JESSE BAKER TAKES ANOTHER NMMRA SPRINT MAIN EVENT WIN @ NAPA
The Dirt Track @ NAPA Speedway, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 9-7-13. With nearly perfect weather for about the first time all year there was a very good field of 90 cars to put on some fantastic side-by-side and bumper-to-bumper racing action at NAPA tonight. Once again the NMMRA Traditional Non-Wing Sprints brought out a great field of 22 cars and did a superb job of rolling in the track and providing a very fast and tacky track for all divisions to race on. The action in the heat races was great with only 2 caution periods to slow the action, and one of these was for debris only. The main events were some of the best seen all year with the winner in most divisions not decided until the final turn of the final lap.
The NMMRA Sprints again had the fastest and largest field of cars with 22 drivers on hand tonight. 21 of the 22 drivers started their heat races as the #45 of 2 time winner Jason Grady had mechanical problems and didn’t make his heat race start, and in the main-event there were 21 starters as the #19 of Ronnie Smith came onto the track but had to pull off before the green flag fell. Boy did these guys put on a show. Heat #1 saw the #4X of youngster Cody Mansfield come from outside the 3rd row to take the win over the #26 of Randy Smith with the #99 of Chuck Jackson running one of his best races hot on their heels in 3rd place. Heat #2 had a race long battle for the win with several lead changes along the way. In the end Bo Baker in his #22B took the win with the #2 of Steve Nix who was making his first start of the year at NAPA a very close 2nd place and the #19 of Ronnie Smith coming home in 3rd spot. Heat #3 saw a couple of youngsters hold off a couple of long time competitors. Josh Grady ( brother to Jason Grady from Farmington ) jumped out to the lead and had to battle the #5J of Jeff Brumfield and the #56 of Dillon Tanner as these drivers finished in that order. 3 time winner #62 Bill Mitchell and the #6 of Michael Marfia tried their best to get by the youngsters but were never able to make the pass. All of the NMMRA Main-Events this year but tonight’s might have been the best of them all. The #5J of Jeff Brumfield took off from his pole start and battled the #12J of Josh Grady with the other drivers jockeying for position behind them. The #22B of Bo Baker passed both Grady and Brumfield to take over the lead and brought along the #4X of Cody Mansfield and the #7 of Jesse Baker and the real excitement began. Bo Baker pulled out to a few car length lead but Mansfield and Baker would not let him get away. At times these drivers were 3 wide with first one then the other taking the point. As the Bakers and Mansfield entered lapped traffic they split the lappers without ever letting off the loud pedal. At one point Mansfield took his car to the highest possible point on the track and took the lead but made one small error and slipped too high allowing 3 or 4 cars to get by, giving the lead back to Bo Baker. At this point the Bakers were fighting each other for the top spot with both taking over at times. Mansfield was able to get back up to the leaders and fought his way by Bo Baker as the checkered flag came out for Jesse Baker with Cody Mansfield coming in 2nd and Bo Baker a VERY close 3rd. This is the 2nd or 3rd time this year that Mansfield has been the meat in the Baker sandwich.
Again the A-Mods had a short field but a few of the faster X-Mods joined them and put on a good show. The one and only heat race had 7 A’s and 1 X make the start and put on a great race. The #07 of regular Mini-Sprint driver Patrick Hurtado make his first start in an A-Mod at NAPA took off to the early lead and was holding off some hard charging veterans until he suffered mechanical problems that forced him out of the race. Gallup driver #31 Doug Goodenough took over the lead and held off a very persistent Bob Harter from Aztec in the #75 with the #58 of Los Alamos driver Clint Miller only inches behind them as they finished in that order. The Main-Event saw 11 starters as 5 X-Mods elected to join the fray and do a very good job. The #3 of Kenneth Payne took off from his outside front row start to lead a couple of laps before being overhauled by the #58 of Clint Miller. As Payne began to fall back a ways the battle between the #75 of Bob Harter, the #58 of Miller and the #31 of Goodenough had the crowd on their feet as these 3 cars were side by side 3 wide for several laps and exchanging positions 2 or 3 time per lap. As usual the #3J of Josh Cain was making his move from the back of the field and picking off divers 1 or 2 at time. At about the half way point Cain took over the lead and was never really challenged after that. At the checkered flag it was Cain followed by Goodenough in 2nd with Miller in 3rd. Kevin McDonald in the #K3 X-Mod did a great job of staying close to the front-runners and taking home the 4th position.
