The fans at Merced Speedway were treated to an entertaining CCMR Food 4 Less Racing Series event Friday night as track management made up an earlier rainout. With heavy pressure the entire distance, Duane Fast scored an impressive victory in the 25 lap IMCA Modified main event. Fast's first win of 2001 paid $300 as Johnnie Baptista made a thrilling last lap pass on Marcus Aue for second. Ramie Stone passed Jimmy Lust late and weent on to score the victory in the 25 lap Street Stock main event. Lust settled for second ahead of fellow title contender Buddy Thatcher. Taking advantage of a few late race restarts, Mike Hamilton capped a clean sweep performance with a victory in the 25 lap Pure Stock main event. Rookie Raul Rodriguez settled for second ahead of Billy Alvis.
The IMCA Modifieds ran two eight lap qualifying heat races with Jack Stanford and Troy Stone scoring the wins. Steven Williams won the four lap trophy dash. The main event was restarted after a spin by T. Stone. Fast settled into the lead ahead of Aue and Baptista on the restart. After T. Stone hit a tractor tire for a lap two caution flag, Fast, Aue and Baptista pulled away from the pack in their lead battle on the restart. Jim DiGiovanni dropped Sean Jackson back to fifth on the restart. Williams gained fourth on lap ten before another yellow flag for T. Stone slowed the pace. The battle between Fast, Aue and Baptista continued on the restart. The lead three cars continued a good battle up front, but Jackson spun in Turn 2 for a lap 21 caution flag. Aue spun in Turn 4, but he had spun after Jackson's spin forced the yellow flag and was restored to second. Williams made it a four car batle up front on the restart as Fast set the pace.
Baptista moved up to the high line to attempt a last lap move and got by Aue for second down the back stretch. However, Fast was not to be denied as he held off Baptista for the well earned victory. A contact battle on the front stretch for third went to Aue by inches over Williams as 12th starting point leader Bob Williamson, Ramie Stone, DiGiovanni, Stanford, Bill Saltzman and Jacosopn rounded out the top ten finishers.
A competitive field of Street Stocks were on hand for this event with R. Stone setting fast time at 18.632 seconds to beat George Lefler's 18.918 lap on the one-third mile clay oval. Lefler made an outside pass on the back stretch of the third lap to beat John Clarke in the four lap trophy dash. Third fast Thacher and rookie Randy Brewer won the eight lap heat races.
Point leader Johnny O'Brien Jr. set the early pace in the Street Stock main event with Lust gaining second on lap two. A low pass in Turn 4 of the third lap gained Lust the lead and R. Stone made an outside pass on the front stretch to take third from Thatcher. While Lust built a lead, drivers battled to get by the Ford of of O'Brien for second. Thatcher took third from R. Stone on lap seven and used a low pass in Turn 4 of the eighth lap to gain second from O'Brien. R. Stone went by O'Brien with an inside Turn 2 pass on lap ten and used and outside back stretch pass on the 11th lap to take second from Thatcher. Lust saw a good lead erased by a lap 12 caution flag for Al Cummings. Lust led R. Stone and Thatcher on the restart. A high move in Turn 1 of the 14th lap gained R. Stone the lead. The battle continued for second during the final ten laps as Lust ran just ahead of a side by side battle between Thatcher and Clarke. R. Stone brought it home to victory ahead of Lust, Thatcher, Clarke, Danny Baldridge Jr., Lefler and O'Brien, all on the lead lap.
After winning the eight lap Pure Stock heat race, Hamilton won a duel with Billy Alvis for the four lap trophy dash victory after Alvis suffered a right rear flat tire in Turn 2 of the last lap. Dan Holcomb led two laps of the main event before Rodriguez went by on the outside of Turn 3 to take over on lap three. Birthday celebrant and point leader Robin Fast ran third. An inside pass on the front stretch of the seventh lap gained Hamilton third, but a Turn three Hamilton spin on lap ten handed third back to Fast. Rodriguez had a straightaway lead by the time Fast made a high pass in Turn 3 of the 21st lap to take second from Holcomb. A tractor tire was knocked on the track for a caution flag after 21 laps. The first restart attempt was botched when Fast threw a tire in Turn 4 to end her bid for a fourth victory. Contact from the lapped Deake Sherrel saw Hamilton spin on the next restart attempt, but Hamilton was restored to his position and Sherrel put to the rear. Rodriguez led Hamilton and Alvis on the restart, and an inside pass on the back stretch of the 23rd lap gained Hamilton the lead. From there, Hamilton brought it to the checkered for a much needed victory ahead of Rodriguez, Alvis, Holcomb and Sherrel.
H 1-Jack Stanford, Duane Fast, Steven Williams, Mike Salazar, Sean Jackson.
H 2-Troy Stone, Bob Williamson, Jim DiGiovanni, Bill Saltzman, Johnnie Baptista. DASH-Williams, Aue, Jackson, Salazar.
MAIN EVENT- Fast, Baptista, Aue, Williams, Williamson, Ramie Stone, DiGiovanni, Stanford, Saltzman, Jackson.
FT-Ramie Stone 18.632.
DASH-George Lefler, John Clarke, Jimmy Lust, Buddy Thatcher.
H 1-Thatcher, Danny Baldridge Jr., Lust, Lefler, Johnny O'Brien Jr. H 2-Randy Brewer, Al Cummings, Eric Shelton, Clarke, Stone.
MAIN EVENT-Stone, Lust, Thatcher, Clarke, Baldridge, Lefler, O'Brien, Brewer, Shelton, Cummings.
HEAT-Mike Hamilton, Raul Rodriguez, Robin Fast. DASH-Hamilton, Fast, Rodriguez. MAIN EVENT-Hamilton, Rodriguez, Billy Alvis, Dan Holcomb, Deake Sherrel, Chris Shelton, Fast.