Tucson-The NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series is headed for the Checkered Flag at Tucson Raceway Park as Saturday Night was the next to last weekend of competition. Track was full of local hopefuls in four NASCAR divisions and the Hornets. In addition the fans were treated to the annual School Bus Demolition Derby, a Bandoleros Exhibition and an encore performance by Doug Rose in his Green Mamba Jet Car.
The NASCAR Late Model Main Event saw Rookie Brice Bonnett win for the second time in his career at Tucson Raceway Park. It was his first win since August 14th.
Bonnett was making his 17th start as a NASCAR Late Model competitor and had been knocking on Victory Lane's Door for a second time recently posting a second place finish the last time out back on August 28th. Tonight's effort was rewarded with a victory and marks the 10th win of the season in this division by a Rookie.
In this 25-lap tussle Bonnett was never headed getting a front row starting position and never looking back. One Yellow Flag came out on the 20th lap of the race when Roger Cohn and Dustin Jones got together on the front stretch. The bumping was not serious, but was enough to force both competitors from the race. On the restart Tim Blodgett was poised to make a run at Bonnett, but when the Green Flag dropped it was no contest as Bonnett pulled away on his way to the finish line.
In second place was Tim Blodgett, who now has three second place finishes to his credit in 2004. Blodgett has made 17 starts this season and with 10 top fives and 17 top ten finishes on the campaign. Running third was Ron Wear, who started on the pole, but was over taken by Bonnett on the second lap and Blodgett by lap four.
Finishing behind Wear was Brad Moyer, in fourth place, while Scott Strachan rounded out the top five in fifth place.
In the NASCAR Grand American Modified Main Event Billy Johanneck ran his win total to nine and made it five in a row.
Johanneck has gone racing every night the Grand American Modifieds have been called to duty in 2004 posting 19 top 10 finishes in 19 starts. He also was able to put some points in between himself and Larry Kayton going into the last race of the season next weekend.
Running second to Johanneck was Kayton, who now has 17 top five finishes in 19 races. Third place went to Pat Bush, marking his 15th finish in the top five in 2004. Fourth place went to Ron Brown, who ran a limited schedule this year, but was able to score his fourth top five finish of the campaign in seven tries. Bill Slocum turned in his consistent effort as his fifth place finish marked his ninth such effort and 19th top 10 finishes
The NASCAR Factory Stocks Main Event saw Rookie Jerry Gaede top the field for the second time this season. For Gaede it marked his return to Victory Lane for the first time since June 5th.
Gaede started in front of the pack and was able to go the lead on the first lap. He rode a steady line and was not challenged after five laps of the race. Gaede in his rookie season was able to make 18 starts posting two wins and 11 top ten finishes.
Following Gaede was Brian O'Brien, who in limited duty ran his record to four top five finishes in six tries during 2004. It marked his second such effort, the first coming on July 24th. Running third was another one of the outstanding rookie racers who have made their way to Tucson Raceway Park this season, as Paul Gastreich recorded his seventh top five finish with tonight's finish.
Last week's winner Mike Shipyor stayed around the leaders the whole race and was able to post a fourth place finish his 8th top five run of the season. Fifth Place went to Mike Levin, who kept getting closer each week as the season wound down, but in his 18 tries was winless in 2004. Mike did represent the Levin Family proudly however, as he had nine top five finishes and 14 top ten finishes to his credit.
The "Big Winner" in the Factory Stock Division was Rod Jurado, who ran sixth tonight, but on the season totaled the most points of any other competitor in his division to be crowned 2004 NASCAR Factory Stock Division Champion.
In the NASCAR Mighty Compact Main Event for the second straight week a first time winner claimed victory. Jim Bates, who had been very close to winning in several previous efforts, finally did tonight in his 13th try.
Bates was able to take the lead on the second lap and never looked back. However, it took three tries to get the race started. The Yellow Flag came out the first time when Shane Centers and Wade Simmons traded a little paint coming out of turn two for the first time in the race. The disruption caused a total restart. The second try saw Ken Barnett, last week's winner blow the rear end of his truck out and deposit fluids on the track, which moved the Yellow Flag to Red.
The third try at starting the race was successful and saw Jim Bates go wire to wire in posting his first win.
In second place was Mike Vaughan, who will claim the Division Points Championship for 2004 with his consistent efforts (18 top 10 finishes in 18 tries). In third place was Wade Simmons, who bounced back after early race difficulties. It marked the 8th time Simmons had finished third in 18 races this season. Fourth was Jason Neve, who now has 6 top five runs in 11 starts. Becky Harrington finished in fifth place in her first race in the Mighty Compact division.
The Hornets wrapped up their season with a 30-lap Main Event that saw Karl Griggs post his fourth win of the series and second straight victory in this introductory racing division. Griggs came from the back of the pack to post this victory, but it wasn't enough to out score John Callans, who tallied the most points (290) and came away with Series Championship. Callans finished with one win and five second place finishes for the top honors.
