By: Gary Jacob and J M Hallas|
Where: Las Cruces, NM
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Las Cruces, NM -- Taking full advantage of his outside front row starting spot, track regular Troy Godwin drove his Sunsets West Ballistic Chassis to a $1,000 win in the 30 lap dirt modified feature Saturday afternoon as The Speedway of Southern New Mexico staged round 2 of it’s four weekend Winter Cup Series. In 2002, Godwin lost a tie-breaker with Scott Logston for the Winter Cup point title. Godwin took the lead from Alvie Williams on lap 3 and was never headed. John Carney Jr battled from 9th starting to finish second and Rett Salopek was third ahead of 12th starter Billy Roy Harris. Opening day winner Lorne Wofford came from 14th to 5th to maintain his small point lead. In the super stock action, Royal Jones drove from midpack to win for a second straight weekend with his Mesilla Valley Transportation/Alex Body Shop Camaro. Brian Mundell turned in a strong run with a second ahead of Casey Rush. Twelve year old Jonathan Burton grabbed the lead from Mike Rosales on lap 3 and won the 20 lap street stock main event for his first win. The son of veteran racer Ivan Burton is third in points as Holly Jones used a second straight runnerup run to move into the point lead.
The dirt modifieds had an incredible 40 car turnout that included a visit by teenaged Central Arizona Raceway champion Jeremy Payne from Tucson. They were divided into five heats with point averages used to determine the complete inverted lineups. The top 3 in each heat advanced to the 30 lap A Main. J Carney Jr won the first heat from fifth starting with front row starter Williams second ahead of back row starter Pat Carney. Former track champion Terry Tipton from Duncan, AZ came from fifth to win heat 2 with fellow third row starter R Jones second ahead of Aztec Speedway invdar Ricky Baldwin. Having opened the 2002 Winter Cup Series with three straight wins, Wofford again showed his strength early as he came from sixth to win heat 3 ahead of Rett Salopek and El Paso champion Greg Pratt Jr. Godwin won heat 4 from an outside front row start with Bumper Jones second ahead of Joe Alvarado, who builds the engines for the Godwin car. Harris came from fifth to win heat 3 ahead of NASCAR Southwest Series competitor J R Patton and Alamogordo’s Bobby Curran. This left 9 transfer spots available in the 20 lap B Main that started 24 cars after the scratch of Anton Salopek. This lineup was straightup off the heat finishes with the five fourth place finishers in front. The early laps featured a duel between John Carney Sr and teenaged rookie Holly Jones. Brad Bowden spun in front of the leaders for a lap 4 yellow flag. During the caution, J Carney Sr was sent off the track due to a missing fuel cap. Just like she did in their street stock days, H Jones dueled for the lead with 13 year old Johnny Scott on the restart. J Scott got the lead on lap 7 and the midway standings showed J Scott leading H Jones, Jimmy Ray and Mike Wells. On lap 12, H Jones spun and was hit by Matt Whetstine. Ray now challenged J Scott for the top spot and took the advantage on lap 14 to win. J Scott ran second ahead of Wells, Mike Stringfield, Colorado’s Michael Daut, Albuquerque’s John Tanner and Payne. Jeff Tanner and Chris Sims took the final two transfers with Stormy Scott and Butch Reid Jr just missing.
The A Main had 24 starters and ran 30 laps with again the point averages from week one determined the completely inverted order for the 15 heat race transfers. Williams and Godwin shared row 1 and Williams paced two laps before Godwin took over. The first yellow came on lap 5 as Jeff Tanner spun. R Salopek used the bottom groove to get by both Williams and Curran to race into second. B Jones’ charge ended when he stalled on lap 10, wiping out a five car length advantage for Godwin. On the restart, Godwin and R Salopek dueled side by side for the lead with J Carney Jr in third. Ray had charged from 16th to 7th in the first 15 rounds. J Carney Jr took second from R Salopek just before midway. Contact with Wells sent Alvarado spinning for a lap 16 yellow flag. On lap 20, J Carney Jr made contact with leader Godwin and had to back off, giving up second to R Salopek. J Carney Jr was able to retake second with three laps to run as Godwin drove to the $1,000 win. R Salopek ran third ahead of Harris, Wofford, R Jones, Ray, Baldwin, Williams and Sims. Wofford’s point lead is 2 ahead of Harris and R Jones with Ray and J Carney Jr tied for fourth, two more points back.
