BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
While most drivers, including leader Brian Shepherd were running the high groove Saturday night at Bakersfield Speedway, Gary Dutton took a chance on the bottom.
It proved to be the winning move in the Street Stock feature. Dutton took the lead with a bold power move following a restart on the 25th of 30 laps and led the rest of the way for his second win in six days. He raced to victory last Sunday in Santa Maria.
Shepherd was leading the pack running the high groove in a follow-the-leader type of race when a couple of drivers tested the bottom two thirds of the way through the race.
One of those was Dutton, who was sixth on lap 20 and third when second-pace runner Darrel Hughes grenaded an engine and brought out a caution on lap 23. One lap after the restart, Dutton and Billy Simkins took the lower two grooved into turn three, chasing Shepherd who was rim-riding along the wall.
Dutton, in the middle, powered ahead of Simkins and flew past Shepherd in a race-winning move.
Dutton pulled away over the final laps with Lee Jensen finishing second, Shepherd third, Simkins fourth and Tim Randolph fifth.
Dutton said he could tell the top groove was losing its advantage as the cars wore it down which is why he moved to the bottom.
"They left the bottom open," he said. "The more they ran up high the more even the track became."
Had there not been a some spinning and crashing behind him the initial to start to the American Stock feature, Eric Silvius may not have landed in Victory Lane.
Silvius started on the pole but pushed high into turn one on the start as several cars zipped past. But a car into the wall behind him brought out a caution and set up a complete restart.
This time Silvius handled the start better, following to second on the first lap behind a hard-charging Charles Morrison then taking the lead a lap later as Morrison spun.
Silvius led the rest of the way in the 25-lapper for his second win of the season.
"That was awesome," said Silvius, who was pressured by three different drivers during his run to victory. "That was a lot of fun."
Brent Hosfelt was right on Silvius' bumper on a restart with two laps to go but Silvius edged a car length ahead on the final lap to ensure the victory.
Joe Goatcher was third, Marcus Wankum fourth and Traci Childress fifth.
Chuck West of Clovis took the lead with five laps to go and went on to win the NMRA Three-Quarter Midget feature. Anthony Lopiccolo, who led the first 15 laps, finished second, followed by West Evans.
Anthony Balcazar of Bakersfield led all but the first two laps en route to his fifth feature victory in the Senior Mini Dwarf Division. Points leader Cameron McCauley of Westlake Village finished second, holding off Joseph Snyder.
Paige Minor dominated the 12-lap Junior Mini Dwarf feature for her second win of the year. Andrew Orlando was second with Kyleigh Forester third.