MERCED, California -- Chowchilla point leader Jack Stanford returned to Merced Speedway and scored his third 25 lap IMCA Modified feature victory Saturday night. Phil Priddy stayed in the championship battle with his third 25 lap CCMR Food 4 Less Series Street Stock main event victory. Billy Mattos became the third different 25 lap Central Valley Sportsman feature winner of the season.
The IMCA Modifieds ran two six lap qualifying heat races, won by point leader Ramie Stone and Stanford. In town to buy Tim Clark's car, Reno-Fernley Raceway defending champion and current point leadrer Robert Miller won the four lap Trophy Dash ahead of Clark, who was giving his IMCA Modified one last run. Locked in a close battle with Johnnie Baptista for second in points, Bob Williamson blew a motor in his heat, went home and changed motors and came back just in time to start the main event, finishing seventh right behind Baptista. Up front, Stanford led R. Stone for most of the race, but for the second straight week, Stone spun out during the race. This moved Miller into second, but he could only chase the flying Stanford across the finish line. IMCA D & M Performance Western Regional point leader Mark Alison finished third ahead of Clark and Tim Sprotte.
Street Stock point leader John Clarke started his night off by chasing heat winner Danny Baldridge Jr. for a second place finish in that six lap event before beating first heat winner Jack Chapman Jr, to win the four lap Trophy Dash. Priddy led the main event early while Baldridge worked his high groove magic to the front of the pack. Baldridge passed Priddy for the lead on lap 15, but Priddy remained comitted to the inside and stayed with him. Coming out of the final turn, Priddy got the bite he needed and raced by for the victory. Baldridge held on for second ahead of rookie Ricky Thatcher, Clarke and Leroy Coberley.
Central Valley Sportsman point leader Keith Van Houten kept pace with rival Kevin Freitas as each won six lap heat races, but Van Houten continued that momentum by driving the Bill Baker owned car to a four lap Trophy Dash victory ahead of Rob Schropp. Locked in a close battle with Schropp for third in points, Billy Mattos grabbed the main event lead and braced himself for the impending challenge from nine time winner Van Houten. During the final stages of the race, the two ran side by side, but, like Priddy, Mattos found the bite he needed on the inside and beat Van Houten out of the final turn to score a well earned victory. Having snapped Van Houten's nine race winning streak at the previous race, Freitas finished third ahead of Gary Tucker in the Gary Hildebrand car and Luis Miranda.
H 1-Ramie Stone, Tim Clark, Bill Saltzman, Tim Sprotte, Bob Williamson.
H 2-Jack Stanford, Robert Miller, Mark Allison, Bobby Williamson, Bill Hiney.
DASH-Miller, Clark, Stanford, Sprotte.
MAIN EVENT-Stanford, Miller, Allison, Clark, Sprotte, Johnnie Baptista, Bob Williamson, R. Stone, Bobby Williamson, Saltzman, Bruce Trinidade, Hiney.
H 1-Jack Chapman Jr., Randy Brewer, Leroy Coberley, Jack Chapman Sr., Rick Petruzzi.
H 2-Danny Baldridge Jr., John Clarke, Ricky Thatcher, Phil Priddy.
DASH-Clarke, Chapman Jr., Brewer, Baldridge.
MAIN EVENT-Priddy, Baldridge, Thatcher, Clarke, Coberley, Chapman Sr., Chapman Jr., Petruzzi, Brewer.
H 1-Keith Van Houten, Ed Marion, Gary Tucker, Luis Miranda.
H 2-Kevin Freitas, Rob Schropp, Billy Mattos, Jason Belton.
DASH-Van Houten, Schropp, Freitas, Marion.
MAIN EVENT-Mattos, Van Houten, Freitas, Tucker, Miranda, Marion, Schropp, Tim Leidich, Belton.