By: Gary Jacob|
Where: Merced, CA
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Merced, CA -- Repeating his wire to wire run from the outside front row of Saturday night, Tim Goodson from Snelling won the 25 lap IMCA Modified feature race at Merced Speedway for a second straight night on Sunday night as the track made up one of it’s early season rain outs. Goodson had been a very tough luck driver on the previous events on the schedule, but showed his strength with a third place run on June 10. Goodson drives a Dirt Works and was quick to thank the setup help from Rodney Haygood, who split his time between the NASCAR action at Infinion and Goodson’s racing on the weekend. Goodson’s engines are built by Bill Baker and Goodson’s former car was turned into an instant winner at Imperial Fairgrounds Speedway this spring when he sold it to pro stock racer Robert Prince. Each night, Goodson won his heat race and then was never headed in the feature action. Saturday night $500 winner at Chowchilla, 2005 Kings Speedway champion Aaron Barnell got second in his D&M after starting third. Chris Shannon came from 8th to garner third in his GRT and Chowchilla runnerup Alex Stanford got a fourth in his D&M. Street stock point runnerup John Clarke finished off a strong weekend with his second feature win of the year as he passed Saturday night winner Ray Mays on lap 16 enroute to the 25 lap triumph. Clarke ran third on Saturday night so he gained ground on point leader Randy Brewer both nights. Brewer did make a lap 19 outside move on Mays to get second and Mays followed up his first career win with a third. Leading a four car train across the checkered flag, Atwater’s Bill Egleston won the 25 lap hobby stock feature for his first win of 2006. Rich Altamirano added a second to his fourth on Saturday night and moved back into second in track points. Point leader and defending champion Raul Rodriguez Sr ran third ahead of Richard Key. Having won his third straight feature on Saturday night, Aaron Widick was bidding for four straight but he pitted on a feature pace lap and could only manage a 7th from the rear of the field. Making it 7 feature wins in the first ten point races of the year, Dennis Barcellos finished off a clean sweep in the Valley Sportsman by leading the final 13 laps of the 15 lapper. He finished 1/3 lap ahead of teenaged son Neill Barcellos as Mark Odgers ran third. D Barcellos also won the heat and dash.
The 13 car IMCA Modified turnout included five cars that raced in Chowchilla on Saturday night and Nevada state championship contender Bill Smith III, who won at Fallon NV on Saturday night. Smith always opens his season as a Merced track regular until his Northern Nevada tracks get their seasons underway, but this was a rare summer time visit for him. Goodson also started outside front row in heat 1 and won with a best lap of 17.29. Stanford fought brake problems at both Ocean Speedway and Chowchilla on the weekend, but had his car working this night and ran second from fifth starting ahead of point leader Ramie Stone. Barnell led early in heat 2 from an outside front row start as he ran a 16.88 lap. Shannon missed Saturday night’s racing repairing damage suffered Friday night in Watsonville, but charged from the back row to pass Barnell for the heat 2 win. Shannon ran a 16.84 lap once he got out front. Barnell ran second ahead of Smith. Stanford took the dash honors with a 16.98 best lap as Shannon edged out Barnell for third. The usual invert 10 off of the track point averages lineup procedure was used, putting Marshall Weaver and Goodson on the front row ahead of Barnell and 16 year old rookie Clay Daly. R Stone and Shannon shared row 4 ahead of Smith and Stanford. Goodson used an extreme high line to take an early lead over Weaver. Andrew Krumm took fourth from Daly on lap 3. Debris forced a lap 5 yellow and Daly was sent to the rear since it was his filler panel that had flown off of his Victory Chassis. R Stone inherited fifth and drove by Krumm on the outside for fourth on lap 7. On lap 8, sixth starting Garrett Steitz was still sixth ahead of Shannon and Stanford. R Stone went low in turn 2 on lap 10 to take third from Weaver. Steitz broke into the top five a lap later and Krumm came right back to repass both Weaver and Steitz to regain fourth on lap 13. Shannon raced around Krumm for fourth on lap 15 as Barnell was reeling in leader Goodson. Stanford gained fifth on lap 16 as Krumm fell back to sixth ahead of Steitz and Weaver. Weaver crashed coming off turn 4 for a final yellow flag on lap 18. On the restart, R Stone’s bid to advance from third saw him slide over the top of turn 4. He fell to the back of the field with Goodson now leading Barnell and Shannon. They raced in that order to the checkered flag with Stanford getting fourth. Steitz and Krumm dueled for fifth and former track champion Bob Williamson Sr had to come from the rear after missing his heat action for a second straight night. On Saturday night, Williamson came from the back to get third and he was 7th this night. Smith ran 8th ahead of R Stone and Troy Stone.
