By: Gary Jacob|
Where: Ventura, CA
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Ventura, CA -- The Taylor Motorsports team made an appearance at the VRA unwinged 360 sprint car action at Ventura Raceway to give New Zealand's Graeme Sutton a shot at driving their #7 car, but usual driver Greg Taylor also picked up a ride in Jesse Denome's car and Taylor raced from 8th starting spot to the lead in 20 laps and scored the $1000 win in the 30 lap main event Saturday night. Taylor is one of the winningest drivers at the track in the past decade, but now races mainly on the dirt and pavement with the USAC series. Sutton was the final lead lap finisher in 12th and early race leader Rob Kershaw placed a $750 second. Mike Whitcomb debuted a new car in impressive fashion as he ran second to Taylor in their heat race and then placed a career best third worth $500 in the 30 lapper. Tom Stansberry protected his huge point lead with a fifth behind Luis Espinoza. Tony Lima appeared to have posted his second win in the 16 lap Senior Sprint Car feature, but refused to remove his manifold in post race tech to show that he was running the required ASCS gasket. That led to his disqualification and John Woodward got his first ever win ahead of point runnerup Wiley Miller and point leader Bruce Douglas. Donald Houghton's season got off to a terrible start with several DNF's, but he is reapping the benefits of good starting positions as he won his fifth 20 lap IMCA Modified feature. He came from 4th starting and outraced pole starter Bill Waltman for the win. Chris Tonoli ran third, but stands 15 points behind point leader Gary Curtis as the season winds down. Curtis fifth behind Jack Parker. Kathy Pierson did not break her arm at the fair show, but did receive a severe sprain and she was able to return to action with a 6th place run. She is one point ahead of teammate Tonoli in their duel for second in points. Joel Chavez got his first 20 lap pony stock feature win with point leader Mike Frazier second ahead of Andrew Greiman. The track returned to action after being idled for nearly a month due to the Ventura County Fair.
The VRA unwinged 360 sprint cars split 28 cars into four heat races with the top four finishers in each advancing into the 30 lap feature. Outside front row starter Clark Templeman III won the first heat over pole starter Kershaw. Taylor came from 4th with his borrowed car to win heat 2 over pole starter Whitcomb. Larry Lloyd won heat 3 from the pole with fifth starter Danny Ebberts second. Sutton started last and finished fourth in the normal Taylor mount. Steve Chuhaloff won heat 4 from third as fourth starter Kevin Kierce ran second. Front row starter Blake Miller won the B Main ahead of Espinoza, Mike Knopf, Bill Welch and Brandon Thomson. Thomson was allowed to move into the A Main when Kierce stalled on a pace lap and would not restart. Whitcomb and Kershaw had the front row for the A Main with an 8 car inversion of the passing point totals. That placed Kierce and Ebberts in row 2 ahead of Lloyd, Templeman, Chuhaloff and Taylor.
Second place point racer Kershaw was leading the race when Taylor made his winning move on lap 20. Kershaw chased Taylor to the win and Whitcomb impressed with his third place effort. Espinoza came from 18th starting to 4th and Stansberry ran fifth from an 11th place start. Lloyd was sixth over 20th starter Welch, Bill Camarillo, B Miller, Mike Broome, Chuhaloff and Sutton. On the final lap, a broken wheel sent fourth place Steve Conrad flipping and fifth place Ebberts got collected in the incident. Templeman dropped out on lap 1. Stansberry's point lead is 1760 points over Kershaw with Conrad another 1195 back in third. Welch ranks fourth.
The Senior Sprint division split 21 cars into three heat races. Bob Hedlund won heat 1 from the pole with fellow front row stater Jim Porter second. Ron Bach came from third to take heat 2 and sixth starter W Miller was second. Point leader Douglas won heat 3 from third and pole starter Mike Cook was second. In the feature action, Lima used a slide job to get the lead from W Miller on lap 13. Woodward also moved by in the same incident and 13th starter Woodward got his first feature win when Lima was disqualified in tech. Pole starter W Miller ended up second ahead of third starter Douglas, Dale Harwood, Steve Stasa, Mark Chuhaloff, Danny Miller, Moon and John Richards. Douglas holds a slim 310 point lead on W Miller with D Miller a distant third ahead of 2003 champion Bach. Cook, Porter, Bach, Curtis Richards and Jim Stutzman were all eliminated in a lap 3 incident. The other 16 starters all finished with 14 on the lead lap.
