Cajon Speedway preview 2001-06-16

EL CAJON, CA. Mike Mendenhall has never won a championship at Cajon Speedway. But with the first third of the 2001 season, the 38-year-old Santee veteran is in the setting the pace for NASCAR Weekly Racing Series championship this ...

EL CAJON, CA. Mike Mendenhall has never won a championship at Cajon Speedway. But with the first third of the 2001 season, the 38-year-old Santee veteran is in the setting the pace for NASCAR Weekly Racing Series championship this year.

Mendenhall leads another 38-year-old Todd McLauchlan by 39 markers as the late model sportsman prepare to return to action this Saturday night at Cajon Speedway. The premier division at the 3/8 mile paved oval had last weekend off. Race time this Saturday will be 6:45 PM. Qualifying runs will start at 5:15. Hot laps, also know as practice, kicks things off at 4:00. Sharing in the racing action will be the Grand American modifieds, street stocks, bomber stocks, and legends. The busy night will conclude with a train race.

Mendenhall joined the late model sportsman division back in 1995. Prior to that time he was one of the stalwarts in the street stock division for about a decade. He has only been a part-time racer the last couple of years. But in his two starts last year, he was second and fourth. In 1997 he started the year by winning four straight and looked to be a runaway champion. But he slipped out of the point lead by mid-May and eventually finished third in the hunt, matching his standing during his rookie season. So this is the latest in the year that Mendenhall has ever led the points chase.

This could be Mendenhall’s final season as a racer. “If I could be in a situation where I could just show up on Saturday night with a helmet bag, that might be another story,” he quips. “But having the time off and being able to do something to my house, with the motorcycles, and with my kids, I don’t know. There are times I think I should stop. But then for every time something bad happens, someone comes along and says they want to help us out. But then thinking that you ‘re turning that stuff away when it’s offered makes you think maybe you should be here.”

And lady luck has certainly been on his side this year. The breaks have gone his way both on the track and off. His biggest break may have come on May 26 when a persistent drizzle started part way through the race night. The show was eventually called off. The next day his team found a major problem that probably would have resulted in a blown engine had Saturday night’s race been held.

-CJ

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