Cajon Speedway race report 2003-06-07

Manke overcomes elements and field at Cajon. EL CAJON, CA (06/07/03). There were 16 late model sportsman stock cars entered in Saturday night's NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series event at Cajon Speedway. But there were 17 competitors. That additional ...

Manke overcomes elements and field at Cajon.

EL CAJON, CA (06/07/03). There were 16 late model sportsman stock cars entered in Saturday night's NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series event at Cajon Speedway. But there were 17 competitors. That additional entrant was Mother Nature . She almost won. But instead it was John Manke who beat the weather and held off point leader David Beat to take honors on the 3/8-mile paved oval.

Manke was only a car length ahead of Beat at the conclusion of the 40-lap contest. The two battled through the final 16-rounds of the contest on a slightly slippery surface. Rounding out the top five were Danny Gay, Ron Overman, and Stephen Peace. Gay, who was the night's quick qualifier, picked up the $200 Sid's Auto Body Hard Charger Award for earning the most passing points. That award is put up each week by Sid Rodriguez, who owns Manke's car and is the major sponsor on Overman's.

Chris Boyer outlasted the bomber stock field to take home his second career main event trophy. Ty Tipton survived a shunt while passing lapped cars in the final turn to beat out Marty Schmidt in the pony stock feature. Richard Hinze prevailed in the street stock contest and became the third different driver in as many weeks to lead that division's points chase.

When a light but persistent drizzle started falling at the end of qualifying, the decision was made to run the trophy dash and main events only in hopes of getting the show in. The "weather gods" were kind to the racers and the quick paced show concluded by 9:30 pm.

Manke led all 40-laps of the sportsman contest. Rich Chavez challenged him early, but Beat took over that second spot on 17. At that point Manke was about eight lengths in front. But Beat just kept nibbling into that margin and was on the leader's bumper by lap 24. Lap after lap Beat tried to get under Manke. He could stick his nose in low going into the corners, but was unable to make it stick coming off so Manke was able to hold him at bay. A yellow on lap 36 gave Beat one final opportunity to make a pass for the lead. But it didn't happen. It was Manke's first victory of the season and ninth of his career.

Both of the top two finishers agreed the atmospheric conditions made for a loose racetrack. "The track was getting slick," Manke observed. "I was loose and (was trying to figure out) if it was the car or the track." "Actually the track was a little bit loose where I run because nobody runs there," countered Beat, who is one of a few drivers who has gotten his car to work on the low side. "It was slippery for me."

"It was OK. I don't like starting in the front," Manke said of his race night and the main event victory. "I blew qualifying. I don't know why. Everyone said we were the fastest car in practice. Steve Teets put a new setup in this thing and it was great in practice. In qualifying, I don't know if it was cold tires or what. Everybody dropped off. I think maybe I panicked a little and spun it (on my second lap). I wanted to be (fast) in qualifying for the passing points. But we'll take it."

"David was a rocket," Manke, who is second in points behind Beat, continued. "He couldn't get in (to the corner) so he couldn't get by us. But it's a win. Sid isn't here tonight. But Sid Jr. is. And Don Bell, Brett Bell's (a former Southwest Series and ASA competitor) dad, is here from out of town. He's a friend of the family. We wanted to do well for them. We needed a win. We're up there in points. Championships are made of good qualifying and winning a few races. Maybe we'll get there. We'll see what happens."

Beat's run was not without its problems. He spun on the first attempt at a start and then had to limp a bit at the end. "They (in front of me) just didn't go and everybody (behind) got on the gas," David, who started seventh, explained of the coming-down-for the green incident. "I came in and the crew checked it out. It just caved in the hood a bit. (At the end of the race), I did have a flat right front. It had only 20 pounds (of air). It was starting to roll under. It must have gotten a hole or a cut or something during that last caution (on lap 36). I was saving a bit for the last five laps. Then when the caution came out, I said this is going to work. Then when we went green, it wouldn't cut as good in the middle of the corner. Now I know why."

Boyer overhauled pacesetting rookie Dave Whisenant following a lap 18 slowdown in the 20-lap bomber stock finale. Jay McKellep and Joey Schneider both led the pack before Whisenant slowly worked his way past Schneider during the middle stages of the event. Whisenant, who had only four prior starts in the division, faltered a bit at the end and finished fourth. Greg McCown ran second. Brian Fitzgibbons nipped Whisenant at the stripe for third. Kevin Gantz was fifth. Rick Hagen entered the night number one in bomber points and maintained that position. He finished sixth after t-boning the car of Mick McGlone, who spun in turn three on lap 3.

The 25-lap street stock feature started off as a battle between the division 's pair of first time victors this year, Jason Pontsler and Eric Seene. But on the move from the back of the pack were the night's three quickest qualifiers, Eric Ferguson, Rich Green, and Richard Hinze. By the time a lap 17 slowdown occurred, they were running 4th, 6th, and 5th respectively. Three circuits later Ferguson was up to second and then challenging for the lead. On lap 23, Pontsler, whose wife Janet is expecting the couple's first child at any moment, broke loose just a bit in turn four. He came back down the track and Ferguson had to take evasive action. But when they got to turn one, both cars were low on the track. There was no racing room and the duo got together. Both cars went around; also involved were Green, who got airborne in the melee, and Randy Buell. This left Hinze in front and he motored away in the final three laps to take his first checkered of the year, ten lengths in front of Seene. Dave Arce found just enough room between Mark Holland and the crashwall to make a final turn pass into third place and move into second in points. Scott Holmberg was fifth.

In the pony stocks, someone other than Hector Leon and Marty Schmidt finally made their way to victory circle. Tipton came from tenth starting position. He was in front past rookie Shawn Muscat eight laps into the 20-lap contest. But Schmidt, who sat 13th on the grid, took over second on the ninth go-round and slowly closed the gap on Tipton. With no yellow flags during the race, lapped cars came into play in the last few laps. In the final turn a couple of those got together. Amber Lee Harmon drifted up the track right in front of Tipton, whose left front made slight contact with her right front. Tipton was able to hang on and beat Schmidt to the line. Point leader Leon was third ahead of Ed Hale and Douglas Wright Jr.

PIT NOTES: David Beat, who cannot commit to a full racing season because of a new house, says he will be here on the 14th and the 21st and then re-examine his situation. -- Auggie Vidovich maintained his point lead in the NASCAR Featherlite Southwest Series by running fifth at Irwindale Saturday night. Brandon Whitt was right behind in sixth. Todd McLauchlan was the first car out of the race, retiring after 6 of 162 laps with engine problems.

-cs-

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About this article
Series NASCAR , Stock car
Drivers Don Bell , Brandon Whitt , Auggie Vidovich