Sawyer takes modified main
BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Robby Sawyer raced to his first victory of the season Saturday night at Bakersfield Speedway, then apologized.
Not for anything he did on Saturday on the third-mile clay oval as he put in a stellar drive, but for an incident several weeks ago that landed him a five-week suspension from IMCA Modified competition.
“It feels goods, it’s been a bad year,” Sawyer said. “Everybody on this car (sponsors) stuck with me for all the crap I put them through. I want to apologize for what I did in Hanford.”
In a nutshell, Sawyer pretty much and a meltdown after a wreck with Dylan Coffey in the Hanford incident. As contrite as he was in victory lane, it was obvious Sawyer was driving with a purpose a few moments earlier.
Larry Hood took the lead at the start of the 25-lap race with Sawyer falling into second. Sawyer was several car-lengths back but inched close as the laps wore down. Not content to just run right behind Hood, Sawyer made his move by diving low as the two headed to turn one on lap 16. It paid off as he had the lead in turn two and held it the rest of the way.
Six-time winner Brad Pounds made a run at him with a lap to go, but had to settle for his second straight second-place finish. Hood held on for third,
“Brad’s one of the best drivers in in the state,” Sawyer said “This track benefitted my driving style tonight. It had a little moisture in it.”
Nick Sylvester passed Rock Childress Jr with seven laps to go to win the 25-lap Sports Mod feature.
It was the second straight win for Sylvester. Childress, who had led from the start, finished second, with Kruz Griffith third.
Dakota Brown became the third repeat winner in the American Stock division, winning the 20-lap feature in dramatic fashion.
Brown tried to wrest the lead from Kevin Johnston for several laps and nearly ended up wrecking as Johnston drifted low down the front straight to defend his position as Brown was trying to make an inside move on the 19th lap.
Brown hit a tractor tire at the entrance to turn one, bounced back onto the track and somehow popped out of turn 2 with the lead.
He held it for the final two laps with Mike Hill Jr. right behind in second. Johnston wound up third.
“He’s a fast car and Mike Hill was right there too,” Brown said of the battle to the finish. “I thought I was going over when I hit that tractor tire.”
Carson Puryear had his bid for a second straight win go away after leading the first 10 laps when he bumped the rear of Bobby McGowan, whom he was about to put a lap down, only to have the bumpers lock. By the time the two got unhooked, the caution had flown, meaning Puryear had to restart from the rear of the field.
Zach Forester came from 10 car lengths down on the final lap to edge Jeff Fry to win the 20-lap Mod Lite feature.
Fyr led from the drop of the green and looked to be headed to an easy win before Forester started closing with about four laps to go. Forester did not get past Fry until turn four on the final lap.
Kenny Wiley led wire to win to win the 20-lap NMRA Three-Quarter Midget race. Chuck Evans was second with West Evans third.