Cajon Speedway race report 2002-06-22

Danny Gay outhustles Manke at Cajon. EL CAJON, CA (06/22/02). John Manke gave Danny Gay everything he had at Cajon Speedway Saturday night. But it just wasn't quite enough. As a result Gay picked up his third main event trophy of the season in...

Danny Gay outhustles Manke at Cajon.

EL CAJON, CA (06/22/02). John Manke gave Danny Gay everything he had at Cajon Speedway Saturday night. But it just wasn't quite enough. As a result Gay picked up his third main event trophy of the season in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge contest at the 3/8 mile paved oval.

Gay was just a single car length in front of Manke when the checkered flag was unfurled after the 40-rounds of the late model sportsman feature. Claude Bell came from the back of the pack three times to finish third. Jeff Seifert was fourth just edging out Jerry Gay. Bell had to start shotgun on the field after being two pounds light at the scale. Then on lap 7, he and Jack Lee got together and spun in turn three. Ten rounds later it was Bell and Jerry Gay who tangled in turn three. Gay spun, but the officials black-flagged Bell to the back as well.

Pat Garity wanted to make sure it wasn't going to be a case of dejà vu in the bomber stocks. Garity rebounded to take the victory over Hayden Smith in their feature. A week ago, Garity spun out on the next to the last lap while trying to move underneath Smith into the lead. This time around Garity used the high groove to take over the number one spot on lap 16 of the 20-lapper. Rich Green won for the fourth time this year in the street stocks. Matt Arnold prevailed in the factory stocks. Dave Blankenship was at the front of the 50-lap Ultra Wheels Super Truck convoy.

While Gay and Manke were engaged in a terrific duel at the front of the sportsman feature, the action was ragged at best behind them. There were six slowdowns along the way and over half of the 14-car field was involved in incidents. The most serious accident came on lap 30 when Rick Chavez and Jeff Wright got together in turn three. Wright was turned hard nearly head on into the crashwall. Chavez escaped virtually unscathed but was banished to the pits for the remainder of the race by the officials following the accident. Earlier in the contest, Wright was pressuring Chavez for the lead when he tagged him entering turn three. That came on the seventh circuit and resulted in both Wright and Chavez spinning. It was at this point that Danny Gay took the lead and Manke gained second.

For the remainder of the contest, Gay never faltered from his line through the turns. He made Manke make his bid on the low side. More than once Manke would draw just a bit underneath the leader. But he was never able to stay there very long. Manke's best chance at victory came on lap 38 when he stayed underneath Gay all the way through turns three and four only to lose traction as he exited the corner. Manke however gained his first fast qualifying time earlier in the night. He also picked up the $200 Hard Charger Award for earning the most passing points. Ironically Diecast Collectibles, one of Gay's sponsors, contributed the money this time around.

Gay put his rivals on notice after climbing from the cockpit of his winning Dodge. "I don't have the tires nor the exact knowledge to make this car work," Gay observed. "But once I figure it out, there's more horsepower and car here to be found. It's unbelievable. The car is on three-week old tires. When we came into the day, we thought it was just a loose track because it was so hot. But when the heat race came around, I knew we were in left field because the car was only going to get worse."

"I have to hand it to John thought," Gay continued. "He drove an awesome race. All he had to do was move me just a little bit and he was by. But he didn't. He bumped me a couple of times, but nothing to upset me. John is pretty good about not driving through you."

Sid Rodriguez, Manke's benefactor and owner of Sid's Auto Body, was one of the first to congratulate Gay. He didn't pass up the opportunity to lay down the gauntlet however. "That was a beautiful race but we're going to catch you one of these days," Rodriguez grinned.

Green had little problem coming through the street stock field from 12th starting position. He was fourth after just two rounds. The race had to be restarted once when front row starters Ivan Harrison and Rob Freeman got together in turn three. That triggered a six-car stackup with Scott Dailey and Eric Ferguson the only two cars forced to the pits. Once the green came out again, the streeters ran their 25-lapper non-stop. Harrison paced the field until Green finally inched his way past on lap 12. Green motored away from the field the rest of the way and was a quarter lap in front of Harrison at the finish. Neil Rodvold, Freeman, and Richard Hinze rounded out the top five.

Matt Arnold says he doesn't like to and can't race in a clockwise direction. So in the factory stock enduros, his buddy John Krempp gets to drive in that direction. But Arnold may just be rethinking that philosophy. The factory stocks ran their feature the "wrong way" and Arnold led the entire distance. John Robinson took over the point lead by running second. Vernon Gilmore brought out his new car and was third. Brian Silvas ran a steady race to take fourth. Martin Kepler, who started the night number one in points, was fifth and now trails Robinson by just two markers.


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About this article
Series NASCAR , Stock car
Drivers John Robinson