Not too late for Manke at Cajon. EL CAJON, CA Yes, the second half of the 2002 season for the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge is underway at Cajon Speedway. Yes, Danny Gay has a comfortable lead in the late model sportsman point...
Not too late for Manke at Cajon.
EL CAJON, CA Yes, the second half of the 2002 season for the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge is underway at Cajon Speedway. Yes, Danny Gay has a comfortable lead in the late model sportsman point standings at the 3/8 mile paved oval. But no, second place John Manke is not about to give up.
This Saturday night Manke will try to close a little more ground on his friendly rival when the late model sportsman return to the Gillespie Field pavement for their 13th of 19 events at the track this year. Race time is 6:45 pm. Qualifying runs start at 5:15 pm. Practice and gates open at 4:00. Admission prices are $10 on the east side for adults, $9 on the west side. Kids ages 6-12 are $3. Children under age 6 are free when accompanied by an adult.
Sharing the track will be the street stocks, bomber stocks, and factory stocks. The night will conclude with the monthly destruction derby. The Super TT motorcycles will also be part of the show.
Manke has won the last two late model sportsman 40-lap main events at the track. Unfortunately for the Ramona racer, just about the time he got hot, the schedule went against him. The sportsman raced on June 29, had July 6 off, raced again on July 13, and had last weekend off. After tonight, they are off again next Saturday, August 3.
But in the last two outings, Manke has erased 19 points from Gay's point lead. The margin is 78 markers at this point (771 to 693). But with a possible 97 tallies available to any single driver each race night, the chase is far from over. Manke has four victories during the year to Gay's three.
Two weeks ago Manke was having clutch problems in his Monte Carlo. He was ready to try to make it through the night with the car as is. But his crew chief had a different idea. "Mike (my crew chief) told me we are at the point (in the points race) where we can't gamble," Manke explained. "So we ripped the tranny out. To get our transmission out, we have to do some fancy footwork. We put new clutch discs in it and just barely made it for the heat race. My crew thrashed."
Manke went on that night to win the feature after a tough battle with rookie Bob Wickey late in the 40-lapper. Gay meanwhile was having his problems. The motor in his Dodge was smoking severely during the heat race. After the checkered flag, his crew discovered the problem was terminal. So Danny turned to his dad, Jerry Gay, and jumped into his ride for the feature. He soldiered on, finished fifth, and picked up 53 points to Manke's 62. But had he not gotten a ride, Gay would only have picked up five points for being the division's fastest qualifier of the night. Those additional 48 markers may be very important come season's end.