Fensler scores surprising win for hometown fans in Altamont Fall Classic Tracy, Calif. -- Jason Fensler of Wilton, Calif. took advantage of a late race restart to wrestle the lead and eventually the win away in the NASCAR Camping World Series...
Fensler scores surprising win for hometown fans in Altamont Fall Classic
Tracy, Calif. -- Jason Fensler of Wilton, Calif. took advantage of a late race restart to wrestle the lead and eventually the win away in the NASCAR Camping World Series West "Golden State Steel & Stair 200" as part of the Altamont Fall Classic at Altamont Raceway Park.
Jojo Helberg of Rohnert Park, Calif. scored the accompanying "95.7 The Wolf Challenge" for the USAC Western States Sprint Cars.
A crowd estimated at over 3500 witnessed the stunning night of racing under the lights.
"This is unbelievable," Fensler said, on scoring his first career series win in just four career starts. "This is a great, great day. I'm happy for Darryl Wong, the team owner."
Points leader Eric Holmes of Escalon came of the box pushing hard, leading the race by as much as a straightway in the opening segment.
Meanwhile, Fensler charged forward from his eighth starting position.
Fensler marched up to fourth place at the mandatory half-way break, which came at lap 98 due to an earlier caution.
Coming off the halfway stop, Holmes continued what he started and pulled out to a large lead.
As the field navigated heavy lapped traffic, 2007 series champion Mike David of Modesto and current runner-up in the series Jason Bowles of Ontario battled hard fro second.
Everything changed on lap 132, while under caution, when Holmes had to escape to the pits with a flat tire.
On the ensuing restart, David held the point while Holmes attempted to move forward.
Holmes efforts were thwarted on lap 144 when he crashed with Pat O'Keefe of Pleasant Hill.
David scored a strong restart coming off the caution, with El Cajon's Austin Cameron passing Bowles for second.
David then made contact with Cameron exiting turn two, sending David spinning and several cars into the infield to avoid potential carnage.
All cars involved continued on in the event.
Fensler seized his advantage in the race on the ensuing restart when Cameron jumped the start.
The start opened up a hole for Fensler to move to the bottom of the track, and he took the lead from Cameron quickly.
Bowles then began to show signs of problems and fell back out of contention. With heavy sparks flying, and possibly his championship hopes in the tight points battle going up in the air, Bowles had to nurse his car home to the finish.
Holmes kept his amazing run to the front going, taking his entry all the way into the top-five.
The finish solidified Holmes' role in the points leader and extended his lead over Bowles.
David Mayhew of Atascadero, Calif., who started 21st and cut a tire down early in the race, made an unthinkable run to be second.
"We just kept marching forward," Mayhew said. "It felt like we passed 20 cars."
A late race restart was setup with five laps remaining, but Fensler held off Mayhew to the finish.
"The whole team did a good job," Mayhew said on his come from behind finish. "Just a little bit short at the end; Jason was really fast."
Washington's Jeff Barkshire completed a big day in third place to keep third in the points standings. Barkshire finished ahead of Cameron and Holmes.
"We got our flat tire, went all the way to the back," Barkshire said. "To come back and get a top-three, this is for the team. We had an awesome points day."
Fensler's win also locks him into the post-season Toyota All-Star Showdown at Irwindale Speedway in January.
"Our car was really good on long runs," Fensler said. "In the second run, Roger Bracken adjusted on this thing at the break and did a really good job."
JoJo Helberg of Rohnert Park, Calif. applied the pressure to race leader Eric Humphries of Chowchilla and was rewarded with a satisfying win in the "95.7 The Wolf Challenge."
The 50 lap USAC Western States Sprint Car feature marked the first time in motorsports history that the USAC Sprints joined the NASCAR Camping World Series West on the same program.
Humphries, second in the points standings, lead the entire race up until 42 when his engine expired.
Behind Humphries, racing was hot and heavy between Helberg, points leader Tanner Swanson of Kingsburg, and Albequerque, NM's Porter Smith.
As Smith challenged Swanson for third, lapped car Jimmy Riddell spun into turn one. Smith was gathered up in the spin and made contact with Riddell, ending his day.
On the restart, smoke began to billow from the Humphries' machine and lap 42 was his final lap.
Helberg had a big restart over San Jose's Nick Green to take the win.
"Really glad to get the win here, it feels really good," Helberg said. "That last restart--I had to try to get the perfect timing. I knew Nick had a really good motor."
Next Saturday evening, Altamont Raceway Park hosts the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series championships for the Grand American Modifieds and American Limited Stock Cars on the half-mile, plus the final 100 lap points race for the Westcar Late Model Series. Formula-4's will also be in the action on the quarter-mile oval and the 1.1 mile road course.
Altamont Raceway Park is located just west of Tracy at the merger of Highways 205 and 580. An extensive remodeling project during the winter of 2005/06 has made the facility one of the most up-to-date on the West Coast.
For more information on this NASCAR- and USAC-sanctioned, multi-use facility, visit www.altamontracing.com