posted June 17, 2001 11:48 AM
MENDENHALL COMES FROM NOWHERE TO WIN AT CAJON
EL CAJON, CA.(June 16, 2001). When Danny Gay got to the scales following the
late model sportsman main event at Cajon Speedway Saturday night, he turned
to Mike Mendenhall and asked, "Where did you come from?"
Gay had just watched as Mendenhall came from deep in the pack to pass him
for the lead seven laps from the checkered flag of the 40-lap NASCAR Weekly
Racing Series contest. After starting 11th in the contest, the season-long
point leader picked off his competitors one by one to lay claim to his third
feature win of the campaign and 27th of his career. Young Gay was second
while his dad Jerry ran third. Ron Overman slipped to fourth after putting
on a dazzling battle with Danny Gay for the lead. Claude Bell was fifth.
Ron Brown captured the 25-lap feature for Grand American modifieds. It was
the first victory in three years for the former two-time street stock and
three-time modified champion. Defending champion Pat Garity inherited the
bomber stock triumph after apparent victor Marty Lehrke was disqualified for
having too much left side weight. Rich Green regained the street stock point
lead with his first win of the season. Bob Landreth triumphed over the
Brown, who has only been a part time racer for several seasons, took over
the number one spot in the modified event when he drove high and hard into
turn three around polesitter Doug Carpenter on the fourth circuit. Once in
front he was never headed. A couple of yellow flags put the field back on
his bumper, but it made no difference. Second year racer Mike Jackson ran a
strong second, fending off point leader Scott Brown, who is the nephew of
the winner, for the final twenty rounds. Carpenter came home fourth ahead of
defending champion Mike Salm. Brown started fifth and was third after the
opening round. Then after Stan Perkins smacked the wall on the second lap,
Brown made short order of Dave Williams and then Carpenter to move to the
Mendenhall was involved in at least two of three first lap incidents that
delayed and delayed and delayed the sportsman green flag. At one point while
crews scrambled to make minor repairs, there were only six cars still on the
track. All but one of the 13, finally took the green. A single file start
was finally necessary. But once underway the race was definitely a crowd
pleaser. Danny Gay led from the pole. But he had to battle veteran Ron
Overman for at least a dozen rounds before brake problems led to his
undoing. Lap after lap the veteran Overman would draw underneath Gay in the
turns. Sooner or later though a broken brake line would cause Overman to
break traction and leave Danny back out front.
On the 27th lap Overman got really loose in the south turn. That gave
Mendenhall, who had spent most of the race trying to work his way past the
elder Gay on the low side, an opening. There was some slight contact between
Overman and Mendenhall and the eventual winner got by. He then quickly ate
into the young Gay's lead. Getting past Danny Gay turned out to be easier
for Mendenhall than getting past his dad. He was on the leader's tail on lap
31 and in the lead a lap later. Then he was gone.
"We wanted to make sure we really didn't have anything wrong with the
front," Mendenhall replied when asked about his numerous pit stops before
the race finally started for good. "If the air box is badl, it will
overheat. Every wreck that happened, I kept running into the back of Jerry
(Gay) - not really hard, but just hard enough."
"(The pass) of Overman wasn't' really clean," Mendenhall said while
reviewing his march to the front. "He got sideways by himself earlier in the
race. But I knew I shouldn't have touched him. But it really sent him. I don
't think he was real happy about it." The next lap Overman repaid him. "I
felt it and went OK, I know it wasn't real nice," Mendenhall noted. "Then I
got under Danny and then he just kind of disappeared. Starting back that
far, I didn't think we could do it. The car didn't handle that good -
especially after all those little wrecks at the beginning."
Overman was still smiling about his run and what it could have been after
the races. "It was a fun race," the gentleman racer noted. "We could have
used to the old body slam trick (to get by Danny). But we didn't. The brake
line broke about lap 20. So all we had was rear brakes. You'd go in and
touch the brakes and pitch it sideway to turn. But then the car would be lit
up. We couldn't go forward."
"I let Mendenhall know that he hit the old guy," Overman said of his payback
to Mendenhall a lap after he was passed for second. "That was OK. I love
racing Mike. He's the guy who raises the bar."
