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By Tom Macht
BY STEPHEN LYNCH Special to The Californian
David Mayhew and Eric Richardson both had reason to celebrate at the conclusion of Saturday night's CITGO Lubricants Late Model feature at Kern County Raceway Park.
Richardson won the 50-lap race, leading the final 46 circuits around the paved half-mile. And afterward, Mayhew was crowned the division's 2013 track champion following a 15-win season.
"We've had some really good races and some luck go our way and that's what it takes," Mayhew said. "Some years you got it and some years you don't. These guys behind me, they all worked hard, gave us what we needed to get the job done. And we just went out and handled business this year."
The win was Richardson's fourth of the year.
"You're always as good as your last race, so this is No. 1," Richardson said when asked to rank Saturday night's victory.
An announced crowd of 2,000 was in attendance for Saturday night's action.
Next weekend the track will host a NASCAR K&N West series event, the NAPA Auto Parts 150. Mayhew will run a car in that race but not in the year's final late model race.
Richardson and Mayhew were the only two cars in the 11-car field to finish on the lead-lap.
Earlier, Mayhew set a track record during qualifying, turning a lap in 18.393 seconds.
Brock Thompson took advantage of Chris Dalton's misfortune to win the 30-lap Spec Mod main event.
After leading laps 8-22 Dalton blew an engine handing the lead over to Thompson who pulled away for a 2.5-second win over Eric Brust.
Dyan Hagar finished third. Sid Payne was fourth and Tim Esmay took fifth.
"The car came around," Thompson said. "I relaxed and my spotter helped me out a lot,"
Dalton took over the lead coming to the flag stand on lap 8 when Payne, the race leader, got trapped behind the car of Mark Allan.
But after 15 laps of running up front, Dalton's car started spewing smoke and exited to the pits.
Bailey Thompson, who came into the night 28 points behind Dalton in the Spec Mod point standings, earlier appeared to have her title hopes dealt a blow when on lap 13 she went a lap down due to a broken bracket on her car's right fender.
Dalton and Thompson will battle it out one more time in next week's season finale.
Dalton started last in the eight-car field despite posting a new track record of 19.951 seconds in qualifying.
Brent Scheidimantle was the first to cross the finish line in the 30-lap INEX Legend feature but was later disqualified for using illegal fuel.
The Alta Loma driver led the final 23 laps and took the checkered flag .899 seconds ahead of Buddy Shepherd, who celebrated winning the Legend track championship after the race.
Because of the DQ, Shepherd was awarded the victory, his fourth of the year. Eric Olson was third followed by Eddie Garone, and Garrett Fine.
"It felt good to be back out here," Scheidimantle," said from Victory Lane prior to being DQ'd. "I really like this track."
Shepherd, a 14-year old from Bakersfield, was quick to share credit for claiming the division's inaugural track title.
"It feels great," Shepherd said. "You can do anything with a good crew behind your car."
Shepherd inherited the lead on lap 6 when Garone, the race-leader at the time, got loose and spun out on the front stretch.
But just moments after the ensuing restart Scheidimantle powered to the inside and passed Shepherd in turn two.
Ryan Vargas led from wire-to-wire in winning the 20-lap INEX Bandolero feature.
Despite finishing second, Tyler Bannister was crowned 2013 Babdolero track champion after the race. Colton Page was third.
The win was Vargas' fourth of the year. Bannister, a local 12-year old, finished the season with eight wins.
"My first time ever driving here I actually hit the wall over there," Vargas said. "Now I'm coming over here doing victory slides and winning."
Bannister, who came into the night with a 72-point lead over Vargas atop the division's point standings, had already clinched the title before the race began.
"(I was just trying) to win but if I didn't I still won the championship," Bannister said.
Rich Delong III dominated the 15-lap Street Stock main event.
Delong led the entire way in registering his fourth win in four starts this year.
"We started off great and got out in clean air," Delong III said. "And that's all we needed."
Howie Smith was second. Rich Delong Jr. took third.
Chip Carroll of Sunshine Church won an exciting 15-lap Faster Pastor race.
George Harmer finished second and Brad Lawson was third.
"That was an e-ticket," Carroll said. "That was fun."