By: Gary Jacob|
Where: Ventura, Ca
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Ventura, Ca --
Having returned to Ventura Raceway action after being away for a couple seasons, former dwarf car star Tom Stansberry from Bakersfield led all 30 laps to win the VRA unwinged 360 sprint car feature Saturday night. His win paid $1,000 and Jimmy Crawford nearly took over second in track points with his $750 second. Josh Ford ran a $500 third and retook the point lead from Greg Taylor, who was a DNF and ran 11th. Steve Greenland's second 20 lap IMCA Modified feature win of 2002 gives him a division leading 25 career feature wins at the 1/4 mile clay oval. Defending track champion Randy McGraw improved his point lead with a solid second place run ahead of fast improving Wes Richardson. Joe Henderson also got his second win of 2002 in the VRA Modified main event with Rick Rodarte second. James Brown snapped out of a recent slump to win the 20 lap pony stock main event ahead of point leaders John Duque and Cliff Ashlock. Ashlock holds a 175 point lead on Duque with Brown climbing back into fourth place. It was Brown's third win of 2002 as he paces the pony stocks in that category.
It was a wild night in the sprint car action with several flips and only ten cars running at the final checkered flag. The division had a 36 car turnout and used a four heat, two B Main format to set the 20 car grid for the 30 lap finale. Ryan Devitt flipped in hot laps. Top runner Ronnie Case had rear end woes and did not run. Jeff Wilson flipped hot lapping just prior to the start of the first heat. Clark Templeman III won the first heat from the pole over 3rd starting Stansberry and Jeremy Ellertson. Oren Prosser Jr flipped on the last lap of the first heat. Steve Chuhaloff won heat 2 from the pole with Jake Ford second over Russell DeBlauw. Incoming point leader Taylor won heat 3 from third starting with rookie Chris Tramel second. Josh Ford won heat 4 from the outside front row ahead of Crawford and Jeff Heaton. The top 4 finishers in each heat transferred into the 30 lapper and they were joined by two transfers from each of the two B Mains. Usual Santa Maria Speedway racer Darren Simas won the first B Main over dwarf car graduate Ron Bach and Bill Welch. A former USAC TQ Midget ace, Gene Godepski outran 16 year old modified midget graduate Allan Ballard to win the second B Main.
The inversion draw for the 30 lap feature came up a six and that put Crawford and Stansberry on the front row. Stansberry had actually predicted his feature win on the track's internet message board during the week and he was never seriously challenged by Crawford in the 30 lap feature. Taylor spent the first half of the race dueling Templeman for fourth. He had to pass Josh Ford three different times for third before the lack of a caution flag allowed the pass to stick. Once he did get by Josh Ford, Taylor spun. Taylor restarted in the rear, but tangled with another car on lap 25 to force a red flag incident that eliminated several racers. The 30 lapper saw the first 16 rounds completed before a slowdown, then endured caution flags virtually every other lap to the finish. The first red flag came on lap 17 when Tony Dighera flipped several times into the turn 1 fence. Stansberry won ahead of Crawford, Josh Ford, 14th starter Luis Espinoza, 8th starting Tramel, S Chuhaloff, Chris Wakim and Ballard. Josh Ford emerged from the night with a 385 point lead on Taylor with Crawford just five points back of Taylor. Dighera is fourth in points, 970 out of the point lead.
There were 17 IMCA Modifieds. Donald Houghton won heat 1 over Mike Furlong with Greenland enjoying a perfect night as he took heat 2 over Bill Waltman. Greenland won the 20 lap feature over McGraw and Richardson. When Gary Curtis was disqualified from his fourth place finish, that moved Kathy Pierson up to that spot ahead of Paul Lane, Mike Furlong, Bill Hiney, Mark Fullerton and Daman Redman. McGraw's point lead is 14 over Furlong, 17 ahead of Richardson and 21 in front of Redman.
