By: Gary Jacob|
Where: Santa Maria, CA
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Santa Maria, CA --
Leading all 20 laps from the pole, second generation racer Willy Oathout collected his first win in a couple seasons by pocketing $700 for his street stock victory Saturday night at Santa Maria Speedway. Oathout's father Bob Oathout is a late model legend at the track and Willy's effort is sponsored by Donna's Interiors, Pace Brothers Construction and Santa Maria Diesel. Uusual IMCA Modified racer Wayne Coffman jumped into the Keith Heaslet car and finished a strong second behind Oathout with Brandon Cortner third. Coffman recently won a Kings Speedway feature race in the same car. The 20 lap mini stock feature had an interesting finish as leaders Mike Weigel and Brad Smith found themselves in heavy lapped traffic on the final lap. They got too high on the track in their fight and Atascadero's Tom Grzincic found an opening down low to steal the win. Weigel ran second over new point leader Smith. Darrin Davis started the night as the point leader, but he broke in hot laps and was done for the night. Teammate Grzincic then raced to the feature win.
This was just the third point race for 2002 and neither of the previous winning cars was in action. Tim Randolph lost oil pressure in practice and Larry Mickey's car was declared illegal three weeks after he won. Mickey was in the Brian Weber car for this night's action. Chad Weber also broke in hot laps to leave 17 cars for the heat race action. Rookie Kenny Kirkpatrick won the first heat over Cortner and last starter Coffman. Joey Silva won heat 2 from an outside front row start with Charlie Dowdy second over back of the pack starter Mickey. The inversion factor came up an 8 and that put the fourth place heat finishers in the front row. Oathout and Toby Randolph shared that front row and Oathout raced into the lead. On the first lap, Silva spun and was hit by point leader Elton Shaffer. Coffman settled into third, but got out of shape on lap 3 to allow the front twosome to pull away. When Mickey checked up to avoid Coffman, Cortner raced into fourth. Silva was done when he tangled with California State Street Stock Championship Series winner Rick Wilkinson on lap 4. Ed Perry also fell out early and Toby Randolph got too high on lap 8, falling to fourth behind Coffman and Cortner. The final 15 laps were run without a yellow flag and Coffman caught leader Oathout with just 3 laps to go. Coffman couldn't pull alongside Oathout and settled for second as Cortner ran third over Toby Randolph, Mickey, Dowdy, Heaslet himself in the Bill Little car and Shaffer. Shaffer ended the night with a 2 point lead over Dowdy, 8 ahead of Toby Randolph and Mickey and 10 in front of Cortner.
The mini stocks had the biggest turnout with 20 cars so they transferred five cars each from the three heat races and six more from the B Main to set up a 21 car A Main. Grzincic won the first heat over Chris Claborn and Jenise Ferrara. Smith came from fifth to win heat 2 over David McMullen. Weigel won his fourth heat race of the young season with Bill Pinette second over Scott Fowler. Veteran Ben Caswell easily won the B Main over Ed Roberts and Kenny Whitehead. Fowler paced the first 2 laps of the 20 lap feature with McMullen into second on lap 2 as Alex Dimitrisevic lost his door for a yellow flag. McMullen raced into the lead on lap 3 and Claborn took second from Fowler on lap 5. Weigel pased both Fowler and Claborn for second on lap 6 and Grzincic climbed into third on lap 8. Smith took third from Grzincic on lap 11 and a multi car tangle forced the final yellow flag on lap 13. Leader McMullen bobbled on lap 14 and lost the lead with Weigel into second over Smith and Grzincic. The lead pack was dramatically faster than the rest of the field and the four car lead duel encountered a huge pack of the dueling backmarkers as they took the white flag. Both Weigel and Smith found their route choices blocked by the slower cars and they tried to find an outside option that would work. Grzincic saw an opening down low and passed both of the leaders for the win. Weigel was second ahead of Smith, McMullen, Claborn, Fowler and Dimitrisevic. Smith holds a ten point lead over Grzincic with Davis falling 30 points behind the new point leader.
Summary Mini Stock Heat 1-Tom Grzincic, Chris Claborn, Jenise Ferrara, Alex Dimitrisevic, Mark Haddon. Heat 2-Brad Smith, David McMullen, Anthony Melin, Jack Rodin, Jeremy Heroux. Heat 3-Mike Weigel, Bill Pinette, Scott Fowler, Wayne Nunes, Jason Nelson. B Main-Ben Caswell, Ed Roberts, Kenny Whitehead, Dave Cosley, Dustin Iverson, Bob Brunson, Oswald Heinrich, Ron German. A Main-Grzincic, Weigel, Smith, McMullen, Claborn, Fowler, Dimitrisevic, Heroux, Melin, Rodin, Nunes, Caswell, Ferrara, Haddon, Pinette, Cosley, Roberts, Iverson, Whitehead, Nelson. Street Stock Heat 1-Kenny Kirkpatrick, Brandon Cortner, Wayne Coffman, Willy Oathout, Ed Perry. Heat 2-Joey Silva, Charlie Dowdy, Larry Mickey, Toby Randolph, Keith Heaslet. Main-Oathout, Coffman, Cortner, Randolph, Mickey, Dowdy, Heaslet, Elton Shaffer, Kirkpatrick, Billy Simkins, Rick Wilkinson, Bob Meneley, Tracy Pallais, Mitch Caldwell, Perry, Steve Suchowirsky, Silva,