Bill Mitchell Takes NMMRA Sprint Feature @ NAPA Speedway
Bob & Ray Ingram
 
Albuquerque, New Mexico 5-11-13.  The New Mexico Motor Racing Association brought out a very nice field of 21 Traditional Non-Wing Sprinters for their first of 9 scheduled shows at the Dirt Track @ NAPA Speedway this season. NMMRA put on a great show for a packed house of fans on a nearly perfect race track.  On a slightly overcast evening with some rain showers near by there was virtually no dust.  There were a total of 110 cars in the pits that took the green flag and put on some fantastic racing in all divisions.  Several races ended with the leader or second place car crossing the finish line sideways.  With the large car count the show still ended before 11:00 P.M.

The Sprinters split into 3 heat races and their 25 lap main event ( shortened to 20 laps due to a crash on the first lap).  Heat #1 saw the #62 of Bill Mitchell take the win over the #16 of Tom Ball with the #4 of Jerrel Higgenbotham taking the 3rd spot.  Heat #2 had Peoria Arizona driver Mike Colegrove in the 17M take the win over Grants, New Mexico driver Jesse Baker in the #7 with Jesse’s dad Bo Baker in the #22 taking 3rd place.  This heat race saw 2 wide racing the entire way and 3 wide a couple of times which eventually cost the #45 of Farmington, New Mexico driver Jason Grady in the #45 hit the frontstretch wall very hard.  Grady was able to make repairs to start and finish the main event.  Heat #3 had the #19 of past champion Ronnie Smith take the win over the #6 of Robert Marfia with the #76 of Dean Peek for Farmington New Mexico taking home 3rd position.  The main event that was scheduled for 25 laps saw 20 of the 21 cars on hand make the call as only the #9 of Jesse Higgenbotham was unable to start.  The main got off to a rough start as the #76 of Dean Peek lost power at the end of the first lap while the cars were all bunched up in a wad and collected the #41 of James Hatch and the #24 of Jason Tanner.  When the dust settled the Hatch car was under the Peek car upside down and the Tanner car was on top of the Peek car.  Fortunately all three drivers escaped serious injury but are sure to be a bit sore the next few days.  Hatch and Peek were done for the night but the #24 of Tanner was able to restart and finish the main in a very respectable 6th place.  Once the race got going good the battle at the front was terrific with the #62 of Mitchell the #19 of Ronnie Smith and the 17M of Mike Colegrove battling side by side for the lead.  Mitchell was able to pull out to a narrow lead with Smith and Colegrove close behind.  Just as it looked like an easy victory, Mitchell and company entered lapped traffic making things get interesting.  At one point Colegrove was able to get by Smith briefly but then had to give back the position in traffic.  With a few laps to go the #56 of Dillon Tanner got upside down causing a red flag.  When the cars re-fired there was a problem with the Colegrove car that caused him to leave the race.  Mitchell held off Smith for the win with the hard charging #6 of Robert Marfia taking the final podium position. 
 
As has been the case this year the A-Mods had a very short field of only 7 cars ( actually only 6 as the #62 of Tom Melloy is an X-Mod that runs with the A-Mods ).  Melloy has more fun than anyone at the track and gets more for his pit fee than anyone by running the same car in two divisions and is competitive in both.   The heat race saw the usual cast of characters with the #3J of Josh Cain taking the win over the #75 of Bob Harter and the #58 of Clint Miller.  The main event looked much like a replay of the heat race as Cain took the win over Harter and Miller.  Harter, Miller and the #31 of Gallup New Mexico racer Doug Goodenough are always hounding the heels of Cain and one or the other of these drivers is going to take a main event win away from Cain.
 
