Visit The Dirt Forum for More Information

Dirt Administrator

Total posts: 3279
posted April 15, 2001 11:26 AM UIN: 16262997

EL CAJON, CA. (April 14, 2001). Danny Gay came oh so close to be being
victorious in his very first late model sportsman start at Cajon Speedway.
But some motor woes and then perhaps a bit of overdriving led to his undoing
just three laps from the finish. As a result Mike Mendenhall, who was
willing to settle for fourth just six laps from the end, picked off the
NASCAR Weekly Racing Series opener on the 3/8-mile paved oval Saturday

Instead of being in victory lane or even earning a top five finish, Danny
Gay was in the pits with a torn apart racecar when the checkered flag was
thrown after 40 rounds. Defending champion Jerry Gay was five lengths back
of Mendenhall at the finish. Ron Overman ran third ahead of Rod Hildebrand
and rookie Steven Peace.

Scott Holmberg outlasted fast qualifier Rich Green for honors in the street
stocks. Ed Hale picked up right where he left off a year ago and dominated
action in the pony stocks. Pat Garity, who took the bomber championship last
year, came back from a hot lapping wreck and captured the 20-lap bomber
stock finale. John Isabella got spun out twice but still came home first in
the Allison Legacy cars.

Gay the Younger paced the field from the third through the 37th circuits of
the sportsman feature. On lap 35 just after a restart, his rotor broke and
his motor started backfiring. Mendenhall, who started eighth, was running
third at this point and dipped under second running Todd McLauchlan as the
trio came off turn two on lap 38. Trying to hold onto the lead, Gay appeared
to drive hard into turn three, lost just a bit of control, and got sideways
right in front of McLauchlan. Mendenhall meanwhile slipped by both the first
and second place runners on the low side. When Gay got sideways, McLauchlan,
who had nowhere to go, rode completely up over Gay's car, peeling much of
the sheet metal from it.

The race had been relatively clean until that point. Five yellow flags were
spread throughout the first three-quarters of the race. All were for single
car incidents, none of which was serious.

Mendenhall and the elder Gay raced side-by-side for third and fourth
positions for many rounds on three occasions in a stirring duel before the
eventual victor was finally able to inch past in the low groove on lap 34.
The younger Gay and McLauchlan, the night's quick qualifier, were sitting
one-two about five lengths ahead the whole time. But then came the lap 35
slowdown that changed the complexion of the race.

Mendenhall's victory though was not without its controversy. When his car
was first pushed across the scales, it was noticed that the scales were out
of alignment. Then there was some miscommunication among the officials when
they reweighed the winner's Monte Carlo. The scales first read 58.2% left
side weight, but by the time the tape was punched, the number came up 58.1%,
right at the limit allowed.

"We do have one," Mendenhall smiled when asked if he had a weigh slip that
showed his car was legal. "The right rear scale was crooked somehow. They
had to weigh it twice. Then he (Ron Ferguson, the weigh master) said it
weighed 58.2 but when he printed it, it said 58.1."

"It almost doesn't feel like we won though," the winner sighed. "It was a
fun race. I was sure I was going to be fourth. I could not get by Jerry. I
didn't want to rough him up and it was fun racing him. I don't know what it
looked like from the outside but it was fun from where I was sitting. When I
finally got by him and it stuck, he pulled up alongside me on the next
yellow and was giving me thumbs up and I was cracking up. Then on the
restart I'm thinking Danny has this in the bag. When Danny broke, that
slowed Todd down. I thought look what just fell into my lap."

Holmberg inherited the point in the street stocks after Brian Brown blew up
on lap 6. Holmberg put it on cruise control the rest of the way to earn his
second career win. Fast qualifier Rich Green ran second ahead of Rick Hagen,
Frank Stielau, and Dave Arce. Richard Hinze lost his third place finish when
his new car came up with 55.2% left side weight.

The pony stocks saw one yellow after another in their 20-lapper. Nothing
could stop Ed Hale however. The ageless veteran stormed from tenth to the
lead in less than three laps. Jimmy Kyte, who lost the championship to his
teammate Hale on the final night of the season a year ago, finished seventh
lengths behind the 63-year-old Cajon legend. Mike Weimann ran third ahead of
Neil Rodvold and another ageless one, George Behlman.

Pat Garity's night in the bombers almost ended before it started. He got
hooked up with first nighter John Aganowski at the turn three track exit in
hot laps. His crew went to work making repairs and Garity still timed in
seventh best. He took over from pacesetting Joey Schneider 14 rounds into
the feature and was six car lengths in front of Eric Seene at the conclusion
of the 20-lapper. Randy Wallace, the 1999 champ, beat out second-generation
racer Marty Lehrke for third. Mark Holland was fifth.

PIT NOTES: Mendenhall also picked up the $200 Hard Charger Award donated by
Vans Automotive for picking up the most passing points for the night in the
sportsman. . 88 cars were in the pits for the opener. Included in that total
were 14.015 sportsman, 20 streets, 24 ponys, 23 bombers, and 6 legacy cars.


