Sunday, May 1, 2016

Dotson, Spainhoward, Vaughn Ted Stofle Classic Winners At Merced Speedway

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Dotson, Spainhoward, Vaughn Ted Stofle Classic 
Winners At Merced Speedway

Saturday night was the annual running of the Ted Stofle Classic at Merced Speedway.  The track pays tribute every season to the future Hall Of Famer, who died in a tragic hunting accident after winning his fifth consecutive Stock Car championship in 1980.  Many regard him as one of the greatest California Stock Car drivers ever.  There were a total of 89 laps of Main Event action, the same total as Stofle's car number.  When the checkered flag flew on the IMCA Modified Main Event, it was Bakersfield visitor Wayne Dotson collecting the victory.  2014 IMCA State champion Nick Spainhoward won the 30 lap IMCA Sport Modified feature, while Phil Vaughn was the surprise winner of the 30 lap Hobby Stock Main Event.

Coming off of his first win in two seasons, 2012 IMCA Modified champion Bill Egleston was looking for another feature win as he contends for the track championship.  However, he ran into a road block in the form of Bakersfield Speedway point leader Ethan Dotson.  Dotson races at both Bakersfield and Hanford, but he has been known to swoop in and grab victories at other tracks.  Dotson ran a flawless race Saturday night and sped to victory ahead of Egleston, who settled for his second runner up finish of the season at Merced and third on the circuit.  The win paid Dotson $750, and he added another $200 to that total after his fourth at Hanford made him the top point earner over the weekend at both tracks.  Rookie Bruce "Bubba" Nelson enjoyed his best finish of the season so far in third.  Late Model veteran Derek Nance made his first start of the season count as he held off Tim Etchison III for a fourth place finish.  Harley Turner collected a respectable sixth place finish ahead of many time champion Ramie Stone, Ricky Thatcher, Royce Mull and Robert Marsh.

In the IMCA Sport Modified ranks, Nick Spainhoward decided to visit and make a run for the extra money being offered in all divisions for the special event.  Spainhoward was a feature winner at the track last season, and he happily collected the $600 prize, a $200 point bonus and a nice trophy for his impressive win.  Bakersfield racer Matt Lewis was a surprise entrant and finished second ahead of Mike Drake.  Drake continues to run strong in the George Medeiros owned car, having recently scored a second place finish from the back of the pack.  Tim Elias was fourth as veteran Gary Tucker rounded out the Top 5.  Danny Roe had his best showing of the season in sixth ahead of title hopeful Steve Stone.  Defending champion Josh Hensley was eighth, followed by 2014 champion Rick Diaz and defending IMCA State champion Fred Ryland.

Like the IMCA Sport Mods, the Hobby Stocks were out in force this week, and point leader Michael Shearer was hoping to defend his 2015 Ted Stofle Classic win in the double point race.  However, he was surprised by the outstanding efforts put forth by Phil Vaughn and Dexter Long.  Vaughn is a past Top 10 point racer at Chowchilla, and his previous Merced best was a third place feature finish last year.  On Saturday night, Vaughn had things dialed in as second year racer Long tried to improve on his best career finish of second a week earlier.  At the checkered flag, it was Vaughn grabbing his first career Merced win, along with the $500 prize and a really nice trophy.  Long settled for second again, followed by M. Shearer and two time champion Andrew Krumm.  Past Watsonville Hobby Stock champion Matt Kile rounded out the Top 5, and Austin Van Hoff got his best finish so far this year in sixth.  Van Hoff's teammate, Kodie Dean, was seventh as Kristie Shearer, Darren Miguel and John Hensley made up the remainder of the Top 10.

Racing resumes next weekend as Merced Speedway kicks off the month of May with IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks.  For further information, check out the official website at