Ferguson edges Hinze at Cajon. EL CAJON, CA (05/10/03). Eric Ferguson benefited from a lapped car at Cajon Speedway Saturday night. As a result he was able to edge out Richard Hinze for the victory in the 25-lap NASCAR Dodge Weekly series street...
Ferguson edges Hinze at Cajon.
EL CAJON, CA (05/10/03). Eric Ferguson benefited from a lapped car at Cajon Speedway Saturday night. As a result he was able to edge out Richard Hinze for the victory in the 25-lap NASCAR Dodge Weekly series street stock contest on the 3/8-mile paved oval.
In the companion races, Lee Hatch led all 75-rounds of the Mechanix Wear Speed Truck Challenge. Marty Schmidt sprinted away from the pack in the 20-lapper for pony stocks. Past champion Randy Wallace outlasted the bomber stock field. Rob Ferguson was in front of the Allison Legacy car contest when the checkered was thrown.
Ferguson and Hinze ran in tight formation for the last half of the contest before they came up on the lapped car of rookie Byron Dale just two laps from the checkered. Hinze had been out front since the tenth go-round. Ferguson moved low about lap 15 and was trying to inch forward lap by lap. But Hinze was able to hold him at bay until he found his path blocked as the lead duo exited turn four on lap 23. Ferguson gave Hinze as much room as possible when they came up on Dale. But with the groove the rookie was running, there wasn't quite enough room to go three wide and Hinze had to give way.
"We had a good car tonight. We came out and tested on Wednesday and found something so we got it hooked up better coming off the corner," Ferguson pointed out. "Nothing was really wrong with the car. But we just didn't have the bite we needed in race conditions. But now it's biting. Now we can go anywhere on the track. So that helps out a lot."
"We (Richard and I) had a great race going," Ferguson continued. "I felt bad for Richard. But that has happened to me a couple of times where I was on the short end of the stick last year. I didn't know if the guy (Dale) was going to go low or go high and he went high. I got by on the bottom."
Early leader Mark Holland came home third while Dave Arce claimed fourth. Fifth went to Brian Collins, who passed Rob Overman on the final circuit. The pace was slowed twice. On lap 4 Ivan Harrison got out of shape on the front stretch and nosed into the crashwall. He bounced back off the wall into the path of defending champion Rich Green. Then on lap 8, Josh Green and Bill Sanchez ended up in the turn two crashwall after one of them dumped axle grease on the racing surface.
The pony stock drivers were playing rough throughout their 20-lapper though there was only one caution period. Schmidt stormed from the middle of the pack and somehow had the number one spot by the end of the first go-round. But Schmidt is driving the Pinto that Ed Hale put in victory lane 53 times before building a new Mustang this year (rumor is the Hale wants the old car back). Schmidt was untouchable once he got out front. Point leader Hector Leon tried to use rookie Bud Brant as a launching ramp entering turn three on lap 15 while that pair fought for second. Both ended up spinning and restarting from the rear. Brant ended up in the turn three crashwall on the last lap while Leon dropkicked his way through the field to come home sixth.
George Behlman and Tim Beeney did their own rubbing in a great battle for second with Behlman ultimately prevailing. Beeney ended up third just ahead of "Smilin Ed" Hale. Rookie Chris Vaughn worked his way through the field to come home fifth.
For a long time it appeared as if the bombers would have their third first time victor in as many races. Tom Osborne jumped out front from the pole and then had to out-race Bob Blew in the early going. Osborne finally put some distance between himself and his pursuers. But the fast guys were on the charge from the back of the pack. Osborne bobbled just a bit on lap 17 and that left Randy Wallace, Marty Lehrke, and point leader Greg McCown on his bumper. He tried hard, but was just unable to keep that trio behind him. When the checkered fell, Wallace was in the lead just ahead of Lehrke and McCown. Osborne was fourth ahead the last first time victor Scott Denton.
Hatch's triumph came by four lengths over 16-year-old Andrew Lewis. Dave Digiacomo ran third ahead of John Burritt and Doug Ingraham. The race featured a stirring ten lap side-by-side between Lewis and Troy Decuir for the runner-up spot from lap 18 through 28. But a yellow flag at the point interrupted that battle. Decuir pitted out of third on the 47th circuit.
The legacy car event was called five laps short of its scheduled 25-lap distance when John Gravelle slammed extremely hard into the fourth turn crashwall flat on the driver's side. Gravelle was knocked unconscious by the impact. But he was alert by the time he was removed from his car. Gravelle, from San Diego, was taken to the hospital for observation.
PIT NOTES: Ferguson also picked up the $200 hard charger award for earning the most passing points of the night in the street stocks. -- For the second consecutive train race, the Brian Vahalik went for a ride upside down. He was not hurt when the back two cars of the train driven by James Boissier flipped. ... Up at Las Vegas Saturday night, our good buddy Chuck Trickle captured his second super late model main event of the year to move into the point lead. -- Speedway Illustrated has a very nice article this month (June 2003) issue on the Dale Earnhardt Inc. operation. Each team member describes his daily job. Among those team members is engine tuner Will Gray, who cut his teeth in racing here at Cajon Speedway working with Pat Garity after being a student of Pat's at Grossmont College. One page of the article is devoted to Will.