Sunday, April 17, 2016

Stone, Streeter Share Merced Speedway Winner's Circle

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Stone, Streeter Share Merced Speedway Winner's Circle

The week after rain claimed the action at Merced Speedway, an even bigger field of cars turned out for the track's second race of the season Saturday night. This included increased car counts that caused B Main Events to be needed in IMCA Sport Modifieds and Hobby Stocks. When the checkered flag flew on an increased field in the IMCA Modified Main Event, it was Jeff Streeter collecting the win in the 20 lap race. Steve Stone took it up a notch with his victory in the 20 lap IMCA Sport Modified feature. After apparent winner Ben Lewis II was disqualified in tech, Raul Rodriguez Sr. scored the win in the Hobby Stock Main Event, while Chris Corder picked up another Main Event victory in the Mini Stock division.

After his dominating performance in the season opener, Paul Stone probably thought he was headed for yet another IMCA Modified win on Saturday night. However, it was Jeff Streeter making his season debut a winning one with his impressive victory in the Main Event. Stone settled for second, with new father Bruce "Bubba" Nelson crossing the line with an apparent third place finish.  Unfortunately, he was disqualified in tech.  Past Chowchilla Speedway champions Tim Balding and Randy Brown were elevated to third and fourth, respectively.  Multi time Merced Speedway champion Ramie Stone, Harley Turner, Bill Egleston, Tim Etchison III, Jarod Fast and Petaluma visitor Freddie Plourde III rounded out the Top 10.  Heat race wins went to Stone and Streeter.

After a nice article appeared in the the Merced Sun Star, highlighting the Stone family, who have been big supporters of the area racing for over two decades, Steve Stone used this as an opportunity to claim his IMCA Sport Modified victory. The 2000 Chowchilla Speedway Street Stock Champion was impressive in winning the IMCA Sport Mod Main Event as he held off a fast closing Mike Drake, who is driving for George Medeiros this year.  Drake battled his way to the front after winning the B Main Event to earn his feature starting spot. Veteran Gary Tucker out dueled Chris Falkenberg for the third place finish as Paul Espino rounded out the top five. Defending champion Josh Hensley finished sixth ahead of Justin McPherson, Rick Diaz, Dwayne Short and Tim Prothro.  Short, Danny Roe and Mark Squardito won the heat races, while Drake held off McPherson and Igor Gradzuk for his B Main win.  The Sport Mods produced an impressive 24 car field.

Ben Lewis II took full advantage of his front row starting position to lead the Hobby Stock Main Event through four restarts for the apparent victory.   Unfortunately, he was disqualified in tech for being slightly under weight. Raul Rodriguez Sr. had started from back in 10th after winning his heat race and charged to an apparent second place finish, which became first with Lewis's disqualification. Michael Shearer backed up his win in the season opener with a second ahead of Robbie Loquaci, Kevin Joaquin, Garrett Corn, Kristie Shearer, George Silva, John Hensley, Cody Parker and Austin Van Hoff. As with the Sport Mods, the Hobby Stocks had a strong car count of 22 cars with heat wins going to Silva, Rodriguez and K. Shearer.  Second year racer Dexter Long grabbed the B Main win ahead of Van Hoff and Miguel.

After impressing with his season opening Main Event victory two weeks ago, 2014 Mini Stock champion Chris Corder purchased the car of second place finisher Jeff Amos in a trade. Saturday night, Corder got behind the wheel of the former Amos car and picked up yet another victory ahead of a career best second place finish for Mike Germait. Dennis Copus settled for third ahead of Friday night Watsonville winner Paul Lauretti, Kevin Lockerby, Destiny Carter, Joy Alger, Curtis Thornhill, James Stockton and Robert Jackson.  Lauretti and Copus scored the heat race wins.

The amazing momentum under Promoter Ed Parker and General Manager Doug Williams saw 70 cars compete in the well run four division program.  Racing continues at Merced Speedway next Saturday night with a four division show that will be headlined by the IMCA Modifieds and IMCA Sport Modifieds. Mini Stocks will also be on the card along with the season premiere for The Valley Sportsman division. For further information, check out the official Merced Speedway webpage at