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Former Kitsap Sun sports editor Chuck Stark shares insight, laughter, news, views and analysis of Kitsap sports and beyond.
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Archive for the ‘Ryan Villopoto’ Category

1979 NHRA Top Fuel championship car not just a story anymore — it exists

Tuesday, July 29th, 2014

Silverdale’s Rob Bruins and Bremerton’s Chris Horn are returning to the drag strip at Pacific Raceways (formerly Seattle International Raceway) in Kent this weekend along with the Top Fuel dragster that they helped to an NHRA championship in 1979.

Bruins drove the Gaines Markley-owned dragster and Horn, then 19, was the full-time mechanic for a team that shocked that drag racing world by winning a world championship without winning a national event.

Horn, now a Kitsap-based real estate broker, came across the car by accident on a motorcycle trip to Nevada in 1996. He bought it, later chased down the original Keith Black aluminum engine block and other parts. He sold it to the World Speed Museum in December of 2013, and the car is now restored and will be at the track this weekend.

Thirty-five years ago, I covered the Northwest Nationals and wrote a story about these guys. They lost in the first round that day, but that was not the norm. The car won every divisional race it entered, and reached the semis or finals in all of the other national events to secure the championship.

I don’t pretend to be a motorsports expert, but this is a cool story about a couple of local racers who did big things in the world of motorsports.

Rob Bruins, Dave Villwock, Ryan Villopoto. That’s some serious motorsports history that’s come out of Kitsap County.

Here’s the story about Bruins, Horn and the innovative car that changed the drag-racing landscape.

 


Wet stuff drives you crazy & links on Hammel, Willie B., T. Kelly & RV2

Saturday, March 8th, 2014

Spent about nine hours on the road and at the ballpark today, and what did we have to show for it?

Nothing. Such is life if you’re part of a softball or baseball team that’s trying to get in some games in the Northwest. Mother Nature comes out on top a lot and it prevailed once again.

After warming up in the rain for 90 minutes at Lacey’s Regional Athletic Complex (known as The RAC), games were cancelled and the Olympic College softball team headed to a nearby restaurant for dinner, then a drive home in the driving rain. In case you’re wondering, I’m a volunteer assistant.

It’s now closing in on 9:30 p.m. I’m home. It’s still raining and I’m watching Washington State school UCLA in basketball, and wondering if it would be better to just go to bed. We lose an hour of sleep tonight, and the vans leave at 8:30 a.m. for another trip to Lacey, where the artificial turf could be playable. Or maybe not.

In the meantime, here’s some links:

Jason Hammel pitches three shutout innings for  the Cubs in his first official spring game of the season. The South Kitsap grad walked three batters in the first inning, but got out of the jam. Afterwards, he said he might have been a bit nervous.

Willie Bloomquist, who delivered an RBI single on Saturday,  says he’s happy to be a Mariner. “Who gets to put a uniform on twice and play in your hometown?” he told Greg Johns of MLB.com.

Troy Kelly had an eagle on the par-5 14th hole and shot 2-under 70 in the third round of the Chile Classic at Santiago, Chile. The 35-year-old Central Kitsap grad is 7-under for the tournament and tied for 25th heading into Sunday’s final round of the Web-com Tour stop. He’s six strokes off the lead. Tacoma’s Andrew Putman is tied for seventh after a 4-under 68. He’s at 206 for three rounds. Putman was second in the Web.com’s season opener at Puerto Rico. His bother, Michael Putnam, was the Web.com’s Player of the Year in 2013. Ex-Husky and Canadian Nick Taylor is tied for 50th after carding a 70 on Saturday.

Supercross champ Ryan Villopoto ended his five-race winless streak with a wire-to-wire win at Daytona. The Poulsbo rider with the RV2 moniker grabbed the lead at the start and won by over 12 seconds despite a fall. “So pumped to get the win tonight! This one felt good!” he tweeted.

 


Villopoto maintains Supercross points lead

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

Poulsbo’s Ryan Villopoto professes “to be struggling a little bit,” but he’s still on top of the AMA Supercross standings.

The Kawasaki rider was fourth in Saturday night’s race at Indianapolis, the ninth race of the 17-race series. Villopoto has won twice this season, but not in the last five weeks. He had 10 victories a year ago when he clinched his second third straight Supercross title in the 11th week of the series at Salt Lake City.

Prior to the Indianapolis race, Villopoto said there were reasons why he hasn’t been Villopotoesque in recent weeks:

“There’s a combination [of factors],” Villopoto said. “One of them is the field is maybe getting closer. And on my end, I’m just struggling a little bit, maybe not having the best weekends and trying to find that sweet spot, that good setting, if you can find it, if that’s ever out there. So it’s a combination of everything. Me struggling a little bit and also, like I said, a big part of it is the competition is so close this year.”

The Supercross series moves to Daytona, Fla., next week. The Seattle race at CenturyLink Field is April 12.

