Jeff in (W)right place at Cajon Speedway. EL CAJON, CA (04/27/02). It was back in the August of 2000 that Jeff Wright' s racing career almost came to an end following a bad accident at another track. It took four months for him to regain his ...
Jeff in (W)right place at Cajon Speedway.
EL CAJON, CA (04/27/02). It was back in the August of 2000 that Jeff Wright' s racing career almost came to an end following a bad accident at another track. It took four months for him to regain his equilibrium and for a broken jaw to heal. He took all of 2001 off and returned to Cajon Speedway a month ago. Saturday night he showed he's back in tip-top racing shape by winning the 40-lap NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge main event on the 3/8 mile paved oval.
Rich Green outbattled Richard Hinze to prevail in the 25-lap street stock contest. Marty Schmidt inherited the win in the pony stocks after the top two finishers were disqualified. Point leader Mark Holland had to change a broken motor during hot laps, but came back to win the 20-lap bomber stock main event. John Robinson captured honors in the season opener for factory stocks.
Wright started sixth in the sportsman race. He moved to the front following an dozen lap side-by-side duel with Bob Wickey. Once he finally made his way past his former bomber and street stock rival on lap 15, Wright went virtually unchallenged the rest of the way. Fast qualifier Danny Gay ran second, 15 lengths behind Wright. Gay took over the point lead with his finish. John Manke moved into the number two spot in points by running third in the race ahead of Claude Bell and Jeff Seifert. Ron Overman had entered the night first in the points hunt. But he was unable to compete. He crashed hard last week and was still in too much pain to run this time around.
Due to yellow flags, Gay was able to move onto Wright's tail on two different occasions, on lap 18 and again on lap 28. But Wright's Monte Carlo simply outran Gay's Dodge down the straights to expand the margin slowly once the green was unfurled again. The closest Gay came to gaining the advantage was following the lap 28 red flag triggered when Rick Chavez's car briefly caught fire. Chavez was unhurt. On the restart, Wright seemed preoccupied for a bit with his pursuer. But he soon regained his composure and moved well ahead. Gay still won the $200 Sid's Auto Body Hard Charger award by gaining the most passing points. Sid augmented the sportsman purse by an additional $250 as well; this was the first of seven such races where Sid Rodriguez is padding the purse.
"I'm really happy with the motor the car owner put under me tonight," Wright smiled after his run. "He got us a new motor a couple of weeks ago and it's really working."
"The race with Bob (Wickey) was doorhandle-to-doorhandle," Wright said of his on-track battle for the lead. ""Bob Wickey was one of the first guys when I got into the bombers that came and helped me. I talked with Bob tonight. It really felt good to race with somebody and race clean."
Holland came from mid-pack to take honors for the second time this year in the bombers. He started tenth and overhauled second year driver Thomas Osborne following a lap 13 restart. Holland had just edged past Osborne when the yellow flag came out and erased the pass. But on the restart he was ahead by the time the field got to the first turn. Once in front he motored away and was a dozen lengths in front of Marty Lehrke at the line. Pat Garity gained his first podium finish of the year by running third. Kevin Gantz and Osborne lost top five finishes when they tangled in turn two on the final circuit. That allowed Chris Boyer and Rodney Shaw to take fourth and fifth. Osborne, in his second year of competition, had his best run to date.
"It was pretty close," Holland said when asked how close he came to not qualifying because of the motor change. "We had about 10 minutes to spare. The problem was that the motor was in the shop (in Chula Vista 30 miles away). We got the old one out real quick but we had to wait for the new one to get here. We only have three guys for two cars (Mark's and his dad's). We put them to work today. Jim Mahoney, Dave Switzer, and Ed Lebonvile did it tonight -- they deserve all the credit. Rick Hagen helped us out tonight too. This was their work more than mine. They do it every week. But this week they were just it."
"The hot and the cold doesn't seem to affect our car," Holland said of his main event drive on a very cold evening. "The track was a little slick. But everybody was a lot more slick than I was. I don't' know why but our car isn 't temperature sensitive. "
"In the pre-grid everyone in the fast heat tries to sort the slow heat on where you might go," Holland observed. "Everyone said the high line was going to be the fast line tonight. And it was the low line."
In the street stocks, it was Ivan Harrison's race to lose. He ended up losing his motor big time on lap 8. That opened the door for a terrific duel between the division's top two point men, Richard and Rich (Hinze and Green, that is). The two red cars were never more than inches apart most of the rest of the 25-lapper with Hinze on top. It wasn't until lap 23 that Green was finally able to nose in front to stay after running with Hinze since the lap 8 restart. Green, who was last year's champion, moved onto the top rung in this year's chase with his second triumph of the year. Hinze dropped to second in points by running second. Neil Rodvold, Brian Collins, and Eric Seene rounded out the top five.
The pony stocker took unusually long to run, what with one restart and five yellows. Leon got into the lead on lap 7 and had Weimann right on him the rest of the way. But then both of the top two finishers were disqualified because their motors had too much compression. That gave Marty Schmidt his first career main event victory over Victor Clark, Ed Hale, Eric Clark, and Tim Beeney.
Robinson outran the bomber stock field, leading all 20 laps. Trailing him were JR Trent, Martin Kepler, Jim Tucker, and Ryan Gay.
PIT NOTES: Sid's Auto Body will also be adding $250 to the purse for the late model sportsman on May 25, June 29, July 27, August 24, September 21, and October 5. -- "Weird Marvin" calls his pony stock the "Purple Pinto Eater".