Ferguson wins for fourth time at Cajon. EL CAJON, CA (08/31/02). Eric Ferguson gave himself, his wife Sharon, and son Tucker an early anniversary present Saturday night. Eric and Sharon were married on September 1, 1996. Son Tucker was born...
Ferguson wins for fourth time at Cajon.
EL CAJON, CA (08/31/02). Eric Ferguson gave himself, his wife Sharon, and son Tucker an early anniversary present Saturday night. Eric and Sharon were married on September 1, 1996. Son Tucker was born about three years later. Saturday night Eric made the Labor Day weekend of 2002 even more enjoyable by earning a hard fought victory in the street stock portion of the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge feature on the 3/8 mile paved oval.
Ferguson outran Richard Hinze by four lengths for his fourth win of the campaign. Eric Seene, who battled door-to-door with Rob Freeman for the lead for nine rounds, midway in the contest ended up third. Freeman was fourth. Point leader Rich Green placed fifth. The victory keeps Ferguson's slim title hopes alive. Green's margin in the hunt shrank from 165 to 137 with three races remaining.
In the pony stocks, it was Ed Hale making his way to victory lane for the tenth time this season. Veteran Ron Brown finally captured his first Grand American modified feature of the year. Brent Jones prevailed in the legends. Joey Schneider took the bomber stock feature.
Ferguson gained the advantage on the 21st of 25 rounds in the street stock feature. But for much of the race, he could only watch the battle up front. Early on it was Rob Freeman and rookie Kenny Hall who ran side-by-side at the front of the pack. Hall's car quit on a lap 6 slowdown. Then from lap 10 through most of lap 18 it was Seene running on the low side of Freeman in the battle for number one. Ferguson was right behind this battling duo starting on lap 16. Seene finally gained the number one spot on lap 18 and Ferguson stuck to his tail to move past Freeman. Once the two had a clear track, it was Ferguson who went low and stole the lead away the lead from Seene. Hinze followed Ferguson past Seene, but had nothing for the eventual winner.
"We were just trying to survive and let the guys in front of us race," the relieved winner said. "There were a lot of wrecks and after the heat race we were just trying to survive. Scott Moses cut me a lot of slack when Josh Green was sliding backwards (early in the race). I'd like to thank him for that. Then Richard Hinze could have laid the bumper to me (when Freeman and Seene were racing side-by-side). But he just followed me through. After getting together in the heat race, I think he cut me some slack too. So I need to thank him as well."
"I was just going to let them race," Ferguson said of the great Seene-Freeman battle. "But then the car started getting a little warm. Before Eric finally got past Rob, I thought about going three-wide on them because they were slowing me down. But Richard was patient behind me. So I (decided to) just let them race for the point and then try and get them after they broke it up."
Hale had little problem threading his way through the pony stock field after starting 11th. He received a big assist on the second of the 20 circuits when about ten cars stacked up in the middle of the first and second turns. After that Hale found himself in sixth and he steadily moved forward until he had the advantage on lap five. Schmidt took second with a three wide pass in turn two on lap 7. But he was not able to pose a challenge to Hale, who now has 156 career wins at Cajon. Schmidt crossed the line in second nearly a quarter-lap behind Hale. George Behlman, Tim Beeney, and Mike Weimann rounded out the top five. The race ran non-stop after the second lap slowdown. Hale has a virtual lock on his third straight championship in the "small car" division. He sits 206 markers ahead of Hector Leon and needs to carry a 245-point bulge out of the next race to lay claim to the title.
Brown's 20 years of driving experience paid out in the modified 25-lapper. After starting sixth, Brown made short order of the slower cars sitting in front of him on the grid. The 50-year-old was in front by the time he came off turn two on lap 3. A couple of late race caution flags left John Luecht on his tail. But Luecht had to settle for his second straight runner-up finish. Scott Brown, Ron's nephew, took a giant step towards his first track championship by running third ahead of Jimmy Dickerson and Mike Jackson. Dickerson was making his first run in a couple of years; he subbed for David Wade.
"It has been awhile. We got the monkey off our back now," Brown smiled after his first trip to victory lane since Sept 22, 2001. He had sat out the last two races probably due more to frustration than the car problems his team was suffering. "We started out the first part of the year OK. Then we had some motor problems. Then we also couldn't get the chassis set up right. I think we're really catching up to it right now."
The "I should have been anywhere except the racetrack award" goes to Mike Salm. Salm just clipped a spinning car in his heat race and rode full borne into the front stretch crashwall. His crew thrashed to get his modified ready for the feature. He was running fourth there on lap 16 when something broke as he exited turn two. The car jumped sideways into the wall and rubbed against the cement barrier the entire length of the backstretch before coming to a stop sideways in the pit exit in turn three. Salm was not hurt. But his car was and his hopes for a second championship probably went down the drain. Scotty Brown, who has worked hard to win things this year, saw his margin over Salm grow to 113 points. And while 148 points are possible the last two races of the season, Salm has to hope Scott gets lost and can't find the track the last two races to overtake him. And that my friends isn't going to happen.
In the bombers, Mark Holland is also just a handful of points away from sewing up the title he lost by a thin gap last year. His lead over Pat Garity dipped to 231 points. But he too needs only to have a 245 point bulge after next week and a 148 point lead after the next to the last race of the year to claim his title as track champion. Holland could fare no better than eighth Saturday night as Joey Schneider went wire-to-wire for his second win of the year. It was a big night for "Team Schneider" as teammates Robert Bradley and Marty Lehrke were fourth and fifth respectively. Sandwiched in between were Allen Basile and Greg McCown. Due to numerous accidents and a fast approaching curfew, the race was called after 18 of 20 scheduled circuits.
PIT NOTES: Making his maiden voyage as a racer was James Magasmen Jr. in the Victor Clark pony stock. James said his heart was pounding a mile a minute while he qualified. While he only finished 17th, he brought the car home in one piece. The car, which is a fast one, incidentally is for sale. Thomas Winter bought the other Clark Car and ran that very sharp looking machine for the first time. He had his best run to date, a 7th. -- Street stock point leader Rich Green was the lucky driver of the night. He rode up over another car in turn four early in his heat race and nearly came down into the crashwall. Cars were all over the track in this multi-car incident. But somehow Green and the rest gathered it back up. It was a big accident that didn't happen. -- Congratulations to Austin Cameron, who came home in front of the Winston West race at Rocky Mountain Raceway in Salt Lake City Saturday night.