Cajon Speedway report 2004-04-10

David Doesn't Miss A Beat at Cajon EL CAJON, CA (04/03/04). David Beat picked up right where he left off last year at Cajon Speedway. Saturday night the defending NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series champ streaked to the opening night victory in the...

David Doesn't Miss A Beat at Cajon

EL CAJON, CA (04/03/04). David Beat picked up right where he left off last year at Cajon Speedway. Saturday night the defending NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series champ streaked to the opening night victory in the 40-lap late model sportsman main event on the 3/8-mile paved oval.

Beat had fast time, won the dash, and then stormed from sixth starting position to the point in just eleven rounds in the 44th season opener for the local racers at the San Diego area speedway. The only blemish on his otherwise perfect evening was a third place run after starting eighth in his eight-car, eight-lap heat race. Oh well.

Beat was 15 lengths in front of Ron Overman when the checkered fell on the main event. That was just the first of three fine runs for the Overman clan during the evening. Son Rob was fourth in the street stock contest. The other son Rob Weimann captured his very first main event trophy in the pony stock fest. Other racers joining Beat and Weimann in victory lane were 2003 street stock Eric Ferguson, who benefited from some bad luck by Kenny Hall. Randy Hart, who barely lost out for rookie of the year honors in the bombers a year ago, outran that field for his second career triumph.

The sportsman main event was atypically clean for an opener. A couple of cars got together on the initial start in turn two. The only slowdown once the race got underway for good came on lap 12 when former USAC "Western States" midget and NASCAR Southwest Series ace Ray Neveau caught the tricky wall exiting turn two and cut down his right front tire. Neveau had been the early leader from his outside front row starting position and was running a strong second when his misfortune struck.

Beat inched his way slowly forward from his sixth starting position. He was fifth on the opening round behind Neveau, pole sitter Gary Tamborelli, Overman, and Scott Moses. Moses fell to Beat on the second circuit and Tamborelli ceded third on lap 5. Overman slipped up the track in turn three on lap 7, opening the door for Beat. Once in second, Beat found himself a full ten car lengths behind Neveau. Within three laps, that margin was erased. On lap 11, Beat dipped low entering turn one and had the advantage for good by the time the leading duo got to turn three. During the final ten laps, the hot duel on the track was between Jeff Wright and John Manke for third place. Wright managed to fend off Manke and gain the show position. Bob Wickey was fifth.

It was the 12th victory of Beat's career. "We did a lot of hard work over the off-season in Mike Hagerman's shop," the winner noted. "I acquired (the) Carl Burger (Dodge sponsorship) so we had to put a new body on it. We went through all the suspension pieces and upgraded a few things. We got the car better than we had it last year. We have a little bit different crew now. We 're learning to work together and this is a great way to start it off."

Kenny Hall deserved street stock honors. After being involved in a early race shunt in two, the 24-year-old rebounded nicely. His brother-in-law Neil Rodvold paced the opening lap before Brian Collins got past. Ivan Harrison shouldered his way under Collins in turn three on lap 2, but with all the dicing Rob Freeman was able to gain the edge. Entering turn one on lap 4, there was a tight five or six car tussle up front. Harrison got turned around and punted into the infield. All this left Hall out front.

But the fireworks weren't quite over. Harrison laid in wait and re-entered the fray on the next go-round where he promptly turned Richard Hinze around in turn one. Track officials quickly dropped the black flag on Harrison and left him parked for the night. Hinze's ill fortune wasn't over yet either. After a brief trip to the pits, he returned -- only to get clipped by Tom Jaggi when he looped it in turn three on lap 7. By now Ferguson was in second stalking Hall. But the youngster was able to hold his much more experienced rival at bay lap after lap. Just five laps from the checkered, Hall's distributor went south and he coasted to a stop. Ferguson took the checkered four lengths in front of Rodvold, who was another five lengths in front of the never-say-die Hinze. Rounding out the top five were Rob Overman and Collins.

In the pony stocks Russ Gregson scooted from ninth to first in the opening lap. Weimann, who sat 15th on grid, picked his way slowly forward and was up to second by lap 10. Gregson and Weimann ran side-by-side for about five rounds before Weimann took the point for good. Gregson stayed in second to the conclusion of the 20-lapper. Finishing third through fifth were Tim Beeney, Marty Schmidt, and Earl Downing.

Hart came from tenth in the bomber stock 20-lapper. Mike McGlone had the early lead before Marty Lehrke took over on lap 10. Hart knocked Lehrke down a rung on lap 14. Hart took the checkered seven cars in front of Lehrke. Scott Denton, soon to be papa for the second time, was third ahead of McGlone and Kevin Gantz.

PIT NOTES: Neveau, who lives in San Clemente, has told track officials he will run at Cajon the entire 2004 season. -- Brian Collins says he should have his new late model sportsman out next Saturday and he will campaign machines in both the sportsman and street stock classes this year.

-cs-

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