By: Gary Jacob|
Where: Ventura, CA
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Ventura, CA --
Advancing from 8th starting, Richard McCormick chased down pole starter Gary Howard and made a lap 25 pass to win the 30 lap main event for the VRA unwinged 360 sprint cars Saturday night at Ventura Raceway. It was the second win of the 2001 season for the second ranked McCormick and snapped a three race winning streak for point leader and defending champion Howard. McCormick collected $1,000 for his win with Howard a $750 second and the other front row starter John Wright was a $500 third. McCormick's win cut Howard's point lead down to 300 points. Jim Porter won his second straight main event for the new Senior Sprint Car class and he emerged as the new point leader as incoming point pacesetter Bob Moody lost a wheel leading in the feature. Dale Harwood ran second over Dayle Henry. Former track champion Randy McGraw made it four diffferent feature winners in the IMCA Modified action with point leader and defending track champion Mike Furlong protecting his spot with a strong second place finish. Jody Davis won not only his first 20 lap Pony Stock main event, but it was also his first ever top ten finish.
There were 30 entries in the regular unwinged 360 sprint car action. Mike Davis won the first heat over John Wright, McCormick beat Jeff Heaton in heat 2 and Steven Conrad returned to Ventura to win heat 3 over Howard and Bill Welch. Tony Dighera took heat 4 over Rob Kershaw. The top four in each heat advanced to the 30 lap A Main and they were joined by the top four from the B Main. Ronnie Case could only manage a fifth in his heat, but he won the B Main ahead of Steve Hess and Kenny Brown. The feature inversion tonight came up an 8 and that put Howard and Wright on the front row. Howard was chasing a fourth straight feature winner, but struggled a little with the extremely rutted surface. McCormick's car was very hooked up as he climbed forward from the 4th row start. A late yellow flag gave him a run at leader Howard and McCormick made his winning pass on lap 25. Howard hung on for 2nd ahead of Wright, third starting Wakim, 13th starter Greg Taylor and 10th starter Jeff Heaton. The top ten was rounded out by Conrad, Rob Kershaw, Welch and Crawford. Howard's point lead is 300 over McCormick with 1000 points available each night. Wakim is third in points, 675 out of the lead and 155 ahead of Taylor. Case hung onto fifth in points, but is just 40 points ahead of Wright after his 12th place run.
There were 15 entries in the Senior Sprint action and Porter won the first heat race ahead of Ed Ulyates and Preiss Movius. Moody took heat 2 over dwarf car ace Ron Bach and Harwood. Moody dominated the main event until he lost a wheel and Porter picked off his second straight win in front of Harwood, Dayle Henry, Bob Gibson, Ulyates, Movius and John Jewett. Porter holds a 415 point lead over Moody, who is just 20 points ahead of Harwood. Ron Butler was a feature scratch.
In the IMCA Modifieds, the 16 car turnout was split into a pair of heat races. John Aitken won the first heat over Donald Houghton with Gary Curtis the second heat winner over Steve Smith. In the 20 lap main event, Curtis held an early lead, but faded to a third place finish behind McGraw and Furlong. Steve Greenland came from behind the inversion to run fourth over Aitken, Bill Waltman, Steve Smith and Houghton. Furlong's point lead is 11 over both McGraw and Houghton. Aitken is 6 points back of the tied duo and jsut 2 ahead of both Greenland and Chris Tonoli, who ran 14th tonight.
The pony stock car count fell down to 25 cars, but they still raced a four heat format with four transfers out of each heat. Heat winners were Cliff Ashlock, James Brown, Tom Burroughs and Mark Gallimore. The final four slots came in the B Main were Dan Clark beat Danny Tramel and Adam McPhail. Davis was third in his heat race, but won the 20 lap A Main over Burroughs and point leader Bryan Rungaitis. Tom Fish ran fourth over Jack Fullerton, Jon Everhart, Ashlock, Clark, Tramel and McPhail. Mike Frazier actually crossed the line in third, but was disqualified in tech. B Rungaitis has built a big 215 point lead over Ashlock. James Brown ran 17th and fell 15 points back of Ashlock and just 40 ahead of Everhart.
Summary Pony Stock Heat 1-Cliff Ashlock, Tom Fish, Steve Logan, Danny Tramel, Jake Ford. Heat 2-James Brown, Bruce Blackman Jr, Jack Fullerton, Scott Bulpitt, Dan Clark. Heat 3-Tom Burroughs, Bryan Rungaitis, Jody Davis, Jon Everhart, Andy Frank. Heat 4-Mark Gallimore, Shane Rungaitis, Dave Revard, Joanna Reyes-Brown, Phillip Stevenson. B Main-Clark, D Tramel, Adam McPhail, John Mikkelsen, Laurie Richardson, Stevenson, Frank, Ford, Steven Michael. A Main-Davis, Burroughs, B Rungaitis, Fish, Fullerton, Everhart, Ashlock, Clark, D Tramel, McPhail, Gallimore, Revard, Logan, Mikkelsen, Bulpitt, S Rungaitis, Brown, Blackman, Reyes-Brown, Mike Frazier. IMCA Modified Heat 1-John Aitken, Donald Houghton, Ed Shelton, Mike Furlong, Randy McGraw. Heat 2-Gary Curtis, Steve Smith, Chris Tonoli, Daman Redman, Mark Fullerton. Main-McGraw, Furlong, Curtis, Steve Greenland, Aitken, Bill Waltman, Smith, Houghton, Redman, Bill Hiney, Wes Richardson, William Kruft, Al Adam, Tonoli, Shelton, Fullerton. Senior Sprint Heat 1-Jim Porter, Ed Ulyates, Preiss Movius, Tim Moon, Sam Vale. Heat 2-Bob Moody, Ron Bach, Dale Harwood, Bob Gibson, John Richards. Main-Porter, Harwood, Dayle Henry, Gibson, Ulyates, Movius, John Jewett, Mike Cook, Richards, Moon, Jack Erickson, Bach, Moody, Vale. Unwinged 360 Sprint Heat 1-Mike Davis, John Wright, Jimmy Crawford, Luis Espinoza, Steve Hess. Heat 2-Richard McCormick, Chris Wakim, Jeff Heaton, Josh Ford, Mark Weitzman. Heat 3-Steven Conrad, Gary Howard, Bill Welch, Greg Taylor, Ronnie Case. Heat 4-Tony Dighera, Rob Kershaw, Jim Thomson, Sparky Edmonston, Russell DeBlauw. B Main-Case, Hess, Kenny Brown, Jim Gresham, Steve Stasa, DeBlauw, Sean Buckley, John Woodward, Dick Steven, Eddie Chacon. A Main-McCormick, Howard, Wright, Wakim, Taylor, Heaton, Conrad, Kershaw, Welch, Crawford, Davis, Case, Gresham, Espinoza, Edmonston, Hess, Dighera, Brown, Thomson, Ford.