El Cajon, CA. March 24. M.K. Kanke of Frazier Park, Calif. proved that experience and patience equal victory as he claimed his first win of the year in Featherlite Southwest Series, NASCAR Touring action at Cajon Speedway Saturday night. The ...
El Cajon, CA. March 24. M.K. Kanke of Frazier Park, Calif. proved that experience and patience equal victory as he claimed his first win of the year in Featherlite Southwest Series, NASCAR Touring action at Cajon Speedway Saturday night. The victory was Kanke's 15th in the series and was worth $5,050, needing only $118 in order to become the series' first $300,000 man.
Craig Raudman grabbed the Bud pole award with a time of 15.547/86.833 mph but started in the sixth position due to the invert. That put Northern California's Jim Pettit II on the pole for the 125 lap dual. Pettit quickly got a jumped on the field at the drop of the green flag but the lead was for not as Joe Herold and Carson Woods Jr. tangled in turn three sending several cars spinning. After the smoke cleared, seven cars were damaged but all were all to get started and return to action.
Pettit resumed control of the race and pulled out to a 10-car length lead over last years winner Jon Nelson, driving the Ultra Wheels Pontiac for Bob Farmer. Pettit continued his torrid pace until a spin on the backstretch by Rookie-of-the-Year candidate Burney Lamar bunched the up the field. Lamar was able to stay on the lead lap but fell to the end of the line.
By lap 40, Kanke had made it past Nelson and began to close on Pettit, with local rising star Auggie Vidovich Jr., settling in to the third position. Kanke dogged Pettit lap after lap until he was able to out motor the Hall Kinion.Com Chevrolet coming out turn 4. Kanke ,driving the #98 Community Recycling Chevrolet, never looked back as he went on to take the checkers pulling away from the field.
Pettit held on for his best series finish to date (second), with Vidovich charging home in third place. Series iron man, Bob Lyon, brought the Northridge Rentals Chevy home in forth, with Frank Maronski Jr. rounding out the top five. In perhaps the best drive of the night, young Burney Lamar raced back through the field to finish in seventh and tie Scott Brandt in the Rookie-of-the-Year standings. John Baker, Lamar, Darrell LaMoure, Steve Smith, and Brandt rounded out the top ten.
Kanke's win was made more remarkable as he triumphed in his backup car, a Chevrolet. His primary car this season is a Ford, but was forced to use the backup due to motor problems. "This was not the car we were going to run today, my hats off to the team," Kanke said in Victory Lane. "I have won a lot of races in this series, but it wasn't in the bag until I saw the checkers. This car was flawless tonight, I didn't see any cars out there tonight that could of beat us."
Jim Pettit was thrilled with his second place finish as he offered, "Mike just had it going tonight. We were pretty good early on, but the team gave me a really good car. Unfortunately, we just weren't as good as we needed to be there at the end."
Auggie Vidovich brought the PG Series/Carquest Auto Parts/Spy Sun Glasses Chevrolet home to a crowd pleasing third place finish, as well as jumping into second place in the point standings, just 47 markers behind Kanke. "The car just got a little to tight at the end, and I couldn't get it to turn under Jim," stated Vidovich. "I was happy with the set up of the car, but it is hard to predict what it will do over 125 laps, if we did, we would all be winning."
The race was slowed six times for 38 laps. The time of the race was 50 minutes, 20 seconds. The Rookie of the race was Burney Lamar, with Kanke picking up the Gatorade Front Runner Award.
The series will travel next to the half-mile high banks of Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield, California where competitors will vie for one of thirty starting spots in the running of the COORS LIGHT "125" Saturday, April 7.