Cajon Speedway report 2002-08-10

Danny Gay spins but wins at Cajon. EL CAJON, CA (08/10/02). By all rights, Danny Gay should not have won the late model sportsman main event at Cajon Speedway Saturday night. He spun on the backstretch on lap 26 after making contact with John ...

Danny Gay spins but wins at Cajon.

EL CAJON, CA (08/10/02). By all rights, Danny Gay should not have won the late model sportsman main event at Cajon Speedway Saturday night. He spun on the backstretch on lap 26 after making contact with John Manke. But the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series contest was 40-laps in length. When the checkered flag fell, Gay found himself in front.

Stephen Peace, who inherited the number one spot just two laps from the finish, was second ahead of Danny's dad, Jerry Gay. Manke came back to finish fourth ahead of Bob Wickey. It was Gay's fourth win of the season and padded his point lead over Manke by nine. He is now 89 points out front with five races left. Gay also picked up the Wally's World Muffler and Radiator Shop $200 Hard Charger Award for the night by earning the most passing points.

Rich Green outlasted Eric Ferguson and took the checkered flag in front of the street stock field. George Behlman overhauled Ron Nava on the next to the last lap to take honors in the pony stock feature. Mark Holland returned to his early season form and captured the bomber stock main event.

Rick Chavez, who was gunning for his first win of the season, had the sportsman race in his hip pocket for 37-1/2 rounds after starting on the pole. But then on lap 38 his Monte Carlo had a tire go down. He was sucked into the back stretch crashwall. His car rode the wall all the way into turn three. This left Peace out front; he was searching for his first win in the division. When the race resumed Gay was all over Peace. He ran underneath him for most of the 39th circuit and then gained the advantage when Peace skated up the track in turn three.

Gay and Manke were running third and second behind Chavez on lap 26 when they tangled on the backstretch. As they came off turn two, Ray Burns was slowing in front of them, trying to get off the track. Gay swerved to avoid Burns and tagged Manke. The pair spun wildly through the infield and skidded back onto the track in a cloud of dust in turn three.

Gay was not pleased with his car early in the night. It was still suffering from the effects of a wall-banging incident with Jeff Seifert two weeks ago. But after Gay was black flagged for punting Seifert into turn three in the heat race, his crew went to work on the car.

"I seriously think that he lifted," Gay said of the heat race incident. "But I understood where everyone was coming from when I got the (black) flag. The car was pretty screwed up last week. We had to go through the entire front end. After the heat race we went through the whole front end (again). Both tie rods were loose and they were toeing themselves out. The guys did their stuff and put the car right back where it was supposed to be."

Gay knew the incident with Manke was unfortunate. "I was really driving the car hard," he explained. "We were going down the straightaway. John was directly in front of me. The next thing you know is he lifted out of it and dropped down. That car (Burns) was there. I panicked. I only saw him for a split second and turned it hard left."

After the final restart (on lap 38) Gay was ready to settle for second. "Before we went green, my wife got on the radio and told me that everyone up on the tower wants you to settle for second," he continued. "Before the yellow the way those two guys (Chavez and Peace) were racing, it kind of took away what I could do. (After the green) I got a good run and he (Peace) gave me the whole bottom groove. Then we got into three and he went up again. My car worked really good from the center off."

Green and Ferguson had a great duel during the closing stages of the street stock contest. Both came from deep in the pack and ran nearly side-by-side for the final eight rounds of the 25-lap affair. Ferguson was inching forward round by round. Green was pedaling as hard as he could in the high groove. On the final round, the lapped car of Gunner Reid came into play as they exited turn two. Reid was running up against the wall and it looked as if he would block Green's path. But Ferguson gave Green just enough room to avoid the slow car and Green was able to maintain a narrow lead to the checkered. Ferguson's runner-up finish moved him past the idle Richard Hinze into second spot in the points behind Green. Eric Seene was third on the track. Early leader and polesitter Brian Collins was fourth while Jason Pontsler drove his Monte Carlo to fifth.

Green was very pleased about his on-track battle with Ferguson. The two have had their problems in the past but Saturday night's race showed they could race cleanly with each other. "I gave him a really good break two weeks ago," Green pointed out after his fifth win of the year. "We talked tonight and I told him all I wanted was for him to keep giving me the breaks I give him. He did tonight. That was pretty much it."

In the pony stocks it was not Ed Hale's night for a change. He suffered a flat tire in both the heat race and main event and ultimately parked his Pinto in the infield. Meanwhile US Marine Shawn Connelly was having the best ride of his rookie season. He held the field at bay for a while until Ron Nava took over. But the "Blackberry Bush Bomber" was slithering forward from his eighth starting position. He caught and passed Nava on lap 18. But both Nava and Connelly squeezed Behlman hard in the final two rounds but fell short. Nava maintained second. Mike Weimann got around Connelly for third. Fast qualifier Hector Leon was fifth.

Bomber stock point leader Mark Holland captured three of the first four main events this year, but had gone winless since. He won he fast heat and started ninth in the feature. Meanwhile out front Joey Schneider was gunning for his second win in a row after going winless since 1998. But Holland had too much. He moved under Schneider in turn four on lap 12 and was out front to stay by the time they exited turn two a half a lap later. Holland maintained a four-car length lead to the finish. Schneider was second. Hard luck Scott Denton finally had things go well for a night. He was third. Pat Garity and Charles Nevin completed the top five.

PIT NOTES: Shawn Connelly found out when he got to the track that he had left his helmet back on the base at Camp Pendleton. Pat Garity had a spare and came to the rescue to assist the 22-year-old native of South Carolina. -- Making their first appearances of the year in the sportsman division were Mark Norris and Ray Burns. Both had problems and failed to finish the main event.

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Series NASCAR , Stock car