BAKERSFIELD, California — After coming off consecutive third place finishes, Greg Voigt of Goleta, CA finally closed the deal and picked up his first career Spears SRL Southwest Tour Series win at the “Don Conti Memorial 99 presented by Performance Electrical Company” at Stockton 99 Speedway.
"I’m so happy for my guys, they put their heads down and work hard…. I’m just so glad to get this win for them, they’ve worked so hard and they deserve this win."— Greg Voigt
“I’m so happy for my guys, they put their heads down and work hard…. I’m just so glad to get this win for them, they’ve worked so hard and they deserve this win.” said Voigt who entered the night second in SRL points and was able to close the gap on points leader M.K. Kanke, 267 to 295.
Fast qualifier Kanke, who set a new track record of 13.086 seconds, drew a four car invert which put Voigt on the pole. “We had a good car when we unloaded, we had a good qualifying run and then got the luck of the invert to start on the pole.” Voigt added. “I want to thank the good lord above for giving us this opportunity, thanks to the Stockton 99 fans for coming out, Performance Electrical for sponsoring the race and to my girls at home…I wish they could be here.”
At the start, Voigt and outside front row starter Craig Raudman were even through turns 1 and 2. Voigt cleared Raudman for the lead by turn three, but then third place starter Troy Ermish tried to charge below Raudman but spun in the middle of turns 3 and 4. The entire field split Ermish with no contact made. Under caution, after one lap of green, the top five running order was Voigt, Raudman, Kanke, Josh Combs and Todd Bammer.
On the restart Raudman got a great drive off of turn 2 and cleared Voigt for the lead exiting turn 4. Raudman, in his familiar black Approved Memory/Century Boatland Chevrolet quickly looked in control of the race as he pulled out to a sizable lead over Voigt, who had Kanke all over his rear bumper. The Moeller Bros. Chevrolet of Bammer moved past Combs for fourth on lap 15, Tracy Bolin was running sixth. Two drivers on the move at this point were Kevin Callahan and Mike Mendenhall who started 10th and 16th respectively. The caution flew for the second time on lap 27 as Bolin and the 3M Automotive Aftermarkets Ford of Justin Westmoreland made contact and spun in turn 1.
As the race reached its mid-way point the top ten was now nose to tail, with Raudman leading Voigt, followed by Kanke, Combs, Dave Byrd, Callahan, Bammer, Mendenhall, Ermish and Jim Pettit II rounding out the top 10. As the top 10 continued to work lapped traffic, there was action all the way around the Stockton 99 Speedway ¼ mile.
The winning move of the night came while working traffic on lap 72, when Raudman went high to pass David Mantooth entering turn 3 and Voigt drove low. As the trio was three wide in turn 4, Voigt charged back into the lead. The caution fell for the fourth time of the race on lap 75 as Byrd who was running fifth in the Holiday Inn Express/Team Superstores Chevrolet at the time and Bolin made contact entering turn 1. Byrd had to pit and fell out of contention.
On lap 95 Westmoreland and Joe Farre’ got together with Westmoreland making hard contact with the turn 4 wall. After a lengthy clean up, Voigt now had to hold off Raudman for one more restart before driving to his first career Spears SRL Southwest Tour Series victory. At the drop of the green on lap 95, Raudman pressured Voigt but the Auto Pro Racing Engines/JN Design Impala was strong enough to open up just enough of a lead over the final few laps to keep Raudman from getting to his bumper.
“That’s just racing, I caught the lap traffic at the wrong spot and he (Voigt) was able to get by,” said Raudman after the race. “He was really good driving off turn 2, we were better in 3 and 4…I want to thank all my guys for a great car.”
Moving up from his 16th starting position to finish 5th, Five Star Hard Charger Award winner Mendenhall had these comments after the race, “We got a couple of breaks…the car was good and we stayed out of trouble and had a good run…ten years of racing a Street Stock at El Cajon Speedway really helps for this type of racing.” Mendenhall added.
The Spears SRL Southwest Tour Series next stop will be September 5th at Madera Speedway for the “Performance Electrical 130”, the seventh of the ten races that make up the 2009 SRL schedule.
Race Stats: SRL Spears Southwest Tour Series “Don Conti Memorial 99 presented by Performance Electrical Co., Inc.” – August 8, 2009 at Stockton 99 Speedway
Race Leaders: Greg Voigt 1-4, Craig Raudman 5-71, Greg Voigt 72-99
Lead Changes: 3
Winning Margin: .319 seconds
Fastest Lap of Race: Troy Ermish 13.355 seconds on lap 6
Time of Race: 37 minutes 59 seconds
Fast Qualifier: M.K. Kanke 13.086 seconds (Track Record)
Five Star Race Bodies Hard Charger Award: Mike Mendenhall
Ron’s Rear Ends Hard Luck Award: Travis Milburn
Top Victory Circle Rookie-of-the-Year Contender: Kevin Callahan