By Bill Foland
Mountain View, CA. 07/06/03
Every once in a while you just have to sit back and watch things, as life seems to be passing by quicker than ever. This past week the racing community lost a great driver, son of a legend, family man and human being. Davey Pombo was just 53 years old, but he packed a whole bunch of excitement into those years. He was an accomplished pavement and dirt driver in modifieds, midgets, sprints and even Toyota Sedans. The best memory I have of Davey was the fun times and his whole family and mine would have at Pismo Beach when I was growing up. That man was bigger than life and when he talked you better listen. Davey won his share of races and took home championships at Madera, Clovis and the State of California. He also won the first championship at the now defunct San Jose Fairgrounds in a modified for Jim Bowman. I know that Davey is in a better place now and I send my most sincere condolences to his family and friends in this difficult time. Rest in Peace Davey, you were one of a kind.
With the racing season more than half over, I have yet to hit the track in my dad's pavement Sprint Car, but it will be soon as the motor is being assembled and I will be pounding the pavement hopefully be the end of the month. In the meantime I will take a second ride in Cliff and Jackie Blackwell's #27 Stealth Pontiac this week in Placerville. I have been going to Placerville for a long time and I have always wanted a chance to drive around the red clay bullring and this will be my opportunity. Also on hand for the BCRA midgets will be the annual Jack London bash, which is special to me because my dad had so much success driving for the late great Jack London in the 4x Offy. I hope that some of you will make the trip up to P-Ville for this exciting event.
The return of 410 winged sprint cars to Antioch Speedway after 3 or 4 years was a mixed bag as the track produced an all time track record. The fans at Antioch are great as they cheer from the time the cars hit the track until then leave it. The heat races were pretty good but the track became difficult to pass by the main event and drag racing into the corners usually mean contact and some teams were sent back to the pits for an early retirement. Jason Statler took home his first Golden State win and his first as a married man to the former Stephanie Harvey, congrats Big Guy on both occasions. Willie Croft came home a very impressive 2nd as he was making a very tight circle around the tough ¼ mile. Jimmy Carter from Canada was third followed by Jason York's best finish of the year in 4th and point leader Brent Kaeding 5th. Tim Kaeding ended up getting upside and severely hurt his chances at a repeat Championship in the Golden State with only 5 races to go.
In the past several weeks there has been several big events on the west coast including the Super Dirt Cup in Skagit, Washington also the return of 360' to Calistoga for the first ever Civil War race at the picturesque ½ mile in Napa Valley. I went to Calistoga to service the 360 division with fuel and tires, while Brent and the rest of the guys from Kaeding's went to Skagit with Wayne Williams in tow. Speaking of Wayne, he had a hard ride in B-Main hot-laps on Saturday and was transported to the hospital with injuries to his eye and ribs. He should be back in the saddle again very soon, it sounded like a very ugly crash. Kasey Kahne once again took time out of his busy schedule to head home and take the $20,000 prize and keep the money in Washington. Tim Shaffer made it a Beef Packer 1-2 sweep taking home the $10,000 2nd place check. At Calistoga, a great turnout of over 60 cars showed up with more than 2/3 making their first trip to the huge ½ mile. With cars on both sides of the fence in the pits for the first time since my youth, it was great to see such a wonderful turnout of not only cars but also fans in the pits and the stands. After a tutoring session from Ronnie Day at the pit board meeting the driver's were ready to hit the track for the first time. All of the driver's did a great job all night with only one red flag, that being a water barrel busting incident in the heat race when Rick Williams blew apart a barrel down the front straight and barely missed getting back out for the B-Main with a torn up race car. Greg DeCaires parlayed his front row spot and his experience netted him a hard earned victory in the Kumar 1K. Maybe the fastest car on the track at the end of the race was Erik Folger. He chose a harder left rear tire and I would say if the race was 5 laps longer he would have made his first visit to victory lane. This event should become an annual visit as the fans turned out in droves to support the huge field.
BF's Notes: Greg Hodnett is the hottest thing going right now as Lee Stauffer has the Apple car tuned to perfection for the flying driver from Memphis…Damion Gardner continues to roll into victory lane except for the Talladega like "Big One" down the front chute at Perris, "the Demon" has been virtually unstoppable…Jeff Shepard has found his way back into the Ashworth 92 after parting ways with the Miller 2. This guy will win in any car at any race. ...Steve Kinser is just rolling right along as he approaches 20 wins just past half way through the season…Dennis Moore Jr. found time to return to Knoxville to win the 360 Nationals then get back to California to run up front consistently for Morrie Williams. You won't find a more "colorful" guy in the country. …Mark Kinser continues to struggle in the 5M…Donny Schatz has come on strong with some recent victories on the WoO…Jason Meyers has filled in for Craig Dollansky with some great runs, I think this shows how tough California is with Meyers not winning a race in California then going back and doing well with the WoO…Brad Furr has decided to pick and choose the rest of the year, his car and team is dearly missed at the Golden State races…Andy Forsberg has become a force in California with wins in Golden State, Civil War and Chico Friday night races…Doug Esh found victory at Lincoln after a grinding crash at the Grove…Tim Shaffer picked up some spending cash by taking the Medford Golden State race on the last lap from BK…Dave Darland had a great week by winning all four USAC midget races in Ohio…I am so tired of hearing about "traction control"…Congrats to Shauna Hogg on picking up her first ever USAC Sprint car race at Madera by whipping up on Tony Stewart and the rest of the boys…Mike Sala has turned a rare trick by winning in SCRA with Josh Wise and USAC Midgets with Robby Flock…Paul McMahan has been impressive in the Selma Shell car since taking it over…Randy Lathrop flipped in his heat as they must have pulled the "Flip" pill for the inversion as he started on the pole and led every lap to take the win at Antioch…Cris Eash is having one of his best years in recent memory…Chad Kemenah has turned the All-Stars into his personal stomping ground this year…Dale Blaney had a great Speedweek at he won the title by one point over Kemenah…Watch for Chad Layton to make more noise later in the year and next year in Central PA…Darren Stewart, Zach Chappell, Travis Rilat and Gary Wright are going to have a dog fight for the ASCS title…Look for Chuck Gurney Jr. to take home his first sprint car win very soon…Dino Tomassi had a dream weekend with Dave Steele taking home the Gold at Pike's Peak, then came home to guide his son to victory in BCRA at Lakeport…Sean Becker took home his first win at Chico this past weekend…Jason Johnson has gone from the Racin Cajun to a very fine Sprint Car Pilot. That is all I have, thanks again to all the people that hammer me every week for a column, I hope to see you at Placerville next weekend or the Golden State Series very soon…. BF
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