Brown, Green, and Arnold collect Cajon titles. EL CAJON, CA (09/28/02). On the final night of the season, Scott Brown, Rich Green, and Matt Arnold were crowned as track champions for 2002 in the Grand American modified, street, and factory stock...
Brown, Green, and Arnold collect Cajon titles.
EL CAJON, CA (09/28/02). On the final night of the season, Scott Brown, Rich Green, and Matt Arnold were crowned as track champions for 2002 in the Grand American modified, street, and factory stock divisions at Cajon Speedway.
Brown, who needed only take the green flag in the 30-lapper for the modifieds, scored a convincing victory there. It was his fourth victory of the season. Richard Hinze captured the 30-lap street stock main event and moved up to second in points behind Green. Ed Hale, who claimed his third consecutive season long honors in the pony stocks a few weeks ago, once again won that division's feature. It was his 11th triumph of the year and 157th of his long, long, long career. Hayden Smith romped to a four-car length victory in the season finale for bomber stocks. John Robinson was awarded the victory in the curfew shortened 11-lap bomber stock finale.
Brown's title kept the GA modified championship in the family. Last year, his uncle Ron prevailed in Cajon's open wheeled division. This is the first title for Brown, who finished fourth, second, and third in the final rundown in his first three years in the division. But Scott Brown had problems getting his car hooked up early in the contest. Brian Pusey led early before yielding to Mike Jackson. Jackson stayed out front until lap 18 when Brown scooted past. Brown did receive a big break and gained several positions when five cars between him and the leader piled into each other in turn one on lap 12. That started when Pusey spun. Ron Brown was right behind him and had no room to maneuver. He got stopped without too much problem. But then Billy Cable, Paul Brunette, and Doug Catania rear-ended each other in short order.
Chasing the new modified champ when the checkered fell were Jackson, Steve Luecht, Mike Salm, and Ron Brown.
"The car was working good all night. At the beginning I was boxed in behind all the (other) fast guys. After about six laps (in the main event), it came alive off the corners," Brown noted. "It was a rocket. I could jump on it soon and go underneath anybody really. It worked nice."
As far as earning his first championship, Brown was a bit more subdued. "I don't think it has really set in yet," he observed. "The championship is cool. But I like winning the race."
Hinze took the lead from Kenny Hall seven laps from the conclusion of the 30-lap street stocker. Hall had paced the field from the third round after he overhauled Randy Buell. Eric Ferguson, who started the night second in points, was involved in a lap one shunt and lost two laps in the pits. Then he got caught up in another pileup on lap 7 and was towed back to the pits for good.
Green's championship did not come without a scare. Late in the race there were some sparks flying off the left rear of his car. After the checkered flag, he was trying to spin some celebratory donuts. But instead he ended up breaking his left rear axle and flattened a tire. As a result he had to be towed to the pits. Before the car could even be put on the scales, repairs had to be made. But following those repairs, Green's car passed inspection. Had Green not passed inspection, Hinze would have been the champion. Finishing behind Richard and Rich on the track were Rob Freeman, Hall, and Ivan Harrison. But Freeman, who was involved in the same first lap shunt with Ferguson, was disqualified when his Monte Carlo came up four pounds light at the scales; he had lost his hood in that lap 1 incident. That moved Scott Moses up to fifth.
Green of course was all smiles after his race, especially after his point lead had suffered a big jolt the previous week when he was disqualified three days after the race for failing to make weight.
"I was doing those donuts, trying to put on a show there," Green said of his post-race woes. "It started to get a little wheel hop and the axle broke -- just like that. I don't know if it was related to the sparks or not. Maybe it was starting to go. We checked both of them (the axles) before the main event because we thought we had one bent. That was the one that was bent so that might explain it."
Green went on to explain that this championship was definitely better than his first one a year ago. He ended up clinching that one when the races were cancelled following 9/11. "It feels better than number one. Number one with the 9/11 thing going on was kinda somber. It (the title) really didn't matter. It was unimportant in comparison. Tonight we had to race for it. Eric had some bad luck; that eased up the pressure. So I was able to try to go win the race. I thought I was going to have a good shot at passing Richard (Hinze), but my teammate (Steve Bolin in 208), pulled out right in front of me (in turn three late in the race), and I had to back off."
In the pony stocks, rookie Chris Vaughn looked great at the head of the pack until he lost control in turn four on lap seven and then overcorrected. The youngster, who plans on running for rookie of the year in 2003, was kicked around like a ping-pong ball. This put Tim Beeney in front. But Marty Schmidt soon was out front after starting eighth. But Hale, who started 12th, can never be counted out. The ageless one was up battling for the lead by lap 16 and in front to stay two rounds later. In hot pursuit after 25-laps were Douglas Wright Jr., 2001 regional Shortrack champ Mark Shackleford, Hector Leon, and George Behlman.
The bomber stock race belonged to Chris Boyer until Hayden Smith moved in to challenge on lap 15. But on lap 24, a car was allowed to exit the pits right in front of the leader. Boyer cranked the wheel hard left to avoid the slower car and ended up in the infield entering turn one. This left Smith unchallenged. The second year racer picked up his second win of the campaign. Four lengths in arrears at the stripe was Marty Lehrke. Thomas Osborne came home third ahead of 2002 champ Mark Holland and Scott Denton.
Finally there were the factory stocks. They were 30 strong in the pits and the best 22 started the feature scheduled for 25 rounds. They ran fine until lap 10. At that point first nighter Tim Beeney lost his motor exiting turn four and oiled down the racing surface. There was no yellow flag. A couple of cars managed to slide through the goo. But then the lead pack came through the corner. All of the top five lost control. Ending up buried in the crashwall were leader Ryan Gay and fourth place Martin Kepler. With the late hour and a big cleanup facing the track crew, the field was realigned and the checkered thrown. That gave John Robinson the win ahead of the first divisional champ Matt Arnold, J.R. Trent, Donn Stewart, and Glen Davis.