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MILLER CLOSES ON POINT LEAD WITH FOURTH WIN, LOSES ENGINE

IMCA Modifieds, Super Street Stocks, Hobby Stocks, American Stocks and Mini Stocks

By: Gary Jacob and Don Low
Where: Oildale, CA
On: 07/31/2004
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Oildale, CA -- Jeff Miller led the final 11 laps to win the curfew shortened 20 lap IMCA Modified feature race Saturday night at Bakersfield Speedway Park, then lost his engine to a claim by Chett Reeves. His fourth win of 2004 closed him to within 19 points of point leader Larry Hood. The absence of Sidney Payne allowed Miller to move into third in points. Nick Sylvester was a season best second ahead of Lonnie Welch. Zach Forster was a wire to wire winner in the 20 lap super street stock main. It was his second win of 2004 and he fought off the challenges of point leader Robby Sawyer, a five time winner on the 1/3 mile clay oval. The hobby stocks also had a wire to wire winner as Steven Johnson won from the pole for his 2nd win. He is third in points, 39 behind leader Richie McGowan. Rick Spicer ran second and trails fourth place finisher McGowan by 19 points in the track title fight. Sam Henry led all 20 laps to win the American Stock main for the first time in 2004. Red hot Michael Johnson ran second and took over the point lead as Christine Carl finished 19th. Fifth place finisher Chris Martin is only 8 points back of M Johnson. Tina McGowan won her first 15 lap mini stock main and fended off a strong challenge from fellow female racer Lulu Strub to do it. Strub was second ahead of runaway point leader Jimmy Mason.

The IMCA Modifieds fielded 20 cars and ran three heat races. Sylvester won the first heat over Steve Morrison and it was Mike Hood getting heat 2 ahead of Lee Jensen. Point leader Larry Hood came from sixth to win heat 3 ahead of Welch. The 20 lap main event was marred by seven caution flags and a single red flag. Robert Sanders led the first 7 laps. Welch settled into second and Sylvester took third from Jim Deines on lap 2. M Hood spun on the first lap and fifth place Reeves had to pit with a flat tire. Brady Bell and Lou Tompkins tangled for a lap 4 red flag. Jensen raced into fourth on lap 5 and traded third with Sylvester. After leading 7 laps, Sanders had to pit with a flat right front tire. Welch was the new leader, but paced just 2 laps. Fourteenth starter Miller gained second on lap 9 and took the lead on lap 10. Sylvester followed Miller around Welch for second on lap 11. Darrell Hood was out for causing two cautions when he spun for the last slowdown on lap 17. Jason Selvidge was now third behind Miller and Sylvester. Selvidge raced into second on lap 19, but fell back to fifth on the last lap as Miller beat Sylvester, Welch, Jensen and Selvidge. David Childress was sixth ahead of Marvin Leist, Morrison, Reeves and Mike Scott. Both Childress and Reeves wanted to claim Miller's engine and Reeves won the draw. Miller agreed to sell for the $525 IMCA dollar amount. L Hood ran 16th and saw his point lead shrink to just 7 points over 12th place finisher, uncle M Hood. Miller is only 19 points out of the point lead.

The 11 car super street stock field included the first Bakersfield run in a couple seasons for former Porterville resident Ronny Sanders. Forster won heat 1 from last with Glen Hughes second. Sawyer captured heat 2 from third and pole starter Bill Little was second. Sanders ran fourth in his heat and then put relative Kevin Collier, a famous name from the past in the car for the 20 lap feature. Wayne Heurung crashed in his heat and borrowed the Roger Blankenship car for the feature. Forster and Karl Noland Jr shared the front row and Forster took a quick lead. Little passed Noland Jr for second on lap 3 and Jeremiah VanScoy gained fourth on lap 5. Sawyer was fifth on lap 6. Sawyer passed VanScoy on lap 10 and gained third from Noland Jr on lap 11. Debris forced a lap 13 yellow and Hughes pitted with a flat tire. Sawyer was able to grab second from Little on lap 14 and VanScoy stalled his overheating mount for the last yellow on lap 17. Sawyer ran out of time in his bid to overtake Forster. Little ran third over Noland Jr and Collier with George Olmsted a lap down in sixth.

The busy schedule and a series of crashes cut the hobby stock field down to 16 cars. Mike Wilson was chasing a third straight win and he ran second behind R McGowan in heat 1. Rachel Paul won heat 2 over Clyde Benson. Chad Johnson won heat 3 from the pole over Devan Jones. Sean Minor was a feature scratch. S Johnson and Lou Wolfe shared the front row for the 20 lap feature and S Johnson raced to a quick lead over Benson and C Johnson. Wilson pitted on lap 2 and C Johnson spun out of third for a lap 4 yellow flag. On the restart, Spicer was second and Benson regained third on lap 6. Paul had to pit with a flat tire on lap 11. R McGowan gained fourth on lap 12, but could only chase S Johnson, Spicer and Benson over the closing rounds. Jones ran fifth and Ron Schmidt was disqualified from sixth for not having the track tires. That gave Tom Klamorick sixth over Wolfe and Amy Hedden.

