Cajon Speedway report 2002-08-17

A Gay night at Cajon Speedway EL CAJON, CA (08/17/02). In days gone by, no doubt Jerry Gay spent many an hour chasing around trying the house or the neighborhood trying to keep up with, catch, or find his son Danny. Well Saturday night, Danny...

A Gay night at Cajon Speedway

EL CAJON, CA (08/17/02). In days gone by, no doubt Jerry Gay spent many an hour chasing around trying the house or the neighborhood trying to keep up with, catch, or find his son Danny. Well Saturday night, Danny Gay was outrunning hid dad once again. This time it was at Cajon Speedway up front in the late model sportsman main event on the 3/8-mile paved oval.

Danny, who started sixth, was still five lengths ahead of his dad when the checkered flag was thrown. It marked the fifth main event win for the younger Gay and his Dodge in the NASCAR Weekly Racing Series presented by Dodge competition. Taking third place in the 40-lapper with another fine run was Stephen Peace, who had finished second in the last two outings. Jack Lee was fourth and Bob Wickey was fifth. The victory added another 35 markers to Danny's point lead over John Manke. With four races remaining, Gay sits 124 digits ahead of Manke.

Mike Salm went wire-to-wire to score his fourth Grand American modified victory of the year. Rich Green Jr. was a quarter lap in front of the street stock field at the conclusion of their 25-lapper. It was Green's sixth triumph of 2002 and enabled him to pad his already comfortable point lead. Matt Arnold outran Vernon Gilmore in the factory stocks. Jim Smith prevailed in the legends.

The younger Gay inherited the top spot in the main event on lap 18. Up to that point the contest had belonged to Claude Bell. But on that lap, Jeff Wright returned to the track from the pits. As Bell went to go underneath Wright in turn one, the two got together and locked up. On the restart Danny was in front with his dad in second and that is the way they ran for the remainder of the race.

Even though Danny's Dodge clearly had the horsepower advantage, dear old dad gave the kid a major scare late in the race. The senior Gay managed to get underneath his kid on a lap 32 restart and nearly made the pass for the lead. "He kind of scared me," Danny said of his dad. "That old boy is good with his starts. But he just flat schooled me. Two times I was able to stay in front. But he had something for me getting into one. That last time he done got by me almost coming out of two."

Danny Gay's night was not without its adventures. His crew worked hard to get his motor back in the car during the week. The team had been running one of his dad's motors for several weeks after breaking theirs. "This week he had his own motor and his own driver's suit. But he still has my rear end," dad Jerry joked after the race.

"We had a lot of problems today," Danny explained. "We had electrical problems. Then something was out of alignment where the transmission gets shoved into the motor. We have a different tranny and bell housing. That's my motor now. It's a new block. Somewhere between those three, (there was a problem)." For the record the team changed a starter and several solenoids before finding a borrowed one from street stocker Scott Moses that worked. "My dad figured out it was the tranny pushing against it that was making it (the motor) not turn. He couldn't ever turn it over with a big long wrench. So we loosened the bell housing bolts. We spaced it out and shimmed it. Then we tried it again and the motor turned." The problems meant that Gay got no hot laps and had to qualify on stickers. "I'm proud that the guys kept their heads long enough where we could get it done," Gay noted.

It was hardly a clean race. In fact afterwards, Wickey expressed his displeasure with several of his competitors for their on-track driving styles where body slams and turning people around seem to be regular occurrences. "Some of these guys ought to drive street stocks so they can learn how to race," Wickey, who has been taken out a lot in recent weeks, said. On lap 4 Bell and Wickey banged together while battling for the lead. Wickey, who had started on the outside of the front row, ended up looping it. Then on lap 15 Jeff Wright turned Manke around in turn two while battling for second. Wright was black-flagged. Then there was the lap 18 wrestling lock between Bell and Wright. Wickey spun again in turn two on lap 26. The final slowdown came after the lapped car of Wright dropkicked fourth place running Jeff Seifert in turn two on lap 32. Wright was quickly black flagged to the pits; following the race he was placed on probation for the remainder of the season by the track official.

Salm dominated the Grand American modified action after starting on the pole. The race quickly settled into a parade. But three slowdowns were necessary to complete the 25 rounds. The most serious incident came on lap 16 when Dave Wade's Lumina "pushed" into the turn four crashwall. Then it caromed into the turn one wall before coming to a stop in turn two. Wade was not injured. John Luecht made his initial start in the division and drove his dad's car to second place. Point leader Scott Brown was third ahead of Mike Jackson and pony stock graduate Douglas Wright Jr.

In the street stocks Green carefully picked his way through the field from his 11th starting position, moved under Rob Freeman on lap 11. Then he just motored away in his Monte Carlo. Richard Hinze and Eric Ferguson had a terrific tussle for second place with Hinze coming out on top. Ferguson could have forced the issue on the last lap. But he backed off and gave Hinze some room when they came up on a lapped car exiting turn two on the final round. Freeman was fourth ahead of Gordon Anderson.

Rob Overman was sent home for the night after an incident in the heat race. Overman was forced to the infield on the front stretch. He raced his way around turns one and two on the "shortcut" and then tired to merge back on the track at racing speed on the backstretch. When his right rear tire caught the pavement he was jerked into the car of Scott Moses. Moses bounced in Dave Arce and both Moses and Arce ended up in the turn three wall. Both Moses and Arce were able to make repairs before the feature. Moses came home sixth and Arce eighth after some serious thrashing.

In the factory stocks, Matt Arnold ran down Rob Mendenhall, who was making his racing debut, just five rounds into their 20-lapper. Arnold went on to finish a quarter lap in front of "Vicious Vernon" Gilmore. Donn Stewart jumped from fourth to second in points behind Arnold by running third on the track. Ryan Gay was fourth and first nighter Dave Blair took fifth. Mendenhall didn't surprise anyone; for the record, he was black flagged on lap 5 for turning Brian Silvas around on the front stretch. He ended up 12th and kept his nose clean for the rest of the race.

PIT NOTES: Cody Esler, one of the hardest working members of the track cleanup crew, has earned the Eagle Scout award in the Boys Scouts. Congraulations Cody. -- Danny Gay also picked up the $200 Bob Baker Chevrolet hard charger award for earning the most passing points during the night. That marks his seventh Sid's Auto Body Hard Charger award and now has a lock on the $1000 Sid's Auto Body bonus at season's end.

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Drivers Bob Baker , Scott Brown , Jim Smith