TWIN FALLS, Idaho — There’s no place like home.
"I really love this series and we’re hoping to run a couple more of these races this year."— Jonathon Gomez
Taking a break from K&N and Spears Southwest Tour Series competition, Saturday night Jonathon Gomez returned to the track where not all that long ago he learned to drive a racecar.
And proving once again he hasn’t forgotten his way around the one-third mile track, the Twin Falls resident picked up his third victory in his last three starts in Rocky Mountain Challenge Series competition at Magic Valley Speedway.
After qualifying with the fast time of the night and finishing sixth in his heat race, Gomez started the main event near the rear of the field of sixteen competitors. Jason Jefferson took lead of the race from Craig Bell at lap 16, but after working his way through the field Gomez took over as frontrunner at the midway point. Just after Gomez took the lead the caution came out for the cars of Rick Fowble and Tyler Bailey colliding on the front stretch, and three more cautions would follow before the race was finished.
After each restart Gomez never relinquished the lead. Meanwhile, Jefferson and Bruce Quale fought for second with Jefferson getting the spot as the checkered flag flew at the end of the Mr. Gas and Mr. Wash 100.
“My crew had to work really hard to get us here but they (RMCS) deserve to be recognized and we’re trying to help them out as much as possible,” Gomez said. “I really love this series and we’re hoping to run a couple more of these races this year.”
Quale’s third place finish after starting tenth was enough to keep him in the points lead for the series.
It was pure mayhem for the Commercial Tire Super Stocks drivers in both main event races. In the first main Hannah Newhouse had to exit to the pits for a new radiator after she was unable to avoid a collision on the backstretch at lap 13. Ten laps later Kris McKean and Daniel Shirley got together along the same stretch, then directly after the restart McKean took his frustration out on Shirley by sending him into the backstretch wall while taking out the car of Spencer Meyer as well. After the incident McKean was visibly upset and climbed out of his car to have a few words with Shirley from across the infield. Shirley would make it back to finish the race after repairing the damage to his car but McKean would not; Newhouse would make it back to finish ninth. Casey Pehrson was the biggest recipient of the chaos, going on to win his first race of the season.
After the race McKean was penalized for actions that were determined to be detrimental to the sport.
“He was being a little aggressive out there and it looked to me like he intentionally ran in to Daniel (Shirley),” Bryan Price, MVS race director said. “Then he was parked and placed on probation for getting out of his car in the infield.”
McKean left the facility for the night before the start of the second main which ended with a surprising victor.
Although most if not all of the participants already had car damage of some kind, eight drivers including Shirley and Newhouse began the 40-lap event. At lap 13 leader Willie Dalton was at the front of a chain event crash that also involved Steve Edens, Pehrson and Newhouse. All sustained even further damage at the turn one wall but all four would make it back eventually to finish the race.
Shirley this time would fare much better, avoiding trouble and restarting the race from the front row. After capturing the lead at lap 17 Shirley was later first to the finish line, winning his first main of the season. Newhouse, driving a nearly unrecognizable race car finished second followed by Meyer.
“You never know what’s going to happen out there and after the first race I was ready to pack it up and go home,” Shirley said. “But then I finally got one this year.”
In other action Paul Browne won his fourth race of the season for the Brennan’s Carpet Street Stocks after a tough battle with Ernie Hall and Brenden Radabaugh was victorious for the Quale’s Electronics Jr. Stingers.
Rocky Mountain Challenge Series: 1. Jonathon Gomez, 2. Jason Jefferson, 3. Bruce Quale, 4. Steve Jones, 5. Derek Copeland, 6. Thane Alderman, 7. Tyler Bailey, 8. John Newhouse, 9. John Nesmith, 10. Jeff Wade.
Commercial Tire Super Stocks (first main): 1. Casey Pehrson, 2. Steve Edens, 3. Allen Williams, 4. Kendel Woll, 5. Jerry Slocum.
Commercial Tire Super Stocks (second main): 1. Daniel Shirley, 2. Hannah Newhouse, 3. Spencer Meyer, 4. Allen Williams, 5.Justin Slocum.
Brennan’s Carpet Street Stocks: 1. Paul Browne, 2. Ernie Hall, 3. Dale Miles, 4. Jason Todd, 5. Mitch Pehrson.
Quale’s Electronics Jr. Stingers: 1. Brenden Radabaugh, 2. Justice Coates, 3. Hailey Douglas, 4. Trenton Thomas, 5. Rieley Browne.