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By TOM MACHT / SPECIAL TO THE CALIFORNIAN
BY MIKE GRIFFITH Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeremy Doss saved his best for last on Saturday night at Kern County Raceway Park.
Doss powered into the lead in a final dash for a $5,000 payday in a 60-lap Pro Late Model race on the paved half-mile raceway.
The race had been scheduled for a 100-lap distance with a break at the 50-lap mark. But with a thin, six-car field it was decided to do the shorter format -- two 25-lap segments, followed by a 10-lap dash to the checkers -- in hopes of creating a shootout.
It worked, though the last 10 laps were a bit anti-climatic as Doss got the lead on the restart and beat Bakersfield's David Mayhew by a couple of car-lengths.
"Man, that was tough," he said. "I'm just glad we won. This is great."
Mayhew had won all three previous Pro Late Model races at the track.
Doss, from Upper Lake, Calif., won the Spears Southwest Tour race here in April.
Dallas Montes finished third, with Johnny White fourth.
Mayhew took the lead on the restart for the 26th lap when he got a good jump on White.
Mayhew led the rest of that segment, but it wasn't easy as from laps 35-50 a large blanket could have been tossed over the top three cars.
Mayhew fended off a challenge from White, then White and Doss engaged in a dogfight for second with Doss edging ahead to get that spot.
"It was really intense," Doss said of the multi-lap battle.
White led all of the first 25-lap segment, though he was constantly pressured by Mayhew as the two often ran side-by side.
Gene Fife of Tehachapi raced back into the lead with two laps to go to come away with his first Super Stock victory.
Fife inherited the lead on the 19th lap when Chris Dalton, running second, got into leader Perrin Koostra. Dalton was put to the rear of the field and Koostra had to pit for repairs, putting Fife into the lead.
Fife led for two laps following a restart, lost the the lead to Bobby Aldridge on a restart with five laps to go then moved back to the front for good on the penultimate lap.
"This is great, it's been a long time on this type of track," said Fife, who used to compete at Mesa Marin Raceway which closed in 2005."
Kooststra got back on track just before the race restarted and worked his way back to second. Aldridge was third and John Piker placed fourth.
Gary Dutton jumped into the lead at the start and held it for all 25 laps to win his first Spec Mod feature on the paved half-mile oval.
Dutton is a veteran of dirt track racing with several wins in various divisions at Bakersfield Speedway.
Jim Coffey closed ground on the final few laps, but was still three car lengths behind Dutton at the finish.
"This means a lot," Dutton said of the win. "I'm a dirt racer but this is fun. I'm having a good time right now."
Chris Dalton, who won the first five races of the season, finished third, followed by Brock Thompson and Dylan Hagar.
Ryan Vargas raced to an easy victory in the 25-lap Bandolero feature.
A wreck on the first lap took out three cars, including points leader Tyler Bannister of Bakersfield.
Vargas took the lead on the third lap after the race restarted and finished more than a half lap ahead of Madison Gay. Colby Furia was third.
The caution-plagued 911 Series was called after just eight laps with Mason Woessner being declared the winner.
Woessner, driving for the Bakersfield Police Department, took the lead at the end of lap eight when Darin Grantham spun. On the restart, Ahmed Dawlatly rode up the back straight wall just out of turn four and wound up stuck in the chain-link fencing atop the barrier. At the same time, Dustin Pudiwiter hit the wall right in front of him and slowly rolled over, coming to a rest upside down. Both drivers were uninjured
After a lengthy delay, the race was called with eight of the 20 laps completed.