USAC Western States Sprint Cars and Ford Focus Midgets - Madera Speedway - August 7, 2004

Quick time and feature to Hunt in USAC Western States Madera go - By Bobby Gerould - August 7, 2004 - Madera, CA. "Billy Vukovich (III), and Davey Hamilton taught me a lot about Madera Speedway. The top is where the track is", stated winner Tony Hunt. Emerging from his Western Speed Racing Eagle/Wes-Mar sprinter after a 50-lap victory in the United States Auto Club Western States main event, Hunt continued, "Things were not going our way early in the race, and I had to control my emotions to get this result. Running races like the Little 500 really helps condition you to think of the race like a blackjack table. It will be hot and cold. Early, this race was cold, later it came to us, and became hot. It was a matter of sticking with it."

Mike Murgoitio started from the pole and led lap one but a hard charging Tim Barber stepped up and wrestled the lead away in turn one on lap two. Michael Lewis, the defending series champion from Noblesville, Indiana, moved from his third row starting spot into second on lap three. The field slowed on lap nine due to a caution for the stalled racers of Destiney Hays, and Alan Kaiser. The next lap, Nick Rescino Jr. ran over a competitor in turn four and did a 360 but kept going. The caution flag flew after Rescino stopped to take inventory of his Bayshore Racing Engines #11. He restarted at the rear.

The lap ten reset showed Barber in the lead followed by Lewis, Greg Taylor, Murgoitio, Rick Hendrix, Michael Trimble, Robert Beck, Greg Anderson, Hunt, and Brian McClish. Taylor surprised Lewis by getting around him for the runner up spot on lap 14. Moments later Anthony Simone and "Cowboy" Craig Smith tangled in turn two to bring out the third yellow flag of the warm night.

The intensity was raised for two laps as Lewis darted to the front from third on the restart. He edged Barber for the lap 15 lead but Barber responded driving the Pierson #14 deep into turn one to reclaim first. Barber and Lewis raced side by side until Lee Brewer Jr., and Jared Consani had a 'moment' in turn four that slowed the field for a fourth time. The 17th lap was not completed so Lewis was given the nod as leader for the restart. Lewis opened up a three car-length lead over Taylor who dispatched of Barber on lap 22. Meanwhile, Tony Hunt and Brad Bumgarner were moving up through the pack; Hunt lined up fourth on a lap 28 reset after teammate Brian McClish smacked the back chute wall. Bumgarner started 16th on the grid but had moved forward to seventh. However on lap 29, as Bumgarner tried to get outside of the lapped Brewer in turn one, the two made contact sending Bumgarner up into the air, and ultimately to a stop. Bumgarner could not complete repairs to rejoin the race. The lap 29 caution bunched the cars for the final 21 laps.

Lewis lined up with Taylor on his backside. However, Barber gained an advantage and swooped into second in turn one. Hunt dropped Taylor to fourth on lap 34. Working the upper groove, Hunt kept the fans excited, hounding Barber until lap 40 when he made a sweet crossover move off of turn two to snag the second spot. Anderson had a scare on lap 41 when his #2 flamed up after a spin. The third generation racer from Sacramento exited his machine hastily with the aid of the Madera track fire crew. The resulting caution flag set up a nine lap sprint to the checkered.

Lewis now had Hunt on his rear nerf, with Taylor, Barber, and Trimble next in tow. Leading to the green, Trimble ran out of fuel and was forced to the pits. Hunt passed Lewis on the inside of the backchute on lap 43. Taylor then got by Lewis too as it became apparent Lewis' #40 was starving for methanol. He faded to fifth at the finish and admitted, "It was my call to run less fuel. The last race here we finished with 14 gallons still in the tank."

Hunt easily controlled the final laps beating Taylor, Barber, and Hendrix to the checkered flag. Hunt also posted quick-time, turning the 1/3 mile paved oval in 13.49 seconds. Beck, Trimble, and Anderson won heat races. Audra Saselli did a great job in winning the California Ford Focus Midget feature. She held back Josh Lakatos, and Bobby Grewohl to earn the applause of the Madera faithful.