The American Stocks continue to have impressive counts with 24 in action this week. Newcomers Mitchell Jacob and Alan Oakes both missed the feature action. Jacob crashed in hot laps and Oakes drove hard into the wall in the heat race, but escaped unhurt. Carl did win heat 1 over Johny McKinley. M Johnson got heat 2 over James Cecil and it was Wayne Dotson outracing impressive newcomer Rick Childress Jr in heat 3. Henry and J McKinley had the front row for the 22 car, 20 lap feature. Henry took a quick lead and J McKinley pitted with a flat tire on lap 2 as Cecil gained second. Dotson took second from Cecil on lap 4. Cecil pitted on lap 9 and Dotson slowed with a flat right rear tire. Jesse Bowles gained second over M Johnson and Matt Morris. Steve McKinley pitted after being blackflagged and Michelle Childress also fell out. With just three laps to go, second place Bowles got taken out by the lapped car of Mike McInnerney and McInnerney was disqualified from the event. Henry got the win over M Johnson, Morris, Childress Jr, Martin, Wade Meinke, Roxie Johnson and Conrad Feliks. The mini stocks had their biggest turnout with 14 cars but three were trailered before the feature action. Strub makes the long tow from Southern California for every race and she won heat 1 over Kenny Farris. T McGowan took heat 2 over Richard Graves. Michael Johnson hit the wall in the heat action, Robert Tucker broke a motor and Marc McCaslin was another scratch. Pole starter Strub led the first four laps with T McGowan into second on lap 3. The race was redflagged on lap 4 when Landon Purdy flipped. T McGowan led laps 5-6 and Strub was back in front with an inside pass on lap 7. T McGowan went back underneath Strub to take the lead for good on lap 8 and she got her first win. Strub ran second and Mason raced into third on lap 11. Graves finished fourth over Scott Kerley, Ray Miller and Kari Haislip.

Summary Mini Stock Heat 1-Lulu Strub, Kenny Farris, Eric Farris, Marc McCaslin, Ray Miller. Heat 2-Tina McGowan, Richard Graves, Jimmy Mason, Scott Kerley, Landon Purdy. Main-McGowan, Strub, Mason, Graves, Kerley, Miller, Kari Haislip, K Farris, E Farris, Rick Cirimele, Purdy. American Stock Heat 1-Christine Carl, Johny McKinley, Wade Meinke, Roxie Johnson, Jason Bannister. Heat 2-Michael Johnson, James Cecil, Jesse Bowles, Matt Morris, Mike Boyd. Heat 3-Wayne Dotson, Rick Childress Jr, Sam Henry, Chris Martin, Adam Watkins. Main-Henry, M Johnson, Morris, Childress Jr, Martin, Meinke, R Johnson, Conrad Feliks, Bowles, J McKinley, Michelle Childress, Mike Armitage, Watkins, Cecil, Dotson, Steve McKinley, Jackie Wood, Boyd, Carl, Bannister, Lisa Hudnall. Hobby Stock Heat 1-Richie McGowan, Mike Wilson, Tom Klamorick, Steven Johnson, Amy Hedden. Heat 2-Rachel Paul, Clyde Benson, Lou Wolfe, Sean Minor, Geoff Menees. Heat 3-Chad Johnson, Devan Jones, Rick Spicer, Ron Schmidt, Brice Rutledge. Main-S Johnson, Spicer, Benson, McGowan, Jones, Klamorick, Wolfe, Hedden, Menees, Shane LeBlanc, Paul, C Johnson, Wilson, Rutledge. Super Street Stock Heat 1-Zach Forster, Glen Hughes, Jeremiah VanScoy, Ronny Sanders, George Olmsted. Heat 2-Robby Sawyer, Bill Little, Karl Noland Jr, Randy Schweitzer, Wayne Heurung. Main-Forster, Sawyer, Little, K Noland Jr, Kevin Collier, Olmsted, Heurung, VanScoy, Hughes, Schweitzer. IMCA Modified Heat 1-Nick Sylvester, Steve Morrison, Lou Tompkins, Jim Deines, Marvin Leist. Heat 2-Mike Hood, Lee Jensen, Lin Deines, Robert Sanders, Jeff Miller. Heat 3-Larry Hood, Lonnie Welch, Brady Bell, Chett Reeves, David Childress. Main-Miller, Sylvester, Welch, Jensen, Jason Selvidge, Childress, Leist, Morrison, Reeves, Mike Scott, L Deines, M Hood, Sanders, J Deines, Jimmy Goldsmith, L Hood, Darrell Hood, Jimmy Irwin, Tompkins, Bell.


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