Overman Takes Point Lead With Cajon Victory EL CAJON, CA. (08/04/01) Simply put, Ron Overman's Monte Carlo was a rocket Saturday night at Cajon Speedway. As a result Cajon's oldest late model sportsman driver scored a convincing victory in the...
Overman Takes Point Lead With Cajon Victory
EL CAJON, CA. (08/04/01) Simply put, Ron Overman's Monte Carlo was a rocket Saturday night at Cajon Speedway. As a result Cajon's oldest late model sportsman driver scored a convincing victory in the 40-lap NASCAR Weekly Racing Series main event on the 3/8 mile paved oval.
The victory enabled the 58-year-old Overman to gain enough points to take over the number one spot in the division point standings. Mike Mendenhall, who had paced the standings all year, was involved in a lap 9 shunt. But it was his actions that followed that led to him being banished to the pits for the remainder of the race and dropped him to third in the season long hunt. Todd McLauchlan gained the points runner-up spot behind his step dad. Claude Bell ran second to Overman on the track. He was the early leader and then dropped back to third before regaining that spot. Danny Gay, who did double duty again, placed third just ahead of McLauchlan and John Tyczki.
Point leader Ed Hale regained his winning form in the pony stocks. After crashing last week, Hale rebounded to post his fifth win of the season. Rich Green, the top point man in the street stocks, just edged out the number two man in points to claim his third win of the season in the street stocks. Randy Wallace dipped underneath Scott Denton in turn one of the final lap to take his second straight in the bombers. Vernon Gilmore took his second consecutive in the factory stocks.
Mendenhall's undoing started when Michael Peace and Mark Meech got together in the middle of turns three and four. That incident ended with John Tyczki climbing the left rear of Mendenhall's mount. The cars stopped with the right front of Tyczki's Monte Carlo right behind Mendenhall's seat. Both Tyczki and Mendenhall went to the pits for repairs. After waiting several laps with the lineup intact, the starter finally called for the green flag just as Mendenhall was pulling up to the track entrance. The officials signaled for him to wait for the field to go by. No doubt that would have left him about a full straightaway behind once he got up to speed.
What happened next was unbelievable even to Mendenhall's many fans and friends. He purposely tried to draw another quick yellow. After the field passed, he turned left coming out of the pit gate and stopped. He ended up in turn four facing oncoming traffic. The caution flag was thrown and Mendenhall returned to the pits. When he got back to the pit entrance again, the officials told him to park his car for the night. His actions were a grave error that probably cost him between 12 and 20 points towards the championship he so desperately seeks.
Overman started eighth and found himself in second in just eight rounds. Following the lap 9 incident involving Mendenhall, Overman dove under Bell entering turn three. The two banged together and Bell broke loose just a bit; that allowed Overman to scoot into the lead. He went unchallenged as the remainder of the race ran non-stop.
Overman was his typical self after the race - eating a piece of cake and apologizing for the unintentional bump which gained him the lead. In fact had the pass not occurred then, it was just a matter of time because Overman 's Monte Carlo was working that well.
"We've been working on it trying to get it to turn, Overman aid while admitting his car was a missile during the race. "And finally with Ronny Esau, Kenny Lewis, and Bud Brandt, we all got together. We figured out how to get it to turn tonight. But you know these things; next week will be a different racetrack. But I'll be in Havasu next week because the sportsman will be off), so I don't care if it will turn or not."
"The only thing I hated about this race was running into the 99 car (Claude Bell). I don't like doing that," Overman continued. "I got in and got loose and hit him with the back of the car. Then I got out of the gas and it slammed me up into him. It was the first time in three years that the starter pointed (his flag) at me."
"I didn't have any front brakes the last 15 laps. So I started long tracking - going up the racetrack and diamonding it. When I got back to the pits, the lemon cake was open. So it was all worth it."
Hale's ride in the pony stocks was not without its problems. He was involved in a first lap shunt and had to make a hasty trip to the pits to make some minor repairs. But once the green was unfurled, Hale was on the move. Cajon' s winningest driver started 12th in the 22-car field and stormed his way to the front in just seven rounds. Once in front he went unchallenged en route to his 143rd career victory. Second place went to rookie Mike Weimann, who lost that spot on the 19th circuit and regained it on the final lap. Douglas Wright Jr., another victim of the first lap skirmish took third. Another rookie Kenny Hall ran fourth ahead of Ken Wikoren, whose Pinto body was half gone by the conclusion of the 20-lap affair.
Green put on a spirited drive in the street stocks. Starting tenth, he found himself in fourth behind the side-by-side duel between Randy Buell and Doug Catania on lap 5. Not content to just enjoy that battle just ahead, Green make a daring move on the low side in turn two a round later. Somehow Green was able to squeeze underneath and gain two positions. A lap later Green put early leader Bob Meese in his rear view mirror and ran away from the pack.
But a yellow on lap 15 put Hagen on Green's bumper. That pair battled tooth-and-nail for the remainder of the contest. Green finally prevailed, but just barely. He took the checkered less than a length in front of Hagen. A couple of subs, Danny Gay and George Behlman, ran third and fourth in the Scott Moses and Ivan Harrison machines. Randy Buell was fifth.
"There's a few tire burns on the right side. I kind of made my way through a couple of times," Green said repentantly after his run. "I didn't want to wait."
Then Green turned his attention to Hagen. "When I saw that big yellow (and red) 221 car in my mirror, I was hoping he wasn't that fast. He was really good on those starts. With this, I think it is mainly gear ratio differences. He cranks that pedal and it goes. I crank the pedal in this thing and it takes a minute to get up to speed. But once we get there, the car is good."
In the bomber main event, Scott Denton was cruising to his initial triumph. But it was not to be as first Randy Wallace and then Bob Wickey got by on the final lap. Denton ended up third ahead of second-generation racer Marty Lehrke and Joey Schneider.
PIT NOTES: Crack photographer Jason Hierwarter managed to shoot all of the main events last week without film in his camera. Oops. ** Mark Shackleford, who is leading the Pacific Coast Exide Short Track standings, is expected to bring his pony stock to Cajon the next two weeks. Alpine Rock and Block will be assisting Shackleford's effort here. ** Overman picked up the $200 Hard Charger Award from Wally's World of Mufflers and Air Conditioning. ** Scott Dailey substituted for Bob Blew in the bomber stocks. Blew had his left wrist in a cast after breaking it.