Dazzling driving display by Overman at Cajon. EL CAJON, CA. (04/06/02). Ron Overman drove a textbook race Saturday night to take opening night honors in the 40-lap late model sportsman NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge main event at...
Dazzling driving display by Overman at Cajon.
EL CAJON, CA. (04/06/02). Ron Overman drove a textbook race Saturday night to take opening night honors in the 40-lap late model sportsman NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge main event at Cajon Speedway.
After a stirring 16-lap tussle with pacesetting Rick Bogart, Overman took over the top spot just three laps from the conclusion of the contest. Bogart maintained his second position to the checkered flag. John Manke ran third ahead of Danny Gay and Michael Peace.
Richard Hinze took the companion 25-lapper for street stocks. Defending champion Ed Hale picked up right where he left off last year in the pony stocks. He earned victory number 147 at the track. Mark Holland, points runner-up in the bombers a year ago, outran that field in their 20-lapper.
Overman's drive had to be perfect. There was a tight battle at the front of the pack nearly from green to checkered. Jeff Wright paced the field during the opening stages of the contest until Bogart moved in to challenge on lap 7. That duo ran side-by-side for a half dozen rounds. For the last three of those circuits, Overman and Danny Gay were right behind, making it a tight four car lead pack. Wright bobbled slightly in turn three on lap 14 and that was all Bogart needed. He scooted into the top spot with Overman right behind. Wright clipped Gay just a bit while he was fighting his car, dropping both back into the pack.
By the 19th round Overman was on Bogart's tail. As Wright had done to Bogart, Bogart ceded the bottom groove to Overman. But Overman had his work cut out for him. He could run underneath Bogart for a few laps, but then would slip back just a bit. A yellow flag on lap 25 put the field back in single file. Bogart got a good jump on the restart. But Overman never gave up and soon was back under the leader. With five laps remaining the two were side-by-side again. This time Overman's Monte Carlo stuck and he was in front to stay on lap 37.
"It's neat being old and being able to have young fun," the 59-year-old race winner smiled after beating the 27-year old Bogart, a former Cajon pony stock champ. "That is what I think is so cool."
"That is when the patience comes in," Overman remarked when asked about the early race four car battle. "That is when the old bull, young bull deal works out pretty good. I was waiting for things to string out. We were running :17.50's. That's a second slower than we should be going. I knew someone was going to happen and son of a gun, it happened. I broke for the infield."
"I couldn't get Bogart without running into him," Overman said of that dice. "So I backed up and tried to save the tires, cool them down, and make another run. His tires were heating up. He was running very hard and doing a great job. The driver in the back should always watch the driver's front wheels. When they get to moving around like they're on tire plates, you're ready to go."
"This was a lot of fun. And then you get out of the racecar and think you've done your best, and then the guy who was second comes over. He's just as excited for you. That is what happened."
The street stocks saw four veteran drivers at the point during its 25-laps. Randy Buell, then 97 champ Eric Ferguson, and then defending titlest Rich Green all paced the field before Hinze took over on lap 19. Green may have had the race in his hip pocket until his right front tire starting going down. It was great to see Ferguson back at the track where he cut his teeth. His brand new car had no lap time prior to Saturday night. Hinze started eighth and steadily worked his Monte Carlo up through the pack. Once in front he pulled out to a five-length margin over Ferguson, Todd Phelps, Matt Arnold, and Dave Arce (after his bad luck last year, Dave had to be very happy with their showing in their new car).
It was a familiar story in the pony stocks where Ed Hale remains the man to beat despite his age - he's 63 and just keeps on getting better. Early leader Hector Leon has rejoined the division after a year off. He led early and ended up second, far in arrears behind Hale. John Swink was the filling in a Clark sandwich. Victor Clark was third and Eric Clark was fifth with Swink (another young guy at 65 years old) in fourth. Defending NASCAR Pacific Coast Shortrack champ Mark Shackleford and Jimmy Kyte went at it tooth and nail just much of the race. After getting together slightly in turn one on lap 15 they slammed together again on the backstretch - sending Kyte to the infield. Shackleford was sent to the back of the pack as well. Shackleford stormed back and came home seventh.
PIT NOTES: Rain, rain go away, come again some other day (like Tuesday). Cajon has had 5 events this year (two practices and three races). On three of those occasions, there was some rain on Saturday including this time when a 30 minute shower at 2:00 in the afternoon at least didn't delay anything.