The X-Mods have been the opposite of the A-Mods as they have grown every week to a great field of 24 cars.  As I said the first week of the year, we will probably soon be seeing the first B-Main that has been seen in Albuquerque for a LONG time.  Heat #1 saw the #37 of Rob Haaland take the win over the #23 of Andy Gensen Jr. taking 2nd and the #O of J.R. Bonesteel in 3rd spot.  Heat #2 had the 5X of Rick Boelter taking the win over the #62 of Tom Melloy and the #25 of Derek Dietz coming home in 3rd.   Heat #3 saw the #54 of Tim Hooper take the win over the #68 of Kenny Wheeler with #29 of Mike O’Neal taking the 3rd position.  Hooper is an ex-asphalt racer who has done a very good job of transitioning to the dirt track.  O’Neal nearly destroyed his car a couple of weeks ago and was helped by Hodges Automotive and friends get the car back together to make tonights show.  With 8 cars in 3 heats there was a total of 2 caution flags and one of them was caused by debris on the track.  The main event saw 21 starters as 3 cars had mechanical problems and kept them in the pits.  For the first half of the race the top 8-10 cars were side by side with Tim Hooper in #54 leading the way for awhile then fading back and giving up the battle to several more cars for the top spot.  J.R. Bonesteel in the #0 car came from his inside 4th row start to take over the lead then hang on as the battle behind him raged on.  J.R.’s dad Steve Bonesteel in the #00 fought his way from outside the 6th row to take over the 2nd spot.  As the laps wound down it looked like it was going to be a son & father finishing 1 and 2 but on the final lap Steve made a slight bobble which allowed the hard charging #23 of Andy Gensen Jr. to squeeze by and take home 2nd spot with Steve Bonesteel taking the last spot on the podium.  The X-Mods have put on some of the most exciting racing seen at NAPA this year.
 
The Street Stocks had a nice 16 car field for 2 heat races and their main event.  Heat #1 saw the #8X of Mario Truden Jr. take the win over the battling NAPA sponsored cars of #98 Toy Fisher and the #99 of Joel Duke.  Fisher and Duke fought each other virtually the entire race was Fisher holding off Duke by inches at the checkered flag.  Heat #2 saw youngster R.C. Combs in the beautiful #53 take the win over the #36 of Jerry Farzier Jr. and the #73 of Ric Valdes.  Frazier and Valdes fought each other for several laps with Frazier crossing the finish line sideways with Valdes pushing him all the way.  The main event saw the #53 of R.C. Combs come out of his 2nd row inside start and run away from the field.  But the battle for the runner-up spot was fierce with several cars vying for the spot.  In the end the #98 of Toy Fisher held off a very determined #43 of Dan Gross.
 
As always the Cruisers put on a good show with 15 cars in 2 heats and their main event.  Heat #1 saw newcomer Brandon Caldwell in #49 take a nice win over another new comer this year in the #19 of Josh Lott with the #00 Leon Dennison taking 3rd spot.  Heat #2 saw tons of action with the #33 of Devon Gates taking the win over the #4M of Rob Moseley and the #15 of Cheyanna Yates coming home 3rd.   The action in heat #2 was side by side the entire race with winner not decided until the final turn of the last lap.  The main event had all but one of the cars on hand make the call as Suzanna Bonesteel in the #02 sustained un-repairable damage in her heat race.  Devon Gates in the #33 started outside the 3rd row but had his hands full working his way by the Yates and Moseley cars to take the win with Yates and Mosely close behind for the #2 and #3 spot.
 
The 4cyl Hornet class had 11 cars to run a single heat race and their main event.  As has been the case all year the #06 of Patricia Gallegos took the heat race win over the #94 of Richard Garcia and the #95 of Andrew Fowner.  Both Garcia and Fowner have been hot on Gallegos’s heels all year.  The main event was a thriller as the #95 of Fowner took off to a good lead while the fight behind him raged on.  The #06 of Patricia Gallegos charged toward the front from her outside 3rd row start.  Gallegos caught up to Fowner and while trying to make the pass for the lead made contact with another racer and dropped back several spots.  With the laps winding down Gallegos picked off competitors one after the other until she was on the back bumper of the Fowner car.  At the checkered flag it was Fowner by inches over Gallegos with the #94 of Richard Garcia a VERY close 3rd.
 
The Mini-Sprints had 12 car divided into 2 heats and their main event on the smaller ¼ mile track.  It would be good to see these cars on the larger track and see what they could do if they can get wound up tight.  Heat #1 had the #07 of Patrick Hurtado take the win over the #17 of Jacob Johnston and the #4S of Spenser Hill coming home in 3rd spot.  Heat #2 saw the #24K of Kaylee Dons take the win over the #5 of Briana Franchini and the #69X T.J. McHugh.  The main event saw a crowded field on the small track as the #17 of Jacob Johnston take the win over the #07 of Patrick Hurtado and the #4S of Spenser Hill taking home the Bronze Medal.
 
