EL CAJON, CA (09/27/03). Car owner Walt Cole was in a daze. Driver Mike Jackson couldn't believe it. But it was official when they were told just minutes after the conclusion of the Grand American modified main event at Cajon Speedway Saturday.
EL CAJON, CA (09/27/03). Car owner Walt Cole was in a daze. Driver Mike Jackson couldn't believe it. But it was official when they were told just minutes after the conclusion of the Grand American modified main event at Cajon Speedway Saturday. Their team was the 2003 track champions.
Jackson, who started the night third in points behind Jimmy Dickerson and Mike Salm, did what he had to do. He went out and won the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series main event. Salm ended up third. Had Salm's last turn effort to get past Doug Carpenter into second been successful, he would have been champ. As it was he fell one position and four points short. Dickerson was knocked out of contention for the title when he got caught up in a turn two shunt on the second go-round. The right front suspension on his Monte Carlo was damaged and he had to be towed back to the pits. His crew was able to make repairs and Dickerson returned to the fray many laps in arrears.
The Cole-Jackson team won't have much time to party. They leave Monday morning with the racecar for San Antonio for an October 4 Texas Asphalt Modified Series race on that fast ½ mile track. This has become a regular end-of-season ritual for Cole's team. San Antonio is the facility where Cole 's nephew James competes regularly and is a former champion. The team will be able to savor their accomplishment and probably each other on the trip -- the trek takes 22 hours. Jackson is the lucky one -- he gets to fly in before climbing back behind the wheel.
Sharing victory lane with Jackson were Ivan Harrison in the street stocks, Douglas Wright Jr. in the pony stocks, Jeff Thompson in the bomber stocks, and John Robinson in the factory stocks. Thompson, an experienced go karter and dirt dwarf car racer, was making his initial pavement stock car start.
Sharing visits to the podium to make championship speeches with Jackson at the December 20 banquet will be Eric Ferguson in the street stocks, Hector Leon in the pony stocks, Rick Hagen in the bomber stocks, and Matt Arnold in the factory stocks. Leon was the only one of the titlests who had already sewn things up prior to the night's action. He turned over the wheel of his Mustang to his boss and long time benefactor Tony Cortes, who promptly went out and captured the division's trophy dash.
It has been a long hectic season for Jackson, whose team earned zero points one night when he broke on a pace lap for the main event. It is the first championship for Cole, who has had a long love affair with the modifieds. It was Jackson's first oval track title; he had previously taken home season honors in go karts and motocross. Cole not only is the team's owner, but also the crew chief. Turning the wrenches during the year were Jim Wilkerson, Ron Triska, Mike Diehl, and Sparky Peak. Jackson's brother Jon is the spotter. Wendy Wilkerson serves as the team chef and chief statistician.
The team will also pick up the $1200 Carpets Galore Hard Charger award at the banquet for earning the most passing points during the season.
"I'm in shock. Is this real?" were Cole's first words after the race. "When will we know for sure?" he then asked.
"I was happy just to win the main event," he continued. "I knew if we won the main event we did all we could do and then whatever happened, happened. We didn't come here tonight thinking we had anything but a way outside chance of doing that. But we said we could go win one more race. But we're going to San Antonio next Saturday night to race against my nephew who is a track champion there. I was always dreaming that I could go there as the Cajon Speedway track champion."
Well, Walt now that is no longer a dream. That is reality.
Jackson was also beaming from ear-to-ear after his third win of the year. "The car was awesome," he explained. "But I went down to six cylinders with about three laps to go. Once that last yellow flag came (on lap 26 of 30), I was running on six cylinders. Thank goodness it held together. Luckily it was our night."
Jackson managed to avoid the second lap melee that killed Dickerson's hopes for a second title. That tangle started when someone got sideways in turn two in mid-pack. In addition to Dickerson, Brian Pusey, Doug Catania, Pat Garity, and Salm were all involved. Only Salm did not have to make a trip to the pits. "I saw it going down," Jackson noted. "Luckily I was on the inside so I was able to dive more onto the inside. So I wasn't very close to it. Poor Jimmy, I hate to win it that way. But when I saw his wheel sitting down there, I knew our chances were pretty good then."
"This has been an exciting year," Jackson continued. "To drop one race completely with no points that night and still come back and do it is huge. It doesn't say enough for these guys. Like that one Thursday (Sept 4) when I put it in the wall (during a practice session he pancaked the rear end against the crashwall), these guys fixed it and we got a win that weekend. It's just huge -- huge for us. It's more than we can expect for our first full year together."
Jackson started 12th in the 15-car field and overhauled pacesetting Andy Papp 13 rounds into the 30-lapper. Doug Carpenter held off Salm for second. Garity rebounded to finish fourth ahead of Papp.
