Davey Hamilton (4) and 24 other sprint car drivers gave the fans what they came to see from a sprint car race, fast-paced action and great driving. Then Hamilton, of Las Vegas, capped his night off with a main event win in the United States Auto Club's Western Sprint Car Series.
Once again, through the luck of qualifying times and heat race finishing position, Hamilton started the main on the front row, outside of polesitter Mike Boat (74) and in front of Todd Ellison (20), the man feverishly chasing Hamilton for the points lead.
Slowed by six cautions - mostly for spinouts - the front three cars of Hamilton, Boat and Ellison began to break away from the rest of the field on lap 15. Hamilton was able to hold off the other two cars at each restart. The last caution came on lap 37, which led to a three-lap shootout between the three.
"I got a little loose in the main event," Hamilton said. "I was not the fastest car out there tonight.
"Yes, I could have gone faster, but then I would have been open for more mistakes. But if Todd Ellison was going to win this race, I was going to make him drive me on the outside for it. I really had to work hard myself to win this race."
In an interview prior to racing, Hamilton said he wanted to win the points championship of the USAC Western Sprint Car Series for car owner Bob Consani. Consani fielded the cars for both Hamilton and Jimmy Sills. Boat finished second behind Hamilton, with Ellison in third. Rounding out the 20-car field were Tony Hunt (14), Bryan Stanfill (88), Jimmy Sills (04), Minden's Amy Barnes (12), who made a great run from her 13th starting position, Kevin Kierce (2), Burney Lamar (3x), Shauna Hogg (5), Kenny Hamilton (98), Brian Evans (87), Bob Scott (77), Rick Williams (3f), Jeff Gardner (51), Mark Bergenger (43), Jimmy Hamilton (93), Randy Mello (25), Mike McCreary (71), Mark Monico (21x).
The top-four from each heat transferred to the main event, the top-eight from the semi-main also transferred in. Transferring from the first heat were Lamar, Hunt, Ellison and Hogg. From the second heat was Barnes, Bergenger, Gardner and K. Hamilton. During the heat, Barnes made an incredible move on the outside of Hamilton to go from third to first, then check out from the rest of the field to win the race. Transfers from the third heat were Stanfill, Evans, Hamilton and Sills. Moving to the main from the semi-main were Kierce, Williams, McCreary, Boat, Scott, J. Hamilton, Mello and Monico.
The maverick and late model sportsman also continued their season points championship run. For the mavericks, Don Hill (81) won his second trophy dash over Randy Bauer (25), Allen Hunter (15) and Mike McMordie (77).
Thomas Oddone (80), along with co-driver Matt Blevins, picked up the win in the first heat race over Bill Gould (37) and Mike Fuller (44). Bauer won the second heat over Thom Eldridge (68) and McMordie. With two seats now in the No. 80 car, Oddone is awarding a ride to children ages 4-12 whose name is drawn from the "Junior Fan of the Week" entries, during intermission. This has become a great hit among the younger fans getting to ride in a racecar with a real driver on a real racetrack.
Winning the maverick main event and finishing higher in the dash and heat race, Bauer now has a few points breathing room over second place of McMordie.
"I'd really like to thank my sponsors Brake and Alignment Plus, Shanklin's Auto Body and Jedco Powder Coating," Bauer said. "If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be out here every week and doing as well as I am."
"The car felt good and we had fun. We're looking forward to next week."
The finishing order of the main was Bauer, Matthew Sciarroni (98), McMordie, Hill, Oddone, Fuller, Hunter, Eldridge, Joel Worley (9) and Gould.
Dave Lester (34) won the trophy dash in the sportsman class over Robbie Shelton (25), Chet Danburg (3x) and Dean Heller (27). Mike Millard (22) won the first heat race over Rafael Gomez (2x) and Gary Chandler (96). Danburg won the second heat over Lester and Heller.
In the main event, Millard took the win just ahead of Danburg in second and C.J. Bawden (25) in third. Rounding out the field were Lester, Chandler, Chris Baker (11), Heller, Gomez, Henry Hodges Jr. (89), Ed Goss (3), Mike Glisson (7) and Frank Sanfelipo (29).
"I felt comfortable in the lead I was holding and just continued to hold a smooth line," said Millard. "I was just conserving my line because I knew Chet was a threat behind me. It's been fun racing him, but a win's a win. We had some legitimate problems early on tonight, but through the grace of God, we won."
The points championship series continues this Saturday. Gates open at 5 p.m., followed by qualifying at 6 and racing at 7:30.
For information, call 885-2079 or visit www.silverstateraceway.com.