Cajon Speedway race report 2002-06-01

True Value Hardware to Danny's Dodge. EL CAJON, CA (06/01/02). Danny Gay had his hands full with Jeff Seifert Saturday night at Cajon Speedway. But he held on in his Dodge to take his second straight NASCAR Weekly Racing Series main event on the...

True Value Hardware to Danny's Dodge.

EL CAJON, CA (06/01/02). Danny Gay had his hands full with Jeff Seifert Saturday night at Cajon Speedway. But he held on in his Dodge to take his second straight NASCAR Weekly Racing Series main event on the 3/8 mile paved oval.

Gay battled Seifert, who also pilots a Dodge, for the entire second half of the 40-lap True Value Hardware late model sportsman contest. Jeff Wright got a reprieve from one black flag but then had to battle back from another to finish third ahead of Stephen Peace and John Manke.

Rich Green regained the street stock point lead with his third victory of the season. Mike Salm took honors in the caution-free 25-lap Grand American modified feature. Victor Clark was victorious for the first time in the pony stocks.

Gay and Seifert inherited the top two spots on lap 17 after Manke was tapped by Wright in turn one and spun. Wright was sent to the back of the pack. For the remainder of the race, Seifert worked on the leader. But he was unable to make the pass.

"Ah man, that was a rough one," Gay said after smiling for his victory lane photos. "In hot lapping the car was feeling pretty good. So I elected not to buy tires. In qualifying, I thought we would be OK. But at the beginning of that main event, I realized I made a mistake. It was already loose and I knew it was only going to get worse. There was lots of playing with that old throttle. If it was hooked up, I knew I would have been able to just walk away. It feels really good, but I'm just not able to get on the gas. But Jeff ran an awesome race."

Stephen Peace pulled away from the rest of the pack when the 11-car field got the green. On lap 3, Rick Chavez went around in turn one. The starter black-flagged Wright, but that decision was overruled shortly thereafter by track officials. Manke caught Peace on the eighth go-round. It took Manke seven laps to inch his way past Peace into the lead. Wright stayed glued to Manke's bumper and followed him by Peace. Manke and Wright continued to run nose-to-tail until their altercation on lap 17.

The final half of the main event saw a terrific battle unfold between Gay and Seifert. Seifert would dive low into each corner just far enough to get his nose under the leader. But Gay had enough of a horsepower advantage to pull away on the straights. The only close call came on lap 33 when Gay found his path blocked by Jack Lee as the trio entered turn three. Someone Gay managed to squeeze between Lee on the high side and Seifert in the low groove and maintain his advantage.

"That was a little bit of a plan," Gay said of that move. "I saw Jack coming for awhile. I had already committed myself to the high groove. I knew if I ran the high groove there was no way Jeff was going to be able to get by unless he bumped me out of the way. Well when I got to Jack, I knew I was going to have to run low. Since it had been so long in the race since I had run low, I didn't know what was going to happen. So I kind of faked Jeff going down the straightaway to throw him off entering the corner. It worked because he checked up before he went in. If he had not checked up before he went in, he would have been side-by-side with us. Then he would have been dictating how we came off the corner."

Salm won by 20-lengths over Scott Brown in the modified event. The finish leaves the two tied for the points lead after four races of the 2002 campaign. Salm sat sixth on the starting grid and moved into the number one spot past pacesetting Billy Cable just four rounds into the contest. Salm and Brown were easily the class of the 16-car field. Third place Ron Brown was a quarter lap back at the stripe. Doug Catania, in his first ride in the former Dean Kuhn machine he just purchased, ran a strong fourth. Mike Jackson ended up fifth, keeping all four wheels on the ground after ending up on top of Paul Brunette two weeks earlier. Salm had his hands full with Brown off and on during the event. He was able to pull away from his pursuer when the track was clear but Brown would close onto his tail each time they caught traffic. The last several circuits saw a clear track; that enabled Salm to pull out to a 20-length margin. The event was run in stark contrast to the previous feature for the division which took over one hour to complete. This time around, the 25-lap main event was run in just over seven minutes.

Green's street stock victory came by three lengths over Ivan Harrison, who was gunning for his third consecutive victory. On lap 24, Neil Rodvold had the throttle stick on his running Monte Carlo as it entered the north turn. The car swapped ends and backed hard into the crashwall; the car was flattened to the rear tires. Rodvold, who was running second at the time and had led eight circuits earlier in the race, was not injured. Green, the night's quick qualifier, started ninth and slowly picked his way through the field just as he does every week. The defending divisional champ ran even with Rodvold for a pair of rounds before inching past on lap 17. Rodvold, who started second alongside Harrison in the front row, had shouldered his way past Harrison into the lead on lap 8.

The pony stock feature turned into a stampede with a twelve car lead pack all battling for position during the middle portions of the event. Tim Beeney gave way to eventual winner Clark on lap 8. But Beeney regained the lead because of a slowdown. On the restart Clark jumped out in front again and paced the field the remainder of the way. Just after Clark took over the number one spot, Billy Hoagland, Marty Schmidt, and Beeney ran door-to-door for number two; they went into turn three three-side on lap 9 and somehow all came through unscathed. Then on lap 14 Hoagland and Schmidt slammed together in turn four. Schmidt eventually had to pit with a flat tire, as did Mike Weimann. All this action left Hoagland in second when the checkered fell. Ed Hale could fare no better than third after winning five of the first six features this year. George Behlman and Beeney rounded out the top five.

PIT NOTES: Gay also won the $200 True Value Hardware Hard Charger Award for having the most passing points of the night in the sportsman. He leads the Sid's Auto Body Hard Charger Leader Board for the season with four points.

-cs-

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About this article
Series NASCAR , Stock car
Drivers Scott Brown