By: Gary Jacob|
Where: Chico, CA
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Chico, CA --
In his first ever visit to Cycleland Speedway, Concord’s Billy Aton, a regular at Vallejo Speedway, impressed as he ran away from the field to win the 20 lap Box Stock outlaw kart feature Saturday afternoon as the track staged it’s annual playday. For the first time, the track organized heat races and features for the many participants, then finished the afternoon with an extended practice session that gave the teams the opportunity to allow other people to race their machines. Aton finished second in his heat, but had the lead on lap 2 of the feature and won easily ahead of Kodie Brown and Anthony Orgain. Chad Widener was a regular in the Box Stocks at Cycleland in 1999, but raced to thirds in a couple non point Pro Box Stock races late in the year. Saturday, he raced to a wire to wire win in the 20 lap main for that class with good friend Matt DiBenedetto second. Mike Hester led wire to wire to win the 20 lap main for the mini stocks with teammate Troy Donnelson, the 1999 track champion, second.
The Box Stocks had the day’s biggest turnout with 23 karts racing. They were split into three heat races. Cycleland track champion Matt DiBenedetto won the first heat ahead of Aton. John Barker was impressive in his heat win with Brown second. Vallejo Speedway regular Daniel Akers won the third heat ahead of Drew Planchon. The top 4 from each heat advanced into the 20 lap A main and they were joined by the top 2 finishers in the B Main. Brendon Fannunchi barely made the call for the B Main, but passed first time racer J J Helberg late in the race to win. Helberg is the son of late model racer Joe Helberg. Vincent Violante and another newcomer Peter Lawrence just missed the transfers into the A Main. The A main started with a front stretch tangle that eliminated both Akers and Mitch Newquist. Barker was sent to the rear for not slowing on the caution. DiBenedetto led the first couple laps before Aton took over. Brown settled into third and Fannuchi made an early charge to 4th. Barker had just passed Fannuchi for 4th when a spinning Raymond Close was hit by 2nd place DiBendetto. DiBenedetto flipped wildily in the incident, but was unhurt. When he stopped for the red, Barker was hit hard by Fannuchi, ending the race for Barker. Aton led Brown and Orgain over the remaining rounds for the win. Fannuchi ran fourth ahead of Will Clark, Close, Tyler Reiswig and Heather Bartlett.
With several of the newer Box Stocks electing to run two classes to gain experience, the Pro Box Stocks had a 9 kart field. Cycleland Speedway track champion Ron LaPlant won the heat race after DiBenedetto spun leading. Widener was second ahead of Vallejo Speedway Box Stock champion Tyler Asker. Asker reported late for the 20 lap main and had to start in the rear with Widener beating LaPlant on the start to take the lead. DiBenedetto settled into third and Asker struck quickly to fourth. A pair of spins put Asker a lap down with Matt George dueling newcomer Richard Bailey for fourth. In 6 laps, Widener had built a 1/4 lap lead and he was never challenged as the 20 lapper was run without a caution. Fourth place George was lapped with four laps to run and DiBenedetto got around LaPlant late to finish second. Widener won ahead of DiBenedetto, LaPlant and George with Asker fifth ahead of Bailey and Brendon Fannuchi.
The mini stocks had a five car turnout, but Jeff Olschowka’s day ended with a broken engine in the heat race. Hester won the heat ahead of Randy Freeman and Donnelson. In the 20 lap main, Donnelson took second from Freeman on the first lap and Brandon Dozier was lapped after spinning without a caution. Hester led all the way in the caution free race to easily win over teammate Donnelson and Freeman.
Summary Mini Stock Heat-Mike Hester, Randy Freeman, Troy Donnelson, Brandon Dozier, Jeff Olschowka. Main-Hester, Donnelson, Freeman, Dozier. Box Stock Heat 1-Matt DiBenedetto, Billy Aton, Mitch Newquist, Anthony Orgain, J J Helberg. Heat 2-John Barker, Kodie Brown, Raymond Close, Heather Bartlett, Kevin Lewis. Heat 3-Daniel Akers, Drew Planchon, Tyler Reiswig, Will Clark, Richard Bailey. B Main-Brendon Fannuchi, Helberg, Vincent Violante, Peter Lawrence, Lewis, Tyler Ritcheson, Josh Chambers, Aaron Bundy, Shyanne Gould, Kyle Fales. A Main-Aton, Brown, Orgain, Fannuchi, Clark, Close, Reiswig, Bartlett, Planchon, Helberg, Violante, DiBenedetto, Barker, Akers, Newquist. Pro Box Stock Heat-Ron LaPlant, Chad Widener, Tyler Asker, Matt DiBenedetto, Matt George. Main-Widener, DiBenedetto, LaPlant, George, Asker, Richard Bailey, Brendon Fannuchi, Peter Lawrence, J J Helberg.