EL CAJON, CA (05/04/02). Mike Salm was challenged most of the way by Michael Jackson. But the 2000 divisional champion held on to take his first Grand American modified main event victory of the season at Cajon Speedway Saturday night. The ...
EL CAJON, CA (05/04/02). Mike Salm was challenged most of the way by Michael Jackson. But the 2000 divisional champion held on to take his first Grand American modified main event victory of the season at Cajon Speedway Saturday night.
The victory marked Salm's 13th trip to victory lane at the San Diego County oval. He bested Jackson, who matched his career best run, by two lengths. Brian Pusey, the 1997 bomber titlest, ran third, his best finish in the division as well. Rounding out the top five were Doug Catania and Paul Brunette.
Lee Hatch led all 75-rounds of the oft-slowed Mechanix Wear Speed Truck main event. Ed Hale earned his 149th career victory on the 3/8-mile paved oval by taking the checkered flag in front of the pony stock field in their 20-lapper. Mark Holland took advantage of a late race yellow flag to overhaul pacesetting Rodney Shaw in the bombers.
Salm's victory was made easier when a third lap spin by John Cartwright scattered the field. Cartwright's car threw up a lot of dust, which clouded the vision of the drivers. There was no yellow. Ricky Riley was leading at the time and he almost came to a stop in the dust. Salm took advantage and stormed into the lead. Scott Brown ran into Riley in the dust storm and broke a shock mount. He had to pit and was never a factor in the race. Jackson took over second on the eighth round and hounded Salm to the finish. More than once Jackson drew underneath Salm. But the third year driver was unable to make a pass.
Holland threaded his way through traffic on the low side.after starting 17th in the 22-car bomber field. Meanwhile polesitter Rodney Shaw was out on the Saturday night drive, just cruising lap after lap. Shaw had the 20-lap contest won as there were no yellow flags. When Holland finally got up to second, he was ten car lengths behind Shaw and quickly running out of laps. But it was not to be Shaw's night. There was a scuffle in the north turn on lap 17 and the caution flag had to be displayed. On the restart Holland went up on top. It took him a full lap to gain the advantage and then he gave himself a scare by breaking loose in turn three on lap 18. But he held on. The victory widened his already big point lead to 132 markers over Hayden Smith. Shaw lost second when Pat Garity stormed around the outside in the final turn. Kevin Gantz was fourth and Jay McKellep took fifth.
The ponys had a tough night, needing nearly thirty minutes to run their 20-lapper. Tim Beeney had another fine run from the front row. But he gave way to Hector Leon, who started eleventh, on lap 5. Hale had started alongside Leon and tailed him through traffic. The fast duo blew by Beeney on the low side and then ran away from the field. Leon managed to hold Hale off for four laps. But he found his match blocked by the lapped car of Carole Schacher on lap 9. Hale had taken the low groove from Leon by this point and Leon had to back off. That was all Hale needed and he was never headed. The Clark Cars (Eric and Victor) ran third and fourth after starting 14th and 12th respectively. Mike Weiman edged out Beeney on the final circuit for fifth.
Hatch, the fastest qualifier in the Speed Trucks, outran Darren Young by ten car lengths after starting on the pole. Robert Sanders was third. Randy Brown, who had captured the first four truck features of the year, was running third when he and second running Troy Decuir tangled on the 39th circuit. Decuir was knocked out of the race while Brown pitted to replace a tire. Then he was running sixth when he made contact with Ron Nava on lap 70 and had to pit with another flat tire. He returned to the fray and was running at the finish. The pace was slowed eight times, including four times in the final 13 rounds.