Carson City, Nevada USA -- Another strong crowd found the Champion Motor Speedway the 'place to be' tonight and they were rewarded by one of the most exciting shows so far in 2003.
A fantastic field of thirty two lightning-fast Legend racers were on hand and ready to fight like dogs. On the line were automatic starting positions at the US Legend Nationals at the Southern National Speedway in Kenly, NC later this season.
The "Coors Light SkyFire 125" presented by the "Carson Mall" featured the top Pros, Semi Pros, and Masters Legend racers in the western United States.
They came into the Champion Motor Speedway Saturday night ready to take on Lady Luck and display the skill needed to be the fortunate ones to win the coveted transfer positions, and they did not disappoint the excited fans in the stands.
The talk of the West Coast since getting seat time in a Legend car is Michael Hubert III from Anderson, Calif.
Hubert quickly showed everyone sitting in the stands and competing with him on the track why all the talk is factual, not rumor. The 15-year-old phenon easily handled the 1.3-mile high-banked oval (and traffic) with relative ease. His smooth (yet agressive) style was indeed a pleasure to witness.
Hubert turned in fast time with a 14.38 qualifying lap. The top-20 qualifying times would automatically earn a transfer spot to the A-main. The remaining 12 cars would run a 25-lap B-main to earn one of only four transfer spots.
Transferring from the B to A-main were Jeremy Wood, Pete Currin, Jack Humphrey, Terry Madjeski, Donny Stone, Bill Brown and Robert Humphreys. Brown and Humphreys were lined up as alternates in case of a lost car in the field during the first 50-lap segment.
Local driver Bob Cose took an early lead in segment 1. As cars were passing for position, Jovon Halen drove to the inside of Jack Randall on lap 3, spinning himself to the infield and bringing out the first caution.
On the restart Cose was leading with Kelly Martin running second and Richard Wirtz third. Another caution came out on lap 9 as Gerald Crawford spins in turn 4 and is amazingly missed by everyone.
Rick Rogas from Henderson passed several cars by lap 12 and had taken the lead from Cose. Richard Appleby followed suit and grabbed the second position away from Cose, who fell into place at third.
Another caution hits a few laps later as Jim Klopp tries the inside line of John Schwinn, but bobbles and collects Nick Parmelee and they both head for the wall in turn 4. Both drivers were OK; Parmelee headed to the pits. Several cars made their way to pits for checks on their cars during the 50-lap race.
Lap 30 of the 50-lap segment saw Hubert storming to the lead, leaving Rogas in the second spot with Appleby third. Hubert held on for the top finishing position with Rogas second, John Burritt third, Appleby fourth and Wayne Estes fifth.
The 125-lap format was originally scheduled for two 50-lap qualifying segments, leading up to a 25-lap shootout finale. However due to time restraints the plan had to be scraped, and instead the second (and final) round featured a 60-lap shootout.
The lineup for the second segment was not told to the drivers until after the first segment was completed. Officials wanted to eliminate any potential "sandbagging." However the lineup was a straight up start from the finishing order of the first 50 lapper -- Hubert earned the pole position after starting 20th in segment 1.
Hubert wasted no time in making his way around the high banks of Champion Motor Speedway, working on lapped traffic by lap 10.
Hubert was declared the SkyFire 125 winner, as well as the top finisher in the Pro division. Rogas was the top finisher for the Masters division and Richard Appleby took the Semi-pro class qualifying spot.
As decided by INEX official Jack Houston, Hubert earned a qualifying spot by winning a feature race in Montana last week; Burritt did the same in California, so the qualifying spot for the Nationals race went to Ryan Mosher of Cupertino, Calif.
Hubert said he had good competition from Randall and Burritt and was happy with his overall win. "Anytime you can get experience on a different race track is good, it's better than none at all," Hubert said. "I am going to Nationals and hope to do well. I know I've got some stiff competition there."
Rogas was very pleased to earn a qualifying spot for Nationals.
"I want to go to Kenly with a national title" Rogas said. My plan was to come here for points to win the national title. I'm happy with the outcome."
Semi-pro winner Richard Appleby is in his first year of racing a Legends car. His only other driving experience came with 15 races in a go-kart.
"I wasn't seriously thinking about going to nationals, now I might be," he said with a grin. "I need a new motor. I might have to swap motors with my dad; I didn't know how fast these guys were. And get the money to go. We'll see."
Wayne Estes finished second in the Masters division; Denny Hadler Jr. finished fourth in the Pro class. Hubert won the Pro division trophy dash; Nick Parmelee won the Semi-pro and Pat Appleby won the Masters.
Also on the schedule were the Blazin' Bandoleros. Bobby Hodges was the man of the night winning the main event in good form after starting from the rear of the field. Jennifer Hodges finished in the second spot and Brent Holman taking third.
Rounding out the field were: Geoff Moore, Derek Holman and Kelley Hodges. Jennifer won the heat race with Bobby finished second and Moore third. Brent Holman won the trophy dash.
The Charter Super LateModels also ran and started their night with C.J. Bawden winning the "FastFour" trophy dash over Dean Heller, Randy Hedrick and Rich Lawlor.
It looked like Rich Lawlor was going to earn another main event win, but Hedrick had other intentions. After Jim Bawden took the early lead of the race, Lawlor found a way to take the lead from Bawden on lap 9, with Hedrick making use of the inside line and following Lawlor for the second spot.
On lap 15, Hedrick looked to the inside of Lawlor and quickly grabbed the lead as Lawler also swept by the struggling Bawden. Hedrick held on for his first main event of the season with Lawlor finishing second and Bawden hanging on for third.
Rounding out the field were: C.J. Bawden, Chet Danburg, Henry Hodges Jr., Gilbert Dixon and Heller.
The Les Schwab Street Stocks filled the program. The start of the main event was exciting as Chris Betz, Matt Collier, Rick Miller and John White drove 4-wide into turn 3, and made it work. Miller came out of turn 4 with the lead.
The 20-lap main was clean and green with Miller taking the win, Chris Betz finishing second and Collier taking third. Rounding out the field were: Kris Keller, John White, Glenn Davidson and Marc Pace.
Davidson won the heat race with Betz finishing second and Miller third. Miller also won the trophy dash.
Next Saturday night it's "Scholtzskys Nite" presented by Carson City Toyota" featuring the return of the "Les Schwab S'CoolBus" rides for the Kids Klub members.
Also on tap; the Western Modifieds, Limited LateModels, Legends, TagTeam Bombers, and the first ever Queen Beez (powder puff) race. The Queen Beez will be females taking to the high banks in Hustlin' Hornets.
Also in action - the "FastFour TrophyDash" series, and the Ponderosa Stamp & Engraving kids bicycle races at 6:30pm. Fun Jumpers' Earnhardt Memorial Park will have bounce houses and other activities for the Kids Klub members.
Showing at all five "Thunder Theater" locations will be the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series "LIVE" from the Kentucky Speedway in Sparta, KY.
The pits open @ 3pm, front gates open @ 5pm, and the show starts @ 7PM.
Adults are only $9.00, Seniors (55 and over) and Military (with photo ID) are only $7.00, Teens (18 to13) are $5.00, Juniors (12 to 6) are $3.00 and Kids (5 & under) are free. Event parking is also free.
For more information, please call the CMS business office @ (775) 267-0505 or log on @ www.ChampionMotorSpeedway.com.
Cya @ "Scholtzskys Nite" presented by Carson City Toyota" featuring the return of the "Les Schwab S'CoolBus" Kids Klub rides next Saturday night!