Villopoto is trying to become the fourth rider to win three four consecutive  Supercross titles. The others: Bob Hannah, Jeremy McGrath and Ricky Carmichael. That’s some pretty exclusive company.

The current overall 450SX point standings:

  1. Ryan Villopoto, Poulsbo, Kawasaki, 184
  2. Ryan Dungey, Belle Plaine, Minn., KTM, 161
  3. Ken Roczen, Murrieta, Calif., KTM, 158
  4. James Stewart, Haines City, Fla., Suzuki, 154
  5. Justin Brayton, Cornelius, N.C., 143
  6. Chad Reed, Dade City, Fla., Kawasaki, 111
  7. Justin Barcia, Pinetta, Fla., Honda, 109
  8. Andrew Short, Smithville, Texas, KTM, 109
  9. Wil Hahn, Menifee, Calif., Honda, 93
  10. Broc Tickle, Holly, Mich., Suzuki, 93

 


Good start, tough finish for Villopoto at million-dollar supercross race

Monday, October 21st, 2013

The Monster Energy Cup in Las Vegas consists of three 10-lap main events. If you win all three, as Poulsbo’s Ryan Villopoto did in 2011, you win $1 million. It’s the biggest prize in supercross.

Villopoto, the reigning supercross and motocross champion, put himself in position to win another million on Saturday when a penalty to Ryan Dungey allowed him to win the first moto. But he crashed hard in the second race and didn’t compete in the third race. Villopoto walked away from the crash, but there was no official word yet if he suffered any serious injuries.

James Stewart won the last two races and claimed the top prize of $100,000.

Here’s the story.

And here’s a Q&A with Villopoto that was conducted before the race. He talks about the offseason surgery he had to repair a nagging injury.

And here’s a photo gallery of Villopoto, racing during the 2013 season.

The 2014 AMA Supercross season starts Jan. 4 at Anaheim. The 17-race series stops at CenturyLink Field in Seattle on April 12.

 


CK grad Williams lands job at Boise State & more stuff

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Isaac Williams, a highly-successful men’s basketball coach at NAIA DII Eastern Oregon, has landed at Boise State as the director of basketball operations.

I somehow missed this story about the Central Kitsap graduate.

For more background on Williams, here’s a column I wrote in February.

Everybody you talk to has nothing but good things to say about Williams. I don’t think this will be his final stop in the coaching business.

Also

Looks like Willie Bloomquist, back on the disabled list after breaking bones in his hand, spent some time in the Port Orchard area during the All-Star break. Here’s a photo of Willie’s daughters on the Puget Sound waters. The Arizona Diamondback, an avid outdoorsman, also tweeted a picture of his daughter with a nice rainbow trout.

Poulsbo’s Ryan Villopoto will be racing in Washougal on Saturday. It’s one of the oldest tracks on the Lucas Oil Pro Motocross circuit and Villopoto, who has a healthy lead in the 450cc standings, has never won on what is considered his “home” track.

The Kitsap BlueJackets open a three-game home series vs. Kelowna, B.C., Friday night at 6:35 p.m. They play Saturday at 6:35 p.m. and Sunday at 1:35 p.m. Going to stop by Saturday and chat with first baseman Daniel Orr, the Kingston High and Everett CC product. Orr’s headed to Corban University in Salem, Ore., next year. Look for the story the following weekend. Here’s a look at the BlueJackets’ hitting stats. And here’s the BJs pitching numbers.

Also working on a story about LakeLand Village Golf Course in Allyn. It’s an interesting 27-hole facility, owned and operated by Steve Anderson.  His grandfather was the original owner of the property.

Drew Vettleson, a Central Kitsap grad playing for the Charlotte Stone Crabs of the Class A Florida State League, had hit in eight of his last nine games heading into Friday’s game. He’s hitting .274 and leads the team in hits (89) and is second in doubles (20) and RBIs (41). The most puzzling statistic about Drew this season is that the strong-armed outfielder has an uncharacteristic 13 errors.

 


Villopoto greatest pro athlete ever from Kitsap County?

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

Poulsbo’s Ryan Villopoto has won eight of 10 motos during the outdoor motocross season. This after winning his third straight Supercross championship.

RV2 is on the cusp of being considered one of the all-time great motocross riders of all time. A couple more championships, and he’ll be in the conversation with Roger Decoster, Bob Hannah, Ricky Carmichael and Jeremy McGrath as the greatest motocross/supercross rider of all time.

Dude might be the greatest professional athlete ever from Kitsap County. Yeah, greatest ever. Who compares?


BlueJackets get going this week; Big day for Baumgartner

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

The Kitsap BlueJackets jump into West Coast League baseball play this week. The Medford Rogues and Victoria HarbourCats join the college wood-bat league this summer, giving the WCL 11 teams. Yakima will make it 12 teams in 2014.

