From Gary Thomas, Photo by Paul Trevino
Santa Maria, CA – July 13, 2010…Making the long tow down to the Santa Maria Speedway this past Saturday night Placerville, California’s Andy Gregg came oh so close to scoring his first ever Golden State Challenge Series win until a last lap pass spoiled that opportunity and relegated him to a third place finish at the conclusion.
Despite the main event not ending quite how Gregg had hoped he remained upbeat after the strong night of competition, with the third place effort marking first podium finish with the traveling 410 sprint car series this year.
“It’s definitely tough to lose a race when you feel like you had it in hand, but it was a great night overall and it was awesome to lead a lot of laps in the main event,” he said. “It was only my second time to Santa Maria, but I felt real comfortable in the car and I just want to give my hats off to promoter Chris Kearns because he’s doing a great job with the track. Even with only 15 cars it was a great race and hopefully all the fans enjoyed it.”
Gregg opened the event on Saturday by qualifying seventh fastest in the field and then bringing home a dominating win his heat race aboard the Guts Racing, Dale Miller Plumbing, Myers and Sons Drywall No. 16x mount. By the luck of the draw he then scored a front row starting spot in the dash and he made full use of it to claim victory and put himself on the pole for the feature.
The initial start of the 30-lap main event saw Gregg settle into second behind former King of California Sean Becker, but a red flag on the opening lap created a complete restart and on the second attempt the Placerville driver blasted to the front of the field. “The Hurricane” would lead the first 10-laps, before he became boxed in behind a lapped car and allowed Becker to steal the lead away.
Gregg however, didn’t panic and stayed within striking distance, remaining glued to Becker’s tail tank and on lap 13 was able to return the favor and put the River City Alarms, Roughcut Construction, 7-Industries No. 16x back in front. “When Sean got by me I thought I’d ride around in second and be safe for a while, but then I realized just how good of a car we had,” said Gregg. “The thing was a rocket ship and I can’t think my crew enough for giving me such a great car.”
After retaking the lead Gregg charged away from the field and opened up a wide margin over he and second place Becker. Just when it looked like he would be headed for victory however, he began to have a little difficulty getting by a couple lapped cars and the “Shark” took advantage to close the gap. Gregg proceeded to do a great job fending off the strong challenges from the two-time & defending Civil War champ, but with the white flag in the air he pushed just enough off turn two, which gave Becker the chance he needed to get underneath and move slightly ahead.
As the pair went side-by-side down the back stretch they got extremely close making slight contact, resulting in Gregg getting sideways in the third corner and allowing Becker the opportunity to get by and drive off for the win. Gregg was then able to make a great save to straighten the car back out, but would lose second to young Cory Eliason just prior to the finish, which knocked him back to third at the checkered flag.
“That was some good hard racing there on the final lap and just being able to race wheel-to-wheel with a guy like Sean Becker, who has won so many championships in his career is pretty cool,” said Gregg. “I just hesitated a little too much on a lapped car that last lap and the car got tight on me and it gave Sean the opening he needed. It was a long drive down here and we borrowed an open trailer to make the tow so we definitely made the best of it and it was nice to get on the podium to finish off the night.”
During the evening Gregg also took part in the second annual Angello’s ATV Rental Contest, which was won for the second year in a row by Brent Kaeding. “I had a blast doing the wheelie contest, even though I feel like my wheelies were better than Brent’s,” Gregg joked. “Seriously though I have to thank BF, Brent and Kaeding Performance for supplying us with lights, letting us work out of the parts trailer and helping us push to the staging area on Saturday, because we really appreciated it.”
Next up for Gregg will be a visit to the Ocean Speedway in Watsonville on Friday night for the Ocean Sprints vs. Civil War Series event, in which he will be competition aboard the Bret Erving Racing, 7-Industries, Guinness Beer No. 53 machine. Then on Saturday he will return to action with the Golden State Challenge 410 Sprint Car Series at the Antioch Speedway hoping to continue the momentum from Santa Maria.
Please visit http://7industries.comfor more on Andy Gregg, Bret Ervin Racing and Northern California sprint car racing in general.