Lauer makes trip from coast worth his while
BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Danny Lauer doesn’t often make the haul from the Central Coast to Bakersfield Speedway, but he makes the most of those trips. But until Saturday night he had never won on the third-mile clay oval. Lauer of Nipomo powered into the lead midway though the IMCA Modified feature and went on to a win in the 30-lap race. He was fourth in his only other outing this year. “We’ve been working hard on trying to win at this track,” Lauer said. “We’ve had a bunch of seconds, a fourth but could never get that win. “This year we said we were going to win here and it happened.” Steve Noland was several car lengths ahead of Bryan Clark in the early going as Lauer worked his way through the field. Lauer zipped past Clark to take second on lap 13 and one lap later he powered past Noland on the high shide of turn four to take the lead. “I thought I had it,” Noland said. “I was keeping it down low and all of a sudden I saw (Lauer) outside of me and he blew right past.” Lauer led the rest of the way but could never pull more than a few car lengths ahead. Noland finished second with Jerry Holder third. Larry Hood was fourth and Clark fifth. There have now been four different winners in the first five races.
Chad Johnson powered past Raymond Noland following a restart on lap 15 and went on to his first victory of the season in the 25-lap Hobby Stock feature. “Man, that was tough,” Johnson said. “After all my success last year and running like crap this year I wondered if I was ever going to win again.” And it wasn’t as easy as he made it look in the feature, as his crew (consisting mostly of family) worked after his heat race to solve a persistent engine miss. “I was ready to sell the car,” Johnson said. Raymond, making just his second start of the year, led the first 14 laps and held on to finish second after being passed by Johnson. Devin Jones finished a close third, followed by Matt Wankum and Jared Hollers.
Matt Lewis started the defense of his American Stock championship with a did-not-finish when a part broke while leading. Since then there has been no breakage and he’s been practically unbeatable. Lewis led the last 10 laps of Saturday night’s 20-lap feature for his third win in his last four outings, propelling him into the points lead. Lewis edged past Ethan Doston on the 11th lap and was not challenged the rest of the way, “Oh man, I have to thank (crew chief) Eddie Bradshaw for everything,” he said. “Some of the stuff he does on this car just blows my mind.” Tyler Irwin finished second, followed by Mark Irwin, Randy Harmon and Traci Childress.
Gavin Manning took the lead on the fifth lap and led the rest of the way to win the 15-lap Senior Mini Dwarf feature, his first of the season. Manny endured two restarts over the final three laps, holding off points leader Jeremy Clark, who finished second. Ryley Millard was third.
Kabe McLenny raced to victory in the caution-plagued Junior Mini Dwarf race, which was cut from 12 to 10 laps due to time constraints. Troy Morris III was second and Chloie Jones third.