Ogden Takes Sprint Car Victory at Champion Speedway
It was vindication of sorts for Reno racer Mike Ogden when he took the checkered flag in the 30-lap main for Champion Speedway’s non-winged 360 Sprint Car division on Saturday night. “We think they took the first one away from us, so this one was sweet revenge,” Ogden said, referring to his disqualification for a too-wide front wheel after his apparent win here on April 27.
Odgen had to work for the victory, starting fourth while Placerville’s Mike McCreary took off from the pole and had a seemingly unassailable lead. Ogden wrested third away from Santa Clara driver Tony Iacobitti on lap eight, moved around Carson City’s Mark Beck for second on lap 24, then stalked McCreary for the next four laps until making a brilliant pass on the outside down the back straightaway a lap before the white flag.
“This is a 1989 dirt chassis that we polished up for this series, and we put a new right rear tire on it for the race,” said Ogden, whose father is his crew chief.
McCreary finished second with Beck third, followed home by April 27 winner Glen Hopper of San Jose, Iacobitti, and Carson City driver Doug Lippincott, all on the lead lap. Brian Campbell of Minden was seventh and Scott Clough of Placerville eighth, both a lap down.
The race went green from flag to flag. Honors were spread around in the preliminary races, with McCreary and Lippincott winning their respective heats and Hopper taking the trophy dash.
Three recent graduates of the Bandoleros Racing Orientation course took to the track for the first time.
Mob Menke of Carson City, Geoff Moore of Silver Springs, and Kingman, Ariz., driver Tom Wilcot joined regular Bobby Hodges in the Bandoleros division. Young Hodges won the main handily after taking over Menke’s car and proving two things: one, that 600 Racing builds a very safe and stout race car and two, that he’s a real racer.
The reason he replaced Menke in the No. 28 car was that his No. 88 ride was damaged in an accident while Bobby was attempting to take the lead in the trophy dash. The car rolled and hit the wall outside turn two, but Bobby escaped unscathed and went on to win the main over Wilcot and Moore, charging into the lead on lap four and holding it to the checker. Wilcot won the trophy dash after it was red-flagged due to Hodges’ accident, and the Bandoleros elected not to run a heat race.
John Burritt worked his way through the pack to dominate the second half of the Legends
“Grandpa” Gary Hockman was strong at the start, pulling away from the field and looking likely to win until a mechanical problem sent him to the pits just past halfway. Henry Hodges tested the stoutness of his Legends roll cage on lap three, rolling his No. 89 car down the front straight and bringing out the red flag. He was unhurt, but out of the race. Burritt had already worked his way to third by this time, and took over second from Wayne Estes a couple of laps later. He moved into the lead on lap seven, never to be headed.
Behind him, Hockman faded back and pitted, Estes hung onto second with Denny Hadler Jr.
and Monte Adcock all over him, and Jim Klopp worked his way back through the field after a
spin. Adcock spun through the infield and rejoined several positions back while Klopp made short work of Hadler and Estes to take over second on lap 15. Burritt cruised to the finish with Klopp trying vainly to catch him.
Estes held Hadler Jr. off for third, and Bill Brown grabbed the last top-five spot. Bob Cose finished sixth on the lead lap while Adcock was a lap down in seventh at the checker, followed by Richard Wirtz. Hockman was credited with ninth and Hodges with 10th.
Hockman and Burritt won the heat races and Burritt made it a perfect evening by winning the trophy dash.
The Sportsmen were the only stock car division on the program and what they lacked in car count they more than made up for in close racing.
Even though Virgil Miller of Reno took the checker, it was by no means an easy victory. Polesitter Greg Herbold led the first three laps, and Tom Eldridge took the point for another three. Stuart Moon, in his second 2002 outing at Champion, surged into the lead on lap seven, and Eldridge slowed and pitted a lap later. Moon held the lead for the next nine circuits, while Miller and Gary Nevers ran nose to tail and side-by-side right behind him.
Miller finally passed for the lead on lap 17 and Nevers took over second a lap later. That’s the way it ended, with Miller taking the win, Nevers second and Moon taking third. Frank Sanfillipo came home fourth and Herbold was fifth, last car on the lead lap. Eldridge was sixth.
Nevers won the heat race and Moon took the trophy dash.
Late model, sportsman and hobby stock divisions, plus Legends are on tap for next Saturday night at Champion Speedway. Check out http://www.championspeedway.com for further information.