Gary Smith Wins Cruiser Main-Event, Mother Nature Wins All Other Mains
Bob & Ray Ingram
The Dirt Track @ Sandia Speedway, Albuquerque, New Mexico. Once again mother nature was not kind to the Dirt Track @ Sandia Speedway as intermittent showers delayed the show at intermission by over an hour and once racing was able to resume only one main-event was able to be completed. There was a very good crowd on hand to see some really good heat races in all divisions and were truly die hard fans as most stayed through the fairly long delay only to ultimately get rained out. Weather should be much better for next weekends Vern Johnson Memorial Motorcycle Races.
The NMMRA Traditional Non-Wing Sprints had 16 cars on hand to run 2 very exciting heat races. Heat #1 saw the #24 of Robert Marfia shoot out from the outside front row and pull away from the field. On each lap it looked like the Marfia car was getting higher and higher in turns 3&4, and sure enough with about 4 laps to go the Marfia car got completely off the top side of turn 4 and hooked a wheel and did 3 or 4 end over end flips before coming to rest on its side against the safety fence. Fortunately Marfia was uninjured but the race car was heavily damaged and may be done for. Once the racing resumed there was a good battle for the win between the #57 of Austin Mansfield and the #45 of Jason Grady. At the finish it was Grady taking the win in front of Mansfield with the #38 of Michael Fanelli not far behind in 3rd place. Heat #2 looked like it might be a repeat of Heat #1 as not 1 but 2 cars went off the track between turns 3 & 4 and disappeared only to come back on to the track on all 4 wheels and running. The first car to take the scenic route was the #7 of Jesse Baker who had to restart at the rear of the field but still managed to drive his way back to a great 2nd place finish. The second car to take the scenic route was the #17 of Stephen Spiak who went off track in nearly the exact spot as the Marfia and Baker cars. Spiak was also able to return to the track and finish the race. Cody Mansfield in his new #4X looked strong as he took the win in front of Baker and the #29 of Randy Smith taking a nice 3rd place finish close behind. The main-event was rained out.
A huge thanks to the following NMMRA drivers who came out after the rain and ran the track in, in an attempt to get the full racing program completed. Unfortunately the rains return after only 1 main-event was run causing the balance of the show to be canceled.
#49 Chuck Jackson – the first guy to come out when help is needed
#17 Stephen Spiak
#5 Jerrill Higgenbotham – Gave everyone a scare as his car caught on fire as he was exiting the track. As the car came to a stop on the exit road Jerrill jumped from the car with both feet in flames as he ran from the race car. Thankfully Jerrill's firesuit did its job and Jerrill received only minor burns.
#73 Nick Rael
#29 Randy Smith
#6 Robert Marfia – Driving his back-up car after his wild ride earlier in the show.
#37 Joshua Jackson
#70LD John Bicht – New driver who recently moved from Colorado to Placitas
#45 Jason Grady
The A-Mods ran 2 really fast heat races. Heat #1 saw the #05 of Donald Clinger take off from his outside front row start and drive away from the field and never look back. Clinger has not raced regularly the last few years but certainly looked comfortable and the man to beat tonight. The rest of the field was having a dog fight behind Clinger for the second spot. At the checkered flag it was the #M71 of Deral Meek taking second with the #75 of Bob Harter from Aztec taking 3rd place. Heat #2 was a very entertaining race as the #63 of Justin Weber and the #77 of Deral Meek Jr. swapped the lead back and forth on several occasions. It seemed like just as either Meek or Weber would take the lead he would get a little high or out of shape and the other driver would get by to retake the lead, this happened once or twice on nearly every lap. Sitting in 3rd spot not very far behind Weber and Meek was the #62 X-Mod of Tom Melloy who was probably hoping that both Weber and Meek would slip up at the same time and he was near enough to take advantage and the win, but it was not to be as Weber hung on for the hard fought victory over Meek Jr. with Melloy right behind in the 3rd spot. Main-Event rained out.
Street Stocks had only 6 cars to run a single heat as several drivers where competing out of town ( Las Cruces ). The heat race had the father and son duo of Dan Gross Sr and Jr. starting on the front row. As the green flag waved the #143 of Danny Gross Jr. jumped out to the lead but was soon chased and caught by the very fast #1 of Ronnie Bell. Once Bell cleared the #143 of Gross it was adios as he extended his lead to take a comfortable win with Danny Gross Jr. coming home in 2nd and the #43 of Dan Gross Sr. taking the 3rd spot.
