The competition and talent just seem to get better each week at Silver State Raceway. Both the maverick and limited sportsman divisions were evident of that on Saturday night.
Smith Valley resident Bob Saxby (17x) in the maverick division was all smiles as he picked up his first-ever trophy dash win, beating Danny Kemp Jr. (11), Randy Bauer (25) and Dave Mahlen (68x). Chet Danburg (3x) snagged the trophy in the limited sportsman, beating out Mike Millard (22), C.J. Bawden (25) and Craig Paulsen (65).
Bawden, who is usually found in the No. 50 Legends car, was driving the Landmark Homes-sponsored sportsman car, usually driven by Robbie Shelton. Bawden clocked a 14.70 his first time out, recording second fast time of the night. In fact, the time difference between the first and fifth qualifiers was just .19 seconds.
"The car felt good to me," Bawden said. "The biggest differences were in weight and braking. I made a couple of rookie mistakes, but I had fun."
The real competition, though, was in the main events. The man of the night for the mavericks was Bauer, who moved from the last spot of the main event line up to first to win the 25-lap race. Bauer had one a heck of a time doing it, but still made it look easy. Mike McMordie (77) grabbed the second spot while Kemp finished third. Rounding out the field were Fuller, James Meerly (23), Bill Gould (37), Mahlen, Joel Worley (9), Saxby and Jon Kephart (15).
"It was a pretty good win, if you mean going from last to first," Bauer said. "The win felt good."
In the maverick heat races, Fuller won the first over McMordie in second and Gould third. Kemp won the second heat over Meerly in second and Mahlen third. Kemp also won the third heat, Fuller was second and Gould third. McMordie won the fourth, Bauer was second and Meerly third.
In the sportsman division, turnabout was fair play for Dave Lester (34). Instead of being the man being chased by a pack of cars, it was Lester trying to pull in and pass Scott Bohemier (8), who ran from the pole to take the 35-lap main event win.
The cars of Bohemier and Lester appeared to be separated by only inches through most of the race. Paulsen pulled within two car lengths of Lester, but never found his way around either. At the flag, it was Bohemier taking the win over Lester in second and Paulsen third. Rounding out the field were Henry Hodges Jr. (89), Bawden, Millard, Danburg, Gary Chandler (96) and Les Kipler (54).
Chandler made his sportsman debut Saturday. Being his first night out and still getting used to the car, several changes were made over the course of the evening on the set-up.
"Little by little, the car got better through the night," Chandler said. "We're almost there."
Bohemier spoke of the closeness of Lester throughout the race.
"I just couldn't shake him. The car was great for the main event, we were having some problems earlier in the evening. Then we made some suspension changes and fortunately they went the right way," he said.
Bohemier also won the first sportsman heat, Hodges was second and Lester third. Danburg won the second heat, Bawden was second with Paulsen third. Paulsen won the third heat with Bohemier second and Bawden third. Danburg won the fourth, ahead of Millard and Lester.
The drivers and officials held a moment of silence in respect to the death of Adam Petty, and said a prayer for his family. At intermission, a special presentation was made to Tom Shelton, Robbie's father, for his contribution to racing at Silver State Raceway and in recognition of his 60th birthday. Shelton raced at the track in 1969, when it was known as T-CAR, and is now crew chief for his son.
On May 28, the first leg of the Tri-Holiday Sweepstakes will be run, with more than 35 cars expected to vie for only 24 starting positions. The winner is to receive $2,500 with contingency sponsors. The main event for the Tri-Holiday is scheduled to be 150 laps. That's right, 150 laps, 24 cars, $2,500 to win.
"We're doing this for us and the fans," Paulsen said. "We (Silver State drivers) love the sport and we love the fans. This should be an excellent show. We hope the fans come out to watch."
The Bay Cities Racing Association midgets will be racing Memorial Day weekend in the first of their championship series races. The public is welcome to attend a special Indianapolis 500 viewing and brunch with all the drivers (BCRA and locals) at the Ormsby House on the morning of the race for a nominal fee.
For information, call 885-2079.