Saturday's Tri-Holiday Sweepstakes results at Silver State Raceway came under scrutiny from several race fans. The change in the finishing order was made by Director of Competition Robert Kline.
On lap 149 of the 150-lap feature, the top five drivers were Mike Manch, Chet Danburg, Shane Kline, Josh Bews and Jim Courage Jr. When the checkered flag dropped on lap 150, the car of Mike Millard slowed suddenly in front of the leaders giving Bews the opportunity to pass Kline on the outside for the third position, making the top-five finishing order Manch, Danburg, Bews, Kline and Courage.
Because of Millard's action, which Robert Kline felt was intentional, Kline chose to revert the finishing order to lap 149, which relegated Bews back to the fourth position.
Robert Kline said with time to think of his actions and realizing he made a hasty decision to revert the finishing order of the race to lap 149, Kline has chosen to call the finish at lap 150, reverting Bews back to the third position.
"I've been involved with racing in one way or another for 35 years and never in that time have I ever heard of action like this," said Tom Pellinen of Roseville, Calif., who witnessed the race, then later learned of the change in positions.
"Whether he (Kline) felt it was intentional or not, you don't change the finishing order of a race. That decision benefited one person, his son. And maybe that's just a coincidence."
The payoff differential from third to fourth was $200.
On Aug. 5, Millard was suspended from racing at the facility for not obeying orders by the officials. He was also fined $500 to be paid before returning to the track.
In a gentlemen's agreement between Millard and Robert Kline, Kline said Millard agreed to obey all flagman instructions and official rules on the track, so he could race in the final Tri-Holiday Sweepstakes race.
"I waived his fine for him and he promised me, he gave me his word he would race clean and obey the flags," said Kline. "He said, 'Trust me.' I wanted to believe him and show I wasn't such an a--hole. I should have known better. He let me down.
"But what he did to the leaders of the race was inexcusable. As they were battling for the lead for the final eight laps, he wouldn't move over. The flagman showed him the move over flag several times and he didn't move over.
"Then, as the drivers took the checkered flag, he brake-checked the leader. He nearly stopped right in front of them, then two of the four cars ran into each other. He cost the drivers and race fans the end of a great race. Bottom line, he showed poor sportsmanship."
Mike Millard denies brake-checking the leaders at the end of the race.
"When I saw the checkered flag come out, I knew it was for the leaders and I knew I still had one lap to go," said Millard.
"So I kept my foot in it. My car didn't slow, it's fine. I would never brake-check anybody and I would never wreck anybody, ever. I've got a lot of money in my car and it becomes a car issue and a safety issue. I would not do that. I have never gone out to intentionally wreck someone."
"Looking back, I did do it wrong," said Robert Kline about his decision. "I was so angry and upset with Millard at the time, I didn't think of my options. I should have moved him to the rear of the field and then continued the race. I regret doing what I did and I'm not scared to admit what I did was wrong."
To make things "right," Kline called Bews and Shane Kline Wednesday. He is pulling $200 from Shane's winnings and will give it to Bews. Robert Kline wants the drivers to know he is a fair official and will do the best he can to correct a wrong-doing.
Josh Bews saw several cars in front of him slowing on the inside of the track, and moved to the high side, where he passed Kline for the third spot at the finish.
"I couldn't see exactly what was going on, there were several cars in front of me," said Brews. "And if cars are slowing you down, you move to another groove and go around them. That's what I did, I went to the high groove."
Kline has said Millard is not welcome to race at Silver State Raceway. Millard has said he will not return to race at the track.