The street stock 30-lapper was a heartbreaker for Team Rodvold. First Kenny Hall slapped the wall on lap 7 and debris was spread across the track; that necessitated the only yellow flag. Neil Rodvold led from the pole until his Monte Carlo started smoking ten laps in. That gave the point to Ivan Harrison, who concluded his 17th consecutive season of 100% participation with his 22nd career victory. Harrison's ironman accomplishment of not missing a race for 17 years, equals Mark Norris, who fielded a super stock for every race from 1971 through 1986.
Chasing Harrison to the stripe Saturday night were Richard Hinze, Ferguson, Rich Green, and Brian Collins. Green ended up second in points and Hinze ran third.
Wright was the fastest of the fast in the pony stocks where he prevailed for the third time this year. The race was stopped two laps short of its scheduled 25-lap distance when Joe College aka Trevor Maynard, who started his freshman year at Cal Poly Pomona on Thursday, tangled with Howard Moody. Marty Schmidt, who had stormed from 14th into the top spot in just over two laps, finished second ahead of a couple of Cajon's senior citizens, George Behlman, Ed Hale, and rookie Chris Vaughn. Wright's victory enabled him to edge out Hale for third in the division standings. Schmidt ran strong all year and finished as points runnerup to Leon.
The bomber feature was also shortened. It had to be called after 24 of 25 scheduled rounds when Rodney Shaw got into Rick Nies and turned him sideways on the front stretch. Nies nosed into the wall and was rammed by Mike McGlone. No one was injured, but it took quite a while to clean up the mess. Gary Lamb actually led the entire race. But he was disqualified for having too much left wide weight at the scales. That gave the triumph to Thompson, who was driving Randy Wallace's Chevelle. Marty Lehrke, Shaw, Darrell Moore, and Hayden Smith took home second through fifth.
Rick Hagen ran a conservative race and finished seventh. Greg McCown had to beat him by eight spots on the track to overcome his point lead. McCown led Hagen most of the way, but was never far enough ahead to pass him in the standings. McCown however lost many positions when he was forced to the infield on lap 21.
Marty Kepler was in the driver's seat in the factory stock main event until John Robinson worked his way past on the next to the last of the 25 circuits. Rick Lloyd was very much in the hunt until he got kicked around "like a 50 mph pinball" as track timer Ken Wagoner described it. Brian Fitzgibbons ultimately took second ahead of Kepler, Vernon Gilmore, and Mike Ellis. Matt Arnold was almost sideways when he went across the line in sixth. He sewed up his second straight championship when he took the green flag for the feature.
PIT NOTES: Ferguson earned the $200 Diecast Collectibles Hard Charger award for earning the most passing points in the street stocks Saturday night.
RESULTS FOR THE NASCAR DODGE WEEKLY SERIES
GRAND AMERICAN MODIFIED
Fast Time - Jimmy Dickerson, El Cajon; Time - :16.701.
Dash (4 laps) - 1. Mike Salm, Fallbrook; 2. Mike Jackson, Bonita; 3. Jimmy Dickerson, El Cajon; 4. Lou Tompkins, San Diego; Time - 1:09.12.
Main event (30 laps) - 1. Mike Jackson, Bonita; 2. Douglas Carpenter, La Mesa; 3. Mike Salm, Fallbrook; 4. Pat Garity, El Cajon; 5. Andy Papp, La Mesa; 6. Dave Wade, Lakeside; 7. Ivan Harrison, Santee; 8. Lou Tompkins, San Diego; 9. Dave Williams, Escondido; 10. Hector Leon, Santee; 11. Matt Pate, San Diego; 12. Jimmy Dickerson, El Cajon; 13. Doug Catania, El Cajon; 14. Brian Pusey, Lemon Grove; Time - no time.
Fast Time - Mark Holland, San Diego; Time - :17.868.
Dash (4 laps) - 1. Eric Ferguson, El Cajon; 2. Rich Green Jr., El Cajon; 3. Jason Pontsler, Poway; 4. Mark Holland, San Diego; Time - 1:21.87.
Main event (30 laps) - 1. Ivan Harrison, Santee; 2. Richard Hinze, Lakeside; 3. Eric Ferguson, El Cajon; 4. Rich Green Jr., El Cajon; 5. Brian Collins, Oceanside; 6. Rob Overman, San Diego; 7. Rob Freeman, Santee; 8. Jason Pontsler, Poway; 9. Dave Arce, Santee; 10. Gordon Anderson, Lemon Grove; 11. Josh Green, San Diego; 12. Ken Wikoren, San Diego; 13. RJ Stockman, Lakeside; 14. Mark Holland, San Diego; 15. Neil Rodvold, Lakeside; 16. Tom Jaggi, Campo; 17. Kenny Hall, Lakeside; Time - 13:16.83.
