By: Gary Jacob|
Where: Watsonville, CA
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Watsonville, CA -- Leading all 25 laps, California State point leader Bill Saltzman from Merced got his first IMCA Modified feature win at Watsonville Speedway Friday night. The $215 victory was the second of his IMCA career as he also won a Merced race this year with his D&M Performance mounts. Usual dirt late model racer A J Kirkpatrick returned to the modified action with a second place finish ahead of Western Region rookie of the year hopeful Andrew Krumm, who was making just his second ever Watsonville appearance. Having fallen to sixth in points with recent engine woes, Philip Priddy raced to his first NASCAR Super Stock 25 lap feature win worth $250. Rookie of the year hopeful Danny Scott ran second and Mark Cooper battled back from a first lap incident to place third and protect his narrow point lead over Dennis Pelphrey. The Steitz All Star Tour for the limited late models was at the 1/4 mile clay oval for the second time in 2004 and Scotts Valley's Ken Gregg used his third local win of 2004 to take over the series point lead. He already held the track point lead in a tight duel with Fred Lind. The $175 win was his first on the Steitz Tour and incoming point leader Jeremy Prince ran 8th to fall 12 points back of Gregg. Mike Calhoun and Ty Duggins ran 2-3 in the 20 lap feature. Lind suffered damage to his normal car in the heat action, but Merced's Larry Pedrelli loaned him his car for the 20 lapper and Lind ran fifth behind John Harville. Sam Kennedy improved his American Stock point lead with his fourth feature win in their 20 lapper ahead of Bill Sorg and Ray Ash. Veteran John Keldsen made it four winners in four races for the figure 8 class in 2004 as he won ahead of Wayne Reeder and Carl Lollar Jr in a 12 car race. Jim Gillespie is the track point leader and this race also counted for the Fresno Discount Trophy State Championship Series that combines action at Chowchilla and Watsonville. J Gillespie is 6 points up on Richard Keldsen in the Watsonville fight and R Keldsen holds the state point lead by ten markers over Ross Killian. Reeder and Lollar are tied for third in the state points as top runner Thomas McAbee from Chowchilla was a no-show. Nearly all the drivers and crews filled the infield of the 1/4 mile clay oval when Mike McGregor ran two Memorial Laps honoring the memory of 27 year old brother Joe McGregor who had died on Wednesday. J McGregor grew up crewing for his father Greg McGregor and has recently served on the potent Mark Cooper team. He got his opportunity to race in 2003 and battled Steve Worstell for the American Stock rookie of the year honors with a single feature win.
The 14 IMCA Modifieds included the first 2004 visit by Antioch Speedway star J D Willis and second straight visits by Merced stars Bob Williamson Sr and Krumm. Chuck Harrell won the first heat over Todd Hermosillo and 2003 Merced Hobby Stock champion Krumm. Saltzman previewed his feature win with a victory in heat 2 over point leading Kenny Nott Jr and Kirkpatrick. Nott beat Harrell in the dash. The feature race had just a single caution on lap 1 and Saltzman was never headed as he gained the win over Kirkpatrick, Krumm, David Press, Nott, Willis, Garrett Steitz, Johnnie Baptista, Andy Obertello and Todd Hermosillo. Hermosillo tried to claim the Nott engine only to find out that Nott had finished out of the top four. For a second straight race, Messmer was quickest of the 16 NASCAR Super Stocks in time trials. Doug Hagio won the dash over Messmer and Dennis Pelphrey. Jason Rood was a feature scratch. Heat winners were Pelphrey and Cooper, who are locked in a tight duel for the track title. Cooper spun on the opening lap of their 25 lap feature in a tangle with Eric VanHooser and later Pelphrey ended up in the turn 4 infield in another VanHooser tangle. Priddy ended up out front and got his first win ahead of Scott and Cooper. Hagio placed fourth and Pelphrey battled back to fifth ahead of Bill Hyland, Messmer, Chris Kulvicki and VanHooser. John Prentice subbed for the suspended Tony Oliveira and ran 14th.
