BAKERSFIELD, California -- Davey Hamilton’s SRL Wild West Late Model Shootout returned to Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield, California Saturday night for race number five of eleven on the 2004 schedule. Saturday’s Coors Light “100” presented by Arrival Communications was the second of three scheduled stops at Mesa Marin Raceway for the SRL Late Models. Anderson’s Ryan Foster crossed the finish line first to take his first Sunoco Checkered Flag of 2004. Steve Belletto finished second, followed by Joey Zampa, current point lead Rick Ruzbarsky, as Mike Mason rounded out the top five.
“Golden Gate Meat came on as a sponsor for the rest of the year, so we are all really excited about that. This is a brand new car, we just finished it Friday here at the racetrack. I owe this one to my crew. We had a lot of 18 hour days recently. I drove the last 40 laps without power steering. Things are starting to turn around for us right now.” said Ryan Foster.
“We did a lot better then the last time we were here. I’m real happy with third. Everything went real good this weekend. We had luck on our side also.” Said third place finisher Joey Zampa.
Twenty-eight drivers took a shot at fast time during qualifying. Bakersfield’s Kevin Vernon set fast time around the high-banked ½ mile track. Vernon ran a lap of 18.777 seconds. Ken Boyd was second quick with a lap of 18.888. Ryan Foster was third at 18.909, Jeff Anthony fourth at 18.968, and Victory Circle Chassis and Parts Rookie of the year contender Mike Mason 18.990.
An eight car invert placed Victory Circle Chassis and Parts Rookie’s West Miller, and Eric Schmidt on the front row for the Coors Light “100”. Miller took the lead as the green flag flew. Fellow rookie Mike Mason took second from Schmidt on lap two, as Kevin Vernon worked his way through the field from his eight starting position. Vernon made his way around Miller on lap 17 to take over the top position. Ten laps later Kevin Vernon suffered a flat tire, as Wes Miller took the lead for the second time. Chad Pais spun in turn four to bring out the first caution on lap 29. As the caution flew, Harry Belletto and Joel Theisen spun exiting turn two. A red flag was displayed to clean up fluid on the racing surface.
Mike Mason took the lead as the race resumed green on lap 31. Foster ran second, followed by Ken Boyd, Steve Belletto, and Joey Zampa. Mason, Foster, and Boyd ran nose to tail for 13 laps until Foster was able to take the lead on lap 47. Foster continued to lead at the halfway point, Mason followed with Boyd, Steve Belletto, Zampa, Troy Ermish, Aaron Days, Rick Ruzbarsky, Tracy Bolin, and Eric Schmidt rounded out the top ten.
Rick Ruzbarsky spun in turn two to bring out the second caution flag of the evening. On lap 65 Harold Rieker Jr. spun in turn one to bring out another caution. The race continued under green until second and third place drivers Mike Mason and Ken Boyd spun in some fluid in the middle of turns one and two. With just five laps remaining, Ryan Foster held off Steve Belletto, Joey Zampa, Rick Ruzbarsky who recovered from an earlier race spin, and Mike Mason to win the Coors Light “100” presented by Arrival Communications.
Patterson’s Aaron Days crossed the finish-line sixth, Troy Ermish seventh, Ray Lawson Jr. eight, Jeremy Hopkins Jr. ninth, and Ken Boyd tenth.
Jeremy Hopkins Jr., Harry Belletto, Joel Theisen, and Chad Pais transferred into the Coors Light “100” from the 15 lap non-qualifiers race. Steve Yatsko, Andrew Livengood, Charles Perreira, and Danny Siebert did not qualify. Ryan Foster also won the four car trophy dash.
Davey Hamilton’s SRL Wild West Late Model Shootout returns to action on Saturday, June 19, 2004 at Madera Speedway.
Wes Miller(1-16), Kevin Vernon(17-27), Wes Miller(28), Ryan Foster(29-30), Mike Mason(31-46), Ryan Foster(48-100)
Average Race Speed: 84.474
Best Lap Time: Kevin Vernon 18.974 (94.867MPH)
Margin of Victory: 0.581
Don’t forget to check out the SRL Wild West Shootout website at: http://www.srllatemodels.com
Davey Hamilton’s SRL Wild West Shootout would like to thank their 2004 Sponsors, which include: Apex Financial Group, Bassett Racing Wheels, Beam Design, Brodix Inc., Dynatech, Finishline Racing Equipment, Five Star Stock Car Bodies, Frank's Radio, G. P. Fabrication., Hoosier Tire West, Impact Racing, Paul Oil Co., Peterson Fluid Systems, Pit stop usa.com., Print Werx, Sunoco, Total Seal Inc., U. S. Brake, and Victory Circle Chassis and Parts.