Lamar looks ahead W. Sacramento, Calif. (March 27, 2002) -- Burney Lamar of W. Sacramento, Calif. knows that in order to win races you must first put yourself in position to win. Last Saturday night at Cajon Speedway just East of San Diego,...
Lamar looks ahead
W. Sacramento, Calif. (March 27, 2002) -- Burney Lamar of W. Sacramento, Calif. knows that in order to win races you must first put yourself in position to win. Last Saturday night at Cajon Speedway just East of San Diego, Lamar put himself in that position. The sophomore sensation qualified eighth in a stout field of 40 Featherlite Southwest Series, NASCAR Touring racecars that would only see 24 starters in the 125-lap Coors Light sponsored event.
Lamar's luck further improved when he drew an eight invert, which put the 21-year old on the pole to start the race. Lamar took advantage of his starting position and dominated the action, at times building leads of more than 20 car lengths over his closest competitor.
The Junior Joiner led crew prepared a perfect racecar. Quite a feat considering Lamar is now driving a car fielded by his father Izzy and Grandfather who is a legend in Sprint Car racing circles. Lamar started the season preparing to drive for Strandwold Racing, but as is often the case in racing, the deal really never materialized.
Cajon Speedway, a charter Featherlite Southwest Series track, has hosted the series each year since the inception of the series. The track is a tricky 3/8-mile oval that has two distinct ends. The track tends to be hard on inexperience, as on-track action is always fast and furious. Lamar handled the track perfectly all night, showing the poise of a seasoned veteran. Maybe he handled it too well.
As Lamar worked lapped traffic to perfection, M.K. Kanke steadily moved through the field as well. As the laps started to dwindle, Kanke cut into Lamar's lead, passing Frank Maronski Jr. for second place with 20 laps to go. Kanke was able to close on the young hotshoe, but was unable to gain an advantage as the pair negotiated traffic.
The race looked to play perfectly in Lamar's hand as he had led every lap until a late race spin by John Baker changed everything. After the field was reset, the green flag flew on lap 123 setting up a green/white/checker finish. Lamar took the white flag like every other lap of the race, in front and in his groove. But the confidence he had for 124 laps turned to frustration as he overdrove the car into turn one allowing Kanke to poke the nose of his Community Recycling Chevrolet inside of Lamar's TRI-C Mfg. mount. The pair raced side-by-side down the backstretch, but that little bobble was all Kanke needed to collect his 19th career series victory.
Lamar was speechless in Victory Lane, as he had few words to describe what had just happened. "I don't know what happened," a stunned Lamar said. "I just drove too hard into the corner. I really wanted to win this thing."
After Lamar had a few minute to collect his thoughts he was a bit more philosophical about the finish." I am disappointed not to win," Lamar said. "I really can't be too discouraged. This is my best finish in series, and it is a real testament to my dad, grandfather, and my crew led by Junior Joiner. These guys have worked real hard and I am extremely proud of each of them."
Lamar jumps into the lead of the point standings by 12 over "Steady" Eddy McKean as the series heads to Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield, Calif. Saturday, April 6, 2002 for the third event on the series schedule.
While Lamar may lament the loss at Cajon, he eyes the greater prize, a NASCAR Touring championship. Experience breeds confidence and confidence will produce wins. Lamar will have his day.