By Troy Hennig
(May 4, 2012)…Prunedale’s Justin Sanders just gained a few hundred more fans after Friday night’s main event in Chico. Sanders made numerous impressive moves to win the most exciting 25-lap winged sprint car race of the year. It was Sanders first career 410 winged main event win. What made it even more special was him holding off one of the top sprint car drives in the world, Shane Stewart, for the win. “Wow, I just had so many things going through my mind,” said Sanders when asked about his battle with Stewart. “I was thinking if I should go to the high side, or go low, or slide him in this turn. I have to say it was a pleasure racing against Stewart. He’s one of the best in the world.”
Other winners tonight during Fry’s Metal night at the speedway included Randy McDaniel in the dirt modifieds, Terry Schank Jr. in the wingless and Loren Dreiss in the hobby stocks. A big thanks needs to be given to Bunch Racing who helped organize a coloring contest for the young fans in attendance. Of course, tonight just leads us into the 22nd Annual Dave Bradway Jr. Memorial tomorrow night.
Cody Lamar led the 20 car starting field to the green flag. Lamar looked really strong up front. He led Sanders and Brad Bumgarner for the first few laps of the race. Lamar began to battle with slower cars on lap seven. The race heated up on lap nine when Sanders and Lamar raced side by side for the lead. It was entertaining as neither young driver seemed to give an inch. Unfortunately going into turn three Lamar ran out of room and was sent up and over the race track. He came to a stop and the yellow was needed. At that point, Sanders was the new leader.
The next few laps seemed to take a while as a series of yellows and even a red flag slowed the pace. Sean Becker spun around in turn three after running in the fourth spot. Mitch Olson flipped on lap 10. On the next restart rookie driver Shane Vailant tipped over coming out of turn two.
On the lap 10 restart, Brad Bumgarner made a forceful dive to the bottom of the track and tried to take the lead away from Sanders. The move didn’t’ work and Sanders continued as the leader. Two laps later Shane Stewart drove around Bumgarner for the second spot. This is when things really got good. On lap 16, Stewart passes Sanders for the lead. However, going down the back stretch, Stewart got bottled up behind a slower car. This gave Sanders a run through the middle of turn three and he drifted in front of Stewart for the lead. The two continued this spirited battle a few laps later when Stewart took the lead coming out of turn four. As the two raced into turn one, Sanders dove to the bottom and executed a picture perfect slide job to retake the lead.
The final five laps saw Stewart try to catch Sanders but he was never able to do it. Sanders drove a perfect race and deserved to get the win. After the race he spun in turn two and proceeded to get out of the car and perform the first ever victory wing dance from the turn two area. It was also great to see back to back first time 410 winged main event winners at Chico. Last week Rico Abreu picked up the win.
Roger Crockett had a solid night and finished in the third spot. Kyle Hirst started 14th and ended up fourth. Andy Forsberg came from 13th to fifth. Kenny Allen finished in the sixth spot. Forsberg won the first heat race. John Michael Bunch won the second heat race. Hirst picked up the honors in heat three. Stewart started the night off with a blistering lap in qualifying at 11.570.
Even though the stats show Randy McDaniel led all 20 laps, it was anything but easy for the six-time champ. “It’s time to retire this car,” said McDaniel in victory lane. “I had a heck of a time tonight and even though we won I felt like I was fighting the car all night.” McDaniel said he will bring his newer car for the next race. McDaniel held off Kyle Casson the entire 20 lap distance. Ryan McDaniel ran third most of the night but mechanical issues forced him to the infield on lap 10. Richard Papenhausen was blacked flag during the event because of being too loud and finished a disappointing ninth. Jeff Olschowka finished third while Oreste Gonella came home in fourth. Mike Compton rounded out the top five. Gonella and Ryan McDaniel each won heat races tonight.
Terry Schank Jr. led 19 of the 20 main event laps to earn another win at the Silver Dollar Speedway. Schank passed Ron LaPlant on the second lap and was never threatened for the lead. “Roger was getting kind of stir crazy when we were not racing,” said Schank in victory lane. “I told him to relax and that there will be another race the next week.” The team had missed the previous wingless race because of their motor not being completed in time. Braedon Enos passed some cars tonight. He moved around Travis Moore for the third spot on lap eight. He contested LaPlant for the second spit but was not able to get the job done. Travis Moore finished fourth and Rowdy McClennon finished fifth.
Loren Dreiss led all 12 laps to win the Hobby Stock main event. “I have to thank Brain Compton for letting me drive the car tonight,” said Dreiss. Only five cars showed up tonight and only three made the start of the main event. Jesse Skidmore finished second and Norman Racy was third. Skidmore won the heat race.
The economy winged sprint cars were also in attendance. For the second week in a row the division only ran an exhibition style format.
All the results are on www.mylaps.com.