There were 7 street stocks and Clarke’s big night opened with a drive from fifth to get the heat win. He and Brewer waged a strong fight for that victory and Brewer ended up spinning in turn 3 of the final lap. That allowed Mays to run second ahead of rookie Tracy Glass. Saturday night runnerup Steve Strickland blew a tire on the first lap of the heat. The track was very wet for the heat action, but had dried for the dash and Mays ran a 18.69 lap as he won the dash over Clarke and Glass. Point averages are also used to line up the feature, putting Glass and Mays on the front row for the 25 lapper ahead of Dan Holcomb and Strickland with Clarke and Brewer in row 3. Mays was a wire to wire winner from the pole on Saturday. He again raced into the lead on the opening lap this night by passing Glass. Strickland took second from Glass on lap 4 and Clarke was third a lap later as leader Mays ran an 18.85 lap. Brewer shuffled Glass back to fourth on lap 7 and Glass pitted on lap 8. Lester Beavers spun for a lap 10 yellow and then crashed into the backstretch inside wall for another caution on the restart. He was sent off for causing two cautions and Holcomb retired also. Clarke got underneath Strickland for second on lap 14 and he put heavy pressure on leader Mays. Clarke made his winning pass on the inside in turn 3 of lap 16. Clarke ran an 18.73 lap once in front. Brewer had taken third from Strickland on lap 15 and rode a high line into second in turn 4 on lap 19. Clarke stayed out front of Brewer the rest of the way with Mays completing his strong weekend with a third ahead of Strickland and Glass.
Fifteen hobby stocks were divided into a pair of heat races. Point leading Raul Rodriguez Sr came from 7th to win heat 1 with a 19.40 best lap as fourth starting Altamirano ran second ahead of pole starter Chris Shelton in an entertaining duel. Egleston turned an outside front row start into a win in heat 2 over fifth starting Key as Ryan Larimer got third. Egleston crashed leading the dash and Altamirano got that win ahead of Key and Rodriguez Sr. Widick ran fifth in his heat and was again assigned a second row start based on his season point average in the 25 lapper. Before the green, Widick ran to the pits for a quick adjustment and had to start in the rear. Egleston raced into the lead over Saturday night runnerup Don Hiser II. Robert Speck made heavy contact with the back fence on lap 2 and his race was over as Altamirano raced around Hiser for second on lap 3. Rodriguez Sr gained fourth on lap 2 and got by Hiser for third on lap 5. Shelton slowed on lap 7 and fell out a couple laps later. Bubba Nelson started his year just a few weeks ago and he raced around Hiser for fourth on lap 10. Key broke into the top five on lap 13. Last year’s top runner Ryan Porter got a ride in the Ray Christensen car for Sunday night, but the engine began to miss in the feature and he fell out when he got lapped on lap 16. Key took fourth from Nelson on lap 20 as this 25 lapper ran without a caution. Raul Rodriguez Jr raced into fifth on lap 22, but blew a right front tire on lap 24 to ruin his finish. Key caught the three leaders to make it a four car train in the final rounds. Egleston stayed out front for his first win with Altamirano capping his strong weekend in second ahead of Rodriguez Sr and Key. Nelson ran fifth ahead of Larimer and Widick as Hiser also got around the limping Rodriguez Jr before the checkered flag. With the caution free event, the final checkered flag on a well run show fell at 9:30.
The usual five cars appeared in the Valley Sportsman action. D Barcellos won the heat race from last with a 18.13 best lap. N Barcellos ran second ahead of Tony Valencia. Mark Odgers ran a 17.91 lap leading the dash, but D Barcellos turned a last lap pass into a win with Odgers second ahead of N Barcellos. This 15 lapper also ran without a yellow and Valencia led two laps before D Barcellos took over. D Barcellos was fifth on the first lap, but leaped to third on lap 2 and the lead on lap 3. He ran an 18.31 lap once in front and N Barcellos got by Valencia for second on lap 5. D Barcellos wasted little time opening a ¼ lap lead over N Barcellos. Odgers moved up to duel Valencia for third and he raced by the rookie on lap 9. Once in third, Odgers was ½ lap behind the flying leader. D Barcellos went on to win by 1/3 lap over N Barcellos. Odgers ran third ahead of Valencia and Junior Zike as everyone finished lead lap.
July 4th will be a busy time for Merced Speedway as they run their regular show on July 1, make up another early season rainout on July 2 and then run the annual Fireworks race on July 4. Sponsorship allows Merced to have a free grandstand for July 4, but no alcohol is sold that night.
Summary Valley Sportsman Dash-Dennis Barcellos, Mark Odgers, Neill Barcellos, Tony Valencia, Junior Zike. Heat-D Barcellos, N Barcellos, Valencia, Odgers, Zike. Main-D Barcellos, N Barcellos, Odgers, Valencia, Zike. Hobby Stock Dash-Rich Altamirano, Richard Key, Raul Rodriguez Sr, Bill Egleston. Heat 1-Rodriguez Sr, Altamirano, Chris Shelton, Don Hiser II, Bubba Nelson. Heat 2-Egleston, Key, Ryan Larimer, Raul Rodriguez Jr, Aaron Widick. Main-Egleston, Altamirano, Rodriguez Sr, Key, Nelson, Larimer, Widick, Hiser, Rodriguez Jr, Charlie Kelley, James Hall, Ryan Porter, Shelton, Robert Speck. Street Stock Dash-Ray Mays, John Clarke, Tracy Glass, Lester Beavers. Heat-Clarke, Mays, Glass, Beavers, Randy Brewer. Main-Clarke, Brewer, Mays, Steve Strickland, Glass, Dan Holcomb, Beavers. IMCA Modified Dash-Alex Stanford, Chris Shannon, Aaron Barnell, Monty Tomlinson Jr. Heat 1-Tim Goodson, Stanford, Ramie Stone, Andrew Krumm, Clay Daly. Heat 2-Shannon, Barnell, Bill Smith III, Garrett Steitz, Marshall Weaver. Main-Goodson, Barnell, Shelton, Stanford, Steitz, Krumm, Bob Williamson Sr, Smith, R Stone, Troy Stone, Tomlinson, Daly, Weaver.