By: Gary Jacob|
Where: Merced, CA
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Merced, CA -- Having shown his speed with a third place finish two weeks earlier, Tim Goodson from Snelling drove his Dirt Works to a wire to wire win in Saturday night's 25 lap IMCA Modified feature at Merced Speedway following an earlier heat race win. Goodson won from the outside front row and former regional rookie of the year Andrew Krumm ran second ahead of former track champion Bob Williamson Sr. Williamson had to come from the back row after dropping a drive line in hot laps and missing his heat race while making repairs. Track point leader Ramie Stone protected his big point lead with a fifth after earlier winning a heat race and the dash. Fifth ranked street stock racer Ray Mays got his first feature win and also did it in wire to wire fashion as he won a 25 lapper from the pole with third starting Steve Strickland getting second ahead of second ranked John Clarke. Point leader Randy Brewer from Hilmar ran sixth. Aaron Widick made it three straight hobby stock wins and four overall for 2006 with his winning run from 4th. Earlier, his tough luck point average had been placing him in the front row but now he gradually falling back in the lineup assignments with his continued success. Sixth starting Don Hiser II was a season best second ahead of third starting Bubba Nelson, a late addition to the action in 2006 after an outstanding 2005 season on the 1/4 mile clay oval. With a fourth place run from 8th starting, Morgan Hill's Rich Altamirano closed to within 9 points of second ranked Raul Rodriguez Jr. Point leader Raul Rodriguez Sr protected his lead with an 8th as Raul Jr ran 9th in a 15 car race. This was the first of two straight nights of racing at the track as the officials were making up one of the many early season rainouts with the Sunday show.
With many of the track regulars electing to run the $500 to win show at Chowchilla instead of Merced including 2005 track champion Garrett Steitz, Merced drew a season low 9 IMCA Modifieds. That number included Petaluma Speedway star Charley Campbell, who towed down from Santa Rosa since the county fair had made his home track dark. Stone won the opening heat race in his Lefthander ahead of 16 year old rookie Clay Daly from Watsonville and Marshall Weaver. With the scratch of Williamson, heat 3 had just 3 cars and Goodson won ahead of Krumm and Jimmy Lust. Stone added the dash honors. Weaver and Goodson shared the front row for the main event ahead of Mike Gillard and Daly. Rodney Haygood made a quick trip back from the Infinion NASCAR action to fill his role as the setup expert on the Goodson team. Goodson was flying in the 25 lapper as he was never headed. He picked off his first feature win of 2006 and Krumm repeated his heat race second. Williamson came from 9th to finish third in his D&M and Gillard ran fourth over Stone, Daly, Jimmy Lust, Campbell and Weaver. Stone's point lead is now 61 over Krumm and 80 in front of Williamson. Daly is just one point behind Williamson and one ahead of the absent Steitz.
There were 8 street stocks. Third ranked Strickland won heat 1 in front of point runnerup Clarke and point leader Brewer. Buddy Thatcher won heat 2 over Lathrop's Ramon Neilson and Tom Flowers. Flowers was a feature scratch and Thatcher's action saw him disqualified from the feature finish. Mays and Dan Holcomb shared the front row and Mays was flawless as he raced to his first ever feature win. Strickland came from third to get second and Clarke battled from fifth to finish third. Holcomb ran fourth ahead of Neilson and Brewer. Neilson had won the dash honors. Brewer has incredibly good luck in the track's many double point shows and that has allowed him to build his 36 point lead over Clarke. Strickland is 97 points back of Clarke and 31 ahead of Holcomb. Fifth ranked Mays is 23 behind Holcomb.
Fifteen hobby stocks were also divided into two heat races. Raul Rodriguez Sr won the first heat ahead of Altamirano and Hiser. Richard Key beat Widick and Rodriguez Jr in heat 2. Chris Shelton had the pole for the 25 lap main with Ray Christensen alsongiside. Nelson and Widick made up row 2. Widick raced to a third straight feature win with Hiser second ahead of Nelson, Altamirano, Key, Jack Watts, Christensen, Rodriguez Sr and Rodriguez Jr. Rodriguez Sr is now 40 points up on Rodriguez Jr and 49 in front of Altamirano. Key has managed to stay within 23 points of Altamirano.
Summary Hobby Stock Heat 1-Raul Rodriguez Sr, Rich Altamirano, Don Hiser II, Chris Shelton, Bubba Nelson. Heat 2-Richard Key, Aaron Widick, Raul Rodriguez Jr, Ryan Larimer, Ray Christensen. Main-Widick, Hiser, Nelson, Altamirano, Key, Jack Watts, Christensen, Rodriguez Sr, Rodriguez Jr, Shelton, Charlie Kelley, Larimer, Shannon Porter, Bill Egleston, Robert Speck. Street Stock Dash-Ramon Neilson. Heat 1-Steve Strickland, John Clarke, Randy Brewer, Ray Mays. Heat 2-Buddy Thatcher, Neilson, Tom Flowers, Danny Holcomb. Main-Mays, Strickland, Clarke, Holcomb, Neilson, Brewer. IMCA Modified Dash-Ramie Stone. Heat 1-Stone, Clay Daly, Marshall Weaver, Charley Campbell, Mike Gillard. Heat 2-Tim Goodson, Andrew Krumm, Jimmy Lust. Main-Goodson, Krumm, Bob Williamson Sr, Gillard, Stone, Daly, Lust, Campbell, Weaver.