The Jackets open a three-game series at Longview against Cowlitz on Wednesday. Kitsap’s home opener is Saturday at 6:35 p.m. against Medford at Gene Lobe Fields at the Kitsap County Fairgrounds and Events Center.

I talked to outfielder Daniel Jewett and manager Ryan Parker over the weekend. Look for the story on Tuesday. Jewett’s a North Kitsap grad who spent a red-shirt season at NCAA Division I Nebraska-Omaha. He had to sit out this season after transferring from D2 Truman State in Missouri. Jewett figures to be a mainstay for the BlueJackets that Parker’s thinking about starting him in the opener because he’s familiar with the hard-throwing right-hander.

Parker, who doubles as Olympic College’s head coach, will be starting his second year as head man with the BlueJackets. He assisted Matt Acker four years previously.

Other locals who will be wearing the BlueJackets’ uniforms:

 

Daniel Orr, a Kingston grad who is coming off a very solid season for NWAACC champion Everett. Orr, a first baseman, hit .362 with 3 homers and a team-high 50 RBI for the Trojans. He was all-North Division and also made the all-tourney NWAACC team. Everett beat Pierce 4-1 in Friday’s title game.

Vince Sablan from South Kitsap, who just completed his first season at Olympic College. Sablan joined the Jackets for their final road trip a year ago and will play some shortstop and third base.

Pitchers Kyle McKay (Ferndale/Olympic College/Jamestown University), Ryan Taylor (Salt Lake City/Olympic College) and catcher Dustin Dhanani (Blaine/Olympic College) are also on the roster.

Go the BlueJackets site to see the rest of the roster and schedule.

Baumgartner delivers for Ducks

Oregon’s Tyler Baumgartner, who played for the BlueJackets last summer, was 5-for-10 with three RBI and five runs scored in two games Sunday as he helped the Ducks stay alive in NCAA regional play in Eugene. The Ducks play Rice Monday with the winner advancing to the NCAA Super Regional next weekend against North Carolina State.

Baumgartner, a Central Kitsap grad and transfer from Bellevue College,  combined to hit for the cycle in the two games with a home run, double and single against San Francisco in the early game and a triple and a double in the game against Rice. Baumgartner, who DH’d much of the season, played left field in both games.

Also

Five local baseball players were selected to play in the Washington All-State Series this coming weekend in Yakima: Michael Wood and Cody Wolfe from South Kitsap, AJ Milyard and Matt Fisher from North Kitsap and Matt Noll from Bremerton.erall

Poulsbo’s Ryan Villopoto won his fifth straight moto in the outdoor motocross season at Tennessee, but ended up fourth in the second moto after taking a spill early. He’s still got a healthy lead in the overall points chase. Check out the crash that ended his five-moto win streak.

Willie Bloomquist started at shortstop and went 3-for-4  against the Cubs on Saturday in his first game since being activated by the Diamondbacks. The Port Orchard native said the adrenalin was pumping a little more than usual.

The Bremerton City Amaterur golf tournament at Gold Mountain turned out to be quite a dog fight. Olympic College’s Kenyan Fanslow, who was three strokes back with two holes left, rolled in a 25-footer from off the green on No. 18 for a birdie to finish regulation tied with Chris Bae and Matt Hartley. Hartley won on the second hole of sudden-death playoff with a 3-foot birdie. Read my story here.

 


Villopoto stays perfect in outdoor motocross season

Saturday, May 25th, 2013

Coming off of his third straight Supercross championship season, Poulsbo’s Ryan Villopoto is taking aim at an outdoor title.

He won two more motocross races Saturday in Lakewood, Colo., and is now a perfect 4-for-4.


Villopoto clinches third straight Supercross title

Sunday, April 28th, 2013

There has never been a doubt, and now there’s absolutely no debate: Poulsbo’s Ryan Villopoto ranks among THE very best AMA Supercross riders in the history of the sport.

Villopoto joined Bob Hannah, Ricky Carmichael and Jeremy McGrath as the only riders to win three straight 450cc class titles in a row when he won his ninth race of the season on Saturday night at Salt Lake City.

I caught a recent airing of the CBS special: “Ryan Villopoto: A Champion” and it not only gives you a lot of insight into the sport, but into his personal life, where he spent three years estranged from his Poulsbo family. If you get a chance to see it, I recommend it.

In the meantime, congrats to RV and his crew. He finishes the regular supercross season at Las Vegas on May 4, then it’s off to the motocross season, which he missed a year ago after blowing out a knee in his race in Seattle.


Villopoto chats

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

The Seattle TImes had a live chat with Poulsbo’s supercross superstar Ryan Villopto.

During the chat, Villopoto said he won’t retire at the end of the season. He’s signed a three-year contract with most of his sponsors and will race at least that long.

Villopto and the AMA Supercross tour is in Seattle for its annual stop this week. Race day is Saturday at CenturyLink Field. It’s really quite a show. If you haven’t experienced it, I recommend it.

 


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