Jensen stays dominant with Street Stock win
BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Lee Jensen continued his impressive run in Street Stock action at Bakersfield Speedway on Saturday night as he raced to his third straight victory.
Jensen came form the ninth starting position, powering into the lead with eight laps remaining in the 25-lap feature.
The victory was worth $1,000 ($500 more than usual), thanks to Jerry Pedro adding $1,000 to the overall purse. Jensen used to drive a car owned by Prado.
“It was great of him to step up; we had some extra cars here tonight,” Jensen said.
A season-high 19 Street Stocks turned out, including P.J. Dyke, who made the long haul from San Diego, started on the pole and led the first nine laps in his first trip to the third-mile oval.
By that time Jensen was running third and on the hunt.
Darrel Hughes passed Dyke on lap 10 after a restart and two laps later Jensen was second. Jensen used the high groove to get past Hughes as he took the lead on lap 18 after a restart.
Chris Smith finished second with Hughes crossing the finish line third. Hughes, however, was disqualified in post-race inspection. Dyke placed third with Billy Simkins fourth.
Larry Hood led all but the first lap to win his first IMCA Modified feature of the season.
Hood was dogged by Rick Childress Jr. over the frantic final five laps of the 25-lap race, but held on to win by a car length.
“Unbelievable,” Hood said.
Jerry Holder emerged from a torrid three-car battle not far behind the two leader to finish third. Robby Sawyer finished fourth with Cody Laney fifth.
“I thought I had him one time,” Childress said of of his race with Hood. “But we’ve had a rough year and I’ll take second.”
Points leader Matt Lewis went from fourth to first in two laps as he raced to his second American Stock feature.
Lewis, who started 11th in the 17-car field, found traction in the high groove as he stepped out of a four-car line and powered into the lead. He passed two cars to move into second on the 14th lap and went by Dale Frye Sr. and into the lead a lap later.
“The track was slick at the start of the race then it just seemed to come to life,” Lewis said. “It was awesome.”
Childress made a spectacular charge from his last-place starting position. He was fourth after 16 laps and was second with two laps to go. He got caught behind slower traffic with just over a lap to go, which prevented him from a last-lap challenge for the win.
Marcus Wankum was third with Brent Hosfeldt fourth.
Doug Shepherd took the lead with three laps to go and raced to his second straight win in Mini Stock competition.
“The track was a little rough tonight, it made it tough to get around guys,” Shepherd said.
Darren Sherman finished second, followed by Scott Black and Gary Spiller.
Points leader Clay Wattenbarger appeared to be cruising toward his fifth win with seven laps to go when a big plume of smoke erupted from his car, which rolled to a stop on the back stretch as he suffered his first did-not-finish in nine outings.
Anthony Balcazar took the lead coming to the white flag en route to his third Mini Dwarf senior division victory. Cameron McCauley led the first12 laps before he had mechanical issues. Jeremy Clark led two laps before Balcazar took control. Paige Minor raced to her first victory in the junior division, leading all 12 laps.