Silver State Raceway's season finale on Saturday night was certainly one for the record books. Racing excitement was at an all-time high - while the temperature was low - as fans watched Chet Danburg and Craig Paulsen avoid a lap-99 collision of the front runners to finish 1-2 respectively, in the Nevada Days 100.
A field of 25 cars took the green flag. Former track champ Rich Lawlor started on the pole and kept the lead throughout most of the race. Hard challenges were fought off by Kevin Pugh of Sacramento, who was later involved in a small melee on lap 50, and Melissa Davis of Santa Rosa, Calif., who went out early with a broken A-arm.
All the while, Josh Bews of Roseville, Calif., Craig Paulsen and Chet Danburg were mounting their defense and planning their strategy to catch the fast-paced car of Lawlor. Bews caught up to Lawlor and passed him on lap 90, but Lawlor returned to fight back for the win.
Lawlor battled to the outside of Bews, who gave no space for a move. As flagman Dave Sciarroni waved the white flag signaling one lap to go, Bews dove low and deep into turn one, driving over the left side of Lawlor's car, pushing both over turn 1 of the track. Danburg, Paulsen and the remainder of the field escaped the carnage and came around to take the checkered flag.
Danburg won the race with Paulsen in a close second and Jake Mickalich of Sacramento third.
"I kind of felt something was going to happen," Danburg said. "So I just kept a safe distance from the two of them, with enough room to avoid any potential disaster. It was just enough. I stayed in the right line to avoid it and it worked out perfectly."
Rounding out the field were Dave Lester, Al Goss, C.J. Bawden, Danny Christiani of Ukiah, Calif., Lawlor, Bews, Henry Hodges Jr., Randy Hirschbock of Klamath Falls, Ore., Harold Long, Gary Nevers, Daniel Cherry, Greg Bell of Kuna, Idaho, Pugh, Phil Perry of Roseville, Spencer Emerson of Sacramento, Chuck Glick of Citrus Heights, Calif., Scott Bohemier, Frank Sanfelipo, Robby Shelton, Mike Millard, Larry Sova of Vacaville, Calif., and Davis.
Pugh won the six-car, six-lap trophy dash for the sportsman class over Paulsen, Lawlor, Bews, Davis and Mickalich.
Top-four finishers in the first 12-lap heat were Shelton, Pugh, Paulsen and Danburg. In the second heat, it was Lester, Hodges, Mickalich and Lawlor. Third heat: Bohemier, Millard, Davis and Perry.
The Legends were no exception in the amount of excitement added to the night's racing.
With potential weather being a strong factor in the amount of cars showing - there were 13 - the chances of the winner picking up $1,000 looked a little more easy for some. The battle of the top-four cars proved it would not be easy.
The drivers raced 60 laps door-to-door, bumper-to-bumper, wheel-to-wheel, with some hard banging happening the entire distance. John Burrit took an early lead but surprised the crowd when he came out of turn 4 and drove his
car to the infield with a motor problem on lap 37.
The final laps were a battle between D.J. Krentz, Jovon Halen, Mike Hubert Jr. of Anderson, Ray Greathouse and Shane Kline. On the last lap of the race, Halen, who was running second, drove hard into the rear of Krentz's car, pushing him high in turn 1. Halen made a move to the inside and drove around Krentz to take the checkered flag for the win, which would be contested.
After officials reviewed INEX rules, the sanctioning body of Legends cars, Halen was stripped of the win for rough driving and actions deemed as "unsportsmanlike conduct or conduct detrimental to the sport of Legends cars," through a "protect the leader" clause in the rules. The ruling is a result of an action by one driver to who takes the lead aggressively to get
the win. Halen was relegated to the rear of the field.
"I gave Jovon tons of racing room and would like to have the race gone green the whole way," Krentz said after learning of the decision. "We had great side-by-side racing, unfortunately, emotions take over and mistakes are made.
"Jovon did drive a good race. Unfortunately, a great race ended like this. I don't feel like I didn't deserve it. We ran a great race and I do deserve it."
Taking second in the 60-lap race was Hubert, followed by Shane Kline in third. Rounding out the field were Greathouse, Mike Morrissey Jr., Henry Hodges Jr., Darren Rose of Anderson, "Granpa" Gary Hockman of San Jose, Billy Brown of Carson City, Burritt, Ryan Foster of Anderson, Willy Davis of Sacramento and Halen.
The mavericks were no exception to putting on a great show. The drivers raced in twin-25s, compiling points from each race to determine the winner.
The finishing order from the first race was Randy Bauer, Thom Eldridge, Allen Hunter, Bill Gould, Thomas Oddone, Marco Glush, Rick Garmann, Robi Branch and Mike Fuller. The field was then inverted from this finishing order to create the starting lineup for the second 25-lap race.
The finishing order from race No. 2 was Branch, Gould, Eldridge, Bauer, Hunter, Glush, Oddone, Fuller and Garmann. With Eldridge and Bauer tied after the two races, officials determined the winner by finishing order in their heat race and trophy dash. Eldridge just edged out Bauer for the win, his first-ever Nevada Days Twin-25 win at Silver State Raceway.
Gould picked up the win in the first of two 8-lap heats over Glush and Garmann. Fuller won the second over Eldridge and Hunter. Fuller also won the trophy dash over Eldridge, Bauer and Hunter.
Fast-qualifiers in the sportsman and Legends division each won $50 and a plaque, they were Hubert Jr. for the Legends and Bews for the sportsman. Bauer won $20 and a bottle of champagne. Each prize was donated by a contingency sponsor.