Making the trip from Hollister to race IMCA Modifieds at Merced on a regular basis, second generation racer Andy Obertello scored his first career 25 lap feature victory Saturday night at Merced Speedway. The 16 year old rookie Obertello became the 12th different winner in 22 races at the track this season. Troy Stone held off brother Ramie Stone to finish second. Teenager Steven Williams maintained his Northern Stars Lightning Sprint point lead with his 20 lap feature win ahead of Gary Guglielmo and Scott Bailey. Rick Ernest won the 10 lap Mini Outlaw main event. It was all part of an exciting five division night of racing on the CCMR Food 4 Less Series sanctioned one-third mile clay oval.
The IMCA Modifieds ran two eight lap qualifying heat races with wins going to double division racer Steven Williams and rookie Scott Jantz. Jack Stanford won the four lap trophy dash. Obertello raced into the lead from his third starting position, and ahead of Duane Fast and T. Stone. Mark Allison and Tommy Bostic crashed in Turn 1 for the race's only caution flag on lap two. Obertello continued to lead the restart as T. Stone slipped past Fast for second. Williams, Johnnie Baptista and R. Stone were in a good battle for fourth, and R. Stone used an inside pass on the front stretch to gain the fourth from Williams on lap six. R. Stone began to reel in Fast and made a high pass in Turn 4 of the 14th lap to take third. With T. Stone and R. Stone both running the high line, R. Stone switched to the bottom once he caught T. Stone during the last five laps. As Obetello brought it home to his first feature win, T. Stone held off his brother R. Stone for second. Fast settled for fourth, and Stanford blew a motor after finishing fifth.
Steven Williams got his clean sweep effort in the Lightning Sprints started off with wins in the four lap trophy dassh and his eight lap heat race. Bailey set the early main event pace from his front row start as Guglielmo was second ahead of Cameron Beard. Beard drove a little too high in Turn 2 of the fourth lap with Williams racing by for third. A high move in Turn 2 of the fifth lap gained Williams second, and he made an outside pass on the front stretch to take the lead from Bailey on lap six. Williams pulled away from there and lapped all the way to fourth as he scored the victory. Following a lap 16 caution flag for Richard Migliori, Guglielmo made an outside pass on the front stretch on the restart lap to take second from Bailey and would finish there. Following Williams, Guglielmo and Bailey a lap down in the top five were Bill Hopper and John Tomasello.
Thompson set the Mini Outlaw fast time with a lap of 17.918 and won the trophy dash that saw Ron Ward's night end early when he crashed on top of the wall going into Turn 3. Thompson led the first eight laps of the main event before his car slipped out of gear on the front stretch, allowing R. Ernest to grab the lead and victory. Thompson settled for second ahead of Sheryl Ernest.
H 1-Steven Williams, Duane Fast, Jack Stanford. H 2-Scott Jantz, Bob Williamson, Andy Obertello. DASH-Stanford, Mark Allison, Jantz. MAIN
EVENT-Obertello, Troy Stone, Ramie Stone, Fast, Stanford, Williamson, Steven Williams, Allison, Johnnie Baptista, Robert Marsh. NST LIGHTNING SPRINTS HEAT-Steven Williams, Gary Guglielmo, John Tomasello. DASH-Williams, Tomasello, Scott Bailey. MAIN EVENT-Williams, Guglielmo, Bailey, Bill Hopper, Tomasello, Richard Migliori, Cameron Beard, George Lisenberry (DNS).
MINI OUTLAW FT-Ed Thompson 17.918. DASH-Thompson, Rick Ernest, Sheryl Ernest. MAIN EVENT-Thompson, R. Ernest, S. Ernest. Ron Ward (DNS).