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Recap of SAS Races on 9/6/03


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Here's my best shot at a recap on Saturday's SAS Sportsman and Late Model feature races:


The Sportsman feature started with 20 cars. The first few positions of the lineup were George Reyes, Rodney Rodriguez, Tator Mason, Craig Crawley, Greg Rohmer, Frank Johnson, Justin Oates, Tom Casey, Marcus Bellino, Charlie Earnhardt and Garfield Shanklin. Going into Turn 2 of the first lap, Rodriguez and Mason got sideways, and many others (9-10) were involved. Casey (2nd in points) and Johnson were removed by wreckers. Casey was able to rejoin the race, but he only completed four more laps before going out for the night. Rodriguez, Mason, Oates, Johnson, and Rohmer made pit stops. On the restart, Reyes still had the lead, followed by Crawley, Bellino, Shanklin, Rahn and Rohmer. Bellino quickly took the lead, and Oates made his move throughout the field. With only six laps to go, Oates and Reyes tangled, sending Oates to the back of the field and putting Reyes out for the night. On Lap 20, Mayberry hit the wall, causing another yellow. Two laps later, Mason spun out. Following the restart, Oates continued to work his way through the field and passed Shanklin on the last lap. Bellino won the feature, followed by Oates, Shanklin, Crawley and Joe Ivy. Bellino further secured his Sportsman points' lead, and Casey was able to hold on to second place even though he went out early in the race.


The 14-car lineup for the 40 lap Late Model feature race was as follows: Mike Balzer, Jesse Salazar, Danny Garcia, Ronnie Smith, Donny Horelka, Jason Smith, Larry Bendele, Michael Lampton, Jeff Moore, Danny Storbeck, Kevin Bendele, James Polasek, Eric Knudtson and Larry Hillbig. Going into the feature race, Bendele had a 12-point lead over Horelka for the Late Model championship. Competition for the first few positions was very close throughout the race. On the first lap, Horelka and Bendele passed Jason Smith. On Lap 5, Bendele passed Horelka and moved into fourth place. Then on Lap 8, Jason Smith passed Horelka. Bendele passed Ronnie Smith on Lap 10 and moved into third place. With 29 laps left to go, Jason Smith and Ronnie Smith tangled on the front straightaway. Ronnie Smith recovered, but Jason Smith hit the wall hard going into Turn 1 and was out for the night. Balzer was able to maintain his lead, and Garcia, Bendele, Ronnie Smith and Horelka battled closely for second place for the next 26 laps. Bendele attempted to pass Garcia on Lap 38, and Ronnie Smith tried to pass at the same time, going three-wide into Turn 3. Bendele and Smith spun out, bringing out another yellow. Even though he had hit the wall, Bendele was able to regain a few positions following the restart. Balzer won the feature, followed by Garcia, Horelka, Salazar and Bendele. Bendele held on to the points' lead by a narrow margin, with only eight points ahead of Horelka.


Next Saturday's season finale promises to be exciting with the close Late Model race for the championship and the battle for second place in the Sportsman class!

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