By: Gary Jacob and Don Low|
Where: Bakersfield, CA
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Bakersfield, CA --
Having skipped the two most recent out of town races on the CarQuest Western Dirt Late Model Tour, Dick Shepherd ready for their return to Bakersfield Speedway Park and he stormed forward from his 7th starting slot to score a $1,250 win in the 40 lap feature Saturday night. Shepherd opened the night with fast time honors in his C J Rayburn chassis and he drove underneath Buck Cox on lap 30 to win the 40 lapper. Jeff Hylton won his heat race and lined up third, but faded out of the top five early. He battled his way back to a $600 second place finish. Double division racer Cox had a big night as he ran third in the IMCA Modified main event in addition to his $450 third in the CarQuest action. Racing after the death of his brother Dale Collins during the week, Mike Collins spun running fifth and placed 9th to see his season point lead cut to just 4 points by John Silva, who ran 5th. Female ace Bunny Howell took the lead on lap 13 and won the 20 lap American Stock main event for her first feature win. She stands 4th in points as point leader Joe Goatcher ran 2nd.
The dirt late models had an 18 car turnout and Shepherd was the quickest in time trials on the 1/3 mile clay oval with a 14.024 lap. Bill Bartels turned a 14.072 time and Ron Brewster continued his recent hot streak with third fast honors at 14.203. Chad Reichenbach, Hylton and Antioch winner Scott Pounds were also in the 14.2's. All 18 cars timed in the 14 second bracket. The heat races were the usual invert 3 format. Cox won the first heat from the pole over Reichenbach and Shepherd. Outside front row starter Hylton won heat 2 with 4th starting Derek Nance second. Pounds also used an outside front row start to win heat 3 over Brewster and Silva. Cox drew a #2 for the feature inversion and that put him outside front row with Brewster on the pole. Hylton and Pounds shared row 2 with Shepherd lined up 7th.
All 18 cars took the green flag, but Alan Updyke was a first lap dropout as Cox raced into the lead over Brewster, Pounds, Reichenbach and Shepherd. Shepherd took fourth from Reichenbach on lap 4 and he passed Pounds for third on lap 8. Shepherd then picked second away from Brewster on lap 14 and set his sights on leader Cox and his GRT chassis. Hylton climbed back to fifth on lap 15 and Riechenbach hit the wall for a lap 17 yellow flag. Utah long tow Troy Ferrari dropped out and Shepherd began his inside groove challenge of leader Cox. Hylton took fourth from Pounds on lap 18 and Mike Johnson shuffled Pounds out of the top five on lap 19. Pounds hit the wall for a lap 21 yellow flag. Johnson did not realize that he had a flat tire until the field was ready to go green and he lost laps making the tire change. This handed fifth to 13th starter Collins, but he spun for a lap 28 yellow flag. Shepherd had made several runs at leader Cox, but Cox was able to fend back each challenge. Finally, Shepherd got underneath Cox and led lap 30. Larry Childress was a late dropout and Hylton took second from Cox on lap 34. Ironically, Hylton wheels a former Cox car. Jeff Miller spun for the final yellow flag on lap 36. Shepherd won the main event ahead of Hylton, Cox and a strong late effort by B Bartels. Silva was fifth ahead of Brewster, Pounds, Nance, Collins and Randall Davis.
Collins saw his point lead cut to 4 points by Silva. Pounds stands third, 28 points back. Brewster has quietly climbed into fourth in points, 59 points back and 13 ahead of Ron Bartels. The series makes it's second 2001 season visit to Perris Auto Speedway on May 19, then has a busy Memorial Day weekend with Saturday night action at Bakersfield and the annual Dan Simkins Memorial Race in Santa Maria on Sunday night.
There were 22 American Stocks and heat winners were Walt Farris III, Perry VanScoy and Mike Lee. Newcomer George Wiley was a main event scratch. Warren Smith started on the pole for the 20 lapper and led the first 12 laps. Johnny Morales was second on the first lap, but the rapidly improving Howell gained the spot on lap 2. Lee worked his way up to third by lap 6 before falling back. Tom Klamorick retook third on lap 7, but lost the spot to Wesley Allen on lap 9. Allen spun and was hit by Robert Smith for a lap 10 yellow flag. Howell took the lead from W Smith on lap 13 and Goatcher was a second a lap later. Lee climbed back to third on lap 15, but pitted on lap 18 and Klamorick took third from W Smith on lap 18. Howell won over Goatcher, Klamorick, Chett Reeves, Morales, W Farris and W Smith. Goatcher's point lead is 23 over David Wolford. Reeves is just 6 points back of Wolford and just 2 points ahead of Howell.
Summary American Stock Heat 1-Walt Farris III, Chett Reeves, Joe Goatcher, Tom Klamorick, Robert Smith. Heat 2-Perry VanScoy, Warren Smith, Bunny Howell, David Wolford, George Wiley. Heat 3-Mike Lee, Ricky Spicer, Mark Hogue, Johnny Morales, Wesley Allen. Main-Howell, Goatcher, Klamorick, Reeves, Morales, W Farris, W Smith, Dale Brunson, Wolford, P VanScoy, Lee, Hogue, Spicer, Bryson Lynch, Mark Galindo, R Smith, Allen, Eric Farris, Jermiah VanScoy, Chris Joslin, Amy Hedden. Late Model Fast Time-Dick Shepherd 14.024 Heat 1-Buck Cox, Chad Reichenbach, Shepherd, Mike Johnson, Mike Collins. Heat 2-Jeff Hylton, Derek Nance, Jeff Miller, Bill Bartels, Alan Updyke. Heat 3-Scott Pounds, Ron Brewster, John Silva, Randall Davis, Troy Ferrari. Main-Shepherd, Hylton, Cox, B Bartels, Silva, Brewster, Pounds, Nance, Collins, Davis, Scott Bartels, Miller, Ron Bartels, Johnson, Larry Childress, Reichenbach, Ferrari, Updyke.