EL CAJON, CA. One of a father's greatest joys is watching his son do well. That may well be true, but even that only goes so far. Such was the case Saturday night at Cajon Speedway where Jerry Gay had his hands full with his son Danny before ...
EL CAJON, CA. One of a father's greatest joys is watching his son do well. That may well be true, but even that only goes so far. Such was the case Saturday night at Cajon Speedway where Jerry Gay had his hands full with his son Danny before prevailing in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series main event for late model sportsman.
The elder Gay, who is the reigning track champion, did everything he could to hold his son, a rookie in the division, at bay while the two battled for the lead during the opening 15 circuits of the 40-lap event. After a lap 15 red flag, Jerry Gay went unchallenged most of the rest of the way to pick up his 136th career triumph on the 3/8 mile paved oval.
Danny held off a determined Mike Mendenhall for second though the two touched in turn two on the final circuit and Gay nearly lost control. Todd McLauchlan ran fourth. Fast qualifier John Tyczki, who was the points runner-up to Gay in 2000, made his first start of the season at Cajon and claimed fifth.
Rick Hagen rolled to his first victory of the season in the street stocks. Ed Hale romped to his 141st career triumph in the pony stocks. Bill Holland was victorious in the bomber stocks. Defending champion Mike Salm took his first main event trophy of the season in the Grand American modifieds.
The Gays started fourth and sixth in the 16-car field and were one-two after the second round. For the next fourteen rounds, Danny drew underneath dear old dad nearly corner after corner. He could run with him for a couple of rounds, but was unable to make the pass. On lap 15 the race was stopped when a fire broke out under the hood of John Manke's mount. Four other slowdowns interrupted the remainder of the contest and six laps were run at a reduced pace. Danny's car was better on longer runs so the series of short sprints worked to his dad's advantage. On the final lap, Mendenhall nearly turned the younger Gay around in turn two. Mendenhall, the current point leader, backed off and Gay, who was making only his fifth start in a sportsman, recovered.
When asked about how his son did, Jerry was quick with a response. "He did great - behind me," he laughed. "I think his car tightened up (after the red). Mine got tighter. This car is now pretty close to what last year's car was. Mike (Hagerman) changed quite a bit of stuff"
The outside row, which included both Gays and Mendenhall, had a huge stroke of luck when David Arzola and Ray Burns elected to go to the back instead of starting 4th and 6th. That moved the eventual top three finishers up two rows at the start, a fact that did not go unnoticed by the winner. "We got the break by those two guys went to the back," Gay sighed. A couple of weeks ago Arzola held up Jerry Gay and Mendenhall on the start, causing both to lose about four positions. "David is new and I talked to him (tonight)," the winner explained. "I went over and talked to him. I said I had a big favor to ask. I told him I didn't mind him starting where he's starting. But if the car doesn't feel good, (think about dropping back). Then Ray came up and said Jerry, I'm not going to screw you up either."
Salm led all 25-circuits of the Grand American modified feature. The race figured to be a dogfight between Salm and fellow front row starter Ron Brown. But Brown broke loose twice along the way and ended up fourth. Point leader Scott Brown ended up second ahead of Mark Jackson. Carol Kirby Williams was fifth.
Hagen's victory came by five car lengths over point leader Rich Green Jr. in the street stocks. The wreck-strewn 25-lapper was slowed six times by yellow flags. Third place went to Richard Hinze while Randy Buell and Scott Moses rounded out the top five. Unfortunately the event was another crashfest, something the street stocks have become noted for lately. Hagen, who started 16th, kept his nose clean and overhauled pacesetting Keith Donahou just sevens rounds in. Donahou had a fine run, winning the slow heat and then pacing the main event before he was freight-trained after Hagen went past. S till Donahou ended up eighth. Moses was another who rebounded after being involved in some of the early race shunts. His night started with a motor change and he missed qualifying. So he was relegated to the back of the pack for the green flag.
Hale, who just won't slow down despite being 63 years young, started 10th in the 20-lapper for pony stocks. It took him just seven circuits to run down polesitter Victor Clark. Clark remained in second until he spun before the green on a restart just a lap from the checkered. Mike Weimann ended up second after a hard fought battle for that position. Andy Papp nipped Debi Urioste for third. Marty Schmidt was fifth. It was Urioste's best Cajon run ever.
Bill Holland made it a big night for the senior citizens. The 64-year-old ran away with the bomber stock feature. It took him half of the 20-lapper to move by Mark Wendell and then he set sail. In his rear view mirror, point leader Bob Wickey was winding his way through the field. Wickey extended his point lead due to a pair of pileups involving his nearest points rival, Mark Holland. Wickey was still buried in the pack when the 5th through 9th rounds were run under caution. And even by lap 16 Wickey was still only up to fifth. Wickey ended up second ahead of Rodney Shaw, Wendell, and Marty Lehrke.
PIT NOTES: Fred Chavez Sr. sat in for George Behlman.. Fred has now competed at Cajon in the 60's, 70's, 80's, 90's, and 00's. He also raced in Balboa Stadium in the 50's. That's quite a long string. At 64, Fred looks and says he feels very fit. ... John Tyczki earned the $200 Hard Charger money donated by Die Cast Collectibles. The cash goes each week to the sportsman driver earning the most passing points. ... Poor Todd Phelps. The street stock driver lost a motor in hot lapping. His crew made the switch and then Todd dumped that one in turn one in the feature. ... Ivan Harrison's crew also had a tough night, but with better results. After slapping the wall early in the street stock feature, his crew changed a tie rod and only lost two laps. Despite the fact that the front end was really toed out, Ivan may have been the fastest car on the track in the closing stages of the main event. Way to go, guys. ... Jerry Gay and his car owner - crew chief Mike Hagerman headed team are taking advantage of next week's off night to switch to aluminum heads after starting the season with the iron stock heads. That means that the top five guys in the points this year will be running the aluminum heads. Son Danny made the move after opening night. Mike Mendenhall, Ron Overman, and Todd McLauchlan all started the season with them. The cars run with a weight penalty but generate most horsepower.