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Source — Dave Grayson
Date Posted — October 17, 2004
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BY DAVE GRAYSON Canyon Country, California's Aaron Staudinger took the lead on lap nine and never looked back enroute to winning the October 15th West Coast Pro Truck Series 50 lap feature at Bakersfield's Mesa Marin Raceway. The race, presented by the Bright House Network, was part of Mesa Marin's 27th annual October Classic. Neil Conrad and Sean Bennett led the 17 starters under the initial green flag. However, the race only made it to turn three before the first of the three yellow caution flags came out. Conrad was tapped in the rear bumper by Brian Pannone that sent him into a spin directly into the path of Jeff Williams who had no place to go and collected the pole sitter. The yellow caution flag flew again on lap 28 when Cecil Phelps looped his truck around in turn four. The final yellow flew on lap 32 when Jim Satterfield spun in turn four and then took a savage hit from Pannone who had no place to go. Despite the intensity of the hit Pannone was able to continue. Satterfield was not so fortunate and sustained extensive front end damage. Bennet paced the field for the first nine circuits before Staudinger made his race winning power move to take the lead for good. But it was not an easy win. Staudinger had to fight off a furious challenge from Claremont's Chris Johnson who applied the pressure all the way to the checkered flag. Staudinger almost lost the race in the final laps when he pancaked his Pick Your Part Chevrolet Truck into the turn two wall. Staudinger made a quick recovery, while the field checked up behind him, and that allowed him to keep the lead and the win. Johnson, as always, was right on his bumper when the checkers flew into the air. Bennett took third and Brett Thompson was fourth. Pannone did a remarkable job of racing his way back to the top five despite being directly involved in two of the race's major incidents. In victory lane Staudinger said "this marks two weeks in a row that Chris Johnson and I have gone door to door and fender to fender for a win. Fortunatley the Pick Your Part Chevrolet came out on top. Chris really keeps me honest. He's grown by leaps and bounds as a racer this season. It looks like he's going to be the champion this year and deservedly so. He's developed really well as a driver and he's going to represent West Coast Pro Trucks very well as the champion. " Staudinger praised his crew for their hard work saying "we made a couple of changes earlier on. Mesa Marin is a more testier track than Irwindale or some of the other tracks we run on. You really have to chase the track here. The temperatures change here quite a bit and it tends to go from kind of greasy to a little on the tight side at night. We over compensated a little tonight. It was a little loose on us but we were able to hang on for the win. The truck was really good on the outside line which was great because that's where Chris kept putting us most of the time and we were able to hang on."####

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Article posted by staff on October 17, 2004.

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