The super stocks had a solid 21 car turnout. R Jones came from the back to win heat 1 ahead of Manny Nunez Jr and Brent Deetz. Arizona visitor Gary Cheek won heat 2 ahead of Rush and Henry Brumley. It was just past halfway in the feature when R Jones drove by Mundell for the top spot. Mundell made a late effort to retake the lead, but fell short with R Jones winning for a second straight weekend. Mundell ran second ahead of Rush, Nunez, Mike Forgue Jr, Brumley. Rick Gallardo was 7th ahead of Brian Armstrong and Gary Boles. With his two perfect days, R Jones has a 9 point lead on Rush and has opened a 29 point advantage over the third place tie between Mundell and Cheek.
The 18 street stocks were divided into two heat races. Mike Rosales won the first ahead of Tim Jackson and Cassandra Wells. Enjoying her opportunity to race a dirt modified in the Winter Cup Series but intending to challenge for the street stock track championship during the regular season, Holly Jones won heat 2 with Burton second ahead of Rick Tomas. In the 20 lap feature, Burton took the lead from Rosales on lap 3 and never looked back. Burton pulled away from the second place duel between H Jones and Rosales to win in his Barnett’s Harley Davidson/Burton’s Body Shop Camaro. H Jones hung on for second with opening day winner Dustin Smith third ahead of Rosales, Adam Gallivan, Tony Bujak and Bobby Otero. Wells had crossed the line in fifth, but didn’t think she was that high and ended up being disqualified for not reporting to the tech area. After two weekends, H Jones has a 3 point lead on Smith and is four ahead of Burton.
The Winter Cup Series continues on Feb 1 and closes on Feb 8 with the dirt modified point title worth another $1,000. The track’s big Winter Meltdown race runs Feb 27-March 2 with the A Main winner in the dirt modifieds collecting $6,500 and a $700 guarantee just to make the A Main.
Summary Street Stock Heat 1-Mike Rosales, Tim Jackson, Cassandra Wells, Dustin Smith, Rick Adkisson. Heat 2-Holly Jones, Jonathan Burton, Rick Romas, Adam Gallivan, Melissa Gorham. Main-Burton, Jones, Smith, Rosales, Gallivan, Tony Bujak, Bobby Otero, Jackson, Adkisson, Grant Schauer, Gorham, Patrick Beach, Charlie Morris, Steven Pendergraft, J L Marquez, Tomas. Super Stock Heat 1-Royal Jones, Manny Nunez Jr, Brent Deetz, Lalo Trujillo, Walton Kyle. Heat 2-Gary Cheek, Casey Rush, Henry Brumley, Brian Armstrong, Gary Boles. Main-R Jones, Brian Mundell, Rush, Nunez, Mike Forgue Jr, Brumley, Rick Gallardo, Armstrong, Boles, Cheek, Rick Ortega, L D Leetch, Tim Jackson, Allen, Leroy Christenson, Deetz, Marty Scott, Kyle, Trujillo. Dirt Modified Heat 1-John Carney Jr, Alvie Williams, Pat Carney, John Carney Sr, Jeremy Payne. Heat 2-Terry Tipton, Royal Jones, Ricky Baldwin, Holly Jones, Mike Stringfield. Heat 3-Lorne Wofford, Rett Salopek, Greg Pratt Jr, Johnny Scott, Stormy Scott. Heat 4-Troy Godwin, Bumper Jones, Joe Alvarado, Michael Daut, Mike Wells. Heat 5-Billy Roy Harris, J R Patton, Bobby Curran, Wayne Pelkey, Shawn Harvey. B Main-Jimmy Ray, J Scott, Wells, Stringfield, Daut, John Tanner, Payne, Jeff Tanner, Chris Sims, S Scott, Butch Reid Jr, Lester Burns, Wayne Pelkey, H Jones, Harvey. A Main-Godwin, J Carney Jr, R Salopek, Harris, Wofford, R Jones, Ray, Baldwin, Williams, Sims, Pratt, Curran, John Tanner, J Scott, Patton, Tipton, Payne, Jeff Tanner, Alvarado, Wells, P Carney, Stringfield, Daut, B Jones.