The School Bus Demolition Derby, the crowd was wowed by a field of crazy, no holds barred competitors smashing and crashing their way to victory. Only one combatant was able to claim the top prize as Karl Griggs made it two wins in one night following up his Hornets win with the Derby trophy also in his pocket. Griggs piloted a Ford Bronco Bus and maneuvered his way to victory through field of eight competitors.
In the Bandoleros Inaugural Main Event Jennifer Link of Phoenix topped the field in her first competitive tour of Tucson Raceway Park. Link was able to hold off a group that included Casey Gannis, who finished second, Blake Lueth, who ran third, Racin Weaver was good enough for fourth, while Romaine Cronni rounded out the top five in fifth place.
The Bud Five Star Series concludes the 2004 season next Saturday, October 9, as Budweiser presents the Bud Shoot Out. This annual showdown will pit all NASCAR Super Late Model winners in 2004 against each other for cash and track bragging rights. In addition NASCAR Late Models will do battle along with the Grand American Modifieds and Mighty Compacts on the final regular season event night. The next racing action at Tucson Raceway Park will be Friday and Saturday, November 12 and 13 as the 2nd Annual Bahama Bracket Nationals returns. The final event in 2004 will be the following weekend as The Old Pueblo Classic is set to run with USAC National competitors in town, along with Grand American Modifieds, Ford Focus Midgets, Vintage Race Cars and the INEX Thunder Roadsters all set to start at 5:00 pm.
RESULTS FROM TUCSON RACEWAY PARK SATURDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2004
NASCAR LATE MODELS
MAIN EVENT- 1. Brice Bonnett, 2. Tim Blodgett, 3. Ron Wear, 4. Brad Moyer, 5. Scott Strachan, 6. Kelly Germain, 7. David Nekula, Sr. 8. Gary Alvarez, 9. Robin Boomgaarden, 10. Mike Brandon, 11. Roger Cohn, 12. Dustin Jones, 13. Mark Cirillo
TROPHY DASH- 1. Scott Strachan, 2. David Nekula, Sr., 3. Brice Bonnett, 4. Dustin Jones, 5. Ron Wear, 6. Tim Blodgett
HEAT TWO- 1. Kelly Germain, 2. Brad Moyer, 3. Mike Brandon, 4. Gary Alvarez, 5. Roger Cohn, 6. Robin Boomgaarden
FAST TIME QUALIFIER: Dustin Jones - 17.638 seconds
NASCAR GRAND AMERICAN MODIFIEDS-
MAIN EVENT- 1. Billy Johanneck, 2. Larry Kayton, 3. Pat Bush, 4. Ron Brown, 5. Bill Slocum, 6. Mike Schmidt, 7. PJ Megna, 8. Jim Rogel
HEAT ONE- 1. Billy Johanneck, 2. Larry Kayton, 3. Pat Bush, 4. Ron Brown, 5. Mike Schmidt, 6. Bill Slocum, 7. PJ Megna, 8. Jim Rogel
NASCAR FACTORY STOCKS -
MAIN EVENT- 1. Jerry Gaede, 2. Brian O'Brien, 3. Paul Gastreich, 4. Mike Shipyor, 5. Mike Levin, 6. Rod Jurado, 7. Fred Stephens, 8. Doug Paxson, 9. Greg Jayko, 10. Alan Levin, 11. Brian Harrington, 12. Mike McGullam, 13. Ken Huizenga, 14. John Levin, 15. Derek Jones, 16. Chris Smith, 17. Gregg Leith
HEAT ONE- 1. Jerry Gaede, 2. Brian O'Brien, 3. Fred Stephens, 4. Mike McGullam, 5. Derek Jones, 6. Ben Shephed
HEAT TWO- 1. Rod Jurado, 2. Paul Gastreich, 3. Alan Levin, 4. Brian Harrington, 5. John Levin, 6. Gregg Leith
HEAT THREE- 1. Mike Shipyor, 2. Mike Levin, 3. Greg Jayko, 4. Doug Paxson, 5. Chris Smith
NASCAR MIGHTY COMPACTS-
MAIN EVENT- 1. Jim Bates, 2. Mike Vaughan, 3. Wade Simmons, 4. Jason Neve, 5. Becky Harrington, 6. Clayton Clark, 7. Tammy Lynn, 8. Russell Bratka, 9. Shane Centers, 10. Ken Barnett
HEAT ONE- 1. Jim Bates, 2. Wade Simmons, 3. Tammy Lynn, 4. Jason Neve, 5. David Bosley
HEAT TWO- 1. Mike Vaughan, 2. Ken Barnett, 3. Becky Harrington, 4. Shane Centers, 5. Clayton Clark, 6. Russell Bratka
MAIN EVENT- 1. Karl Griggs, 2. John Callans, 3. John Strum, 4. Robert Davis, 5. Alan Hardesty, 6. Jeff Turner, 7. Dave Reynolds, 8. Jerome Zane, 9. Richard Jisko, 10. PJ McClure
MAIN EVENT- 1. Jennifer Link, 2. Casey Gannis, 3. Blake Lueth, 4. Racin Weaver 5. Romaine Cronni