By: Gary Jacob and Dan Fitzgerald|
Where: Mohave Valley, AZ
Search by Keywords|
Search by Track
Search by Date
Mohave Valley, AZ -- Forced to do a major repair job to his Ford powered Larry Shaw dirt modified action a hard crash on Saturday night, Tucson AZ long tow Jeremy Payne made it all pay off as he drove to wins in both the B Main and the A Main on Saturday night to score a $2000 win in the dirt modified nationals at Mohave Valley Raceway. Payne had an incredible 2004 season with track championships in El Paso TX and Las Cruces NM in addition to pocketing the rich overall Border Racing Association title for the New Mexico, Texas and Arizona racers. Another young racer from the Phoenix AZ area, Jason Noll was a solid second to Payne and nearly pulled off a pass in the final corner. Friday night preliminary feature winner Dan Fitzgerald, the IMCA Modified Western Region champion, rebounded from an early race spin and later pit stop to battle back to a 3rd place finish with a late race pass on Bakersfield Speedway titlest Larry Hood. Hood spun on the last lap to move Wyoming long tow Justen Yeager into fourth ahead of another B Main transfer George Fronsman and Phoenix racer John Cox.
The Friday night action found the nearly 35 car turnout split into five heat races with just the top two finishers in each moving into the preliminary night feature. Ventura champion Gary Curtis won the first heat over Pahrump’s Jeff Talley and Rick Durica. Yeager put his Ford in the winner’s circle for heat 2 ahead of Jeff Sheppard and Ventura’s Don Houghton. Fitzgerald outraced Ventura racer Bill Waltman and Paul Hurns in heat 3 and it was Payne getting the heat 4 win over Terry Belcher Jr and Steve Simpson Jr. Belcher Jr was in his father’s car this weekend. Scotty Slatter, a regular in Fernley NV this summer despite living in Pahrump NV, won heat 5 ahead of Noll and Sean Stewart. The track had been very sloppy for the heat action and Hurns took the B Main win ahead of Stewart, Jim Bonetti’s new Skyrocket, Randy Thornell, Simpson Jr, Hood and a new mount for Ronnie Williams. Houghton got the final transfer in the 18 car preliminary night feature. The top 8 from the preliminary feature were seeded directly into the Saturday night A Main and the top five from Friday would race a Saturday night dash to set their starting order. The five heat winners drew for their starting order and Fitzgerald won the pole ahead of Salter, Yeager, Curtis and Payne. Fitzgerald took a quick lead with his Belville Motorsports mount and a big pileup in turn 3 forced an early race yellow flag. Payne was towed off with heavy frame damage with Simpson Jr, Sheppard and Belcher Jr also involved. There were many cautions before the A Main came to a conclusion with Fitzgerald still out front ahead of Yeager, Noll, Slatter, Belcher Jr, Thornell, Waltman and Hurns.
The top five from Friday drew for their starting order in the Saturday night dash and Belcher Jr drew the pole ahead of Noll, Fitzgerald, Slatter and Yeager. Noll fell out early in the dash and Fitzgerald broke a left front tie rod racing in 2nd. Belcher Jr got the win and pole for the feature ahead of Slatter and Yeager. The remaining cars battled through four heat races and a B Main to determine the final 12 transfers into the A Main. Cars joining the action on Saturday included Mohave Valley track champion Bill McIntosh, Dan Parker, Todd Nunnally and Jason Lee. Heat wins went to Simpson Jr, Cox, Bonetti and Talley. Payne ran second in his heat, but won the B Main ahead of Talley, Fronsman, Hood, Simpson, Sheppard, Cox, Nunnally and Canyon Raceway champion Shawn Zelenka. Zelenka had to replace an engine after the Friday night action. Also advancing to the A Main were Stewart, Jeff Graham and McIntosh. With his B Main win, Payne earned the sixth starting spot behind the five dash participants. The final three Friday night qualifiers started 7th, 9th and 11th with the remainder of the B Main transfers getting the outside slots in those rows and the back portion of the grid.
Belcher Jr took a quick lead over the 20 car grid with Slatter settling into second over Fitzgerald and Yeager. Belcher Jr had built a half-straight lead when Fitzgerald was able to take second from Slatter. Slatter broke a motor for the first yellow flag and joined both Hurns and Zelenka on the sidelines. On the restart, second place Fitzgerald spun into the infield, clipped a tire and had to restart in the rear. The next attempt to start the race found former Pahrump titlest Nunnally climbing a wheel and flipping three times in turn 2. He was unhurt. Following the red flag, Fitzgerald, Stewart and Talley all pitted and returned at the rear for the restart. After leading half of the race, Belcher Jr ran over debris and cut down a tire. When he pitted, he was called for speeding and not allowed to return. Sixth starter Payne had now worked his way to the front ahead of Noll and Hood. Fitzgerald came back from his early woes to retake third from Hood with two laps to go. In his duel to protect fourth from Yeager, Hood spun on the last lap in turn 2. He finished as the last car on the lead lap. Fitzgerald was a half-straight behind the dueling Payne and Noll when he climbed to third. Noll pulled alongside Payne as they came off the final corner, but Payne was able to nose back out front for the narrow win. Fitzgerald ran third ahead of Yeager, Fronsman, Cox, Talley, Waltman, McIntosh, Thornell and Hood.
Friday Heat 1-Gary Curtis, Jeff Talley, Rick Durica, Randy Thornell, Brian Turner. Heat 2-Justen Yeager, Jeff Sheppard, Don Houghton, Larry Hood, Shawn Zelenka. Heat 3-Dan Fitzgerald, Bill Waltman, Paul Hurns, George Fronsman, Jim Bonetti. Heat 4-Jeremy Payne, Terry Belcher Jr, Steve Simpson Jr, Ryan Crotty, Leland Hibdon. Heat 5-Scotty Slatter, Jason Noll, Sean Stewart, John Cox, Ronnie Williams. B Main-Hurns, Stewart, Bonetti, Thornell, Simpson Jr, Hood, Williams, Houghton, Tim Helms, Jeff Graham. A Main-Fitzgerald, Yeager, Noll, Slatter, Belcher Jr, Thornell, Waltman, Hurns, Curtis, Simpson, Hood, Talley, Stewart, Bonetti, Houghton, Sheppard, Payne, Williams.
Saturday Dash-Belcher Jr, Slatter, Yeager, Fitzgerald, Noll. Heat 1-Simpson, Zelenka, Sheppard, Hood, Bill McIntosh. Heat 2-Cox, Payne, Fronsman, Houghton, Williams. Heat 3-Bonetti, Todd Nunnally, Jason Lee, Stewart, Helms. Heat 4-Talley, Crotty, Durica, Graham, Hibdon. B Main-Payne, Talley, Fronsman, Hood, Simpson, Sheppard, Cox, Nunnally, Zelenka, Stewart, Graham, McIntosh. A Main-Payne, Noll, Fitzgerald, Yeager, Fronsman, Cox, Talley, Waltman, McIntosh, Thornell, Hood, Simpson, Sheppard, Stewart, Graham, Belcher Jr, Nunnally, Slatter, Hurns, Zelenka.