Manke takes Cajon Sportsman finale. EL CAJON, CA (09/21/02). John Manke had to consider himself lucky to finish the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge late model sportsman main event at Cajon Speedway Saturday night. But not only did...
Manke takes Cajon Sportsman finale.
EL CAJON, CA (09/21/02). John Manke had to consider himself lucky to finish the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge late model sportsman main event at Cajon Speedway Saturday night. But not only did Manke finish the race, he was in front of the field when the checkered flag was displayed after 40-laps.
The contest was just barely underway when five cars stacked-up in turn three. The melee started when Bob Wickey got into the rear of Jack Lee, who then spun. Both Jeff Wright and Rick Chavez were carried up to and smacked the wall. Manke ended up buried under the rear of Wickey. There were no injuries and only Manke was only able to continue after some repair to the airbox that feeds the radiator.
Claude Bell looked to be the easy victor in the event. He paced the opening 30 rounds. Bell had been driving his usual very high line until Gay moved in to challenge by lap 25. For the next five rounds Bell kept moving lower and lower on the track to thwart the threat and was pinching Gay off exiting each corner. But then on lap 31, there was contact between the duo and Bell looped it exiting turn four. Manke just missed being caught up in it and slipped by. On the ensuing lap, Gay was black flagged and parked his car. This left Manke in front and he led easily to the finish. It marked his fifth victory of the season. Chasing Manke were Jerry Gay, Stephen Peace, Dee Cable, and Jeff Seifert. Bell ended up sixth.
"We just caved in the airbox," Manke said of the damage from the lap one incident. "But I was worried about it running hot. It ran about 230. Then I was tucked in behind Jerry (Gay) and it was getting hotter. So I'm like I have to pass him. So I worked on Jerry for a little bit. He's tough to pass. He holds you down on your line so low. But that's racing. Once I got by him, Claude and Danny were way out on us. I was pedaling for all I was worth. Once I realized I was catching them, the car was still as 230 degrees. I was getting worried. So it stayed at about 235 and I caught them. I was getting ready to start going under Danny. I don't know what happened. But Danny ending up riding up on him (Bell). I almost hit them."
Manke's victory was worth $1250 which included the Sid's Auto Body $250 bonus and the Sid's Auto Body $200 Hard Charger Award for having the most passing points for the night.
Despite the big lap one wreck, the double points season finale resulted in only one change in position in the top ten in the final point standings. Jerry Gay passed Bob Wickey and ended up seventh in points. The final rundown is Danny Gay, Manke, Seifert, Wright, Cable, Bell, Jerry Gay, Wickey, Peace, and Chavez.
In the street stocks Richard Hinze held off Eric Ferguson to capture first place in their 25-lapper. Douglas Wright Jr. prevailed in the pony stocks. Pat Garity was victorious in the bomber stocks. Las Vegas visitors Michael Fredricks and Justin Johnson took home the trophies in the twin legend car events.
Street stock point leader Rich Green had an extra busy night, but still finished third behind Hinze and Ferguson in the feature. He broke his motor hot lapping and was the last car to qualify. Then he missed his heat race as his crew was still making adjustments to the newly installed backup motor. All those woes made it impossible for Green to sew up his second straight title. But he maintains a comfortable lead entering next week's season finale. He needs to finish only 11th or better to wrap it up. Saturday night 's feature saw Rick Hagen take an early lead. His undoing resulted from a lap 9 slowdown when fourth place Eric Seene spun in turn three. The restart found the two fastest qualifiers, Richard Hinze and Eric Ferguson, taking up the charge. Hinze, the second quick timer of the night, had gotten through traffic just ahead of fast qualifier Ferguson. So Hinze was the first one to get past Hagen on lap 16. Ferguson followed a round later. Ferguson dogged Hinze to the finish but fell a length short. Hagen held on to fourth. Doc Harrison spun across the line and through the infield to take fifth.
Mark Holland finished second in the bomber stock main event behind Garity and clinched that divisional championship. All he needed to do was start the main event. So he drove a conservative but steady race. Robert Bradley ran away from the field early on. But lap 13 and 15 caution flags rebunched the field. Pat Garity moved under him in turn three following the lap 15 slowdown. On lap 19 Bradley ended up skidding all over the backstretch and was slammed by Thomas Osborne, who simply had no place to go. Somehow Bradley was able to continue though all the bodywork was shredded. The officials determined that Rodney Shaw had been involved in the accident too and he was sent to the back of the pack. When he refused to lineup correctly he was black flagged and then refused to honor the black. He stayed on the track in second position, but was not scored. After the race he gunned his motor through the entire pits. The officials promptly suspended Shaw for the remainder of the season and put him on probation for all of 2003. Behind Garity and Holland in the final rundown were Marty Lehrke, Scott Denton, and Brian Fitzgibbons.
In the pony stocks, Ed Hale sewed things up for the third consecutive year. He was deemed the champion when Hector Leon failed to qualify for the feature and had to run the semi. But Hale, who had ten wins in 17 starts, found his luck disappeared on the track. He was caught up in a turn three-first lap melee and lost a radiator. Meanwhile Russ Gregson, making only his second start in the ponys, ran in front of the field until Douglas Wright Jr. mowed him down. Wright motored away from the pack and was nearly a quarter lap ahead at the conclusion of the 20-lapper. Leon, who transferred from the semi, stormed from 17th starting position and came home second. Mike Weimann was another driver on the move. A late race charge put him in third after starting 12th. Marty Schmidt was fourth and Tim Beeney took fifth. It was Beeney's ninth top five finish this year.
PIT NOTES: Three titles are still to be decided. Scott Brown can keep the modified championship honors in his family by placing no worse than ninth in that division's Grand Prix. Matt Arnold can place 12th in the factory stock finale to become that division's first titlest. So it appears as if four of the track champions this year will be second-generation racers (Gay, Brown, Green, and Holland). Of course Hale is too old for his father to have raced anything but covered wagons or chariots. -- Six out of towners including five from Vegas towed in for the legends race. The sixth visitor was Ryan Mosher from Cupertino (near San Jose). Mosher races at Stockton, Altamont, and Lakeport. -- Austin Cameron won Saturday night's Winston West race in Roseburg, Oregon. Johnny Borneman III was eighth in that race on the flat ½ mile paved oval.