TWIN FALLS, Idaho – Pepsi Premier driver Steve Jones may have had a few nervous moments last Saturday night in the final event of the year at Magic Valley Speedway, but when it all was over he emerged as the feature division champion for 2007.
When the green flag flew for the start of the 50-lap feature division in the Whelen All-American Racing Series main event, Mike Greco and David Patrick ran side-by-side trading place for the lead and continued the battle throughout the first half of the race. A fleet of cars sailed closely behind the pair but Travis Monett finally made the bold move of the night, skirting under Greco and Patrick to take over second. Moments afterward however, Greco and the No. 27 car of Rob Vest encountered each other in turns three and four, bringing out the caution with 21 laps remaining in the contest.
The pair was sent to the rear of the field for the restart and soon Greco and Randy Franks made contact – and as the drivers followed the pace car to straighten out the lineup, Greco gave his regards to Vest’s rear bumper and then exited to the pits where his presence was required for the remainder of the race by the track officials.
It was bad news for Dan Doan and Dan Pehrson when they got tangled up against the turn four wall with 10 laps to go in the race, but it was good new for Jones as he had a tire going down and needed the caution to make the repair and stay in competition.
As the final few laps of the season wound down the race was between TJ Woodhall on the inside lane and Jerry McKean trying to stick to the outside. Soon McKean suddenly got loose on the backstretch and even with the right-side tires in the dirt, he managed to keep control of the car but fell back several positions in the field. Woodhall then took control and captured his first win of the season finishing just ahead of Patrick and Monett.
“It feels really good to get this win,” a relieved Woodhall said. “This is the most hooked up this car has been all year. Although I didn’t know if I was going to make it through a couple of those wrecks – there were some scary moments out there – but we did it.”
Even though Jones had a 23-point lead going into the event, it was the timely caution that cinched up the 2007 track title for the driver of the No. 3 car.
“I could tell the right front tire was going down and it was just getting worse and worse and worse,” Jones said. “I don’t what I would have done if those guys hadn’t of wound up in that caution. But we finally got a championship back under our belt – that was our goal for the year.”
Rick Van Vooren made his comeback to MVS in a nice way, finishing sixth in the new number six car just behind Vest and Rick Fowble.
Jerry McKean nailed the Budweiser Grand Nationals title for 2007 with a main event win; his fourth victory in the five races included the chase. Louis Lopez, his closest rival for the championship, had a tough night finishing fifth in the main event race.
Josh Pitz and Kris McKean each wished to round up their first main event win in the division and battled side-by-side for the first several laps until Jerry McKean wanted to get in on the action. By lap 21 of the 25-lap event Jerry McKean had put Pitz and Kris McKean behind him - finishing just a little more than a half-second over the runner-up in the race Pitz.
The Magic Valley Pipe Thunder Stocks welcomed a new champion in the series – Mr. Jim Shirley. Shirley finished third in the main event behind race winner Desi Ahrens and John Hoogendoorn, but it was more than enough to bring home the title for 2007.
Misty Greco was crowned champion in the Quale’s Electronics Queen Bee division while adding another main event win to her record. Teen Bee driver Lane Buddenhagen came through with the title in the Teen Bee division while also capturing the main event win.
Pepsi Premier: 1. TJ Woodhall, 2. David Patrick; 3. Travis Monett; 4. Rick Fowble; 5. Rob Vest; 6. Rick Van Vooren; 7. Steve Jones; 8. Jerry McKean; 9. Allen Williams; 10. Stevie Fisher.
Budweiser Grand Nationals: 1. Jerry McKean; 2. Josh Pitz; 3. Kris McKean; 4. Norm Hatke; 5. Louis Lopez; 6. Kenny Hatke; 7. Kent Jensen; 8. Tony Phernetton; 9. Willie Dalton.
MV Pipe Thunder Stocks: 1. Desi Ahrens; 2. John Hoogendoorn; 3. Jim Shirley; 4. Stacey Jensen; 5. Jim Howard; 6. Boyd Harms; 7. Craig Nuthak; 8. Kamie Nuthak; 9. Rob Roche; 10. Jason Todd.
Quale’s Electronics Queen Bees: 1. Misty Greco; 2. Alecia Dalton; 3. Amanda Adema; 4. Rebecca Robbins.
Manker’s Landscaping Teen Bees: 1. Lane Buddenhagen; 2. Anthony Meyer; 3. Lane Albright; 5. Lyndsey Deatry; 6. Jared Devries.
FINAL POINT STANDINGS:
Pepsi Premier: 1. Steve Jones, 646; 2. TJ Woodhall, 635; 3. Rob Vest, 613; 4. Mike Greco, 602; 5. Stevie Fisher, 578; 6. Dan Pehrson, 567; 7. Rick Fowble, 566; 8. Travis Monett, 552; 9. David Patrick, 545; 10. Dale Rogers, 501.
Rookie of the Year: Stevie Fisher
Budweiser Grand Nationals: 1. Jerry McKean, 579; 2. Louis Lopez, 566; 3. Kris McKean 551; 4. Kenny Hatke, 530; 5. Jonathon Gomez, 511; 6. Kent Jensen, 510; 7. Willie Dalton, 487; 8. Bill Manker 449; 9. Jeffrey Meads 431; 10. Drew Reitsma, 423.
Rookie of the Year: Kris McKean
MV Pipe Thunder Stocks: 1. Jim Shirley, 685; 2. Craig Nuthak, 661; 3. Jim Howard, 650; 4. Desi Ahrens, 642; 5. John Hoogendoorn, 640; 6. Shiela Harms, 643; 7. Steve Edens 651; 8. Loren Miller 549; 9. Stacey Jensen 236; Jason Kissel, 218.
Rookie of the Year: Stacey Jensen
Quale’s Electronics Queen Bees: 1. Misty Greco, 80; 2. Alecia Dalton, 48; 3. Charity Hammond, 42; 4. Darcy Harcourt, 38; 5. Amanda Adema, 30.
Manker’s Landscaping Teen Bees: 1. Lane Buddenhagen, 72; 2. Anthony Avalos, 58; 3. Lyndsey Deatry 44; 5. Lane Albright, 42.