Hinze finally finds Cajon Victory Lane again. EL CAJON, CA (08/03/02). Richard Hinze won the first street stock main event of the year at Cajon Speedway back in April. Since then he had not made his way back to victory lane. But that 12 race ...
Hinze finally finds Cajon Victory Lane again.
EL CAJON, CA (08/03/02). Richard Hinze won the first street stock main event of the year at Cajon Speedway back in April. Since then he had not made his way back to victory lane. But that 12 race winless string came to an end Saturday night when he edged out Rich Green and Eric Ferguson for the win in the feature 25-lap main event on the 3/8-mile paved oval.
After cruising most of the way, Hinze had his hands full with the two veterans during the closing stages of the contest. Ferguson was just a car length back in second with Green another half-length back in third when the checkered fell. But Ferguson and Green swapped positions after the checkered when Ferguson was penalized a position for jumping a restart. Brian Collins was fourth and Dave Arce took fifth. Despite the penalty Ferguson still picked up the $200 Truck N Stuff Hard Charger money for earning the most passing points.
"It's been too long," the relieved race winner since after climbing from the cockpit of his red Pontiac Grand Prix. "I was beginning to wonder if we were ever going to make it back."
Joey Schneider picked up his first main event win since 1998 in the bomber stocks. Lee Hatch dominated the speed truck 75-lapper. He took the checkered flag a third of a lap in front of his nearest rival. Ed Hale picked off his eighth win of the season in the pony stocks where he has now won 50 times. That moves his career victory total at Cajon up to 154. Doug Catania was a first time victor in the Grand American modifieds.
Hinze started on the pole of the street stock feature. He had things go his way until lap 21. Then a yellow flag left both Rich Green and Eric Ferguson on his bumper. Ferguson had stormed back through the pack after ending up meeting Rob Freeman in a turn three on lap 10. He pitted to replace a flat tire under the resulting caution flag. Green took up the charge against Hinze first. After gaining second lap 16, he found himself on the leader's bumper just before the lap 21 yellow. That caution may have cemented Hinze's victory however. Hinze was able to get a little clearance between himself and his pursuers when the green came out as Ferguson and Green battled each other.
"I lost a cylinder and was hanging on for all it was worth," Hinze related. "I was losing a car length down every straightaway and was trying to make up for it in the turns. But then when those two (Green and Ferguson) started fighting it was the best thing that could happen to me. So we're very happy."
Schneider was just a car length ahead of Rodney Shaw at the conclusion of the bomber stock finale. Greg McCown tried to get himself a big birthday present with his first win. But he celebrated his 34th birthday by running third; he was less than a length behind Shaw when the checkered fell. Bob Blew paced the field for the opening ten rounds before Schneider worked his way past. Blew, who was gunning for his first victory, only last three more rounds before he slowed and pitted. Rounding out the top five were point leader Mark Holland and Randy Wallace.
In the modifieds it was a tough night for the point leaders. So it was left for the remainder of the field to decide who would gain their first divisional victory. Ron Brown was a no show. He was frustrated when he was unable to get another motor together. Then point leader Scott Brown and runner-up Mike Salm were involved in shunts. On lap four Mike Jackson got pinched into the front stretch wall. Brown, Douglas Wright Jr., Dave Wade, and Steve Lloyd all got caught up in this mess. Brown made it back for the restart after his crew changed the right rear shock. Then on lap 13 Salm broke as he went into turn one. Brown plowed into the back on him; he had to pit again to remove his front bumper.
Meanwhile out front Billy Cable was gunning for the win. He and Paul Brunette ran side-by-side until the lap 4 skirmish. Then Cable checked out. The lap 13 slowdown left Catania on the leader's tail. When the race resumed Catania was ahead by the time the field got to turn one. Cable held of for second, his best finish ever. Brunette had his best run to date and ended up third. Scott Brown picked up a slew of points on his challengers by roaring back to fourth. Carol Kirby Williams was fifth.
"I'll take it any way I can get it," Catania smiled. "The two big guys were gone. But a W is a W. I was fortunate that Scotty and Salm had difficulties or I am sure I would have ended up my typical third. But they did and I didn 't. And of course Uncle Ron wasn't here."
Then there was the pony stock feature. Three restarts were necessary. Then there were three more yellow flags required before the designated 20 laps could be completed. The nastiest accident came on the first start when John Swink and Chad Harmon locked horns near the front of the pack just short of the finish line at the conclusion of lap 1. Somehow everyone was able to get back on the track for the restart though a lot of ponies had become hoodless. Once the race got underway for good, Chris Vaughn held everyone at bay until lap 5. Then Marty Schmidt, who moved from the inside of the fifth row to third place before the field got to turn one on the start which took, grabbed the lead. Hale however was on the move. He had the lead exiting turn two on lap 7. Schmidt dogged him to the finish, only to be penalized for jumping that start. Victor Clark crossed the stripe in third. But he was penalized for contact with Hector Leon on the final round. That left Tim Beeney in second, Schmidt in third, George Behlman in fourth, and Pete Franke in fifth. Franke had to be pleased with the results. He never qualified due to motor problems. Ordinarily that would have left him in the semi. But two cars were parked before qualifying so the semi was cancelled. Franke then started last in the 22-car field. But he kept his nose clean the entire way.