Cajon Crowns Champions EL CAJON, CA (09/25/04). Danny Gay, Rick Hagen, Ed Hale, Brian Fitzgibbons, and Ryan Gay were crowned divisional champions Saturday night at Cajon Speedway in the Grand American modifieds, street stocks, pony stocks, ...
Cajon Crowns Champions
EL CAJON, CA (09/25/04). Danny Gay, Rick Hagen, Ed Hale, Brian Fitzgibbons, and Ryan Gay were crowned divisional champions Saturday night at Cajon Speedway in the Grand American modifieds, street stocks, pony stocks, bomber stocks, and factory respectively.
Of that quintet only Danny Gay and his cousin Ryan made their way to victory lane during the Advertising Edge Grand Prix races on the 3/8-mile paved oval. Danny Gay prevailed for the sixth time this year in the Grand American modified main event. In addition to his title Gay will be awarded an additional $1000 as the Carpets Galore Hard Charger for earning the most passing points during the year. Neil Rodvold was a wire-to-wire victor in the 30-lapper for the street stocks. Earl Downing picked up his third victory in five weeks in the pony stocks but fell two points shy of overtaking Hale in the pony stocks. Marty Lehrke, one of five drivers with an opportunity Saturday to take the bomber honors for the season, grabbed his third main event win of 2004.
It was a record setting night at the track. The largest field in the track's history, 127 cars, was on hand for the final NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series regular season point race. The only remaining shows on the track's 2004 calendar are the Budweiser Open Competition for late model sportsman next Saturday and the factory stock enduro on October 9.
Downing did what he had to do Saturday night to win his first championship while Hale was fortunate to claim his fifth pony stock title and eighth overall during his 43-year career at the Gillespie Field oval. Hale started the night with a somewhat comfortable, but not anywhere near insurmountable 47-point lead over Downing. Saturday night started with Downing missing being fast qualifier by just nine thousands of a second. Had he been the quick timer, he would have beaten Hale by a single digit.
With Hale third quickest, the duo started 11th and 12th respectively in the 21-car feature. Downing stormed through the pack and took the lead from Darrell McKee 15-laps into the 25-lap contest. Hale meanwhile was picking his way more slowly through traffic. When Downing grabbed the point, Hale was sitting in sixth. Then six circuits later a car many laps down suddenly pulled right down the track into Hale's path as he entered turn one. Hale suffered a flat tire and other damage in the fray and had to make a hasty trip to the pits. While his team could change the tire, the remaining damage could not. Hale returned and started about 15th. In the final four rounds, he was able to pick off just enough cars to win the title.
While Downing was obviously disappointed, he could still smile after the race that concluded his best season ever. "Whether its two or 102 (points), it's a little hard to swallow, but that's racing," he said. "We did what we had to do tonight. The only thing we could have done differently was beat Beeney (the fast qualifier). We'll be back next year."
"I just need the confidence to win (this year)," he continued. "I had the car all along. (Coming into tonight) I knew I had an outside chance if Ed had a really bad night and I had a good night."
Hale of course had his ever-present smile. "We got lucky," he said. "(In the wreck) the car got bent real bad. The (many times lapped) black car was up (on the top of the track). Suddenly he came down to the bubble. I said 'oh no, I don't need this'. We had a flat (tire) and the front gears were down. The fan is hitting both the radiator and the hose. We were lucky. Earl has a good car. We had fun out there."
Danny Gay also came from deep in the pack in the modified feature. His title in his third different division at the track was wrapped up by the time qualifying started based on the division's car count. Hagen meanwhile backed up his 2003 bomber stock title with the 2004 street stock championship. Like Gay he did not have to compete Saturday night to sew things up because of the division's car count.
