The Lucas Oil I 10 Speedway officially closed out its 2010-2011 Winter Blast Racing Series, on the evening of April 16th. The quarter mile paved oval, located Blythe-California, concluded the season in the typical grand fashion that its loyal fans have come to expect over the years. A capacity crowd was treated to action from the speedway's street and factory stock divisions, a special appearance by the Lucas Oil Modified Racing Series, presented by Rockstar Energy Drink, as well as a demolition derby. All of this on track action was presented by Valley Beverage, the distributors of Budweiser products.
However there was a lot more going on with this night than just bragging rights regarding which driver was going to win the final race of the season. There were championship resolutions to be settled in three of the speedway's divisions.
In the 30 lap feature race for the street stocks Kirk Almquist roared off of his front row starting berth to jump into the lead as the field filed under the initial green flag. However Almquist had a situation brewing in his rear view mirror. It was the presence of Bryant Sutterfield, a two time division champion, who was all over the race leader's bumper looking for a way to claim the lead. That opportunity came on lap 15 when the Almquist car slipped just enough on the front stretch to allow Sutterfield the room he needed to make a race winning pass. It's always been said in racing if you're going to have problems with your car the best time for it is after you crossed under the checkers to win the race. Sutterfield's Hooked Up Motorsports Chevrolet arrived in victory lane belching smoke from the front of the engine and he required a wrecker to escort him back to the pit area.
In the final rundown Chris Vindhurst moved into second at the tail end of the race while Kirk Almquist finished third. They were followed by Danny Dill, Steve Almquist, Rick Boone, D J Lonie and Dylan Schriner who was making his third start as the newest member of the speedway's street stock division.
But the grand prize of the night belonged to local driver Danny Dill whose solid fourth place finish enabled to him to wrap up his second track championship. Consistency was the key to Dill's winter racing season. He finished the year with four feature wins along with seven top finishes."It was a heck of a season with this new car, especially during the second half," the new champion said. He also made it a point to thank his family as well as his sponsors: Lester Hay Company, Green Leaf Seed Company and D J Lonie Electric.
In the factory stock division season finale, Michael White and Tom Nordell were lined up one-two in the championship standings separated by seven points. Nordell came off a yellow flag restart, on lap five of the 15 lap feature and made what turned out to be his race winning move. But White was right behind him and that second place finish secured the season championship for White Racing.
The Lucas Oil Modified Racing Series, presented by Rockstar Energy Drink, treated the fans to 75 laps of very intense open wheel racing that often had the fans on their feet. Las Vegas driver Doug Hamm claimed his first series win after passing Aaron McMorran, another Las Vegas hot shoe, on the 72nd lap. Reigning series champion Jim Mardis followed the race winner to take second in the final moments of the CANIDAE All Natural Pet Food 75. Series veterans Tim Morse and Doug Carpenter completed the top five rundown.
This event was also being billed as championship within a regional touring series race with the speedway's modified division title still up for grabs. Jim Mardis more than resolved that issue with his second place finish.
The evening concluded with the speedway's annual season ending demolition derby. This event was quickly dubbed "The Budweiser Bash" and, with the event's $1,000 winner take all format, featured some very hard hitting. The dash or crash for cash event quickly worked its way to two cars driven by Orange County-California'a Bill Thiebert and Yuma-Arizona driver Paul Pilgrim.
During the latter stages of the events the two drivers managed to hook their front bumpers together. They began rocking each other back and forth in a manner that greatly resembled the push me pull you animal from the "Dr. Doolittle" movie. Upon realizing that not even cold water, dispensed from a Blythe Volunteer Fire Department hose, was going to separate these two cars, speedway officials used a red flag to halt the action long enough to send in the wreckers for the separation.
With the action under the green flag again, Thiebert delivered a series of hits with the front end of his car which is often considered to be a daring move in demolition derbys. But in this case the ploy worked and Pilgrim's car was soon sidelined allowing Thiebert to leave Blythe with an extra $1,000 in his pocket.