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Ryland, Rodriguez, Thornhill Merced Winners
Merced, CA...July 9...Racing continued at Merced Speedway Saturday night with three divisions of great racing action on the regular track and Jr. Box Stock racing on the smaller track on the inside. Reigning California State IMCA champion Fred Ryland scored his second 20 lap Sport Modified Main Event win. Raul Rodriguez Sr. is a multi time Hobby Stock champion who is not chasing points this season, but that still didn't stop him from winning his third 20 lap Main Event of the season. Curtis Thornhill became the third different winner in the 20 lap Mini Stock Main Event.
The IMCA Sport Modifieds had a good turnout, and the four 9 lap heat race victories went to Rick Diaz, Tim Elias, Mike Drake and reigning champion Josh Hensley. Once again, you had to earn your way into the Main Event in the competitive field, and Top 10 ranked Alex Odishoo was forced to win the 12 lap B Main to get into the Main Event. Nick Tucker and Dwayne Short earned feature starts with second and third place finishes. Finishing fourth was title hopeful Steve Stone. Unfortunately for Stone, his Main Event was a bit of a disaster as he ended up a disappointing 16th. His closest rival, Diaz, turned in a solid performance.
In the IMCA Sport Modified feature, young Chase Thomas had the honor of starting on the pole, but it was Danny Roe, Paul Espino and Mark Squadrito running up front with him as Ryland and Diaz worked their way to the front. Eventually, Ryland found his way around the leaders and grabbed the checkered flag for the victory. Roe had a great run with a season best second place finish as third was the high water mark of the season for Paul Espino. Diaz emerged with a nice little point lead after his fourth place finish ahead a season best fifth place finish for second generation racer C. Thomas. Drake wrapped up solid evening with a sixth place finish ahead of Elias, Patti Ryland, Gary Tucker and a season best tenth place finish for Chase's younger brother, rookie Tanner Thomas.
The preliminary events were once again dominated in the Hobby Stock division by the Shearer Racing Team as the title contending husband and wife team of Michael and Kristie Shearer won their heat races along with team mate Bruce "Bubba" Nelson. Nelson might have figured into the battle for the win again this week, but the two time division champion settled for a disappointing 11th place finish after starting up in third. In fact, the front row had both Michael and Kristie Shearer as Rodriguez started fourth. The battle was intense from the start. Point leader M. Shearer was hungry for his second win of the season, but it was Rodriguez forcing him to again settle for the second place finish. John Hensley turned in another strong effort with a third place finish ahead of K. Shearer and a career best fifth place finish for Jerry Tubbs. The winner of the Ted Stofle Classic earlier this year, Phil Vaughn, earned a sixth place finish in front of past Merced Speedway Late Model racer Rod Penrod. Dave Smart, Cody Parker and previous winner Darren Miguel completed the list of Top 10 finishers.
The Mini Stock division has been the playground of 2014 champion Chris Corder. However, all of the Corder cars were shut out of the podium on this occasion. Because rivals James Stockton and Mike Germait were absent, C. Corder would still use his fourth place finish and heat win to increase his point lead. C. Corder appeared to be the guy to beat once again as he had the pole position. However, everything was not quite right with his number #68c car. The night also featured a couple of wild moments as Tony Peffer rolled his truck and Brian Widdowson rolled his car. There were no injuries. Widdowson still gave it a good run, but he was no match for Curtis Thornhill. Thornhill drove a great race to earn his first victory. Widdowson was a strong second ahead of Paul Laoretti, C. Corder, Destiny Carter, Jennifer Corder, Luci Falkenberg and Peffer.
There was also some Junior Box Stock racing on the infield track, but information wasn't readily available. We did hear that third generation racer Aiden Larimer won his Main Event. Racing returns next weekend with the IMCA Modifieds as the headliners along with the IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Valley Sportsman cars. For further information, go to www.racemerced.com.
Orland Visitors Ross, Langenderfer Score
Hayfork Speedway Victories
Hayfork, C...July 9...Hayfork Speedway ran a special open show Saturday night, complete with a big Fireworks Show by Devastating Pyrotechnics. Roughly two dozen competitors came to race, and the Mini Stocks reached the 10 car minimum required for the $500 first prize. It was Orland Raceway regular Keith Ross scoring the feature victory in that event, while another Orland regular, Jeremy Langenderfer, won the Hobby Stock feature. Josh Smith won the Pro Stock Main Event with Tim Kasper collecting the victory in the Enduro class.
Several drovers from the Orland track came up to Hayfork to give the Mini Stocks their ten car minimum. A past champion at Orland himself, Ross Vige has been enjoying his trips to Hafyork, and he was joined by Orland regulars Keith Ross, Dan Webster, Tom Davis, William Fogle and others. Ross had a clean sweep performance as the reigning Orland Mini Truck champion won his heat race, the Trophy Dash and Main Event for the $500 first prize. Orland Mini Stock racer Eric Hammond was a $300 second, while Vige settled for a $200 third after his winning streak was snapped.
Though the Hobby Stocks didn't reach their ten car goal, they still had an increased field. The Hobby Stocks at Hayfork have been a place for the Kasper family to shine, but it was Orland and Chico regular Jeremy Langenderfer notching wins in both the Trophy Dash and Main Event. Kevin Kasper represented the family with a second place finish as father Bill finished out of the Top 3. Local Brian Young made his first start with a third place finish.
The Pro Stocks fielded the the track regulars, and Josh Smith scored the Main Event victory ahead of Tressan Smith and Josh Michaels. Tim Kasper held off Andy Blackburn to win the Endcuo Main Event.
These same four divisions will be back in action when racing resumes on July 23rd. For further information, go to www.hayforkspeedway.com.