The 13 VRA Modifieds were split into two heats with Tommy Fowler beating champion George Kreider IV in heat 1. Marty Desbrow won heat 2 over Henderson. Henderson claimed the lead on lap 4 enroute to his 20 lap feature win with Rodarte second over Marty McLaughlin, Kreider, Desbrow, Jody Davis and Ray Martinez. Kreider's point lead is 110 over McLaughlin with another tough effort dropping former point leader Mark Gallimore 125 points back. Gallimore was 12th. Rodarte is now 4th, 185 points out of the point lead.
Pony stock winner Brown was happy to see the VRA Modifieds run their feature race after the track had been graded. This allowed for better track conditions for the pony stock feature and their 20 lapper saw just one yellow flag when a car lost it's muffler. They had 24 cars in action. Jack Fullerton won heat 1 over Gary Yeates, David Peterson beat Tom Fish in heat 2 and John Duque won heat 3 over Dave Revard. Brown raced into the feature lead on lap 16 and won the 20 lapper over Duque, point leader Ashlock, Yeates, Peterson, Mike Frazier, Eric Chambers and Travis Furr. Newcomer Charlie Faraci won the B Main over Furr and Andrew Greiman.
Summary Pony Stock Heat 1-Jack Fullerton, Gary Yeates, Mike Frazier, Adam McPhail, Julie Masters. Heat 2-David Peterson, Tom Fish, Cliff Ashlock, James Brown, Joel Chavez. Heat 3-John Duque, Dave Revard, Eric Chambers, Steve Klingberg, Jon Mortenson. B Main-Charlie Faraci, Travis Furr, Andrew Greiman, Connie Revard, Scott McNichols, Wade Zimmerman, Masters, Chavez, Mortenson, Doug Cason. A Main-Brown, Duque, Ashlock, Yeates, Peterson, Frazier, Chambers, Furr, Faraci, McPhail, Masters, Chavez, Greiman, D Revard, Zimmerman, McNichols, Fullerton, Fish, Klingberg, C Revard. VRA Modified Heat 1-Tommy Fowler, Greorge Kreider IV, Rick Rodarte, Jody Davis, David Lidren. Heat 2-Marty Desbrow, Joe Henderson, Ric Bronson, Mark Gallimore, Andy Frank. Main-Henderson, Rodarte, Marty McLaughlin, Kreider, Desbrow, Davis, Ray Martinez, Fowler, Frank, Bronson, Travis Wickenden, Gallimore, Lidren. IMCA Modified Heat 1-Donald Houghton, Mike Furlong, Don Wright Jr, Kathy Pierson, Jeff Graham. Heat 2-Steve Greenland, Bill Waltman, Mark Fullerton, Randy McGraw, Bill Hiney. Main-Greenland, McGraw, Wes Richardson, Pierson, Paul Lane, Furlong, Hiney, Fullerton, Daman Redman, Joe Porche, Lyle Slater, Graham, Waltman, Brett Lynsky, Houghton, Wright. Unwinged 360 Sprint Car Heat 1-Clark Templeman III, Tom Stansberry, Jeremy Ellertson, Tony Dighera, Darren Simas. Heat 2-Steve Chuhaloff, Jake Ford, Russell DeBlauw, Larry Lloyd, Gene Godepski. Heat 3-Greg Taylor, Chris Tramel, Rob Kershaw, Chris Wakim, Ron Bach. Heat 4-Josh Ford, Jimmy Crawford, Jeff Heaton, Luis Espinoza, Bill Bates. 1st B Main-Simas, Bach, Bill Welch, Jeff Wilson, Ron Rector, Trace Glover, John Geyer, Oren Prosser Jr. 2nd B Main-Godepski, Allan Ballard, John Wright, Mike Davis, Bill Camarillo, Steve Gresham, Richard Terry, Bates, Eric Severson, Renee Boudreau. A Main-Stansberry, Crawford, Josh Ford, Espinoza, Tramel, Chuhaloff, Wakim, Ballard, Heaton, Kershaw, Taylor, Templeman, DeBlauw, Simas, Dighera, Godepski, Jake Ford, Lloyd, Bach, Ellertson.