The Dwarfs again brought out 7 cars mostly from Colorado to put on 1 heat race and their main event.  The heat race saw Colorado racer Ryan Gillealand in #21and the #17X of J.C. Gilleland battle each other side by side the entire race with Ryan holding off J.C. with the #70X of Brian Cumby taking 3rd place.  The Gilleland cars look like mini-modifieds while the other cars look more like the old Sportsman type 37 –40 model cars.  Youngster Casey Gossett ( Grandson of long time Sprint car driver Russell Gossett ) drove the #66 of David Hand in his first ever Dwarf Car race and finished a respectable 4th place.  In another replay of the heat race the Gilleland boys again ran away for the win with the #70X of Brian Cumby at least keeping them honest as he stayed close to their rear bumpers.
 
NMMRA SPRINTS
Heat #1, #62 Bill Mitchell, #16 Tom Ball, #4 Jerrel Higgenbothan, #4L Kristi Smith, #55 David Dykes, #41 James Hatch DNF, #24 Jason Tanner DNF
Heat #2, #17M Mike Colegrove,#7 Jesse Baker,  #22 Bo Baker, #26 Randy Smith, #52NM David Burns DNF, #9R Jessie Higgenbotham DNF, #45 Jason Grady DNF
Heat #3, #19 Ronnie Smith, #6 Robert Marfia, #76 Dean Peek, #12 Jarrod Smith, #56 Dillon Tanner, #73 Nick Rael, #24C Cody Dons
Main-Event, #62 Bill Mitchell, #19 Ronnie Smith, #6 Robert Marfia, #45 Jason Grady, #16 Tom Ball, #24 Jason Tanner, #52NM David Burns, #7 Jesse Baker, #26 Randy Smith, #22 Bo Baker, #4L Kristi Smith, #24C Cody Dons, #12 Jarrod Smith, #73 Nick Rael DNF, #4 Jerrel Higgenbothan DNF, #17M Mike Colegrove, #55 David Dykes DNF, #56 Dillon Tanner DNF, #76 Dean Peek DNF, #41 Hatch DNF, 9R Jessie Higgenbothan DNS.
 
A-Mods
Heat #1 and only, #3J Josh Cain, #75 Bob Harter, #58 Clint Miller, #31 Doug Goodenough, #28 Rob Haaland, #62 Tom Melloy, #8 John Marrs DNF.
Main-Event,  #3J Josh Cain, #75 Bob Harter, #58 Clint Miller, #31 Doug Goodenough, #28 Rob Haaland, #62 Tom Melloy, #8 John Marrs DNS.
 
X-Mods
Heat #1, #37 Rob Haaland, #23 Andy Genson Jr., #0 J.R. Bonesteel, #33 Wild Bill Lynch, #26 Ryan Dietz, #1 Mychal Lucero DNF, #28 Skimmer Leathem DNF
Heat #2, #5X Rick Boelter, #62 Tom Melloy, #25 Derek Dietz, #57 Don Duffel, #14 Andrew Fowner, #76 Mike Ford Jr. DNF, #78 Gary Guinn DNS, Eric Ford DNS
Heat #3, #54 Tim Hooper, #68 Kenny Wheeler, #29 Mike O’Neal, #00 Steve Bonesteel, #34 Donald Scott, #43 Dan Glass, #79 Hayden Foy, #14C Bennie Chavez, #21III Avie Chavez III
Main-Event,  #0 J.R. Bonesteel, #23 Andy Genson Jr., #00 Steve Bonesteel, #54 Tim Hooper, #29 Mike O’Neal, #26 Ryan Dietz, #34 Donald Scott, #25 Derek Dietz, #43 Dan Glass, #62 Tom Melloy, #37 Rob Haaland , #14 Andrew Fowner, #1 Mychal Lucero, #14C Bennie Chavez, #33 Wild Bill Lynch, #68 Kenny Wheeler, #28 Skimmer Leathem, #79 Hayden Foy, #5X Rick Boelter DNF, #57 Don Duffel DNF, #87 Eric Ford DNF, #76 Mike Ford Jr. DNS, #78 Gary Guinn DNS, #21III Avie Chavez III DNS
 
