Chico, CA — (May 10, 2012) — During the past six years, Sean Becker has had to change rides frequently from year to year at Silver Dollar Speedway. What else does he do at Chico? He wins. Sean Becker picked up his 38th career sprint car win at Silver Dollar Speedway on Friday night driving the #27 Bastio/Dobbs/Maxwell owned sprint car. “It took me about two weeks to get comfortable with this car and the set-up but I have to thank the crew and we have begun to figure this thing out,” said Becker in victory lane. Becker’s first win in 2012 came aboard the Dan Menne owned #75.
“The General” Jerry Bartlett picked his first main event win during the Limited Late Models at Chico. Ryan McDaniel won the 20-lap dirt modified main event. The move of the night went to Gary Paulson. This kid did the last lap, last turn, run above the cushion to get the win. It’s a move that most drivers dream about.
Kevin Sharrah led the first lap of the winged 410 sprint car main event. The local Chico product is supporting his home track in 2012 and it was good to see him lead a lap. On the second circuit, third place starting Mason Moore passed Sharrah for the lead. Moore has also supported the first few races at Chico and he is a welcomed site back at his home track. However, the driver that always lurks and lives up to his nickname, the shark, was about to take a bite out of Moore. On lap 10, Moore went to the high side in three and four while trying to pass a slower car. Becker dove to the inside and came out of turn four with the lead. Lap 18 the race was halted when Tyler Wolf and Brad Bumgarner tangled in turn four. Wolf ended up on his side and the red was needed. While Wolf was put back on all four, a fire erupted and engulfed the car, but thanks to our outstanding fire crew they were on the scene and put the fire out. The race restarted with Becker having a sizeable advantage and easily held on for the popular win. Moore finished a strong second. Mike Henry was solid as usual and finished third. Henry was another nice surprise tonight. Andy Forsberg earned another consistent finish by coming home in fourth. John Michael Bunch had a solid finish and came home in fifth.
Ryan McDaniel felt he was a second place car tonight until his father had a mechanical issue. “I knew we were a second place car to my dad and then I saw his left hand come out of the window net area and I knew he had a problem,” said McDaniel. Randy led the first ten laps only to have the mechanical problem take him out of the chance for the win. Ryan assumed the lead. He was lightening fast and went on to win the race. To me, Ryan McDaniel is one of the best dirt modified drivers in the country. The kid has talent. The best battle on the track was for second. Raymond Benekowski impressed the heck out of us tonight. He battled all night and held off Richard Papenhausen and Oreste Gonella at the finish line.
Jerry Bartlett led all 20 laps to win the limited late model main event. It’s always good to see “the general” in victory lane. Always colorful and fun-spirited, Bartlett is one of the few who gets that this is also entertainment. Bartlett, to me, is our John Force. He is battle tested, a great interview and fast as heck. Plus his girlfriend is super cool. What’s not to love about this guy? Ken Micheli held down the second spot for the first part of the event. Randy McDaniel moved around Micheli on lap 10. McDaniel tried to reel in Bartlett as the laps wound down. Bartlett almost spun in turn four on lap 15 and also on the final lap. “I saw McDaniel was in second and I knew he was coming,” said Bartlett. McDaniel’s charge ended just short of him actually challenging Bartlett for the win. Matt Micheli is always good at Chico and finished in the third spot. Ken Micheli finished fourth and Charlie Marrs was fifth.
The wingless race was one to remember. Brett Youngman took the early lead during the 20-lap main event. Youngman looked strong up front as the leader. Unfortunately, something failed on the race car and he gave up the lead on lap 13. Rowdy McClennon grabbed the lead while Gary Paulson moved into second. Youngman would stop in turn four a few laps later. When the race resumed it was McClennon up front. He led the race and seemed to be in control until the final lap; however, it was Paulson who would steal the show. Coming out of turn two Paulson had a decision to make. Either go low and finish second or sack it up and try to drive above the cushion and win the race. Thankfully for him and the grandstand crowd he chose the high side. Paulson charged around McClennon to grab the lead coming to the checkered flag. Paulson won the race by half a car length. Travis Moore was third and Angelique Bell was fourth.