UKIAH, California — Coming back after escaping damage from two multi-car accidents and having to start in the rear, and then pitting once to change a flat tire, Thomas Wright of Kelseyville powered by rookie driver Drew Smith on a lap-39 restart and drove the remaining 11 laps to victory in race #1 of the all new Tri Track Modified Challenge Series at Ukiah Speedway Saturday night. When asked how he did it, Wright told track officials that his motto was “to never give up.” Wright's win put him second in Tri Track points, trailing Shasta Raceway Park defending champion Kyle Borden (who finished second but racked up more points with his second quick time in time trials) by only one point.
In Bud Bomber action Anthony McCoy of Redwood Valley lead all but five laps and held off Ron Duke, Jr the final five to capture his first season main event win. McCoy also won the fast heat race. Ten year old Kolby Berry of Redwood Valley had a clean sweep in the Dennis Furia Heating and Air Bandolero class, setting fast time of 15.631 seconds, winning the heat race, and surviving six caution period to collect his second season feature win. And the debut of the 4-Banger class saw Jesse Hutchins of Ukiah lap all his competitors to lay claim to that main event.
Several rain showers threatened to shorten the racing program forcing track officials to cancel the heat races in the Bill Binns Machine Shop Modified class. But when the track was dried, 16 of the 17 Modified drivers were hot to go. The 10-car invert put Oregon driver Rich Cobb and Shasta regular Jon Vanderpool in the front row, and before even one lap was down in the record books fast qualifier Jason Philpot was hit from the rear and spun in turn four. The incident also collected Eric Johnson and Dustin Knight. At the same time Darrin Knight suffered mechanical woes, ending his run.
As the pack attempted another start Philpot was booted again sending his car off the track in turn four. It was the end of the road for Philpot as he also retired to the pits. They tried it again and this time Rich Lindgren tapped Rich Cobb and when Cobb spun, the entire pack scattered, stopped or drove off the track. Those collected included Wright, Borden, Dustin Knight, Richard Knight and Gary Lowblad.
Finally the race was a go with Guy Young and Darin Snider out in front of Jon Vanderpool and Dustin DeRosier. The race was slowed again on 18 when Lowblad spun on the front stretch. The following round Lowblad bumped Brenton Smith causing Smith to spin. The restart saw Vanderpool's car break loose, drift up into DeRosier eventually ending up on top of DeRosier's car. This one also involved Wright, Lindgren and Cobb.
Once again Young and Snider were side-by-side for the restart and when the green flag flew Young continued to pace the field with Snider second, Drew Smith third, Lowblad fourth and Borden fifth. Vanderpool brought out a lap-38 yellow with a front-stretch spin, and when racing resumed Lindgren drove into B. Smith sending Smith into a wild ride through the infield. The next restart saw Snider make contact with Young sending Young around, collecting Lowblad, Borden, Lindgren and Cobb.
This put third-place runner Drew Smith up front next to Wright, and when the green fell again Wright bolted out into the lead. The final caution came on lap 42 when Snider tapped D. Smith, leaving Wright and Borden to battle it out the final circuits. Wright collected $750 for his win with Borden second for $400 and Lindgren third for $300. Young and D. Smith rebounded to finish fourth and fifth.
The bomber 30-lapper saw Mike Glass lead the way with heat race winner Kevin Brackett in second and Cindy Allen third. McCoy came from ninth starting to second in only four laps and stole the lead away from Glass on lap six. George Abella worked his way to the front passing Glass for second on lap eight and when Glass drifted high he lost ground to Brackett, Brandon Verde, Duke and Rick Tomilla.
Glass finally lost control and spun on the back stretch on 11. McCoy and Abella battled for the lead the next 15 circuits until the race was slowed again for a Jesse Frey spin. Duke ducked under Abella on the restart. With only three rounds to go, Jimmy Sorrels bumped Abella causing Abella to stop on the track in turn two. McCoy and Duke ran side-by-side the final laps with McCoy pulling out the win. Duke settled for second in front of Verde, Brackett and Bob Mook. Verde set fast time of 15.924 seconds.
The Bandoleros were the first class to brave the slick race track and the event saw five spins and six yellows plague the youngsters. Salinas driver Quinton Harris lead the way the first seven rounds but lost control and spun out of the lead on lap eight. This put Colby Furia up front but Furia lost power and slowed on the front stretch handing the number one spot to Trystan Mucci.
Berry came back after several solo spins to overtake Mucci on the restart and held it all the way to the checkered flag. Mucci finished second with Tim Buzzard, Jr., Sammy Nuno, Harris, Furia and Dylan Washburn next across the line.
Four 4-Bangers made their debut with Brianna Norton unable to take the green when her car failed to start. Jed Jones crashed into Hutchins on lap three ending his run leaving the race to Hutchins and Trevor Abella. Hutchins' experience in the slider class gave him the edge and at the end of the 15 laps he had lapped Abella to take the win. Norton's #007 took home the trophy for best appearing 4-Banger.
Auto racing continues at Ukiah Speedway this Saturday night with the return of the Legends Cars and Street Stocks. Gates open at 5 pm with racing at 7 pm. A complete schedule can be found on line at www.UkiahSpeedway.com.