Sanders powers way to victory
BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Robert Sanders was the class of the field on Saturday night at Bakersfield Speedway as he raced to the 30-lap Late Model stock car feature on the third-mile clay oval. Sanders engaged early leader Nick Bartels in a side-by-side battle for five laps before thundering into the lead as he powered out of the high groove on lap seven. After that he pulled away and led Bartels by a full straight as the laps wound down. “It stuck,” Sanders said of his being the only car running up high early on in the 30-lap feature. “I think we were side-by-side for five or six laps before I could close the deal. I had a lot of fun tonight.” Bartels finished second, followed by Mike Kirby, Cody Barnett and Mike Johnson. Kirby set fast time in qualifying at 14.061 seconds. Bartels and Brad Pounds won heat races with Mike Johnson winning the trophy dash.
In a race that was slowed repeatedly by cautions flags, Eric Manning proved to be the master of restarts as he raced to his first Sports Mod feature win. Manning took the lead on the fourth lap and was pulling away when the first cation flew on lap eight. Cautions flew seven more times over the next eight laps and race officials finally cut the race short by five laps due to time constraints. The final caution came out on lap 16 and Manning was able to run four straight laps without slowing to get the win. Manning is the third different driver to win a feature race in as many races. It’s real bad when you’re out front and it keeps going yellow,” Manning said. “On a slick track like this it’s hard to get good restarts.” Nick Spainhoward finished second, followed by Bruce Johnson, Kale Kanke and Jared Schweitzer.
Dylan Baker led from start to finish to win the 20-lap Mini Stock feature. The race started slow — three caution flags in the time it took to complete one lap — but then went 19 laps without a caution and Baker was never challenged. “I’m having a good year, it’s started out good,” said Baker, who now has two top fives in three outings. Gary Spiller Jr. finished second with Scott Black third.
Anthony Balcazar raced to victory in the 15-lap Senior Mini Dwarf division with Jeremy Clark, who wont he first race of the season, second. Karson Sylvestor was third. In Junior Mini Dwarf action, it was Troy Morris III racing to his second straight victory. Chloie Jones finished second in the 12-lapper with Casen Sylvestor third.