Hodges, Harter, Yates and Johnston take wins at Sandia Speedway
Bob & Ray Ingram
Albuquerque, New Mexico. The clay oval at Sandia Speedway was in as close to perfect condition as is possible for the NMMRA Traditional Non-Wing Sprints, A-Mods, Cruisers / Hornets and Non-Wing Mini-Sprints. The early afternoon saw a fierce wind and dust storm that was followed by a nice rainfall that knocked down the dust and put moisture deep into the track that kept the racing surface tacky and smooth all night long for some of the fastest racing ever at the 4 year old track. Thanks to Chuck Jackson and Jackson Compaction for being the sponsor for tonight fantastic action at Sandia Speedway.
The NMMRA Sprints brought out a very nice field of 20 cars, although only 19 were able to take the green flag as the #55 of David Dykes suffered a mechanical problem just before the racing action began. All three heat races went green to checkered for some of the best heat races seen in a long time in any division. Heat #1 had the #7M of second year driver Matthew Cardenas lead most of the race holding off the very fast #12J of Josh Grady from Farmington with the #26 of Randy Smith right on their rear bumpers. Grady was able to get by Cardenas near the end to take the win with Smith staying in the 3rd spot. Heat #2 saw the top 5 drivers within a few feet of each other the entire race without ever touching ( what a thriller ). Jesse Baker in the Bill Richards yellow #7 took off from the outside of the front row to lead every lap with 3 or 4 other drivers at times running side by side with Baker. In the end Baker took the win in front of the #4X of hard charging Cody Mansfield and the flying #45 of Jason Grady coming home in the 3rd position. Heat #3 saw the #74X of youngster Josh Hodges jump out to the lead from his pole position start and never look back as he took the win over the #24 of Robert Marfia who stayed close but could not quite catch up to Hodges. Chasing Hodges and Marfia to the checkers was the #17 of Steven Spiak. WOW, the 25 lap main-event got off to a wild start as the #2D of rookie driver David Gay and the #29 of Ted Schlote came together hard in turn two and both cars took hard rollovers. Thanks to the great safety equipment these drivers have in their cars both drivers were able to walk away from the crash. On the restart the battle throughout the field was fast and furious with lots of position changes from front to back. The early going saw the #45 of Jason Grady have his hands full with the #4X of Cody Mansfield, #7 Jesse Baker and the #74X of Josh Hodges. With the laps winding down it looked as if #45 Grady was going to take the win but the #74X of Hodges close the gap and took the lead with 2 laps to go and hold off Grady for the win. Chasing Hodges and Grady home was the #7 of Jesse Baker. This was the second win this year for young Hodges who is loading up and heading back to the mid-west to run the very tough Indiana Sprint Series.
The A-Mods had a fairly short field of 11 cars but they put on some very good races on the exceptionally smooth and fast track tonight. Not to be out done by the Sprinters the A-Mods also ran their heat races without a yellow flag. Heat #1 saw a good battle between the #5B of Butch Reid who has been living and working in Carlsbad the last couple of years and the #58 of Clint Miller along with the #63 of Justin Weber, close behind this trio was the #28 of Cooter Frazier and the M71 of Deral Meek. At about the halfway point there was some contact between Reid and Miller that allowed the rest of the field to squeeze by. With the laps running out the #M71 of Meek dove low on the track and flew by Weber and Frazier to take the win with Weber and Frazier taking 2nd and 3rd. Heat #2 saw the #75 of Aztec driver Bob Harter take off from outside the front row and take a comfortable win. The battle for 2nd was a barn burner as the next 4 drivers behind Harter were never more that a car length of two apart the entire race. At the checkered flag it was the X-Mod of #29 Mike O'neal coming home in 2nd place in front of the #05 of Donald Clinger. All 11 cars on hand made the call for a very good and fast main-event. This race was slowed by only 1 caution period for the #5B of Butch Reid who suffered a mechanical failure that caused his car to go airborne off turn 3-4 and end up WAY off the racing surface. Reid was not injured but his night was finished. As in the heat race the #75 of Harter jumped out to the lead and looked to be a fairly easy winner, but several drivers had other ideas. There was a race long battle among 5 or 6 drivers behind Harter trying to run Harter down. As the white flag for the final lap came out the #28 of Cooter Frazier seemed to find a bit of extra speed as he closed the gap on Harter and made a furious charge out of turn 4 only to come up a few inches short in a near photo finish at the stripe. Chasing Harter and Frazier home was the #M71 of Meek who was only a few feet behind.
The combined Cruiser / Hornet class again had a very nice field of 19 cars to put on some very entertaining races. This class almost pulled off the no yellow flag heat races as the Sprints and Mods did but had one caution period in heat #2. heat #1 saw the #15 of Cheyenne Yates have an early duel with the #78 of Anthony Sandoval who was running better than ever until his car began to smoke badly as the laps wound down. At the checkered it was Yates holding off the slowing Sandoval with the #5.0 of Todd Hendrickson taking 3rd spot. Heat #2 had a very good battle between the 4cyl. Hornet #99 of Lena Duke and the V8 of veteran driver Phil York in his yellow #1 ride. Duke was able to hold on for the win in front of York with the #18 of Jim Kosinski coming home a very close 3rd place. Heat #3 had the new car #16 of Francisco Baca take off from the front row and hold off a very determined #97B of Justin Morgan with the #58 of Frank Payne on their bumpers taking the 3rd spot. We think it is safe to say that the 4 cyl front wheel drive Hornet cars are more than competitive with the V8 rear wheel drive Cruiser cars. The main-event had 18 of the 19 cars on hand make the start as only the 1978 Chrysler Cordoba #20 of John Morningstar failed to take the green flag. The early going saw a very good side by side battle between the #1 of Phil York and the #5.0 of Todd Hendrickson. Several other drivers were battling close behind York and Hendrickson trying to catch the leaders. The #15 of Cheyenne Yates was working her way to the front from her outside 3rd row start. Once Yates worked by York and Hendrickson she was able to pull away from the field for the win. Chasing Yates to the stripe was the #5.0 of Hendrickson holding of the #1 of York. Yates had a pretty interested passenger as her dad Dee Yates who drives the #15 X-Mod was along for the ride. We wonder who was giving who advice in the pits after the race???????
