Bartels means business
BY STEPHEN LYNCH Special to The Californian
Fresh off earning a Business degree earlier this year, Nick Bartels of El Segundo gave the rest of the Late Model field a lesson in how to drive a racecar Saturday night at Bakersfield Speedway.
Bartels passed Clay Daly on lap number three of the division’s 30-lap feature and then cruised to his second win of the year on the third-mile clay oval.
Daly ran a close second to Bartels for most of the race and finished three car lengths back.
John Lowrey was third followed by Mike Kirby and Tommy Malcolm.
“It definitely helped out starting on the pole,” Bartels said. “It wasn’t perfect but it worked out.”
The race featured several cautions which thinned the 15-car field.
Seven cars were involved in a pileup coming to the green flag during a lap 3 restart. Andy Obertello and Robert Sanders took the brunt of the damage and had to leave the track for repairs.
Brad Pounds’ dented and wounded car was pushed from the racing surface by a tow truck just prior to the incident.
Bakersfield’s Lee Jensen withstood a green-white-checkered finish to win the 25-lap Street Stock A-main event.
Chris Smith led from the drop of the green flag until Lee Jensen powered inside past him in turn four on the race’s fifth lap.
From there Jensen’s biggest challenge for the next 18 laps was working his way through lap traffic, which he did masterfully until the late caution flag fell causing him one last challenge.
The win was the second in a row at Bakersfield Speedway for Jensen.
Tim Randolph took second. Levi Kieffer of Parump, Nevada came home third. Mike Corwin was fourth and Billy Simkins placed fifth.
“All these cars are fast,” Jensen said. “I appreciate all these guys coming over from Nevada,”
Kevin Irwin won a action-packed 25-lap Hobby Stock feature.
Earlier Jensen, pulling double-duty, narrowly held off Jared Schweitzer for the top spot during the first eight laps. But after the race’s first caution Schweitzer slipped to fourth while Jensen maintained the lead.
A few laps later Austin Manzella inherited the lead when the right front suspension on Jensen’s car broke.
Later a caution allowed Manzella to fall into the clutches of Irwin, who took the lead on lap 16 en route to his first win of the year.
Chad Johnson, winner of the two previous Hobby Stock main events took second. Steve Johnson was third followed by Ryan Daves and Robert Swearengin.
Afterward Irwin did a black flip off the inside retaining wall to the delight of the crowd.
“This is a real confidence builder,” Irwin said.
Steve Sorensen led the 15-lap Okie Bowl Hard Top A-main wire-to-wire.
Sorensen’s 1950 Ford spewed smoke for most of the race but that did little to slow him down until late as he held on for a close win over Josh Yadon and James Casey.
“I thought I was going to get the mechanical (black flag) there for a minute,” Sorensen said.
Kyle Hood dominated Mini Stock feature, leading 19 of 20 laps.
Hood took over the point on the race’s second lap when pole sitter Billy Lay made contact with another car. From there he pulled away to a big advantage over the rest of the 12-car before a late caution forced him to hold off Scott Black Jr. in a two lap dash to the finish.
Afterward Hood, a North High student, celebrated his first win of the year, thanking his sponsors from Victory Lane.
Black Jr. made a strong last lap run at Hood and finished less than a car behind for second.
Brent Sherman was third followed by Gary Spiller Jr. and Jolinda Naucke.
With his runner-up finish Sherman took over the Mini Stock points lead from Doug Shepherd.