Bell, Hodges shine at Roseville
Nevada Appeal Motorsports Columnist
When the green flag waved for the 100-lap Late Model main event at All American Speedway in Roseville, Calif., last Saturday night, a pair of recent Carson High graduates put the pedal to the metal.
Bobby Hodges, class of 2007 started 12th alongside 11th place starter Mackena Bell, class of 2008. The two swapped positions for the first few laps until Hodges established himself just ahead of Bell.
“It took my car a few laps to come in, and then it was pretty good,” said Hodges. Not so for Bell, who said, “My car was good early, but fell off pretty fast.”
The pair ran just ahead of NHRA Funny Car star Ron Capps, who was trying his hand at turning left for the first time.
A caution on lap 12 slowed the field, and both Hodges and Bell lost a couple of spots on the restart, but both dodged a multi-car wreck on lap 21 that brought out the red flag. They restarted in eighth and ninth, but soon advanced to sixth (Hodges) and seventh (Bell) with Capps right behind them in eighth. Capps moved alongside Bell and the two went side by side for several laps before Capps was able to take over the spot. Hodges held seventh place at the tail end of the lead pack while Bell dropped to ninth a few car lengths back.
As the race wound down, there was a caution with about 10 laps to go, and officials declared a green-white-checker restart due to time constraints. The leaders charged into turn one and the inevitable happened, with cars spinning and dodging. Bell managed to thread the needle and escaped unscathed to finish eighth. Hodges wasn’t so lucky, and a glancing blow from another car momentarily halted his progress. He recovered and came around to take the checker at the end of the lead lap in 14th.
After the race Bell said it was a lot of fun to race with a professional like Capps. She was elated when he visited her pit to tell her how much he had enjoyed racing with her. Bell lamented that she might have done better with a newer car. Her chassis is 12 years old, and the setup is different than most of the competitors.
“I’m not sure about next season,” she said. “I need to take it to the next level, but we need sponsors if we’re going to be able to run next year.”
Hodges also enjoyed his first outing at All American Speedway, a much shorter track than Altamont, where he usually races. He said that Capps got into him a couple of times in close quarters, but he stayed out of trouble until the last lap melee.
“The car was hooked up once it got going, and we brought it home in one piece,” he said.