The street stock was another race that took nearly an eternity to run. Four
yellow flags extended the 25-lap affair to nearly 30 minutes. Randy Buell
led early until Neil Rodvold slipped past on lap 5. Green's pass for the
lead came five rounds later when Rodvold skated up the track in turn three.
Once in front Green motored away to a nearly quarter lap margin. But that
was erased by a lap 23 caution. Still Green was five lengths ahead when the
race concluded. Rodvold maintained second. Ivan Harrison made a daring three
wide pass coming off two on the final lap to squeeze into third place.
Gordon Anderson and Richard Hinze rounded out the top five. Rick Hagen, who
started the night with the point lead, ended up 13th, several laps in
arrears after a night of gear box woes.
It looked as if Bill Holland would get his second straight victory in the
bombers. But it was not to be after Marty Lehrke, the night's quick timer,
roared past following a lap 9 slowdown. Lehrke was cruising out front
hunting for his first win while Pat Garity, fresh from his vacation in
Mexico, was on the move. Garity managed to get within three car lengths of
Lehrke by the end of the 20-lapper. But then Lehrke failed the post-race
inspection. Garity, the defending champion, ended up number one ahead of '99
champ Randy Wallace. Holland was third. Eric Seene limped home fourth after
breaking some suspension in the right front in the last turn. Chris Boyer
moved up to fifth.
PIT NOTES: Only the modified and legend mains were relatively clean. . The
bombers had four slowdowns between the 9th and 13th laps. . Don Kerr missed
the sportsman main after winning the quick heat. Apparently a tooth on a
gear in the distributor broke and the team didn't want to take any
chances. . Mendenhall easily won the Del Taco Hard Charger $200 award for
earning the most passing points in the sportsman. . Mendenhall is
experimenting with a setup suggested by his good buddy Charles Utts and Greg
Voigt, who run Irwindale. . No doubt there was a family discussion in the
Brown pits after the modified dash after young Scotty bumped and spun his
uncle Ron while the two were running one-two on lap 3. . All but two of the
14 sportsman timed in in the 16 second bracket. . Next week there will be
twin 30's for the sportsman to make up for the May 26 rainout.
CAJON SPEEDWAY NASCAR WEEKLY RACING SERIES RESULTS
LATE MODEL SPORTSMAN
Fast Time - Mike Mendenhall, Santee; Time - :16.319.
1st Heat (8 laps) - 1. Danny Gay, Lakeside; 2. Claude Bell, El Cajon; 3. Ray
Burns, San Diego; Time - 4:03.65.
2nd Heat (8 laps) - 1. Don Kerr, El Cajon; 2. Ron Overman, Lakeside; 3. John
Manke, Ramona; Time - 2:12.67.
Main (40 laps) - 1. Mike Mendenhall, Santee; 2. Danny Gay, Lakeside; 3.
Jerry Gay, San Diego; 4. Ron Overman, Lakeside; 5. Claude Bell, El Cajon; 6.
Stephen Peace, El Cajon; 7. Todd McLauchlan, Alpine; 8. John Manke, Ramona;
9. David Arzola, San Diego; 10. Dee Cable, Santee; 11. Ray Burns, San Diego;
12. Jack Lee, Vista; 13. Robert Parenteau, El Cajon; Time - 16:27.69.
GRAND AMERICAN MODIFIED
Fast Time - Ron Brown, San Diego; Time - :16.567.
Dash (4 laps) - 1. Mike Salm, Fallbrook; 2. Mike Jackson, Bonita; 3. Ron
Brown, San Diego; 4. Scott Brown, Spring Valley; Time - 2:22.34.
1st Heat (8 laps) - 1. Doug Carpenter, La Mesa; 2. Stan Perkins, Spring
Valley; 3. Dave Williams, Escondido; Time - 2:18.16.
2nd Heat (8 laps) - 1. Scott Brown, Spring Valley; 2. Ron Brown, San Diego;
3. Mike Salm, Fallbrook; Time - 4:17.91.
Main (25 laps) - 1. Ron Brown, San Diego; 2. Mike Jackson, Bonita; 3. Scott
Brown, Spring Valley; 4. Doug Carpenter, La Mesa; 5. Mike Salm, Fallbrook;
6. Carol Kirby Williams, San Dgo; 7. Dave Williams, Escondido; 8. Paul
Brunette, Spring Valley; 9. Steve Lloyd, Encinitas; 10. Stan Perkins, Spring
Valley; Time - 14:13.51.