The limited late model tour action had a disappointing 12 car turnout. Gregg won the opening heat race over Antioch regular Duggins and Harville. Lind crashed and was forced to go ride seeking for the 20 lap feature. Calhoun won heat 2 over Antioch regulars Prince and Chester Kniss. Prince and Duggins were 1-2 in the dash over Gregg and Calhoun. Gregg posted the 11 car feature win over Calhoun, Duggins, Harville, Lind, Rich Barbaccia, Jeremy Petrell, Prince and Kniss. In the Watsonville standings, Gregg is 8 points up on Lind and 21 ahead of Harville. On the Steitz three track tour, Gregg emerged with a 12 point lead on Prince, 52 ahead of Petrell and 54 points up on both Duggins and Harville. Lind is another 8 points back in sixth. With 20 cars, the American Stocks were divided into three heat races. Female star Jennifer Rood won heat 1 over Bill Sorg and Steven Taddei. Ash won heat 2 ahead of Gary Hecker and Paul Champion while S Kennedy opened his perfect night with a win in heat 3 over Chad Bisordi and Wally Kennedy. S Kennedy won the dash over Sorg and Rood. In the 20 lap feature, it was S Kennedy on top with Sorg second ahead of Ash, Rood, Bisordi, W Kennedy, Tom Reily, Taddei, Duane Bieser and Champion. With McAbee missing, all 12 figure 8 teams were from the coastal area and they battled through 3 red flags and numerous lead changes before John Keldsen posted the win ahead of Reeder, Lollar, Kim Gillespie, last starter Keith Trusso, J Gillespie, Killian, J J Keldsen and R Keldsen. J Gillespie's Watsonville point lead is 6 over R Keldsen, 8 ahead of daughter K Gillespie and 14 in front of Killian.
On the state standings, the third place tie between Reeder and Lollar is 28 points back of point leading R Keldsen.
Summary Figure 8 Main-John Keldsen, Wayne Reeder, Carl Lollar Jr, Kim Gillespie, Keith Trusso, Jim Gillespie, Ross Killian, J J Keldsen, Richard Keldsen, Billy Nelson II, Steven Taddei, Matt Medina. American Stock Dash-Sam Kennedy, Bill Sorg, Jennifer Rood. Heat 1-Rood, Sorg, Steven Taddei, Tom Reily, George Fernandez Jr. Heat 2-Ray Ash, Gary Hecker, Paul Champion, Jeremiah Roma, Duane Bieser. Heat 3-S Kennedy, Chad Bisordi, Wally Kennedy, Les Bowers, Eli Mendoza Jr. Main-S Kennedy, Sorg, Ash, Rood, Bisordi, W Kennedy, Reily, Taddei, Bieser, Champion, Roma, Aaron Hill, Mendoza, John Dawson Jr, Jimmy Fernandez, Hecker, Terry Stanton, Lollar, Bowers, Fernandez Jr. Limited Late Model Dash-Jeremy Prince, Ty Duggins, Ken Gregg. Heat 1-Gregg, Duggins, John Harville, Jeremy Petrell, Rich Barbaccia. Heat 2-Mike Calhoun, Prince, Chester Kniss, Jeff Mead, Larry Pedrelli. Main-Gregg, Calhoun, Duggins, Harville, Fred Lind, Barbaccia, Petrell, Prince, Kniss, Chris Long, Mead. Super Stock Dash-Doug Hagio, Chris Messmer, Dennis Pelphrey. Heat 1-Pelphrey, Eric VanHooser, Philip Priddy, Chris Kulvicki, Don Vesey. Heat 2-Mark Cooper, Anthony Guiliani, Ray Martin, Bill Hyland, Messmer. Main-Priddy, Danny Scott, Cooper, Hagio, Pelphrey, Hyland, Messmer, Kulvicki, VanHooser, Martin, Mark Acosta, Vesey, Giuliani, John Prentice, Raymond Keldsen Jr. IMCA Modified Dash-Kenny Nott Jr, Chuck Harrell, Todd Hermosillo. Heat 1-Harrell, Hermosillo, Andrew Krumm, Garrett Steitz, J D Willis. Heat 2-Bill Saltzman, Nott Jr, A J Kirkpatrick, T J Etchison, David Press. Main-Saltzman, Kirkpatrick, Krumm, Press, Nott Jr, Willis, Steitz, Johnnie Baptista, Andy Obertello, Hermosillo, Etchison, Bob Williamson Sr, Jim Blackwell, Harrell.