Pounds goes Back to Back
BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer email@example.com
The only thing that slowed Brad Pounds on Saturday night at Bakersfield Speedway was a rash of caution flags in the IMCA Modified feature. Pounds took the lead on the sixth lap then sailed to his second straight victory on the third-mile clay oval. There were seven cautions over the first 15 laps of the 25-lapper and a final one with two laps to go. Pounds got a good jump on the final restart to keep Kyle Heckman, who had chased him for 18 laps, at bay. “I try to tell myself (to be consistent),” Pounds said. “To keep doing what I do and not be stupid.” From Heckman’s viewpoint, Pounds didn’t make a wrong move. “He drove an awesome race,” Heckman said. “He was on his ‘A’ game all race.” Heckman tried both the low and high grooves to find a way around Pounds, but nothing worked. “I don’t know if I was faster on the inside or on the outside,” he said. “I was all over the track.” Tory Morris Jr. edged out Robby Sawyer by inches for fourth. Justin Schweitzer was fifth.
Steven Johnson held off Kevin Irwin over the final 10 laps to win the 25-lap Hobby Stock feature. “I’m glad I could finally stop Kevin Irwin, he’s been on a roll,” Johnson said. Irwin opened the season with wins at Chowchilla and Bakersfield. Johnson was second in Bakersfield’s opener. Robert Swearengin started on the outside of the front row and led the first 15 laps with three cars close behind. Johnson went high in turn 4 on the 16th lap and Irwin dove low with Swearengin in the middle as they headed down the front straight. Johnson took the lead at that point and Swearengin was shuffled to third as Irwin got by in turn 2. Irwin got alongside Johnson by running low in turns 1 and 2 a couple of laps from the finish, but Johnson had more momentum on the high side and kept the lead. A caution fell with a lap to go and Johnson easily pulled away for the one-lap dash to the checkered flag. Jimmy Irwin finished third, followed by Swearengin and Michael Johnson.
Defending track champion Gary Spiller Jr. raced to victory in the 20-lap Mini Stock feature, becoming the third winner in as many races. Spiller started in the fourth row and powered past Gene Glover to take the lead on the 12th lap. “It was so fast out there tonight, you could just nail it out there,” he said. Spiller nearly lost his shot at victory on the 13th lap when he tried to go past Kira Holder on the high side of the track coming down the front straight. Holder, who was trying to get high to take the exit in turn 1, rubbed Spiller against the wall, but there was no significant damage. Holder stalled at the pit exit, bringing out a caution, allowing the field to close, but easily pulled away for the win. Doug Shepherd finished second, followed by Scott Black Jr. and Glover.
It was an emotional DaKoda Albright in Victory Lane after winning the 20-lap California Lightning Sprint feature. “I lost my dad (Wayne) about a month ago and this one’s for him,” Albright said. “If it wasn’t for him I wouldn’t be able to do this.” Albright took the lead 3Â½ laps from the finish when he dove low in turn 3 to get past Steve Limon, who was held up by traffic. “I knew it would come into play.” Albright said of the traffic, “and I’m glad it did.” Kevin Michnowicz was second and Limon third.