Fast Time - Rich Green Jr., El Cajon; Time - :17.822.
1st Heat (8 laps) - 1. Dave Arce, Santee; 2. Randy Buell, San Diego; 3.
Gordon Anderson, Lem Grv; Time - 4:33.12.
2nd Heat (8 laps) - 1. Ivan Harrison, Santee; 2. Rich Green Jr., El Cajon;
3. Brian Collins, Oceanside; Time - 4:04.16.
Main (25 laps) - 1. Rich Green Jr., El Cajon; 2. Neil Rodvold, Lakeside; 3.
Ivan Harrison, Santee; 4. Gordon Anderson, Lem Grv; 5. Richard Hinze,
Lakeside; 6. Rob Freeman, Santee; 7. Brian Collins, Oceanside; 8. Randy
Buell, San Diego; 9. Dave Arce, Santee; 10. Scott Moses, Chula Vista; 11.
Rob Overman, El Cajon; 12. RJ Stockman, Lakeside; 13. Rick Hagen, Alpine;
14. Rich Greeny, El Cajon; 15. Todd Phelps, El Cajon; Time - 28:06.96.
Fast Time - Randy Wallace, El Cajon; Time - :19.955.
1st Heat (8 laps) - 1. Bill Holland, El Cajon; 2. Mark Wendell, Santee; 3.
Allen Basile, San Diego; Time - 5:02.66.
2nd Heat (8 laps) - 1. Jeff Coskey, Santee; 2. Bob Wickey, Spring Valley; 3.
Mark Holland, San Diego; Time - 2:44.12.
Main (20 laps) - 1. Pat Garity, El Cajon; 2. Randy Wallace, El Cajon; 3.
Bill Holland, El Cajon; 4. Eric Seene, Santee; 5. Chris Boyer, San Diego; 6.
Mark Holland, San Diego; 7. Kevin Gantz, Spring Valley; 8. Jeff Coskey,
Santee; 9. Mike McGlone, Fallbrook; 10. Allen Basile, San Diego; 11. Mike
Johnson, Spring Valley; 12. Thomas Osborne, San Diego; 13. Bob Wickey,
Spring Valley; 14. Mark Wendell, Santee; 15. Scott Denton, Fallbrook; 16.
Joey Schneider, Escondido; 17. John Aganowski, National City; 18. Rodney
Shaw, El Cajon; Time - 26:04.73.
Fast Time - Brian Selby, Alpine; Time - :18.955.
1st Heat (8 laps) - 1. Tom Landreth, Alta Loma; 2. Joel Vines, Lakewood; 3.
Mark Gaiser, Anaheim; Time - 2:31.41.
2nd Heat (8 laps) - 1. J.D. Hendley, Miss Viejo; 2. Bob Landreth, Alta Loma;
3. Dave Doll, Long Beach; Time - 7:39.07.
Main (20 laps) - 1. Bob Landreth, Alta Loma; 2. Harold Grafton, Jamul; 3.
Art Nevill, Acton; 4. Dave Doll, Long Beach; 5. Ralph Alexander,
Victorville; 6. Tom Landreth, Alta Loma; 7. Donnie Akers, Anaheim; 8. J.D.
Hendley, Miss Viejo; 9. Bob Graham III, Alpine; 10. James Kalawain, Garden
Grove; 11. Mark Gaiser, Anaheim; 12. Dana Moore, San Diego; 13. Tom Skahill,
Duarte; 14. Cory Miles, Garden Grove; 15. Kevin McMahon, Long Beach; 16.
Jeff Collins, San Diego; 17. Gene Brokaw, San Diego; 18. Brian Selby,
Alpine; 19. Gary Scheuerell, Temecula; 20. Joel Vines, Lakewood; 21. Ed
Worthen, Riverside; Time - 23:35.12.
TRAIN RACE - Tim Neuhaus, Santee and Bryant Cosby, Santee
ATTENDANCE - 3575