Emotional Win For Whitchurch at Chicoadmin
Rookie driver Kyle Harris, driving for Steve Harris and the www.racingforthetroops.com #33, looked solid leading the field for the first few laps. On the original start outside front row driver Sean Becker had a left rear flat that ultimately caused him to slow and unfortunately collect Johnny Gray. Becker was able to drive off to the work area while Gray need to be towed off. Becker’s tire problem set up and amazing charge to the front. For the next 25 laps Sean Becker was the show. He found the top side to his liking in the Brian Sperry/Harris Racing/Cherry St. Mini Storage/Dan’s Roofing #51. Becker’s charge through the field reminded us how fun it can be to see a front runner start in the last spot of a main event.
Up front Harris was the driver to beat. As the race continued caution free, soon the leaders would enter slower cars. This was the chance Whitchurch needed. Whitchurch passed Harris on lap 11. On lap 12 the race was halted when two of the favorites, Kyle Hirst and Jonathan Allard, tangled in turn one. Both would restart and each tried to charge to the front in the remaining laps. On lap 14 Mark Hall passed Harris for second. The veteran driver from Grass Valley would go on to hold down the second spot at the finish. For Hall it was the second time in a row he finished second. Lap 22 saw Tyler Wolf slow off turn four and bring out a yellow. Up to this point Becker had charged back to fourth. On the final restart he passed Andy Gregg for third. With the final two laps left Becker’s charge would end in the third spot. It was still a very impressive performance. Up front Whitchurch led the field to the checkered flag. He captured his first win of his career in the winged sprint cars. “There are so many people to thank,” said Whitchurch. “My wife, dad, Lowell Moural, Rod Fauver. There is a big list of people and to all of them I say thanks.”
There was a moment in the street stock main event that eventual winner Phil Marino had settled for a third place finish. “When Heather passed me and she started racing Kevin for the lead I just sort of thought to myself to watch out for them and just get a good finish,” said Marino in victory lane. “But then those two made contact and I was in the right place at the right time to take the lead.” Marino was referring to lap 10 of the 20 lap race when Kevin Pedergrass and Heather Bartlett made slight contact in turns one and two. Marino was able to drive by on the inside and take the lead. Up to that point Pendergrass had led the field. He looked real strong up front. The race took a dramatic turn on lap ten when Bartlett passed Pendergrass for the lead. However, a yellow came out and the field reverted back to the last scored lap. That allowed Pendergrass to resume as the the leader. This set up the Marino pass on the restart. Bartlett’s night went from bad to worse when she slid into a stopped car in turn two. Behind her another car pushed her into the wreck. One of those racing deals. Marino continued to lead up front and went on to win his second main of the year. Pendergrass finished second while Richard Workman ran third. Jack Vantol was fourth. Mike Slightom finished fifth and Bartlett came back to score a sixth place position.
Kent Stephens led the first lap of the wingless main event. It was the only lap that someone else led other than Terry Schank Jr. The veteran Schank passed Stephens before the field completed the second lap. Schank Jr. then went on to a strong lead that he never relinquished. Lap 12 saw Jay Youngman flip off turn two. He was uninjured but did not continue. Two yellow flags were needed on lap nine for Trevor Canales and then on lap 19 for Taylor Simas. With the caution on lap 19, the race would go into overtime. By rule the race needs to have two green flag laps for a finish. Schank Jr. once again stretched out his lead and won the 21-lap main event. Stephens drove a solid race to finish second. It was nice to see an out-of-towner come up for the Friday night show. Biggs driver Kody Smith made a rare start to finish in the third spot. He held off point leader Jimmy Pettit for third. Pettit finished fourth and Brandon Davis rounded out the top five.
Paul Zimmerly has looked real comfortable driving the McMillen Motorsports #2 at Chico. He won the B main event going away. Chico’s Johnny Gray finished second. Robert Stice held off Colby Copeland for third. Andy Forsberg drove as hard as he could to hold off Eddy Lewis for the final transfer. Two flips slowed the event. Jeff Griffin landed on his lid on lap seven. On the restart Emalee Ramirez flipped in the same spot off turn two. Neither driver was able to return.
Kyle Hirst set the quickest lap of the night in qualifying by turning a 11.673.
Heat race winners included Bobby McMahan, Zach Zimmerly and Tyler Wolf in the sprint car division.
Brandon Davis won the lone wingless heat race.
Heather Bartlett and Jake Vantol each won their street stock heat races.
Racing returns during the Silver Dollar Fair on Saturday, Sunday and Monday.