The Cruisers / Hornets were the only division able to run their entire show before the rains came down. Heat #1 had points leader #28 Gary Smith in his station wagon take off from inside the front row and hold off several challenges as he took the win in front of the #97B of Justin Morgan in his Hornet and the #1 of veteran Phil York. Heat #2 saw the #80 of Ernie Sandoval take the lead from the outside front row with 3 or 4 drivers fighting for 2nd and trying to catch up to Sandoval. In the end the #80 of Sandoval held on for the win in front of the very hard charging #50 of Todd Hendrickson coming home in 2nd and the #26 of Cody Sanchez taking 3rd place. The main-event got off to a wild start as the #26 of Cody Sanchez spun while leading the field and nearly every car was involved at least a little bit, with the #18 of Jim Kosinski and the #5.7 of Hendrickson receiving major damage and ending their night along with the Sanchez car. The #28 of Gary Smith and the #1 of Phil York, the two drivers leading the point standings started this race from the rear of the field and were in the process of picking off drivers one by one. And then the rains came and turned the track into a very slick mess, fortunately the drivers were able to avoid each other until the red flag came out and the race was delayed for about 1 hour. Once the race resumed the station wagon of Gary Smith continued his march to the front only to have the rain begin to fall again with 2 laps remaining. Smith was able to hold on for a very slippery win in front of the #7 of Jared Hensley an the #97B of Justin Morgan.
The Mini-Sprints ran only their heat race as their main-event was rained out. After a few weeks absence the #22 of Robert Turner was back and looking VERY fast to take the win in front of returning driver Bob Harrington in his #1st with the #619 of Lalo Saenz coming home in 3rd. Both Turner and Harrington looked like they might have something for the young Jacob Johnston who has won nearly every race at Sandia this year but was competing at a race track out of state, could be some excitement when they all get together on Aug. 1.
Here are the UNOFFICIAL results , we apologize for any errors.
Heat #1 #45 Jason Grady, #57 Austin Mansfield, #38 Michael Fanelli, #37 Joshua Jackson, #7M Matthew Cardenas, #73 Nic Rael, #24 Robert Marfia DNF, #5 Jerrill Higgenbotham DNF
Heat #2 #4X Cody Mansfield, #7 Jesse Baker, #29 Randy Smith, #11W Dillon Tanner, #49 Chuck Jackson, #65 Rick Johnson, #17 Stephen Spiak, #72LD John Bicht
Heat #1 #05 Donald Clinger, #M71 Deral Meek, #75 Bob Harter, #32 Jody Cornell, #29 Mike O.Neal, #71 Randy Combs, #73 Gerald Haste
Heat #2 #63 Justin Weber, #77 Deral Meek Jr., #62 Tom Melloy, #09 Bill Waltman, #20 Tim Lamm, #97 Jeremy Warren
Heat #1 and only #1 Ronnie Bell, #143 Danny Gross Jr., #43 Dan Gross Sr., #76 Madison Conrad, #99 Joel Duke DNF, #48 Dan Glass DNF
Cruiser / Hornet
Heat #1 #28 Gary Smith, #97B Justin Morgan, #1 Phil York, #75 Jared Hensley, #99 Lena Duke, #7J Josh Thornburg, #43 Art Hurley, #5.7 Derek Sturgeon DNF
Heat #2 #80 Ernie Sandoval, #5.0 Todd Hendrickson, #26 Cody Sanchez, #18 Jim Kosinski, #58 Frank Payne, #79 Thomas Travis-Bateman, #44 Art Hurley III
Main-Event #28 Gary Smith, #75 Jared Hensley, #97B Justin Morgan, #80 Ernie Sandoval, #44 Art Hurley III, #1 Phil York, #58 Frank Payne, #99 Lena Duke, #2 Perry Held DNF, #43 Art Hurley DNF, #7J Josh Thornburg DNF, #5.0 Todd Hendrickson DNF, #79 Thomas Travis-Bateman DNF, #5.7 Derek Sturgeon DNF, #18 Jim Kosinski DNF, #26 Cody Sanchez DNF
Heat #1 and only #22 Robert Turner, #1st Bob Harrington, #619 Lalo Saenz, #5JR Tyler Grier, #84 Katie Seals
Have A Great Day
God Bless Everybody