Street Stocks
Heat #1, #8X Mario Truden Jr., #98 Toy Fisher, #99 Joel Duke, #143 Danny Gross Jr., #54 Shawn Dutcher Jr., #M777 Cameron Martin DNF,#3D Nathan Medina DNF
Heat #2, #53 R.C. Combs, #36 Jerry Frazier Jr., #75 Ric Valdes, #43 Dan Gross, #40 John Cruickshank, #26 Driver Unknown DNF, #3 Mario Truden Sr. DNF, #00 Jim Smith
Main-Event,  #53 R.C. Combs, #98 Toy Fisher, #43 Dan Gross, #8X Mario Truden Jr., #99 Joel Duke, #73 Ric Valdes, #3 Mario Truden Sr., #54 Shawn Dutcher Jr., #M777 Cameron Martin DNF, #36 Jerry Frazier Jr. DNF, #3D Nathan Medina DNF, #40 John Cruickshank DNS, #26 Driver Unknown DNS, #00 Jim Smith DNS, #143 Danny Gross Jr. DNS
 
Cruisers
Heat #1, #33 Devin Gates, #4M Rob Moseley, #15 Cheyanna Yates, #20 John Morningstar, #76 Madison Conrad, #43 Art Hurley DNF, #0 Gary Smith DNF, #78Anthony Sandoval DNS
Heat #2, #49 Brandon Caldwell, #19 Josh Lott, #00 Leon Dennison, #80 Ernie Sandoval, #26 Cody Sanchz, #02 Suzanna Bonesteel, #41 Stephanie Sanchez DNS
Main- Event, #33 Devin Gates, #15 Cheyanna Yates, #4M Rob Moseley, #26 Cody Sanchez, #20 John Morningstar, #0 Gary Smith, #76 Madison Conrad, #78 Anthony Sandoval, #49 Brandon Caldwell, #19 Josh Lott, #43 Art Hurley, #41 Stephanie Sanchez DNF, #80 Ernie Sandoval DNF, #00 Leon Dennison DNF, #02 Suzanna Bonesteel DNS,
 
Hornets
Heat #1 and only, #06 Patricia Gallegos, #94 Richard Garcia, #95 Andrew Fowner, #58 Frank Payne, #99 Lena Duke, #97B Justin Morgan, #7 Daysha Boelter, #17 Donette Ford, #98Y Coulter Morgan, #77 Fred Anaya, #7X Rick Jockisch DNF
Main-Event, #95 Andrew Fowner, #06 Patricia Gallegos, #94 Richard Garcia, #99 Lena Duke, #58 Frank Payne, #7 Dashya Boelter, #77 Fred Anaya, #98Y Coulter Morgan, #97B Justin Morgan DNF, #17 Donette Ford DNF, #7X Rick Jockisch DNS
 
Mini-Sprints
Heat #1, #07 Patrick Hurtado, #17 Jacob Johnston, #4S Spenser Hill, #84X Keith Gatewood, #22 Robert Turner, #34 Ann Gatewood
Heat #2, #24K Kaylee Dons, #5 Briana Franchini, #69X T.J. McHugh, #11K Tyler James Congleton, #1 Duane Oldfield, #4L Kristi Smith DNF, #19 Jordan Matson DNS
Main-Event, #17 Jacob Johnston, #07 Patrick Hurtado, #4S Spencer Hill, #4L Kristi Smith, #5 Briana Franchini, #24K Kaylee Dons, #84X Keith Gatewood, #34 Ann Gatewood, #22 Robert Turner, #11K Tyler James Congleton, #19 Jordan Matson, #69X T.J. McHugh DNF, #1 Duane Oldfield DNF
 
Dwarfs
Heat 1 And only, #21 Ryan Gilleland, #17X J.C. Gilleland, #70X Brian Cumby, #42 Rick McCormick, #66 Casey Gossett, #70 Isaac Gallegos, #17 Ken Walker DNF
Main-Event, #17X J.C. Gilleland, #21 Ryan Gilleland, #70X Brian Cumby, #66 David Hand, #70 Isaac Gallegos, #17 Ken Walker, #42 Rick McCormick
 
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God Bless Everybody
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