New car. Same old Nick Rescino Jr. And for the fifth time in seven races over the last two years, Rescino won a California Asphalt Sprintcar Association (CASA) 100-lap feature race at Champion Speedway.
The San Francisco driver surged into the lead 30 laps into the race and never looked back on his way to winning a race that saw five caution flags and three red lights. The checker flag was certainly welcomed by an elated, and exhausted, Rescino.
"You can't beat that, especially coming off about 45 minutes of sleep last night," Rescino said. "We worked on the car and then left San Francisco at 7 this morning. We took turns with the driving and came straight to the track."
Team Rescino showed up at Champion with two cars - the one they've been racing all season, as well as their old No. 11 he drove to the CASA season championship in 2004.
"We've won some races (four) in the new car, but we've struggled with it, so we brought the proven winner from last year, just in case we needed it," said Rescino, who also won the CASA feature race at Champion on May 28. "This one's got a mind of its own. We haven't found what works yet. Maybe tonight we did."
The car wasn't ready in time to run any practice laps and then was only good for one lap in qualifying - the time of 12.72 seconds was fourth fastest. Then Matt DeMartini won the Mike McCreary Memorial Dash for Cash, while Rescino finished last in the six-car field.
"I wasn't able to run the way I wanted, so we just went back to what's worked for us in the past and the car handled OK in the main. I guess you could call it new car and old setup, with a little twist," said Rescino, who added a word of thanks to his crew, including his father, Nick Rescino Sr.
DeMartini, who raced for only the second time this season in his new car, looked like the driver to beat early when he blasted through from the back of the 15-car field and surged into the lead on a restart after the red light flashed on Lap 8.
"We started off real well, but then the car got tight," said DeMartini. "In the short run, we're good right now. We just aren't holding up in the long races. Tonight, I was just trying to stick to the bottom and hopefully not let too many people get by."
The Antioch, Calif., driver had to survive some close calls late in the race.
Rookie Nick Green, who went over the top of the track on Turn 3 in the red light mishap on the eighth lap, worked his way from the back of the field and moved into third-place. Green challenged for second-place, but then knocked himself out of the race when he climbed up the back of DeMartini's car and went airborne going into Turn 1 on the 77th lap.
Michael Trimble, who had set fast time in qualifying (12.40), moved into second-place on the 83rd lap but then came together with DeMartini as the two cars dueled on the homestretch with four laps to go. On the restart, DeMartini was back in second while Trimble was sent to the back of the lead lap and went on to finish fifth.
Minden's Amy Barnes finished sixth, one lap down to the leaders, for her best finish of the season. "We'll take it," she said afterward. "We'll be back on the 17th (of September) and we'll be looking to win that one."
Carson City's Allen Beck finished eighth in the race and Eric Silsby finished 13th.
Note: Jeff Gardner, who won the July 2 feature race at Champion and has won five main events this season, passed on the Carson City trip and instead competed Saturday in another race in his hometown area, Fresno. ... DeMartini recovered from a spinout that sent him to back of the field and captured second-place in last year's Memorial Day weekend race.
n Contact Dave Price at email@example.com or call 881-1220.
Main event: (100 laps) 1, Nick Rescino Jr.; 2, Matt DeMartini; 3, Glenn Hopper; 4, Ryan Baumgartner; 5, Michael Trimble; 6, Amy Barnes (99 laps); 7, Tony Iacobitti (7); 8, Allen Beck (97); 9, Joe Hauck (6); 10, Nick Green (89); 11, Marvin Mitchell (87); 12, Jessica Helberg (86); 13, Eric Silsby (60); 14, Scott Clough (43); 15, Tom Haxall (6). Yellow: 5. Red: 3.
Mike McCreary Memorial Dash for Cash: 1, DeMartini; 2, Green; 3, Trimble; 4, Baumgardner.
Fast time: Trimble 12.40.