BY JEFF EVANS Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Tyler Bannister won his fifth race out of six Bandolero main events Saturday night in the 20-lap feature at Kern County Raceway Park.
Bannister, an 11-year-old from Bakersfield, took the lead from Oxnard's Ricky Lewis III at the start of the 15th lap. The Bandolero division is open to drivers ages 8-16.
Lewis didn't make it easy for Bannister. At the start of the 19th lap, Lewis struck Bannister's rear bumper, but Bannister pulled away without slowing down while Lewis spun off the track.
That left second place for Ryan Vargas of La Mirada.
During the 18th-lap yellow, a skirmish broke out in the pits. Karson Sylvester, who was second in points entering the race and was in fourth place, left the track. His car appeared to be running at 100 percent. Sylvester placed seventh.
Rich DeLong of Castaic won the inaugural Street Stocks main event at Kern Raceway.
There were only five cars entered in the 25-lap Street Stock feature. No points and no prize money were awarded in that division Saturday.
DeLong took the lead from Howard Holden of Madera in the 10th lap. Eric Sunnes of Chatsworth was second and ran right on DeLong's rear bumper for many of the final 12 laps.
"I saw the 14 car (Sunnes) getting bigger in my mirror to I had to go faster," said DeLong, a regular at Irwindale Speedway.
"I love this place. That was 25 laps of power racing."
In an added twist, Blake Dunkleberger from the Super Trucks class competed in the race. Dunkleberger, from West Covina, started a half-track behind the field and moved into fourth place by the end of the race.
"This track is so fast," Dunkleberger said. "I don't mind being the only truck out here."
Buddy Shepherd of Bakersfield won his second straight main event at the Legends 30-lap feature.
Shepherd, 13, started in the rear of the seven-car field. He was second by the fifth lap and took the lead by the start of the sixth lap.
He was never challenged after that. Shepherd led by 7-9 car lengths for most of the final 12 laps.
Mark Iungerich was second, Dallas Montes third, Ben Walker fourth and Lacie Price fifth. They ran in that order over the final 22 laps.
Tanya Arrington, who trailed Robin Courtney at one point by 15 car lengths, needed two laps to close in and then took the lead just past the start-finish line at the start of lap 14.
Arrington held the lead from there. Courtney was second and Mary Vernon placed third.
"That was a blast," Arrington said. "I'm exhausted. I was giving it all I got."
The racing lineup was reduced by two divisions.
The Late Models were postponed to prevent that class from running six straight weeks, according to Raceway spokesman Steven Blakesley. And the Super Truck competition was canceled when Dunkleberger was the only truck to show up.