By: Gary Jacob|
Where: Ventura, Ca
Search by Keywords|
Search by Track
Search by Date
Ventura, Ca -- VRA unwinged 360 sprint car point leader Greg Taylor from Ojai came from 6th starting to take the lead from pole starter Mike Knopf on lap 17 and win the 29 lap feature Saturday night at Ventura Raceway. Coming from deep in the pack after winning the B Main, former track champion Kevin Kierce battled Taylor in the closing laps only to break a wheel on the final lap and fall to a 4th place finish. Rob Kershaw ran second ahead of Steve Chuhaloff. Taylor earned $1,000 for his second win in two weeks as he won a rain makeup feature at Perris the week before. Kershaw won $750 and Chuhaloff $500. In the Senior Sprint car action, Russell DeBlauw won his first ever 18 lap main event and emerged as the point leader. He came from 4th starting for his win and 11th starter Ron Bach outdueled fellow sixth row starter Wiley Miller for 2nd. DeBlauw is only 15 points ahead of Bach. The track has a new 10 PM curfew this season and the 19 car IMCA Modified feature hit the track with just 7 minutes remaining. Several cautions slowed the action and only four laps were scored with street stock graduate Joe Porche collecting his first ever feature win. Ventura’s winningest modified racer, Steve Greenland placed second ahead of Wes Richardson. James Brown jumped into the car of Jody Davis and charged from 4th starting to win the 20 lap pony stock main event. Last week’s winner Andrew Geiman was second with Tom Fish in third.
On a very windy day, the teams faced very dry and dusty track conditions on the 1/4 mile clay oval. The 32 VRA sprint cars were divided into the usual four heat races with the top 4 advancing into the scheduled 30 lap A Main. John Wright beat Bill Welch in heat 1 and Brett Butler outraced S Chuhaloff in heat 2. Taylor beat second ranked point racer Tom Stansberry in heat 3 and Luis Espinoza won heat 4 ahead of Santa Maria veteran Knopf. With the scratch of Oren Prosser Jr, five transfer spots were available in the B Main where Kierce outraced Chris Wakim, Will Perkins, Mike Davis and Ron DiDonato. Just missing transfers were Ryan Devitt, Steve DeMott and Jonas Reynolds. The front three rows for the A Main consisted of Knopf, Stansberry, Butler, Espinoza, Wright and Taylor. The race had numerous spinouts and crashes and only 9 starters saw the checkered flag. Taylor chased down early leader Knopf on lap 17 and then had to fend off the hard challenge of Kierce. The last lap problem for Kierce allowed both 9th starter Kershaw and 8th starter S Chuhaloff by. Kierce settled for fourth with impressive newcomer Kyle Hancock fifth ahead of back row starter DiDonato, Knopf, Jeremy Ellertson, Stansberry and Perkins. Two time IMCA Modified track champion Randy McGraw has moved up into the sprint car class and he was 15th in the feature after a solid third behind Taylor and Stansberry in his heat race. Taylor’s point lead is 720 over Stansberry, 825 ahead of Knopf and 985 in front of Kershaw.
The 21 Senior Sprints were divided into three heat races. This class wheels identical cars to the VRA action, but the drivers must be at least 45 years old and several in the class are in their 70’s. DeBlauw won heat 1 ahead of Sparky Edmonston and John Woodward. Heat 2 went to Richard Terry with Steve Stasa second. Miller beat legendary late model racer Oren Prosser Sr in heat 3 with Mike Cook third. Stasa and Terry shared the front row for the 18 lap feature with Miller and DeBlauw in row 2. DeBlauw drove to his first win with Bach putting on a show coming from the 11th starting spot after only managing a 4th in his heat race. Miller ran third ahead of Cook, Rick Lewis, Dale Harwood, Mark Chuhaloff, Bruce Douglas, Curtis Richards and John Richards. DeBlauw emerged with the 15 point lead over Bach and Cook stands third, 465 behind the point leader.
It was the season opener for the IMCA Modifieds at Ventura, but several cars in the field had been racing at other tracks in March to get ready. They had a solid 19 car turnout, but were disappointed with the reduced length of their feature race. Porche had tuned up with some Bakersfield Speedway action and he collected his first ever feature win ahead of Greenland, the busy traveler Richardson, Daman Redman, Don Wright Jr, Paul Moore, Jeff Graham, Steve Waltman, Ed Shelton and Lyle Slater. Current NASCAR Southwest Series rookie of the year candidate Greg Voigt returned to his Ventura Raceway roots, but settled for a 16th place feature run.
Summary IMCA Modified Main-Joe Porche, Steve Greenland, Wes Richardson, Damon Redman, Don Wright Jr, Paul Moore, Jeff Graham, Bill Waltman, Ed Shelton, Lyle Slater, Rick Johnston, Jody Davis, Brett Lynsky, Randy Gens, Mark Fullerton, Greg Voigt, Brad Brown, Gary Curtis, Will Smith. Senior Sprint Heat 1-Russell DeBlauw, Sparky Edmonston, John Woodward, Rick Lewis, Bill Leonard. Heat 2-Richard Terry, Steve Stasa, Ron Butler, Danny Miller, Mark Chulahoff. Heat 3-Wiley Miller, Oren Prosser Sr, Mike Cook, Ron Bach, Tim Moon. Main-DeBlauw, Bach, Miller, Cook, Lewis, Harwood, Chulahoff, Bruce Douglas, Curtis Richards, John Richards, Stasa, Leonard, Dave Marini, Edmonston, Sammy Iaconis, Danny Miller, Moon, Terry, Butler, Prosser, Woodward. VRA Unwinged 360 Sprint Car Heat 1-John Wright, Bill Welch, Rob Kershaw, Ronnie Case, Chris Wakim. Heat 2-Brett Butler, Steve Chulahoff, Kyle Hancock, Oren Prosser Jr, Mike Davis. Heat 3-Greg Taylor, Tom Stansberry, Randy McGraw, Bill Camarillo, Ron DiDonato. Heat 4-Luis Espinoza, Mike Knopf, Jeremy Ellertson, Chris Tramel, David Sinsley. B Main-Kevin Kierce, Wakim, Will Perkins, Davis, DiDonato, Ryan Devitt, Steve DeMott, Jonas Reynolds, Blake Miller, Sinsley. A Main-Taylor, Kershaw, Chuhaloff, Kierce, Hancock, DiDonato, Knopf, Ellertson, Stansberry, Perkins, Butler, Espinoza, Wakim, Davis, McGraw, Camarillo, Case, Wright, Welch, Tramel.