USAC Western States Sprint Cars - Shasta Raceway Park - Anderson, CA. May 8, 2004.
Tim Barber Christens New & Improved Shasta Raceway Park - By Bobby Gerould - May 8, 2004 - Anderson, CA. …Shasta Raceway Park underwent major improvements during the off-season. A completely reworked west end turn added length to the former 1/3 mile paved oval, making it a faster 3/8's mile. Saturday night, the new layout was tested by the non-wing sprint cars of the traveling Valvoline USAC Western States series. At the end of the 40 lap feature event, San Francisco's Tim Barber emerged as the winner, and the racetrack's debut produced exciting wheel-to-wheel racing. Before a packed house, Barber drove Ken Pierson's potent sprinter to the lowest point of turn two in traffic on lap 14 to take the lead from outside front row starter Shauna Hogg. "I give all the credit to the car", said Barber. "It was flawless".
Hogg jumped into the lead at the start of the feature outgunning pole sitter Brad Bumgarner. Michael Newman and Barber exchanged third spot on lap two as the fans enjoyed the racing under the calm, cool North State sky. On lap six, quick qualifier, Tony Hunt moved into fourth place. One lap later, Barber moved into second with high pass in turn four of Bumgarner. Greg Taylor charged into the top five on lap ten with a backchute pass of Newman. At the midway point, Newman and Greg Trimble were involved in some of the best racing of the night. The two made contact while battling for sixth in turn one on the slightly banked surface.
Meanwhile Barber was enjoying a five car length lead by lap 23, and he stretched it out to a full straightaway by lap 27. With ten laps to go Hunt dropped from the race with a drive train failure just as he was battling hard in traffic with Hogg, and Bumgarner. Taylor again made his presence known as he passed Bumgarner to move into the top three with a low move in turn two. Barber negotiated traffic like a master, and stretched out a huge lead that was suddenly shortened after a lap 36 red flag.
Just when it looked the like main event would go 40 non-stop racing laps; the battle for the runner-up spot went haywire. Taylor of Ventura had nosed in front of Hogg as they raced off of turn two. Down the backchute toward turn three, Taylor's #47 and Hogg's #5 made contact leaving Taylor's machine without steering. He could not complete the corner and he crashed hard into the concrete retaining wall as Hogg continued on. Moments later, Newman, and Chad Nichols got a late piece of the action with Newman ending up upside down in turn three. All drivers were okay but Taylor, Newman, and Nichols retired to the newly paved pit area.
The restart was controlled by Barber, and he easily led the final four laps for his initial win of the 2004 season. At the checkered flag it was Barber by four car-lengths over Hogg, Bumgarner, Trimble, and Brian McClish. Sixth through tenth fell to Destiney Hays, Rick Brown, Greg Anderson, Robert Beck, and Mike Murgoitio.
Hays, and Anderson were heat winners. Hunt's quick time at 14.778 established an automatic new track record for the newly configured raceway. Hunt also won the semi main.
Sprint car qualifying:
Driver Hometown Car Owner First Lap Fast Lap
Heat #1 - 10 Laps. 1. Hays, 2. Trimble, 3. Murgoitio, 4. Hogg, 5. Taylor, 6. Kaiser, 7. Beck, 8. Rich, 9. Newman
Heat #2 - 10 Laps. - 1. Anderson, 2. Brown, 3. Petersen, 4. Bumgarner, 5. McClish, 6. Barber, 7. Hunt, 8. Nichols.
Semi: 1. Hunt, 2. Newman, 3. Nichols, 4. Barber, 5. Beck, 6. Kaiser, 7. Rich.
Main Event (40 laps) - 1. Barber, 2. Hogg, 3. Bumgarner, 4. Trimble, 5. McClish, 6. Hays, 7. Brown, 8. Anderson, 9. Beck, 10. Murgoitio, 11. Rich, 12. Taylor, 13. Nichols, 14. Newman, 15. Hunt, 16. Kaiser, 17. Petersen.
Lap Leaders: 1-13 Hogg, 14-40 Barber.
In heat two, Tony Hunt and Chad Nichols tangled coming off turn four to the white flag. Nichols car was rendered done for the night with extensive chassis damage to the right front. Nichols then jumped into Bob Scott's #7s for the remainder of the program.