and David Smick for leaks on the same lap.
Officials were satisfied that the oil wasn’t reaching the track and let the cars continue.
That was the end of the drama for Wofford, who congratulated Riddle on his first major victory at Yakima Speedway.
“He deserved it,” he said. “He’s been out here a long time.”
Wofford is planning to be busy this summer, with races scheduled inYakima,SpokaneandMontana.
He also said he’s not done making statements, and is not content to rest on his consecutive fourth-place finishes.
“We want to be a force to be a force to be reckoned with,” Wofford said.