Fast Time - Todd McLauchlan, Alpine; Time - :16.171.
Dash (4 laps) - 1. Ron Overman, Lakeside; 2. Todd McLauchlan, Alpine; 3.
Mike Mendenhall, Santee; 4. Danny Gay, Lakeside; Time - 1:05.72.
1st Heat (8 laps) - 1. Stephen Peace, Lakeside; 2. Jack Lee, Vista; 3. David
Arzola, San Diego; Time - 2:18.14.
2nd Heat (8 laps) - 1. Jerry Gay, San Diego; 2. Danny Gay, Lakeside; 3. Mike
Mendenhall, Santee; Time - 2:13.30.
Main (40 laps) - 1. Mike Mendenhall, Santee; 2. Jerry Gay, San Diego; 3. Ron
Overman, Lakeside; 4. Rod Hildebrand, Escondido; 5. Stephen Peace, Lakeside;
6. Jack Lee, Vista; 7. Wayne Morse, Alpine; 8. Todd McLauchlan, Alpine; 9.
Dee Cable, Santee; 10. Danny Gay, Lakeside; 11. David Arzola, San Diego; 12.
Claude Bell, El Cajon; 13. Ray Burns, San Diego; 14. Robert Parenteau,
Lakeside; Time - 27:15.05.

Fast Time - Rich Green Jr., El Cajon; Time - :17.883.
1st Heat (8 laps) - 1. Brian Brown, San Diego; 2. Charles Nevin, El Cajon;
3. Neil Rodvold, Lakeside; Time - 4:15.87.
2nd Heat (8 laps) - 1. Randy Buell, San Diego; 2. Brian Collins, Oceanside;
3. Matt Arnold, San Diego; Time - 2:26.92.
Main (25 laps) - 1. Scott Holmberg, San Diego; 2. Rich Green Jr., El Cajon;
3. Rick Hagen, Alpine; 4. Frank Stielau, El Cajon; 5. Dave Arce, Santee; 6.
Brian Collins, Oceanside; 7. Charles Nevin, El Cajon; 8. Randy Buell, San
Diego; 9. Todd Phelps, El Cajon; 10. Neil Rodvold, Lakeside; 11. RJ
Stockman, Lakeside; 12. Scott Moses, Chula Vista; 13. Bob Meese, Poway; 14.
Rob Overman, El Cajon; 15. Matt Arnold, San Diego; 16. Rob Freeman, Santee;
17. Brian Brown, San Diego; 18. Bill Sanchez, Santee; Time - 35:28.61.

Fast Time - Ed Hale, El Cajon; Time - :18.418.
1st Heat (8 laps) - 1. Neil Rodvold, Lakeside; 2. Pete Franke, Lakeside; 3.
Victor Clark, Lakeside; Time - 2:28.35.
2nd Heat (8 laps) - 1. Mike Weimann, Temecula; 2. Ed Hale, El Cajon; 3.
George Behlman, Santee; Time - 2:30.73.
Semi (10 laps) - 1. Frank Stangler, El Cajon; 2. Debi Urioste, Poway; 3. Lee
Slaughter, Crest; 4. Tim Beeney, Escondido; 5. John Swink, Lakeside; 6.
Carole Schacher, San Diego; 7. Andre McKay, San Diego; Time - 4:41.79.
Main (20 laps) - 1. Ed Hale, El Cajon; 2. Jimmy Kyte, Lakeside; 3. Mike
Weimann, Temecula; 4. Neil Rodvold, Lakeside; 5. George Behlman, Santee; 6.
Douglas Wright Jr., Rancho SD; 7. Ken Wikoren, El Cajon; 8. Marty Schmidt,
El Cajon; 9. Andy Papp, La Mesa; 10. Victor Clark, Lakeside; 11. Kenny Hall,
Lakeside; 12. Pete Franke, Lakeside; 13. Debi Urioste, Poway; 14. Justin
Pippin, Vista; 15. Frank Stangler, El Cajon; 16. Timothy White, San
Clemente; 17. Lee Slaughter, Crest; 18. Lou Tompkins, San Diego; 19. Tim
Beeney, Escondido; 20. Scott Ohlhauser, El Cajon; Time - no time.

Fast Time - Bob Wickey, Spring Valley; Time - :20.015.
1st Heat (8 laps) - 1. Scott Denton, Fallbrook; 2. Joey Schneider,
Escondido; 3. Eric Seene, Santee; Time - no time.
2nd Heat (8 laps) - 1. Randy Wallace, El Cajon; 2. Greg McCown, El Cajon; 3.
Bob Wickey, Spring Valley; Time - 4:39.73.
Main (20 laps) - 1. Pat Garity, El Cajon; 2. Eric Seene, Santee; 3. Randy
Wallace, El Cajon; 4. Marty Lehrke, San Diego; 5. Joey Schneider, Escondido;
6. Mark Holland, San Diego; 7. Bill Holland, El Cajon; 8. Greg McCown, El
Cajon; 9. Mike Johnson, Spring Valley; 10. Bob Wickey, Spring Valley; 11.
Scott Denton, Fallbrook; 12. Alex McKay, San Diego; 13. Chris Boyer, San
Diego; 14. Jeff Coskey, Santee; 15. Gary Lamb, San Diego; 16. Mike McGlone,
Fallbrook; 17. Thomas Osborne, San Diego; 18. Hayden Smith, San Diego; 19.
Mark Wendell, Santee; 20. Ben Fields, Dehesa; 21. Allen Basile, San Diego;
22. Bob Blew, Santee; Time - 15:42.36.

Fast Time - Sean Bishop, Spring Valley; Time - :19.197.
Main (15 laps) - 1. John Isabella, El Cajon; 2. Scott Dannen, Dewey, AZ; 3.
Sean Bishop, Spring Valley; 4. John McCain, El Cajon; 5. Randy Ryden,
Escondido; Time - no time.

DESTRUCTION DERBY - Paul Seibert, Lakeside

Back to the Archives