El Cajon Late Model news

EL CAJON, CA. Mike Mendenhall better not be looking in his rear view mirror at Cajon Speedway. Because if the 38-year-old Santee resident does glimpse that way, he might not like what he sees. Mendenhall has paced the late model sportsman point...

EL CAJON, CA. Mike Mendenhall better not be looking in his rear view mirror at Cajon Speedway. Because if the 38-year-old Santee resident does glimpse that way, he might not like what he sees.

Mendenhall has paced the late model sportsman point standings all season long. He won the opening night contest back in June and hasn't had to look back since. That is until now. His point lead has been shrinking in recent weeks and Saturday night could be critical in determining the 2001 champion at the 3/8 mile paved oval.

The late model sportsman return this weekend after having last Saturday night. But they will be doing double duty with twin 30-lap main events on tap. Joining in the action on the Gillespie Field pavement will be the local street and pony stocks along with the legends.

Race time is 6:45 PM. Qualifying runs to set the lineups for the points-rich main events will start at 5:15 PM. Practice starts and gates open at 4:00 PM.

A month ago Mendenhall sat 79 points ahead of his nearest rival in the points chase after running second in the first half of a doubleheader on June 23. But that margin has eroded during the past three outings and is just 23 markers now. In consecutive races Mendenhall crashed just after taking the lead late in the main event, crashed in his heat race and had to limp home in the main event, and failed to meet the track's decibel limit and had to start in the back of the main event. That last outing two weeks ago resulted in a third place finish. But more importantly because he did not qualify, Mendenhall was not eligible to earn passing points. His third place run earned him 44 points. But race winner Ron Overman gained 69 markers with his third victory of the season.

With ten of the 19 scheduled races in the books, Mendenhall has 659 points to Overman's 636. Todd McLauchlan, Overman's stepson, sits in third place in the hunt with 627. Father and son Jerry and Danny Gay round out the top five with 541 and 497 points respectively.

-Bob Gardner

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