Bews Takes Late Model Main at Champion Speedway
On their start, Heller and Bauer tangled in turn one, putting
Bauer over the edge of the track and sending Heller to the pits with a holed radiator. Millard spun in front of the pack on the next restart, but fortunately everybody missed him. Danburg moved to second on lap 13, and set out to catch the fleeing Bews. By lap 18, Danburg was right on Bews’ rear bumper, where he stayed to the checkered flag. Bews kept his left-side wheels right on the edge of the track in the corners, and Danburg didn’t have the handling to pass on the high side.
Jeff Tillman and C.J. Bawden (missing the right front corner of his bodywork) closed up in traffic in the waning laps, but Bews hung on for the win by less than a car length. Two-time 2001 winner Rich Lawlor sustained front body damage early in the race, and had to settle for fifth. Brian Colodny was sixth in the last outing for his “old” car, Gene Lepire Jr. took seventh in Marlowe Heinz’s car, and Mike McMordie was eighth, the last car on the lead lap. Lawlor won the trophy dash, while heat
race victories went to Millard and Bawden.
Mike Millard brought his old Sportsman car out to build the Sportsman field and teach Big Al Goss a lesson. But at the checkered flag it was Goss standing at the head of the class with the pointer, and Millard in the student’s seat. The eight-car field provided excitement right off the bat, with just about everybody going three abreast for the first couple of laps.
The stalled car of Frank Sanfilippo brought out the caution on lap three, and Goss grabbed the lead on the restart, pulling away from the rest of the field. Behind him, Stuart Moon and Millard put on the best race of the night, running nose-to-tail and side-by-side for the next 15 laps, until Millard finally got by on the 18th lap. By then, Goss was long gone, and Millard had to settle for the runner-up spot, with Moon third and John Hood fourth,
the last car on the lead lap. Tom Eldridge was fifth, a lap down, followed by Gary Nevers, in a borrowed Hobby Stock car, also one lap in arrears. San Filippo was last, six laps behind. Although he came up short in the Main, Millard did manage to win both the trophy dash and the heat race, so maybe he did teach Big Al something.
There was yet another first-time main event winner in the Hobby Stock division, as Rick Garmann took advantage of Rafael Gomez’s misfortune in the late going. There were lots of yellow flags, and incidents that took some of the usual contenders out of the mix. Chris Betz and Christine Droege mixed it up on the first lap, sending both to the rear of the field. In the course of
the race, Droege either hit, or was hit by, nearly every car in the field.
Rocky Boice Jr. had a flat tire early on, and his dive into the pits took Bill Gould almost into the wall exiting tunn two, dropping Gould out of contention. Gould brought out a yellow on lap eight when he hit (guess who?) Droege, spinning her out. Meanwhile, Gomez was quietly working his way to the front, and by lap 12 was in the lead, with Garman and Chris Anderson in tow,
pulling away from the field. It looked like another patented Gomez victory, but then his hopes literally went up in a cloud of smoke on lap 26. Gomez pitted and Garmann took the point, holding off Anderson for the win. Don Hill worked his way from the back of the field to third, followed by a rapidly improving Christopher Pfalmer in fourth. Robert Coleman rounded out the top five, followed by Boice, Joel Worley, Betz, and Gould, all on the lead lap.
Ed Sykes was 10th, one lap down, and Droege managed 11th despite her bumper-car evening. Boice took his first trophy dash win and his heat race, while Garmann won the other heat.
In Outlaw Kart action, Randy Devlin took his first Main win, capping off a hat trick trio of heat, dash, and main victories. The leader of the Devlin clan battled with his son for much of the night.
“We’re family, but once that green flag drops, we’re all going for the win,” said Randy with a laugh after the race. “I hit the setup perfectly every session, but the engine was cutting out in the corners the last 10 laps. I had to outrun them down the straights and coast through the turns.
At the checker, it was an all-Devlin front, with Randy taking the win and Larry second.
The 125cc field was almost doubled by the addition of a couple of California karts, but one of the locals took the win. Jordan Dargert, who has unsuccessfully battled the Harrington boys all season, finally took the Main event checker after John Harrington was black-flagged on the two-spin rule and James Harrington broke a throttle cable.
James still managed to take second over Jesse and Samantha Diel of Corning, Calif., who were both two laps down in third and fourth, respectively. Dargert also won the heat, but lost the dash to John Harrington.
Matt Vallarino scored a hat trick in the Box Stock class, winning trophy dash and heat easily; but it took a bit of luck in the main. Vallarino led the early laps, while Nathan Buffa and Danny Harrington battled behind him. Buffa and Harrington got by Vallarino, and were running nose to tail when Buffa spun in turn four and Harrington T-boned him. Vallarino shot by to retake the
lead, and held it to the checker. Steven Rogers took the runner-up spot in his first 2001 appearance at Champion Speedway, Chris Garcia was third, Mackena Bell fourth, and Harrington fifth. Colin Dargert was the last car on the lead lap, and Buffa ended up seventh, two laps down.
Zak Harjes also had a perfect evening in the Beginner Box Stock class, taking heat, dash, and main. Zach Heinz had the fastest kart early on, shooting through the field to take the lead. Hunter Colodny also led for a while, but tangled with Danielle Lippincott. Lippincott also appeared briefly at the front, but when the checker flew it was Harjes, Colodny, Lippincott, Heinz, and Nicole Buffa in the top five. Caleb Price was sixth, and Shelby Price
seventh, finishing on the lead lap in her first outing. Lippincott won the second heat race.
All the children in the audience participated in a balloon release for leukemia victim Ashley Kisman of Sparks. The Angel Kiss Foundation also held a drawing to raise funds for Kisman’s treatment.
Next Saturday night, Winged Sprint Cars will be featured at Champion Speedway, along with Pro 4 Trucks, supported by the Sportsman and Hobby Stock divisions. Late Models are idle. Call 267-3723 for further information.