Things were not that way in the bomber stocks. Entering the evening, Fitzgibbons was just three points in front of Scott Denton, who had to go to a backup car for the third consecutive week. Lurking just behind this duo were Hayden Smith, Lehrke, and Randy Hart -- each of whom could have stolen the title. Early on in the bomber race it looked like Denton might gain the title. Fitzgibbons was buried deep in traffic while Denton had worked his way up to second. A lap 13 slowdown broke the double-file pack into a single file for the restart. That was all Fitzgibbons needed. He moved steadily forward until he was fourth at the stripe, just behind Denton. The final points rundown have Fitzgibbons nine markers in front of Denton.
In the street stocks, Rodvold went unchallenged all the way. Despite a mid-race caution and a yellow with one-lap remaining, Rodvold was 15 lengths out front of Hagen when the checkered fell. The big loser in the street stocks was Rodvold's teammate and brother-in-law Kenny Hall. He crossed the line in eighth place and apparently finished second in the points chase. But a post-race teardown of the top five finishers in points uncovered an engine infraction unknown to the team and Hall lost all points for the night. That dropped him to fourth in the hunt, moving Eric Ferguson and Richard Hinze into second and third respectively.
Ryan Gay took over on lap 10 of the 25-lapper for factory stocks and cruised to his fifth triumph of the year. The first 12 circuits were run in a clockwise direction. At that point there was a yellow flag thrown and the field was turned around for the second half of the race. Either way made no difference to Gay, who clearly had the strongest car in the field. Charles Nevin, the only driver with a chance to catch Gay in the season-long chase, ended up buried in the front stretch crashwall following a lap 7 shunt.
NASCAR DODGE WEEKLY SERIES RESULTS
GRAND AMERICAN MODIFIED
Fast Time - John Luecht, Chula Vista; Time - :16.228.
Dash (4 laps) - 1. Mike Salm, Fallbrook; 2. Danny Gay, Lakeside; 3. Scott Brown, Spring Valley; 4. John Luecht, Chula Vista; Time - 1:06.67.
Main (30 laps) - 1. Danny Gay, Lakeside; 2. John Luecht, Chula Vista; 3. Jimmy Dickerson, El Cajon; 4. Lou Tompkins, San Diego; 5. Mike Salm, Fallbrook; 6. Pat Garity, El Cajon; 7. Andy Papp, La Mesa; 8. Douglas Carpenter, La Mesa; 9. Dan Hildebrand, El Cajon; 10. Curt Barnes, Lakeside; 11. Ryan Gay, El Cajon; 12. Mike Jackson, Bonita; 13. Jeff Thompson, Lakeside; 14. Hector Leon, Santee; 15. Brian Pusey, Lemon Grove; 16. Scott Brown, Spring Valley; 17. Robert Parenteau, El Cajon; 18. Lyle Driscoll, Lakeside; Time - 23:33.43.
Fast Time - Rick Hagen, Rancho SD; Time - :17.590.
Dash (4 laps) - 1. Kenny Hall, El Cajon; 2. Matt Arnold, San Diego; 3. Eric Ferguson, El Cajon; 4. Rick Hagen, Rancho SD; Time - 1:13.19.
Main (30 laps) - 1. Neil Rodvold, Lakeside; 2. Rick Hagen, Rancho SD; 3. Dave Arce, Santee; 4. Rob Freeman, Santee; 5. Brian Collins, Oceanside; 6. Ivan Harrison, Santee; 7. Eric Sweetman, Santee; 8. Josh Green, Lakeside; 9. Eric Ferguson, El Cajon; 10. Bob Meese, Poway; 11. Jeff Coskey, Santee; 12. Tony Masey, El Cajon; 13. Don Moore, Lakeside; 14. John Manke, Ramona; 15. Richard Hinze, Lakeside; 16. Matt Arnold, San Diego; 17. Scott Dailey, Encinitas; Time - 22:23.40.
Fast Time - Tim Beeney, Escondido; Time - :18.378.
Dash (4 laps) - 1. Douglas Wright Jr., Santee; 2. Ed Hale, El Cajon; 3. Earl Downing, Spring Valley; 4. Tim Beeney, Escondido; Time - 1:15.52.