Fast Time - Douglas Wright Jr., Santee; Time - :18.398.
Dash (4 laps) -- 1. Tony Cortes, San Diego; 2. Ty Tipton, Spring Valley; 3. Douglas Wright Jr., Santee; 4. Thomas Winter, La Jolla, Time - 1:15.76.
Main event (23 laps) - 1. Douglas Wright Jr., Santee; 2. Marty Schmidt, El Cajon; 3. George Behlman, Santee; 4. Ed Hale, El Cajon; 5. Chris Vaughn, San Diego; 6. Russ Gregson, El Cajon; 7. Thomas Winter, La Jolla; 8. Pete Franke, Lakeside; 9. Shawn Muscat, Escondido; 10. Darrell McKee Jr., San Diego; 11. Tony Cortes, San Diego; 12. Michelle Bishop, Poway; 13. Len Cartwright, Lemon Grove; 14. Rob Dinsmore, Ramona; 15. Trevor Maynard, Lakeside; 16. Ty Tipton, Spring Valley; 17. Howard Moody, La Mesa; 18. Robert Minnick, El Cajon; 19. Krish Edwards, San Diego; 20. Amber Lee Harmon, San Clemente; 21. Bill Parenteau Sr., El Cajon; 22. Shayla McEntarffer, El Cajon; Time - 19:59.50.
Fast Time - Rick Hagen, El Cajon; Time - :20.139.
Dash (4 laps) - 1. Greg McCown, El Cajon; 2. Scott Denton, Fallbrook; 3. Brian Fitzgibbons, El Cajon; 4. Jeff Coskey, Santee; Time - 1:21.73.
Main event (24 laps) - 1. Jeff Thompson, Lakeside; 2. Marty Lehrke, San Diego; 3. Rodney Shaw, El Cajon; 4. Darrell Moore, Ramona; 5. Hayden Smith, San Diego; 6. Chris Boyer, San Diego; 7. Rick Hagen, El Cajon; 8. David Whisenant, Murrieta; 9. Greg McCown, El Cajon; 10. Bill Holland, El Cajon; 11. Jeff Coskey, Santee; 12. Randy Hart, National City; 13. Rick Nies, Lakeside; 14. Mike McGlone, Fallbrook; 15. Mark Wendell, Santee; 16. Kevin Gantz, Spring Valley; 17. Brian Fitzgibbons, El Cajon; 18. Perry Humphries, San Diego; 19. Scott Denton, Fallbrook; 20. Tom Santos, Glenview; Time - no time.
Fast Time - Pat Bradley, San Marcos; Time - :21.436.
Dash (4 laps) - 1. Brian Fitzgibbons, El Cajon; 2. J.R. Trent, Jamul; 3. Pat Bradley, San Marcos; 4. Mike Ellis, Lakeside; Time - 1:26.07.
Consolation (15 laps) - 1. Keith Krueger, Fallbrook; 2. Robert Hughes, Campo; 3. Bryan Bonito, El Cajon; 4. James Schneider, Escondido; 5. Jim Crone IV, Escondido; Time - 5:52.39.
Semi (15 laps) - 1. Ryan Gay, El Cajon; 2. Rich Crutchfield, Santee; 3. Aaron Reid, El Cajon; 4. John Krempp Jr., El Cajon; 5. Dan Hildebrand, El Cajon; 6. Lyle Driscoll, Lakeside; 7. Michael Burford, Ramona; 8. Glen Davis, La Mesa; 9. Mike Rumbaugh, Poway; 10. Keith Krueger, Fallbrook; 11. Robert Hughes, Campo; 12. Eric Shockey, Santee; Time - 5:31.42.
Main event (25 laps) - 1. John Robinson, Ramona; 2. Brian Fitzgibbons, El Cajon; 3. Martin Kepler, El Cajon; 4. Vernon Gilmore, Santee; 5. Mike Ellis, Lakeside; 6. Matt Arnold, San Diego; 7. Phil Griffin, Santee; 8. Dan Hildebrand, El Cajon; 9. Ed Valenzuela, Santee; 10. Eric Sweetman, Santee; 11. Ryan Gay, El Cajon; 12. Blaine Sharp, Jamul; 13. Lyle Driscoll, Lakeside; 14. John Krempp Jr., El Cajon; 15. Michael Burford, Ramona; 16. Ernest Teixeira, Vista; 17. Rick Lloyd, El Cajon; 18. Pat Bradley, San Marcos; 19. Rich Crutchfield, Santee; 20. Aaron Reid, El Cajon; 21. Josh Nicholas, El Cajon; 22. J.R. Trent, Jamul; Time - 13:25.30.
Destruction Derby - 1. John Higgins, Chula Vista; 2. Milton Eisenhauer, Yucca Valley; 3. Lyle Driscoll, Lakeside; Time - no time.