The X-Mods again had a great field of 19 cars to do battle tonight. Heat #1 saw fan favorite Tom Melloy in his #62 take the win over the #14C of Bennie Chavez with the #73 of Gerald Haste coming home in 3rd. Haste is one of the few drivers who does double duty on the asphalt and the dirt tracks and does a very good job on both surfaces. Heat #2 had another regular asphalt driver #63 Justin Weber take a very close win over two of the toughest competitors in this as class as the #5X of Rick Boelter came home 2nd and the #0 of another fan favorite J. R. Bonesteel chased them down in 3rd place. Heat #3 had Mychal Lucero in his #1 take off from his pole start and never look back as he took the win over the #00 of Steve Bonesteel with the #K3 of Kevin McDonald side by side for 3rd place. The X-Mod Main Event was a thriller as 17 cars took the green flag and the fight was on. There were 3 yellow flags for debris only as the cars were beating and banging on each other and losing parts along the way. Lucero in the #1 and the #5X of Rick Boelter battled each other for several laps with Boelter finally taking the lead. Joining Boelter and Lucero at the front were the #K3 of Kevin McDonald the #63 of Justin Weber and on two different occasions the #62 of Tom Melloy. As things settled down somewhat the battle between Boelter and J.R. Bonesteel in the #0 had the fans on their feet the rest of the race. Boelter did a great job of holding off Bonesteel with Bonesteel actually taking the lead on 2 occasions only to have a yellow flag come out and allow Boelter back into the lead. Boelter and Bonesteel ran side by side within inches of each other lap after lap. At the checkered flag it was Boelter holding off Bonesteel in 2nd with the K3 of McDonald taking the last podium spot. This may have been the closest battle for the win in the X-Mods this year at NAPA Speedway.
The Street Stocks had 10 cars to run 2 heat races and their main-event. Heat #1 had a race long battle at the front among 3 drivers with the lead changes several times. In the end the #73 of Ric Valdes took the win over the #43 of Dan Gross Sr. and the #8X of Mario Truden coming home in 3rd. Heat #2 saw Mario Truden Sr. fight with the #00 of Jimmy Smith for a few laps before Truden was able to take command and hold off Smith at the final flag with the #54 of Shawn Dutcher Jr. taking 3rd spot. The Main-Event had only 9 starters, as the #143 of Danny Gross Jr. was unable to make the call. Dan Gross Sr. took off to a sizeable lead only to see his night come to an end, as he had to pull off the track with mechanical failure. 6 of the remaining cars exchanged positions from front to back on several occasions. At the finish line it was the #3 of Mario Truden Sr. taking the win over the #73 of Ric Valdes and the #54 of Shawn Dutcher filling out the top 3 spots.
The Cruisers had 11 cars for their 2 heats and a Main-Event. Heat #1 had the #4M of youngster Rob Moseley take the win over the #33 of Devon Gates with #80 Ernie Sandoval taking 3rd. Heat #2 saw some unusual spinning and banging that took first one then another racer out of the lead. In the end the #00 of Stanley New Mexico racer Leo Dennisson took home the checkered flag with #43 Art Hurley in the Petty Blue 65 Plymouth Belvedere taking 2nd and the #15 of Cheyenna Yates taking 3rd spot. The main-event had 12 starters as newcomer Tanner Hidgon arrived late and tagged the rear of the field. After many lead changes among 4 or 5 drivers the #15 of Cheyenna Yates took the win over the #33 of Devon Gates with the #4M of Rob Moseley coming home in 3rd.
The Hornets again had the smallest field of the night to run a single heat and their main-event. The heat race saw the #99 of Lena Duke shoot out from her pole position start and never look back as she held off the very fast #06 of Patricia Gallegos and the #29 of Larry Johnson. The main-event saw all 8 competitors take the green flag. The #29 of Larry Johnson took off to the early lead and was never seriously challenged as he led every lap to take his second win in a row. Chasing Johnson to the stripe was the #06 of Gallegos with the #58 of Frank Payne taking 3rd.
The Mini-Sprints had 12 cars to run 2 heats and a very exciting main-event. With these little pocket rockets racing on the smaller infield track the actions is always rough and tumble, although nobody actually did get upside down even though they tried pretty hard to accomplish that feat. Heat #1 had the #8 of Chris Perea take the win over the #07 of Patrick Hurtado and the #11K of Tyler James Congleton. Heat #2 saw the #4S of Spencer Hill take the win over the #17 of a VERY hard charging Jacob Johnston with the #72 of Mike Barnes taking 3rd. The main-event was a wheel-banging thriller as nearly every car took a shot at the top spots. In the end the #07 of Patrick Hurtado held off the #24K of Kaylee Dons with the #5 of Brianna Franchini coming home in the final podium position.
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