Sprint car qualifying:

Driver Hometown Car Owner Fast Lap

FIRST HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Beck, 2. Hendrix, 3. McClish, 4. Smith, 5. Brewer, 6. Bumgarner, 7. Simone. NT

SECOND HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Trimble, 2. Taylor, 3. Barber, 4. Lewis, 5. Kaiser, 6. Consani, 7. Hays. NT

THIRD HEAT: (10 laps) 1. Anderson, 2. Rescino, 3. Hunt, 4. Hogg, 5. Murgoitio, 6. Mitchell. NT

FEATURE: (40 laps) 1. Tony Hunt, 2. Greg Taylor, 3. Tim Barber, 4. Rick Hendrix, 5. Michael Lewis, 6. Robert Beck, 7. Nick Rescino, 8. Mike Murgoitio, 9. Anthony Simone, 10. Shauna Hogg, 11. Marvin Mitchell, 12. Michael Trimble, 13. Greg Anderson, 14. Brad Bumgarner, 15. Lee Brewer, 16. Brian McClish, 17. Jared Consani, 18. Craig Smith, 19. Alan Kaiser, 20. Destiny Hays.

FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-14 Barber, Laps 15-42 Lewis, and Laps 43-50 Hunt.

NEW WESTERN SPRINT CAR POINTS: 1-Lewis-416; 2-Hunt-412; 3-Bumgarner-410; 4-McClish-350; 5-Trimble-332; 6-Hogg-323; 7-Anderson-317; 8-Murgoitio-292; 9-Taylor-278; 10-Beck-266.

NEXT WESTERN SPRINT CAR RACE: August 21 - Madera (CA) Speedway

USAC CALIFORNIA FORD FOCUS (North) MIDGET CAR SERIES RACE RESULTS: August 7, 2004 - Madera, California - Madera Speedway

QUALIFICATIONS: 1. Bradley Galedrige, 19, Galerige-14.84; 2. Chris Rahe, 31, Rahe-14.94; 3. Bobby Grewohl, 42, Sutton-15.05; 4. Bobby McGowan, 15, McGowan-15.11; 5. Josh Lakatos, 4, Bristing-15.16; 6. Chase Barber, 91, Barber-15.17; 7. Eric Pace, 28, Pace-15.21; 8. Audra Sasselli, 17, Sasselli-15.33; 9. Steve Davis, 77, Davis-15.41; 10. J.R. Williams, 74, Williams-15.56; 11. Ryan Pace, 14, Pace-15.90.

HEAT RACE: (10 laps) 1. Davis, 2. Sasselli, 3. Barber, 4. McGowan, 5. Grewohl, 6. Williams, 7. Lakatos, 8. R.Pace, 9. Galedrige, 10. E.Pace, 11. Rahe. NT

FEATURE: (30 laps) 1. Audra Sasselli, 2. Josh Lakatos, 3. Bobby Grewohl, 4. Bradley Galedrige, 5. Michael Trimble, 6. Chris Rahe, 7. Steve Davis, 8. Chase Barber, 9. Eric Pace, 10. J.R. Williams, 11. Ryan Pace. NT

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FEATURE LAP LEADERS: Laps 1-30 Sasselli.

NEW CALIFORNIA FORD FOCUS NORTH MIDGET CAR STANDINGS: 1-Galedrige-677; 2-Rahe-604; 3-Lakatos-507; 4-Barber-479; 5-McGowan-456; 6-Sasselli-435; 7-E.Pace-417; 8-Nick Morago-396; 9-Bobby Michnowicz-362; 10-R.Pace-360.

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NEXT CALIFORNIA FORD FOCUS MIDGET CAR RACE (North): August 13 - Watsonville (CA) Speedway