Wire-to-wire IMCA victory for Noland
BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Steve Noland of Terra Bella used his front-row starting position to full advantage Saturday night at Bakersfield Speedway.
Noland started on the outside of the front row for the IMCA Modified feature, took the lead on the first lap and led all 25 for his first win on a dry, slick track where passing was difficult.
“It’s just great,” Noland said of the win. “I came down here about three weeks ago and had some bad luck. Consequently, the bad luck put me on the front row for the start.
“I used to race a lot here in the ’90s (in a Street Stock), but I didn’t know if I’d be winning one of these Modified races.”
Noland became the eighth different winner through 10 races.
Justin Schweitzer finished second, holding that position from lap 2 on.
Roger Holder and Chris McKellar passed the most cars during the race. Holder started 14th and finished third. McKellar started 13th and placed fourth.
Jay Marks finished fifth.
Chad Johnson raced to his second straight win and third of the season in an impressive Hobby Stock run.
Johnson started eighth, but had the lead on the sixth lap and ran unchallenged the rest of the way in the 25-lap feature.
“I tell you what, once we got this car hooked up we got it hooked up,” Johnson said. “I haven’t ever driven anything like this.”
Points leader Jimmy Irwin, who also has three wins, tried chasing Johnson down over the final five laps — after Johnson’s large lead disappeared due to a caution — but Johnson was too strong.
“I knew (Irwin) was back there along with my brother (Steven),” Johnson said. “You have to be on your ‘A’ game to win these races.”
Irwin finished second, Steven Johnson third, Matt Wankum fourth and Ryan Daves fifth.
Matt Lewis extended his American Stock points lead by driving to his third victory in a 20-lap feature.
Lewis started 10th, but powered around Ethan Dodson on the high side of the track on lap 10 to take the lead then steadily pulled away.
Dodson held on to finish second, followed by Brent Hosfeldt, Teena Childress and Marcus Wankum.
Billy Lay was nearly flawless in driving to his first Mini Stock victory. His celebration needed a little work.
Lay celebrated his wire-to-wire win in the 20-lap feature by doing a 360-degree spin on the infield. Had a concrete barrier not been there he would have made it. Lay hit the barrier lightly with the nose of his car, then wheeled it to victory lane.
It was the first top-five finish for the rookie, who quipped that “I just learned to race,” when asked about the victory.
Lay had smooth sailing until a caution erased a full straightway lead and put Doug Shepherd right on his bumper for a five-lap dash. Shepherd edged closer and closer each lap, coming up a bumper short in a drag race to the checkered flag off of turn four.
Jason Rudenour was third.
Michael Black of Taft raced to victory in the 20-lap NMRA Three-Quarter Midget feature. Black held multi-time winner West Evans at bay over the final couple of laps, winning by three car lengths, Chuck West was third.