The Non-Wing Mini-Sprints had a short field of 9 cars to put on some good races on the smaller infield track. The first heat had the 6 veteran drivers and the 2nd heat had the 3 rookie drivers running their own race. Heat #1 saw the #17J of rocket Jacob Johnston shoot out from outside the front row and take the win over the #9X of Eric Smith with the #11K of Tyler James Congleton coming home in 3rd place. The rookie race saw the very young Travis Oldfield in his #38 do a very nice job taking the win in front of the #84 of Katie Seals with the #23 of Hannah Dykes taking 3rd. Both Oldfield and Seals were crossing up and drifting through the turns much like their bigger brothers the full sized Sprint Cars. The main-event had all 9 cars take the green flag as the rookies do run with the veterans in the main. Once again the #17J of Jacob Johnston took off from outside the 2nd row and took a commanding lead and was never challenged for the win. There was a good battle for 2nd between the #22 of Robert Turner and the #72 of Mike Barnes. In the end Turner was able to hold off Barnes to take 2nd place.
Overall all a FANTASTIC night of dirt track action on probably the smoothest, fastest track in New Mexico in a very long time. Here are the UNOFFICIAL results for all races. We apologize for any error.
Have A Great Day
God Bless Everybody
NMMRA Non-Wing Sprints
Heat #1 #12J Josh Grady, #7M Matthew Cardenas, #26 Randy Smith, #56 Dillon Tanner, #2D David Gay, #29 Ted Schlote, #F2 L.C. Kesterson
Heat #2 #7 Jesse Baker, #4X Cody Mansfield, #45 Jason Grady, #57 Austin Mansfield, #38 Michael Fanelli, #52NM Joshua Jackson, #55 David Dykes DNS
Heat #3 #74X Josh Hodges, #24 Robert Marfia, #17 Steven Spiak, #19R Ronnie Smith, #48 Larry Kesterson, #5 Jerrill Higginbotham DNF
Main-Event #74X Josh Hodges, #45 Jason Grady, #4X Cody Mansfield, #7 Jesse Baker, #12J Josh Grady, #7M Matthew Cardenas, #52NM Joshua Jackson, #38 Michael Fanelli, #26 Randy Smith, #17 Steven Spiak, #24 Robert Marfia DNF, #F2 L.C. Kesterson DNF, #19R Ronnie Smith DNF, #5 Jerrill Higginbotham DNF, #57 Austin Mansfield DNF, #29 Ted Schlote DNF, #48 Larry Kesterson DNF, #2D David Gay DNF, #56 Dillon Tanner DNS, #55 David Dykes DNS
Heat #1 #M71 Deral Meek, #63 Justin Weber, #28 Cooter Frazier, #58 Clint Miller, #5B Butch Reid
Heat #2 #75 Bob Harter, #29 Mike O'Neal, #05 Donald Clinger, #95 Aaron Wheeler, #62 Tom Melloy, #20 Tim Lamm
Main-Event #75 Bob Harter, #28 Cooter Frazier, #M71 Deral Meek, #63 Justin Weber, #05 Donald Clinger, #58 Clint Miller, #29 Mike O'Neal, #62 Tom Melloy, #5B Butch Reid DNF, #95 Aaron Wheeler DNF
Cruisers / Hornets
Heat #1 #15 Cheyenne Yates, #78 Anthony Sandoval, #5.0 Todd Hendrickson, #28 Gary Smith, #20 John Morningstar, #43 Art Hurley, #75 Jared Hensley
Heat #2 #99 Lena Duke, #1 Phil York, #18 Jim Kosinski, #79 Thomas Travis-Bateman, #98Y Coulter Morgan, #5.7 Derek Sturgeon DNF
Heat #3 #16 Francisco Baca, #97B Justin Morgan, #58 Frank Payne, #7J Josh Thornburg, #26 Cody Sanchez, #44 Art Hurley III
Main-Event #15 Cheyenne Yates, #5.0 Todd Hendrickson, #1 Phil York, #28 Gary Smith, #18 Jim Kosinski, #26 Cody Sanchez, #58 Frank Payne, #99 Lena Duke, #79 Thomas Travis-Bateman, #43 Art Hurley, #44 Art Hurley III, #7J Josh Thornburg, #78 Anthony Sandoval, #98Y Coulter Morgan, #16 Francisco Baca DNF, #97B Justin Morgan DNF, #5.7 Derek Sturgeon DNF, #75 Jared Hensley DNF, #20 John Morningstar DNS
Heat #1 #17J Jacob Johnston, #9X Eric Smith, #11K Tyler James Congleton, #22 Robert Turner, #72 Mike Barnes DNF, #619 Lalo Saenz DNF
Rookie Heat #38 Travis Oldfield, #84 Katie Seals, #23 Hannah Dykes
Main-Event #17J Jacob Johnston, #22 Robert Turner, #72 Mike Barnes, #619 Lalo Saenz, #11K Tyler James Congleton, #38 Travis Oldfield, #84 Katie Seals, #23 Hannah Dykes, #9X Eric Smith DNF