Gardner sprints to win at Bakersfield Speedwaybakersfield
Damion Gardner of Concord showed the fans at Bakersfield Speedway on Saturday night why he is a five-time USAC/CRA Sprint Car champion.
Gardner took the lead from Condo Williams on the 14th lap and led the rest of the way to win the 30-lap feature at Bakersfield Speedway.
It was the first time the series has stopped at the third-mile clay oval since 2005.
The was Gardner’s second win in three races this year and his 72nd overall.
Brody Roa was second followed by Danny Faria Jr., Jake Swanson and Williams.
The battle for second place was the most intriguing thing about the IMCA Sports Mod feature.
That’s because Gary Dutton was by far the class of the division’s 17-car field, leaving little doubt as to who would win the 25-lap race.
The Bakersfield driver took the lead on Lap 11 and then pulled away, crossing the finish line 1.782 seconds ahead of runner-up Jason Nation.
“It was missing off the center of the corner but we still got it done,” Dutton said following his first win of the year.
Nation won a hotly contested battle with Billy Simkins to get second.
Nick Spainhoward took fourth and Jared Schweitzer was fifth.
“The car was awesome tonight,” Nation said. “We just kind of ran out of laps right there at the end. I would have liked to have a couple more.”
Matt Mayo led the first 10 laps on the third-mile clay oval. But on Lap 11, while battling with Dutton to hold onto the top spot, he spun out in Turn 2.
Mayo continued on in the race and finished in ninth place.
“I got into (Mayo),” Dutton said. “I apologize for that. He got a little sideways going in (to the turn) and I got him in the middle. There were fast guys behind me and I had to go.”
Cody Johnson out-dueled fellow Bakersfield drivers Brody Schweitzer and Gary Spiller Jr. to win the 20-lap American Stock main event.
Spiller and Schweitzer swapped the lead back and forth during Laps 5-7 before Johnson powered past them both with seven laps to go on the way to his first feature win of the year.
Schweitzer challenged Johnson several times for the lead over the final several laps and finished second. Spiller, who led a race-high 11 laps, was third followed by Miranda Scott and Brandon Ratcliff.
“I knew (Schweitzer) was fast,” Johnson said. “He’s always fast. I was kind of scared that he my get me. I’m surprised that I held on. It was definitely a fun race.”
Porterville’s Shawn Schwartzenberger took advantage of a Lap 12 restart to pass Loni Spiller and win the 20-lap Mini Stock main event.
Spiller started on the front row and led the entire way until Schwartzenberger got around the division’s 2016 track champion on Lap 13 following a caution for debris in Turn 3.
“I saw her get sideways because of the slick stuff,” Schwartzenberger said. “I was purposely staying inside of that. When I saw that I just took the shot and went. We nudged a little bit but I got the nose under her.”
Spiller held on to finish second. Kit Murphy was third. Clinton Massey took fourth and Craig Moody placed fifth.