LAKEPORT, California -- Surviving a last-lap incident that saw only two cars take the checkered flag under green, Sean Sweeney of Kelseyville was in the right place at the right time and powered out of the melee to win his first modified feature at the Lakeport Speedway Saturday night.
With only seven laps to go in the 30 lap mini stock main event, rookie-of-the-year contender Shawn Shearer of Clearlake passed veteran driver Dusty Barton and went on to capture his career first victory over the 12 car field. And Chuck Egger of Middletown led wire to wire to win his first season feature in the Konocti Harbor Resort and Spa bomber division.
After last week’s near perfect events in all three NCRA’s divisions, it was hard to watch the accident marred modified feature fall apart. The action started with Mike Smithhart forging ahead of John Tredway at the drop of the green flag. Danny Bishop and Steve Daniels battled for third the next four laps until Bishop’s car slowed and fell to the rear. The first caution fell on lap 10 when David Furia lost a muffler and scattered exhaust parts on the track.
The green fell again on an unprepared pack with Tredway pulling ahead. With most of the drivers not expecting the race to start when the yellow light was on, half the drivers throttled down and the others didn’t, resulting in Thomas Wright getting shoved off the track and into the infield. Wright pulled back on the track, preventing the yellow from coming back out, and two rounds later Todd Coburn, Ron Conner and Chuck Pruett tangled in turn four to bring out the red flag.
The yellow flew again the following round when Bishop tagged Wright sending Wright into a spin.
Steve Daniels hit the turn three concrete to stop the race a fourth time, and at the same time Derrick Crayford retired to the infield. Points leader David Sullivan came from 12th starting to third by the 21st go round and passed Smithhart for second on 22. Sullivan then battled hard with Tredway, rubbing bumpers on each pass.
Tredway drove into turn one too deep on lap 25 and spun into the infield, handing the lead over to Sullivan. Tredway pulled back onto the track at mid-pack and the following round Tredway and Wright swapped paint with Wright driving under Tredway’s car, lifting it high in the air. When the car settled back down, the two made contact again and drove Tredway’s car into the #11 car of Bob Strauss with Strauss getting pinched again the wall. Strauss and Wright were out for the night and Tredway restarted in the rear.
With only three laps to go it looked like it would be Sullivan’s race, but as the pack was coming out of turn four on their way to the checkered flag, Sullivan pushed high and was tagged by Richie Potts. Both Sullivan and Potts spun in front of the charging pack resulting in "the big one" that saw Sullivan, Potts, Terry McIntire, Furia, Smithhart and Gary Lowblad all piled up. Sweeney, who was running fourth at the time, drove high and want on to take the win. Bishop avoided the mess by driving through the infield to finish second just before the red flew to end the race. Aaron Hicks, Kevin Barba and Tredway, the only other cars not involved, finished third, fourth and fifth respectively. Sullivan backed across the line after the race was over but only wound up in tenth.
Furia set fast time over the 21 car field of 13.004 seconds. Wright won the trophy dash and heat wins went to Lance Blacker, Coburn and Hicks. Chuck Pruett won the "B" main.
The mini stock 30-lapper was a little bit less intense with only two cautions to slow the action. As Jeremy Nowlin was leading the race, Justin Potter lost control of his car on the 4th lap and hit the turn three concrete. Potter’s car burst into flames, and as Potter leaped out, track officials quickly extinguished the fire.
When racing resumed, Dusty Barton took control with Patt Lucas nosing under Nowlin for second. Shearer slipped into third and passed Lucas on lap eight. The final yellow fell on lap 12 for a Jonathan Reynolds spin . Shearer made an outside pass on Barton on lap 23 and drove to victory. Barton finished second ahead of points leader Stuart Lydon, Lucas and Nowlin. Lydon set fast time of 13.966, Rod Gard won the dash and fast heat and Nowlin was the other heat winner.
The eighteen fastest qualifiers and four transfers from the "B" main started the bomber feature with Egger and Gary Collins sharing the front row. Egger took the initial lead with Jimmy Sorrels diving under Collins for second. Joe Sloan assumed third on lap three with Scott Sabol claiming fourth on lap five.
Darrin Knight joined the top runners on the 10th circuit as Kyle Medina was working his way to the front in the outside groove. Medina passed Knight on lap 20 just before the race was halted when contact was made between Sabol and Sloan resulting in Sloan spinning. Kyle Medina took second away from Sorrels on the restart, and four rounds the yellow flew again when fast qualifier (14.674) Kenny Grinols spun on the back stretch.
Egger held off Medina the final six laps to take the win. Knight inched by Medina at the line to finish second, Medina was third with Mike Collins fourth and Don Baker fifth.
Kyle Medina won the trophy dash and heat wins went to Willie Stephens, Egger and Michael Bishop. Bill Mucci won the "B" main.
Auto racing continues at the Lakeport Speedway this Saturday night with the Jim McKinney Memorial. This event will be the final points race for the NCRA modifieds, mini stocks, bombers, and the Airport Auto Brokers late models. Gates open at 5:00 pm and racing begins at 7:00 pm. For further information call the speedway office at 274-2844.
Fast Time: David Furia, 13.004; Trophy Dash: Thomas Wright, David Sullivan, Furia, Bob Strauss
Heat 1: Lance Blacker, Derrick Crayford, Kevin Barba, Chuck Pruett, Ron Conner, Rod Harper, Wade Wittman
Heat 2: Todd Coburn, Gary Lowblad, Mike Smithhart, Sean Sweeney, Danny Bishop, John Tredway, Steve Daniels
Heat 3: Aaron Hicks, Richie Potts, Sullivan, Strauss, Wright, Furia, Terry McIntire
"B" Main: Pruett, Barba, Crayford, Conner, Blacker, Wittman, Harper
Main Event: Sweeney, Bishop, Hicks, Barba, Tredway, McIntire, Furia, Smithhart, Lowblad, Sullivan, Potts, Wright, Strauss, Daniels, Crayford, Pruett, Coburn, Conner
Fast Time: Stuart Lydon, 13.966; Trophy Dash: Rod Gard, Shawn Shearer, Peter Unruh, Dusty Barton
Heat 1: Jeremy Nowlin, Justin Potter, Patt Lucas, Harley Sharpe, Tim Bunce, Fred Schmidt
Heat 2: Gard, Jonathan Reynolds, Shearer, Barton, Unruh, Lydon
Main Event: Shearer, Barton, Lydon, Lucas, Nowlin, Gard, Reynolds, Unruh, Bunce, Schmidt, Sharpe, Potter
Fast Time: Kenny Grinols, 14.674 Trophy Dash: Kyle Medina, Grinols, Derek Thorn, Kevin Medina
Heat 1: Willie Stephens, April Bertram, David Stephens, Bill Mucci, Manuel Antonio, Duane Mullen, Scott Griffin, Jim Stephens
Heat 2: Chuck Egger, Gary Collins, Mike Collins, Jimmy Sorrels, Joe Sloan, Don Baker, Scott Sabol
Heat 3: Michael Bishop, Darren Tubbs, Thorn, Grinols, Kyle Medina, Kevin Medina, Darrin Knight
"B" Main: Mucci, W. Stephens, D. Stephens, Bertram, Griffin, Antonio, Jim Stephens, Duane Mullen
"A" Main: Egger, Knight, Kyle Medina, M. Collins, Baker, Kevin Medina, Derek Thorn, Bishop, G. Collins, Grinols, Sorrels, Sabol, Mucci, D. Stephens, Tubbs, Sloan, Bertram, Griffin.