Main (25 laps) - 1. Earl Downing, Spring Valley; 2. Douglas Wright Jr., Santee; 3. Danny Gay, Lakeside; 4. Steve Dickerson, El Cajon; 5. Mike Weimann, Temecula; 6. Tim Beeney, Escondido; 7. Russ Gregson, Santee; 8. Ed Hale, El Cajon; 9. Marvin Chappell, El Cajon; 10. Pete Franke, Lakeside; 11. Robert Minnick, El Cajon; 12. Darrell McKee Jr., San Diego; 13. Phil Griffin, Santee; 14. Shealynn Longwell, El Cajon; 15. Robert Odom, ; 16. Lee Slaughter, El Cajon; 17. Bill Parenteau Sr., El Cajon; 18. Len Cartwright, Lemon Grove; 19. Chris Vaughn, San Diego; 20. Jason Hollingsworth, El Cajon; Time - 13:49.48.
Fast Time - Brian Fitzgibbons, El Cajon; Time - :19.982.
Dash (4 laps) - 1. Greg McCown, Lakeside; 2. Hayden Smith, San Diego; 3. Rick Nies, Lakeside; 4. Brian Fitzgibbons, El Cajon; Time - 1;22.39.
Main (25 laps) - 1. Marty Lehrke, San Diego; 2. Greg McCown, Lakeside; 3. Scott Denton, Fallbrook; 4. Brian Fitzgibbons, El Cajon; 5. Hayden Smith, San Diego; 6. Rick Nies, Lakeside; 7. Brandon Haag, Santee; 8. Kevin Gantz, Spring Valley; 9. Mike McGlone, Fallbrook; 10. Rodney Shaw, El Cajon; 11. Darrell Moore, Ramona; 12. Randy Hart, National City; 13. Bill Holland, El Cajon; 14. Dave Ensall, Lakeside; 15. Ron Chesney, Fallbrook; 16. Perry Humphries, San Diego; 17. Eric Shockey, Santee; 18. Allen Basile, Poway; 19. Michael Burford, Ramona; Time - 28:19.03.
Fast Time - Tony Cortes, El Cajon; Time - :20.893.
Dash (4 laps) - 1. David Liedike, El Cajon; 2. Charles Nevin, El Cajon; 3. Tony Cortes, El Cajon; 4. Ryan Gay, El Cajon; Time - 1:25.09. Consy (10 laps) - 1. Butch Johnston, San Diego; 2. Corey Driscoll, Lakeside; 3. Scott Archambault, El Cajon; 4. Bryan Bonito, El Cajon; Time - 3:48.05. Semi (15 laps) - 1. James Schneider, Escondido; 2. Blaine Sharp, Jamul; 3. Scott Smith, Santee; 4. Joey Schneider, Escondido; 5. Leonard Manos, El Cajon; 6. Chuck Irey, Spring Valley; Time - 13:50.68.
Main (25 laps) - 1. Ryan Gay, El Cajon; 2. Tony Cortes, El Cajon; 3. John Robinson, Ramona; 4. Lee Harbin, El Cajon; 5. Matt Arnold, San Diego; 6. David Liedike, El Cajon; 7. Mike Ellis, Lakeside; 8. J.R. Trent, Jamul; 9. Justin Schultze, San Diego; 10. Eric Shockey, Santee; 11. Joey Schneider, Escondido; 12. James Schneider, Escondido; 13. Curtis Reiter, El Cajon; 14. Leonard Manos, El Cajon; 15. Scott Smith, Santee; 16. Steve Kraft, Escondido; 17. Chuck Irey, Spring Valley; 18. Mark Littlepage, San Clemente; 19. Blaine Sharp, Jamul; 20. Pat Bradley, San Marcos; 21. Martin Kepler, El Cajon; 22. Charles Nevin, El Cajon; Time - 24:00.58.