By: Gary Jacob|
Where: Watsonville, CA
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Watsonville, CA --
Showing his strength by taking the lead with an inside run on point leader Dennis Pelphrey on a lap 11 restart, defending track champion Ken Gregg won his second 25 lap NASCAR street stock main event Friday night at Watsonville Speedway. Gregg moved into second in points with the $150 win as second ranked Tony Oliveira broke in the heat action and third ranked Chris Messmer was blackflagged off the track for a dangerous re-entry after he spun off the top of the track. 2000 champion Pelphrey hung on to his point lead with a second place finish ahead of Mark Cooper and Greg McGregor. Pelphrey also set a new four lap track record with his 64.50 winning time in the dash. Having posted several preliminary race wins in 2001, crowd favorite Rod Herrick drove his Mustang to his first 20 lap American Stock feature win as he drove underneath former champion Sam Kennedy on a lap 15 restart. S Kennedy ran second ahead of new point leader John Dawson, who took dash honors.
The 20 street stocks were split into three qualifying heat races. Using the favored the outside front row starting spot, Cooper won heat 1 over teammate Steve Ewbank and Bruce Pestana. McGregor came from third starting to win heat 2 over third row starter Pelphrey. Gregg won heat 3 from 4th starting with Mike Malone returning to action with a second place run. Pelphrey averaged 16.12 seconds per lap in his dash winning run as Gregg ran second. Driving the borrowed Joe Esperanca car, Paul Burton broke on a false start for the 25 lap feature. Pelphrey raced into an early lead over Gregg, Cooper, Malone and McGregor. Ewbank, J J Keldsen and Mitch Lettunich were all out in the first five laps. Messmer ran off the top of the track in turn 1 on lap 10. As he tried to pull back onto the racing surface, Messmer was hit hard by Mike Finlen Sr. Gregg made a strong inside groove run on the restart as he beat leader Pelphrey into the first turn to take over the top spot. Fourth place Malone pulled off the track on lap 17 and Bill Hyland overheated. Returning to racing, Sheila Wallace was out on lap 18 and McGregor was now fourth over Pestana. Gregg was flawless once in front and he scored his 2nd 2001 season win. Pelphrey ran second over Cooper, McGregor, Pestana, George Penney, Patrick Sandoval and Stu Cornick.
The American Stocks had a 23 car turnout. Incoming point leader Paul Duncan won heat 1 from an outside front row start with Bill Sorg second. David Freil won heat 2 from the pole with Brian Huebner second. Jerry Hooper broke in this heat to end his night. Herrick won heat 3 from an outside front row start with Dawson second. Dawson beat Duncan and Herrick in the dash. Doug Snodgrass was also a feature scratch. The feature lineup was an invert 8 off the heat race results with Sorg sent to the rear for reporting seconds late to staging. A wild first lap saw Huebner make contact with the back fence triggering a tangle that saw W Kennedy, Melanie Penney and Steve Remde all falling deep in the field. Andrew Peckham stalled off the top of the track. S Kennedy led early over Joel Allen and Dawson. The yellow fell on lap 3 and point leader Duncan pitted for repairs. Using the favored outside starting line, Herrick leaped from 4th into second on the restart. The front twosome of S Kennedy and Herrick checked out with Freil into fourth on lap 7. Freil took third from Allen on lap 12 and Dawson was fourth on lap 13. On a lap 15 restart, Herrick made a strong inside groove run and took the lead from S Kennedy. Freil broke in the closing laps as Herrick won ahead of S Kennedy, Dawson, W Kennedy, Remde, Duncan, Jennifer Rood and M Penney.
Summary American Stock Dash-John Dawson, Paul Duncan, Rod Herrick. Heat 1-Duncan, Bill Sorg, Sam Kennedy, Phillip Greene, Steve Remde. Heat 2-David Freil, Brian Huebner, Joel Allen, Tracy Cotten, Scott Rustigan. Heat 3-Herrick, Dawson, Wally Kennedy, Melanie Penney, Jennifer Rood. Main-Herrick, S Kennedy, Dawson, W Kennedy, Remde, Duncan, Rood, Penney, Cotten, Allen, Sorg, Sean Frye, Chandra Ash, Freil, Brian Hidley, Greene, Huebner, Rustigan, Ray Raymond, Andrew Peckham, Tom Reily. Street Stock Dash-Dennis Pelphrey, Ken Gregg, Mark Cooper. Heat 1-Cooper, Steve Ewbank, Bruce Pestana, George Penney, Mike Finlen Sr. Heat 2-Greg McGregor, Pelphrey, Stu Cornick, Bill Hyland, Phillip Priddy. Heat 3-Gregg, Mike Malone, Mitch Lettunich, Paul Burton, Chris Messmer. Main-Gregg, Pelphrey, Cooper, McGregor, Pestana, Penney, Patrick Sandoval, Cornick, Priddy, Al Parker, Hyland, Raymond Keldsen Jr, Sheila Wallace, Burton, Malone, Finlen, Messmer, Lettunich, J J Keldsen, Ewbank.