Visiting truck series likes racing at Champion
July 1, 2002
The Automobile Racing Club of America’s truck series made its first-ever appearance at Champion Speedway Saturday night. Though only seven of its 12 trucks made the trip, racing was clean throughout their 40-lap main event.
A field of three Fords, two Chevrolets and two Dodges — all four-cylinders — took to the high-banked, oval track. The four-speeds average about 320-horsepower, all drivers in the series are from the state of Arizona.
The early battle included John Van Horn in the No. 5 car, Brian McGuire in the No. 4 and Bob Kati in the No. 3. The race was slowed three times for minor spins, each time the driver and truck able to continue.
It was on lap 20 Van Horn passed the first place truck of McGuire and started to pull an easy lead. With two of the three cautions coming in laps 29 and 32, Van Horn continued his lead over McGuire and now Ron Searle Jr., who had moved into the third spot.
At the checkered flag, it was Van Horn taking the win with a commanding lead over Searle in the second spot, followed by Barry Conoyer driving the No. 8 in third. Rounding out the field were Kati, Charlie Price, McGuire and Steve Piper.
“Patrick Motor Sports does a good job at setting up the truck,” Van Horn said of his win. “It was fun. I’d like to race here again.”
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Crew chief and father Bob Van Horn said they set the truck up a little different for each track in regard to stagger and shocks.
“We work hard to be fast,” Bob Van Horn said.
The trucks did not race a trophy dash or heat race.
Also on the schedule were the late models. Though with a field of seven cars there was no shortage of talent. Chet “The Jet” Danburg took an early lead in the race in front of Al Goss and Brian Colodny.
Two cautions were pulled for Dean Heller and Colodny, who got together on lap 4, and on lap seven, as Jim Bawden got into the back of Heller going into turn 4, which also collected Dave Sciarroni. All three spun to the infield, all three continued.
Meanwhile, Rich Lawlor made his way from the sixth position to challenge for the lead and take it on lap 15 from Danburg. At the checkered flag, it was Lawlor with the win, Danburg in second and last week’s 100-lap winner Colodny in third. Rounding out the field were Sciarroni, Goss, Heller and Bawden.
Bawden also won the 4-lap trophy dash over Lawlor, Colodny and Sciarroni.
“Awesome car, awesome car” said Lawlor. “I had a feeling once I got through traffic I’d be OK.”
Lawlor donates $200 from each main event win to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
“I have to thank the other drivers for that. They raced me clean. And my crew set up a good car for me. And, it’s another $200 for Make-A-Wish.”
The hobby stocks carried the bulk of cars with 10 on the grid for their main. Several laps around the track saw drivers going three-wide for position, with six cars vying for the top positions. The 25-lap main saw green flag racing from start to finish.
In just nine laps, Rocky Boice Jr. went from last to first to capture yet another main event win. Chris Betz had a strong showing finishing in the second spot with Matt Collier pulling in third. Rounding out the field were Don Hill (borrowing the No. 44 Chevy of Mike Fuller), Randy Reid, Kristopher Pfalmer, Bill Gould, Brett Clampitt and Chris Anderson.
“I had a hole in my oil pan early on,” said Boice. “That’s why I was smoking. There were cars pushing all over, I was just taking my time and letting the others settle down. Then I worked my way through them.
“I want to thank Dynamic Research, Napa Auto Parts in Gardnerville, Reeves Cattle Company and End of the Trail Racing, my sponsors.”
Hill won the trophy dash over Boice, Anderson and Collier. Gould won the first heat race over Reid in second by making a classic “Earnhardt snooker” move, and Clampitt finishing third. Boice won the second heat over Betz and Collier.
Completing the night’s racing activity was the sportsman division. After last week’s exciting battle between Joel Worley and Gary Nevers, the crowd was anticipating another excellent adventure.
The race was led early on by Greg Herbold, who has shown improvement in each week of racing at Champion Speedway.
The first caution was for Frank Sanfilippo, who got into the rear of Virgil Miller in turn 1, losing his bumper on the back stretch. On the restart of lap 5 it was Herbold with the lead, Miller second and Thom Eldridge in third.
One lap later, Worley got into the rear of Miller as Keith Mikaelson got into the side of John Hood, with yet another bumper headed to the infield.
The side-by-side battle for the lead of Nevers and Worley began on lap 12 with Hood right behind them in third. Nevers took a clear lead over Worley on lap 20 and cruised to the win five laps later.
Worley finished second and Hood third. Rounding out the field were Sanfilippo, Herbold, Eldridge, Miller, Mikaelson and Bud Tackett.
“I burned up my tires (racing Worley) last week,” said Nevers. “We got the car set up pretty good by the main event, after doing some tire switching. There were bumpers all over. I just hung out in back and made my move. Then when I got next to Joel I thought, ‘Oh, oh, here we go again,’ but I like racing door to door, it’s fun.
“I want to thank my sponsors, Capital City Loans, Rels Racing, John Evans and Southside Mo and Bro’s, Kevin and Tom at Dynamic Research, Mark Kaiser and End of the Trail Racing.”
Nevers won the sportsman trophy dash over Miller, Hood and Worley. Herbold won the first of two heat races with Eldridge taking second and Sanfilippo third. Worley won the second heat with Miller in second and Hood third.
Racing action this Saturday will feature the Supermodified Racing League. The fastest short-track racecars in the world. The track record of 10.90 set in 1991 by Davey Hamilton still stands.
For information, call 267-3723 or visit http://www.championspeedway.com.
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