EL CAJON, CA (04/03/04). Jeff Seifert had won twice previously at Cajon Speedway. One of those triumphs came in the Ultra Wheels Super Trucks. The other came in a NASCAR late model sportsman. Saturday night, the Jamul racer celebrated the biggest...
EL CAJON, CA (04/03/04). Jeff Seifert had won twice previously at Cajon Speedway. One of those triumphs came in the Ultra Wheels Super Trucks. The other came in a NASCAR late model sportsman. Saturday night, the Jamul racer celebrated the biggest victory of his racing career by leading wire-to-wire in the Coors Light 125 on the 3/8-mile paved oval.
Seifert, who turned 37 just nine days before the contest, paced all 125-rounds of the NASCAR Auto Zone Elite Division, Southwest Series contest. Chasing him the entire way was another local racer Joe Herold of Poway. David Gilliland finished a controversial third ahead of Craig Raudman and Danny Burson.
Herold and Seifert had the front row for the Coors event, the first race of the 2004 at Cajon. Seifert had been the fifth fastest qualifier while Herold was 6th quick. Seifert got the jump on the start and was hardly ever pushed during the race. Herold was one to three lengths back the entire distance. The victory was worth $2500.
There were ten San Diego County drivers entered in the event. Six of them, including Herold, Todd McLauchlan, defending race winner Mark Meech, Mike Mendenhall, Seifert, and defending series champ Auggie Vidovich II started the 24-car main event. McLauchlan finished second in the last chance race to earn his starting position. He got caught up in a lap 65 shunt, but still finished 122 laps to claim a 13th place finish. Meech was the victim of a lap 101 shunt and ended up 17th. Mendenhall, who was making his initial series start, was the third quickest qualifier. He was running fourth until the throttle linkage broke during a caution flag on lap 42. He returned to the fray, completed 95 rounds, and was credited with 18th plan. Vidovich, who started 14th and moving steadily forward, got involved in an accident in turn two on lap on lap 83 and was knocked out of the race. He ended up 20th.
There were five caution flags for 45 laps. The first one came 39 rounds in when Eric Holmes stopped on the backstretch. Then on lap 65 Doug McCoun and Travis Bennett locked horns in turns three and four. McCoun got airborne and plowed hard into the turn four crashwall. McLauchlan got caught-up as the field stacked up behind them.
The "big one" came on lap 83 while Nick Lynch and Burney Lamar were battling hard for third place. There may have been slight contact between the two. Lynch ended up spinning and several cars smacked together including Vidovich, Bob Lyon, Greg Voight, Todd Souza, Ben Walker, and Nick Joanides.
Then on lap 101, Gilliland charged hard into turn three and slid into Lamar, who was running third at the time. Lamar kept his foot in it and went all the way around. With the track obstructed by a lot of smoke, Meech, who was up to sixth, got nailed by Walker. The final caution period came on lap 117 when Souza stopped in turn two.
Even Seifert was stunned by his initial series victory. He had purchased the car not too many weeks earlier from Vidovich. His young team got a lot of help from their rivals setting up the car. "I had a really good teacher. The guy who won this race last year (Meech) told me how to do it," Seifert told the appreciative audience in the grandstands. "So I just figured I'd go out and do it. (After qualifying) he left a note in my car that said I'll be seeing you in a little bit (Meech started 12th, five rows behind Seifert)."
"I have another buddy that I like to follow too. His name is Auggie Vidovich. I think they might be happy. This was his car and probably about 80% of the reason I'm sitting here is because of them."
"Also Craig Raudman called me up yesterday and asked me how I was doing. He told me how to do my qualifying because I have been screwing that up. There were a lot of guys (who made this possible). I just hope I'm not missing anybody."
Seifert didn't forget to thank Herold, one of the cleanest drivers in the Southwest Series. Herold's second place run was the best of his career in the Southwest Series. He has been a regular now with the group for about three years. "Joe raced me really clean," Seifert noted. "I'd like to congratulate him."
PIT NOTES: Thirty-two cars signed in for the Coors event. Other San Diego County drivers that entered but failed to make the Coors race included Eddie Bryans, Don Kerr, John Luecht, and Randy Nelson. -- The top 18 qualifiers that were automatically seeded into the main event were separated by only .186 seconds. Lamar, the fast qualifier, turned a lap of :16.138. The 18th quick of Travis Bennett had a :16.324. Taking provisionals were 2002 champ Eddy McKean, series vet Doug McCoun, Ben Walker, and Greg Voight. -- The Supermodified Racing League will appear at Cajon on May 8; that race should now be that group's season opener after they were rained out at Tucson Saturday night.