Merced, CA…September 22…Darrell Hughes II wrapped up his championship season with his division-leading fifth 30 lap IMCA Modified Main Event win Saturday night at Merced Speedway. This was the Matt & Glass Cancer Fundraiser event, and they ran a championship night format that put the top point competitors out front in the Main Event lineup. Hughes started on the front row with Brian Pearce and would score his fourth straight Main Event win. Pearce used his season’s best second place finish to wrap up second in the final standings. Passing honors went to DJ Shannon, who charged from tenth to finish third, followed by Ryan Porter, Ramie Stone, Jeff Streeter, Vincent DePalma, Bob Williamson, Chris Sieweke and Josh Combs. Stone won the four lap Trophy Dash.
Bruce “Bubba” Nelson won his second 30 lap IMCA Sport Modified Main Event of the season. After failing to finish the week before, Nelson slipped from first to third in the standings and needed a miracle to win the championship. Incoming point leader Jeremy Hoff charged into the lead at the start ahead of Danny Roe and Nelson. After a lap two yellow flag, the race ran smoothly until lap 25. The yellow at that point wiped out a nice lead for Hoff. On the restart, Hoff got a challenge from Nelson, and the two drivers ran side-by-side until Nelson drove by on the outside on lap 28 to take the lead. Roe also made a late move into second, but Hoff wrapped up the championship with a third place finish. Kelly Wilkinson finished fourth, and Andrew Peckham made a move from 14th starting to finish fifth, followed by Fred Ryland, Tanner Thomas, Brent Curran, Chase Thomas and Patty Ryland. Nelson also won the four lap Trophy Dash.
Kodie Dean successfully defended his Hobby Stock championship after winning his ninth 30 lap Main Event of the season. Dean won with Trophy Dash winner Austin Van Hoff finishing a very close second. Shannon Nelson will settle for second in points following her third place finish. Kristie Shearer finished fourth, followed by four time champion Raul Rodriguez Sr, Kalob Shelton, Chad Ragsdale, Josh Hensley, Cody Smiley and James Stockton.
Allen Neal won his second straight Mini Stock Main Event and used it to win the division championship. Neal started out leading the way ahead of Lee Ragsdale. As they worked lap eight, Jennifer Rodgers went by Ragsdale in Turn 1 to take second. Moments later, contact sent Ragsdale spinning. Tyler Jackson was put to the back of the pack for his part in the incident, but Ragsdale was never really able to recover and lost enough ground to lose the championship to Neal. It was still a good battle at the front as Neal won, followed by Rodgers, Jackson, Shawn DePriest, Dan Myrick, Ragsdale and Jerry Tubbs. Jackson won the four lap Trophy Dash.
Carson Guthrie closed the season with his first career 15 lap California Sharp Mini Late Model Main Event win. He will finish second in the points. Guthrie won with new champion Tim Crews not far behind in second. Riley Jeppesen settled for third ahead of Logan Clay and Ian Shearer.
After another week off to allow the locals to run the Pat Pettit Memorial Shootout at Watsonville, Merced Speedway will run the Third Annual John Fore Jr Memorial Dirt Track Nationals. This special non-point event will be a two-day show on October 5th and 6th. IMCA Modifieds will be there along with IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and Mini Stocks. Over $15,000 in purse money will be on the line. For further information, go to www.racemerced.com.