The IMCA Modifieds fielded 16 cars and D Houghton won heat 1 over Steve Greenland and Pierson. Jack Parker came from sixth to win heat 2 over Waltman and Mark Fullerton. Both Ed Cutler and Steve Bulpit were main event scratches. D Houghton chased down pole starter Waltman for his fifth win and Tonoli came all the way from 14th to finish third. 8th starter Parker was 4th ahead of 13th starter Curtis, Pierson, 15th starter Will Smith, Wes Richardson and Brad Prows. Curtis came out of the night 14 points up on Pierson, 15 ahead of Tonoli, 24 in front of Richardson and 30 ahead of Smith. Josh Houghton continues to pace the rookie contingent in sixth, 12 behind Smith. Fourteen pony stocks were divided into two heat races and Jim Evans won the first over Chavez and Tom Fish. Greiman came from third to get heat 2 over fifth starter Frazier and Eric Hedlund. Hedlund was out after just one lap in the feature as third starter Chavez got his first win. Frazier came from 7th to get second and 4th starter Greiman was third. David Peterson ran fourth over Fish, Evans, Adam McPhail and Jon Everhart. Frazier's point lead is 245 over Peterson and Everhart is another 85 points back in third. McPhail is 75 behind Everhart and 40 ahead of Greiman. Chavez is ranked sixth, just 15 behind Greiman. The top ten finishers were on the lead lap.
Summary Pony Stock Heat 1-Jim Evans, Joel Chavez, Tom Fish, David Peterson, Joe Weaver. Heat 2-Andrew Greiman, Mike Frazier, Eric Hedlund, Jon Everhart, Dave Revard. Main-Chavez, Frazier, Greiman, Peterson, Fish, Evans, Adam McPhail, Everhart, Revard, Jon Mortenson, Ashley Utts, Weaver, Terry Nunley, Hedlund. IMCA Modified Heat 1-Donald Houghton, Steve Greenland, Kathy Pierson, Wes Richardson, Joe Weaver. Heat 2-Jack Parker, Bill Waltman, Mark Fullerton, Rick Johnston, Brad Prows. Main-D Houghton,Waltman, Chris Tonoli, Parker, Gary Curtis, Pierson, Will Smith, Richardson, Prows, Johnston, Josh Houghton, Weaver, Fullerton, Greenland. Senior Sprint Car Heat 1-Bob Hedlund, Jim Porter, Ron Butler, John Woodward, Dave Marini. Heat 2-Ron Bach, Wiley Miller, Mark Chuhaloff, Sammy Iaconis, John Richards. Heat 3-Bruce Douglas, Mike Cook, Steve Stasa, Dale Harwood, Danny Miller. Main-Woodward, W Miller, Douglas, Harwood, Stasa, Chuhaloff, D Miller, Tim Moon, J Richards, Marini, Hedlund, Butler, Iaconis, Bob Alderman, Grady Winkler, Mike Cook, Porter, Bach, Curtis Richards, Jim Stutzman. Unwinged 360 Sprint Car Heat 1-Clark Templeman III, Rob Kershaw, Steve Conrad, Tom Stansberry, Mike Knopf. Heat 2-Greg Taylor, Mike Whitcomb, Bill Camarillo, Chris Wakim, Blake Miller. Heat 3-Larry Lloyd, Danny Ebberts, Ryan Devitt, Graeme Sutton, Brandon Thomson. Heat 4-Steve Chuhaloff, Kevin Kierce, Mike Broome, Dennis Rodriguez, Jeremy Ellertson. B Main-B Miller, Luis Espinoza, Knopf, Bill Welch, B Thomson, Nicholas Lima, Ellertson, Victor Davis, Chris Tramel, Jim Thomson. A Main-Taylor, Kershaw, Whitcomb, Espinoza, Stansberry, Lloyd, Welch, Camarillo, B Miller, Broome, Chuhaloff, Sutton, Conrad, Ebberts, Rodriguez, Devitt, Wakim, Knopf, B Thomson, Templeman.