Nation grabs SportMod win at Speedwaybakersfield
Jason Nation demonstrated the full range of his driving skills during the 25-lap IMCA Sport Mod feature Saturday night at Bakersfield Speedway
But it was his tenacity and determination that played the biggest part in him winning the division’s season opener.
After leading the initial 15 laps, Nation was passed for the top spot by Nick Spainhoward following a Lap 16 restart.
However, Nation would not be denied and battled back to regain the lead on Lap 21.
From there he pulled away.
“I started driving the car a little harder,” Nation said. “I just figured we’re here to win so I just drove it as hard as I could.”
Spainhoward held on to take second place in the 23-car field.
Lee Jensen was third followed by Gary Dutton and Tina Pounds.
“I had fun racing there with Nick,” Nation said. “He’s hard to beat here so I’m glad that we got this one.”
Zach Forster rallied from the 11th spot on the starting grid to win the 20-lap Mod Lite feature.
Forster quickly made his way up through the 15-car field to second place behind Anthony Balcazar, who led a race-high 12 laps.
The two battled nose-to-tail and side-by-side for several laps before Forester slipped inside of Balcazar for the lead in Turn 3 with just over four laps remaining.
“I was out in left field when we got here,” Forester said. “We got better for the main (event).”
Balcazar took second place. Jeff Thompson finished third. Jerry Flippo was fourth and J.D. Brown came home in fifth.
Bakersfield’s Chad Johnson won the 20-lap IMCA Stock Car feature. Johnson started on the outside of the front row and led-wire-to-wire.
He was never seriously challenged for the lead until the last lap of the race, which featured five cautions.
“We’ve been working on this car, trying to make it better,” Johnson said “I think the car was as good as it’s been, tonight. It got a little rough there the last eight laps or so. I had tight spot in the steering. Thought I was going to wreck in once going into (Turn) 1. All I could the last two laps was hang on to it.”
Devan Jones finished second. Troy Patee was third. Alan Mendes took fourth and Mike Hill Jr. crossed the finish line fifth.
Bruce Hiroshima dominated the 20-lap NMRA TQ Midget A-main. The veteran driver started on the second row and made a pass for the lead on Lap 1. He then held onto the top spot the rest of the way, beating runner-up Scott Niven to the finish line by 3.195 seconds.
Chuck West was third followed by Don Mosley and Scott Dobson.
Ronnie Gardner of Corona, CA. continued his dominance of the 1/3 mile high banked clay oval as he captured the USAC Western States Midget season opener Saturday night. Cory Elliott finished second followed by Nic Faas, Frankie Guerrini and Terry Nichols rounding out the top five.