by Troy Hennig
CHICO, CA – JULY 4, 2011…Sacramento’s Mike Henry did something he had never done before at Silver Dollar Speedway, win a 410 winged sprint car main event. Henry had previously won three times at Chico. Yet, all three wins came aboard a 360 sprint car. In fact, his last win was recorded on May 28, 2005. Henry drove his best race to date at Chico and picked up his first 410 win and fourth career victory. All of this happened as we celebrated the July 4th festivities at the speedway. Joining the sprints were the dirt modifieds and street stocks. A wonderful fireworks show followed the racing action. The next race is scheduled for this Friday night, July 8. It will be Home Depot Night and JP’s Paint and Body Works.
Henry drove the Joe Mafara owned #21x Royal Lagoon Pools around Brett Miller with a handful of laps to go. Miller led the first 22 laps of the race and seemed poised to win for the first time this year. However, Henry passed Miller in lapped traffic and went on to lead the final three laps for the win
The race started with Miller taking the lead on the start. Miller started on the pole position and held off Jason York going into turn one. Miller started the night off by turning the fastest lap in qualifying at a 12.186. York held that spot until lap seven when he exited to the pit area under a red flag situation for Brandon McMillen who had flipped off turn four. York returned and restarted in the 17th spot.
On lap nine the race was halted when Australian driver Ian Madsen flipped in betweens turns one and two. Unfortunately fellow Australian Jamie Veal drove into Madsen because he had nowhere to go. Adding to the accident was Nick McColloch who also came in later to the accident with nowhere to go.
Miller continued as the leader with Mike Henry in second. The top two began to put on a show for the ages. Soon they were embattled with heavy lapped traffic. Miller did a masterful job of negotiating the traffic. For his part, Henry was just as good. The race changed shape on lap 21 when Miller got bottled up a bit going into turn three. On the left lap he lost momentum running through turns one and two. Henry pulled along side Miller and as the two raced side-by-side down the back straight, Henry drove it in a little deeper going into turn three. He slid up in front of Miller. Henry drifted to the top of the track allowing Miller to cross back underneath him. The two now raced side-by-side into turn one. Henry was still on the top and he had the clearest vision. Miller was on the bottom and York was directly ahead of him. As York went into turn one his left front tire ran up and over the infield berm. This in turn caused York’s car to spin around right in front of Miller. As York spun he collected Miller. Miller kept his foot in it and was able to escape but not before his front nose wing was tore off. York went upside down and the red was needed.
Under the red, the pit area and crew were not allowed on the track to try and this prevented Miller’s crew a chance to fix the front wing. On the restart Henry pulled away and led the final two laps. Miller did a good job to hold onto second with out the front wing. Andy Forsberg ended up with a third place finish. I was very impressed with Austen Wheatley from Lake Stevens, Washington. This driver showed a ton of speed all night and hopefully will return soon. Sean Becker started deep in the field and fought his way to a fifth place finish.
Kevin Ward won his second career main event at Silver Dollar Speedway. Ward led all 20-laps but it was not as easy as it looked. Kevin Lesch was in the second spot for most of the first part of the race. Lesch spun on lap eight to relinquish the second spot. This moved James Castleberry into the second spot. Castleberry proved to be a formidable challenger but after the races was disqualified after failing a technical inspection. Even though Sean Hulsey finished third on the track he was awarded second spot. Kyle Cheney was given the third place finish. Lesch came back to finish fourth. Shawn Smith rounded out the top five. Ward has had an impressive season to date. Two wins, running up in the top three of the points standings.
Jeff Olschowka showed up with new number and paint job and it equated into a popular win at the speedway. The purple #7 of Olschowka rolled around the track and led all 20 laps in the main event. Olschowka is a solid driver that brings a lot of excitement with him to the Silver Dollar Speedway. Richard Papenhausen ran in the second spot for the first four laps until Mark Abouzeid drove under him. Abouzeid held the second spot until lap 11 when he spun in turn two. Up to that point, Abouzeid looked to be the faster of the top two but was unable to pass Olschowka. While Olschowka led the rest of race, the battle for second was very entertaining. Kevin Pendergrass, John Abbott and Papenhausen all traded the second spot during the final eight laps. In the end it was Papenhausen who earned the second place finish. Abbott was third. Pendergrass finished in the fourth spot. Abouzeid was credited with the fifth spot.
Sprint Car Results
Fast Time: Brett Miller – 12.186
Heat 1: Andy Forsberg, Austen Wheatley, Tyler Wolf, Robert Stice, Miller
Heat 2: Ian Madsen, Mike Henry, Colby Copeland, Jason York, David Tarter,
Main Event: Henry, Miller, Forsberg, Wheatley, Sean Becker, Stice, Copeland, Dean Freitas, Nick Green, Wolf, Josh Ruhs, Tarter, York, Gary Matranga, Madsen
Heat 1: James Castleberry, Sean Hulsey, Richard Workman, Robert Mull, Fritz Zanker
Heat 2: Kevin Lesch, Kevin Ward, Shawn Smith, Gary Newman, Phil Marino
Main Event: Ward, Hulsey, Kyle Cheney, Lesch, Smith, Mike Slightom, Workman, Newman, Bill Patterson, Bill Hall III, Zanker, Mull, Marino, Mark Kapscandi
Heat 1: Mark Abouzeid, Jeff Olschowka, Kevin Pendergrass, Richard Papenhausen, Willie Blakely
Main Event: Olschowka, Papenhausen, Abbott, Pendergrass, Abouzeid, Blakely, Eli Zucker, Oreste Gonella, J.D. Thomspon