From Troy Hennig
CHICO, CA – JULY 15, 2011…Chico’s Brett Miller is someone that you just can’t help but to root for. He comes from a strong family who has supported his racing career through the good times and the not so good times that every driver goes through. Friday night, Miller showed that hard work and perseverance pay off. Miller led all 25-laps to get his first win of 2011. His last win at the track came on July 16, 2010. It had been 364 days since the last time he was able to celebrate on the front stretch. “First off I want to thank GOD because without him none of this would be possible,” said Miller in victory lane. “I know times are tough with the economics of this world but just trust in him and we will get through it.”
This past week Miller went on a road trip to Disneyland. This year people have been telling Miller there is a monkey on his back. At Disneyland he bought a Chewbacca stuffed animal and wore it on his shoulders today. “People told me I had a monkey on my back all year so I saw this at Disneyland and decided to buy it,” said Miller as he was holding up the stuffed animal. “Maybe I need to wear it all the time now.”
Tim Kaeding made a rare Chico start a successful one as the current King of the West point leader stared 10th and finished second. He passed Andy Forsberg on the final lap to secure the runner up spot. Forsberg finished third. In doing so Forsberg is now the point leader and will have a decision to make in two weeks. Come back to Chico and try to win the championship or race an ASCS show. Forsberg is now the new leader because Sean Becker’s night ended before it started. Motor problems sidelined the former champion and he was forced to watch from the sidelines tonight.
Another tough luck award could of gone to Colby Copeland. The Roseville driver by virtue of the pill draw was able to start on the pole position. However, after he grabbed the early lead the yellow came out and during the time he had lost his brake caliper. This sent him to the pits and retired for the evening. With him missing, Brett Miller was able to restart the race from the pole. The race needed to be restarted because Korey Lovell flipped upside down in turn on the original start. He walked away uninjured.
Remember this name, Colton Heath. This driver out of Marysville, Washington was very impressive. For only a handful of starts at Chico and none since 2009, Heath looked at home on the quarter-mile clay oval and finished fourth. Redding’s Tyler Wolf rounded out the top five with another strong finish. Shain Matthews returned to the driver’s seat after a two year hiatus from racing to finish eighth and pick up the 360 bonus money.
It was a Chico sweep for heat races tonight. David Tarter won a spirited heat race with Tim Kaeding. Tarter continues to improve and impress. Brad Bumgarner picked up the second heat win and Jonathan Allard won heat three. For the second week in a row Tyler Wolf was fastest in qualifying at a 12.468.
Chico’s Richard Papenhausen won his fourth main event of the year at Chico and keeps his point lead at four over Chico’s Mark Abouzeid. Papenhausen led all 15 laps for the win. “The track prep has been getting better the past few weeks and it’s been fun to race on this track again,” said Papenhausen. JD Thompson held down the second spot for awhile until Mark Abouzeid was able to pass him. Abouzeid went on to finish second. Jeff Olschowka finished third. Abouzeid picked up the win in the one and only heat race.
Mitch Machado says he owes it all to his crew and friends. “This is the reason,” said Machado as he pointed at his assembled crew in victory lane. “They all pay their own way into the races and they show up and just have a good time. We’ve taken about the last six weeks off but we had this race on our schedule and it feels good to come back here and win.” Machado visited victory lane on April 29 also this season. Machado held off a charging Fred Ryland. Machado gave Ryland credit in his victory lane interview as an up and comer. Third went to championship point leader Kevin Lesch. Chico’s Bill Patterson drove a strong race to come back and finish fourth. Shawn Smith crossed the line in fifth for another good finish. Lesch and Machado were winners in earlier heat race action. Brent Lawrence can add “fireball” to his nickname. During the main event Lawrence’s car erupted in fire down the front stretch. “The fire was so intense I cold feel the heat on my fact,” said cameraman Mike Doyle who films from the roof of the grandstands. Lawrence was uninjured but finished for the night.
BJ Martin held off two of the best in the business to get back into winners circle for the first time in 2011 at Chico. The former Pepsi Night Winner held off Terry Schank Jr. for most of the race and a hard charging Jimmy Sills, who finished third. Schank Jr. tried every move he could muster on the track but was never quite able to find the right line around Martin. Sills battled all night in the mid pack area after an early spin sent him to the rear of the field. Taylor Simas held a top four spot all night until he almost launched his car over Nathan Johnson’s wheel on the final lap. Simas still was credited with fifth. Angelique Bell spun early in the race but bounced back to finish fourth. Randy Freeman took a nasty tumble off turn three but was reported fine from the scene of the crash. Travis Moore won the first race while Sills won the heat two. A total of 14 wingless turned out for the nights racing action.
Complete results can be found at mylaps.com. The direct link is here at http://www.mylaps.com/results/showevent.jsp?id=686378