Cajon Gatorade Honors To Manke EL CAJON, CA. (07/28/01). In school we all learned about the three R's. Well at Cajon Speedway the late model sportsman drivers are becoming acquainted with the three L's - that's stands for "late, light, or low".
Cajon Gatorade Honors To Manke
EL CAJON, CA. (07/28/01). In school we all learned about the three R's. Well at Cajon Speedway the late model sportsman drivers are becoming acquainted with the three L's - that's stands for "late, light, or low". But that new lesson plan was only a minor inconvenience for John Manke, who led wire-to-wire in the Gatorade NASCAR Weekly Racing Series main event on the 3/8 mile paved mile Saturday night.
Manke outran Jerry Gay during the final 19 circuits of the 40-lap contest to claim his third win of the season and second in two weeks. Ron Overman, who challenged Manke for the first half of the event, ended up third. Danny Gay, who did double duty, ran fourth ahead of point leader Mike Mendenhall.
New technical inspection procedures for the division went into effect Saturday night. What was once a post-race weight check of the top three finishers has now become a more complete check of all cars before the main event. Cars are now weighed, checked for proper ride height, and checked for correct wheelbase prior to going onto the track. Drivers who are "late, light, or low" or too short the first time through the inspection line will soon find themselves started at the back of the feature. Should the car not pass inspection before the field rolls onto the track for the race, the driver will become just another spectator for the event.
Saturday night there were no penalties for the three L's even though a number of cars failed the first time they were checked. About five cars were sent back to their pit to raise the ride height before they passed. None of the violations was for more than about a 1/16 inch. But ironically one of those coming in just a smidgen low was the Monte Carlo of Mike Mendenhall, whose brother protested five cars a week earlier and set in motion this whole change in procedure.
It was a busy night on the Gillespie Field pavement. Not only were new procedures put in place. But over 100 cars jammed the pits. For the first time, six divisions were in action. Mike Salm outran the Grand American modifieds. Danny Gay sub-drove for Scott Moses in the street stocks and took the win in the division he dominated the last two years. Douglas Wright Jr. ran side-by-side with Mike Weimann for several laps before prevailing in the pony stocks for the fourth time this season. Randy Wallace drove from mid-pack to take the 20-lap finale for the bomber stocks. Fast qualifier James Ross was a pole-to-checkered winner in the min-stockars.
In the late model sportsman feature, seven drivers ran virtually nose-to-tail the entire distance. Overman kept trying to get by Manke on the low side during the first half of the race. Following a lap 21 yellow, Jerry Gay was able to power around Overman and take up the chase after Overman left too big of a hole on the high side. Gay also ended up pocketing the $200 Big O Tire Hard Charger award for earning the most passing points.
"I don't know what to say," Manke stated after climbing from his Monte Carlo. "Because of the combination last week, it didn't feel like we won. But we did. With the controversy and people saying we were too low, we didn' t (have to) raise the car too much (this week). Our left corner with this set of tires was a little lower."
"We owe a lot to this man," Manke pointed out as sponsor Sid Rodriguez, owner of Sid's Auto Body, walked up. "He's given us what we need to get out here ever week."
"We benefit because I don't qualify that good so I tend to start in the front, " the winner explained. "But we started in the back of the slow heat this week and we had to pass all over (the track) to get there. Last week in the second main, we started in the back (after the big protest) and tore up the nose. This car will pass. Jon Nelson, our buddy on the Southwest Tour, has helped us. I think we found something in this deal."
Wallace, the 1999 bomber stock champ, overhauled pacesetting Rodney Shaw on the 16th round en route to his second win of the season in that division. The race had only slowdown and it was costly for point leader Bob Wickey. Wickey was forced into the wall and broke the rear end in his Chevelle on lap 13. Wickey was trying to stay out of the groove and coast back to the pits but hit Greg McCown in turn one, causing him to spin. Mark Holland, who entered the night second in points, ended up second to Wallace in the race and overtook Wickey in the points chase. He now leads by 21 markers, 740 to 719. Rounding out the top five on the track were Pat Garity, Joey Schneider, and Hayden Smith.
Salm was another wire-to-wire winner in the modifieds. But he found himself just gaining one point in the championship chase. Point leader Scott Brown hounded Salm the whole way. The other three positions in the top five were scrambled in the last two laps when fourth running Doug Carpenter got into Ron Brown, causing Brown to get squirrelly and spin. Carpenter was black-flagged. That moved Mike Jackson from fifth to third and gave top five finishes to Dave Williams and Carol Kirby Williams (no relation).
Danny Gay had to storm through the street stock field to take the win. He started seventh but the first 20 rounds of the scheduled 25-lapper ran non-stop. Jason Pontsler was on his way to his first win until Gay finally broke through traffic and ran down the leader. He gained the number one spot on lap 18 and went unheaded. Rick Hagen lost fifth when he tangled with the lapped car of Josh Green to bring out the race's only yellow flag on lap 21. Current division leader Rich Green ended up second ahead of Pontsler, Todd Phelps, and Richard Hinze.
Douglas Wright benefited from the woes of several of his rivals in the pony stocker. He was already in the thick of the chase in his potent Mustang when officials said third running Marty Schmidt got into the leading duo of Kenny Hall and Ed Hale following a lap 5 yellow flag. Both Hall and Hale spun and the yellow was thrown. On the restart Wright and Weimann ran wing-to-wing until another yellow on lap 10. Following that restart, Weimann and Wright went at it again. Wright was finally able to pull ahead on lap 11. Once in front he motored away. Weimann stayed in second while Andy Papp took third. That trio gained lots of ground on Hale in the points chase when he had to park his car after that lap 5 skirmish. George Behlman took fourth. Victor Clark had his best finish to date; he was fifth.
PIT NOTES: Due to an ongoing medical problem, Doc Harrison is stepping down from driving the #295 Ford Taurus street stock for the remainder of the year. Long-time friend, George Behlman, will take his place. George was the catalyst that Ivan originally got Ivan into racing, and coincidentally coming back to the track to watch Ivan race was how George got the bug again and returned to racing at Cajon! ** A rule change went into effect this year. No longer will equipment violators be subject to loss of points for the season if the violation is ruled to be a racing advantage. The penalty will just be loss of points and money for the night. ** Finally our thoughts and prayers are with car builder Steve Teets, his wife Barbara, and daughter Lauren. Lauren, an active 5-year-old, suffered a serious concussion in an accident last week. Lauren is alert and awake, but hospitalized at Childrens Hospital. Get well soon Lauren.