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SA Speedway results/recaps 3/20/04

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These results should be pretty accurate since I copied them from Steve and Jean.


San Antonio Speedway Season Opener 3/20/04


It was the usual suspects battling for the top spot throughout parts of the race in the NASCAR Late Models, as 18 cars started the 40 lap feature on the high-banked ½ mile paved track. Few, if any of the shiny, new cars managed to survive without some damage in a brutal race, as drivers apparently were still trying to shake the off-season rust.


Past track champion, Donnie Horelka and Todd McLemore paced the field to green with Horelka getting into turn one first. Behind him, Wesley McGuffin got loose and spun, collecting Scott Jerkins, Larry Bendele, Mike Balzer, Jesse Salazar and Jason Smith. Fortunately all damage was mainly cosmetic and all cars were able to restart, though farther back than their original position, but not completely at the tail as a few drivers opted to start at the back.


Horelka again got out front on the restart, with Robert Barker moving up into second. Jerkins began to shed more pieces on lap 2 and was forced to pit. The top five of Horelka, Barker, Danny Garcia, McLemore and James Cole were inching away at the start of lap five until Danny Storbeck spun and backed into the wall. Smith spun and backed hard into the helpless Storbeck, while Michael Lampton slid into the wall trying to avoid the pair.


The top three hung together as green flew again, but Lampton spun hitting the wall again, with Jeff Wills spinning to miss him. Garcia took a look inside Barker on the restart, as Bendele moved back into contention passing Cole for fourth. Once by Cole, Bendele made quick work of Garcia to grab third on lap 6.


With Horelka, Barker and Bendele running nose to tail, they continued to put space on the fight for fourth-sixth. Bendele pressured Barker for second on lap 10, and picked off the position on lap 11. Lampton brought out the yellow again on lap 13 as his tailless car spun in turn 2.


Bendele and Horelka were side by side as the race resumed, with the defending track champion, Bendele grabbing the point on lap 15. Cole spun on lap 16 and collected McGuffin to bring out the yellow hankie once again. Bendele got a small advantage on green, with another past track champ, Balzer making the pass on Garcia for fourth, as Cole was working his way back to seventh on lap 18.


As the crossed flags were shown it was Bendele, Horelka, Barker, Balzer and Garcia, the usual suspects, in the top five with Bendele and Horelka pulling away. Balzer’s good run came to an end on lap 26 as he pulled to the pits, ending his night. With ten to go, Bendele had lost a car length or two as Horelka made a last charge for the top spot.


With Barker a ½ straightaway behind the lead duo, Cole was trying the high side to get by Js. Salazar. The former modified driver, Cole grabbed fifth on lap 33, then passed Garcia for fourth on lap 35. With the top two in the distance, Barker and Cole spaced apart, the battle came down to Js. Salazar and Garcia. As they ran side by side in turn three, they came up on the lap car of Ackerman. Three wide just wasn’t going to work as Js. Salazar and Ackerman put the squeeze on Garcia, with Ackerman spinning.


Back under green the top four moved ahead, while Js. Salazar and Garcia resumed their personal scrap for fifth. The final caution came on lap 38, when Garcia, Jeff Moore and Smith had a synchronized three car spin in turn 1. This set up a two lap shoot-out to the checkers, between last years points combatants.


As the green flew, Bendele wasted little time ekeing out a one car margin over Horelka. The two were still within a car length as the white fell on the duo. Bendele was able to hold on to take the victory in his Aramendia Motorsports/Action Rentals/Longs Race Engines/KB Web Designs/Rainman Grafix/Monte Carlo

NASCAR Late Models


1 23 Larry Bendele(5)

2 41 Donnie Horelka(1)

3 14 James Cole(18)

4 18 Jesse Salazar(9)

5 97 Danny Garcia(8)

6 20 Jeff Wills(15)

7 28 Jason Smith(4)

8 36 Jeff Moore(13)

9 37 Mark Ackerman(14)

10 77 Mike Balzer(6)

11 74 Jim Creech(16)

12 31 Wesley McGuffin(3)

13 32 Michael Lampton(12)

14 54 Todd McLemore(2)

15 29 Danny Storbeck(11)

16 10 Scott Jerkins(10)

17 13 John Salazar(17)

Robert Barker–DQ–Too Light


A lucky 13 cars started the 30 lap Sportsman main with David Martin and Robert Mayberry on row one. Martin grabbed the lead as green flew with Jason Oates moving into second. By lap 5 Martin and Oates had put some distance on the five car battle for third-seventh, that had Tommy Casey looking to get inside Mayberry.


Martin’s chance for the opening night win ended when his motor went sour, handing the lead to Oates on lap 8. Oates had a good lead by lap 10, with Mayberry was still holding off Casey and Eric Knutson moving into fifth. A lap later, Casey, Garfield Shanklin and Knutson all got by a slowing Mayberry. At the halfway point the top five were Oates, Casey, Shanklin, Knutson and Dwayne Markgraf, as the top four were gapped out by eight car lengths each.


The races only yellow came on lap 17 when Tater Mason broke and rolled to a stop on the back stretch. Oates got a slight jump on the restart, while Markgraf was looking for a way around Knutson. The top four stuck together until the final ten laps when Oates started to ease ahead. With five to go Oates had again built a comfortable margin over Casey, and would go on to grab the checkers in his Affordable Trailers/Oval Components/Kotzur Racing Engines/Ultimate Truck Accessories/Chevy Camero.



1 0 Jason Oates(3)

2 15 Tommy Casey(4)

3 6 Garfield Shanklin(7)

4 27 Eric Knutson(10)

5 3 Dwayne Markgraf(8)

6 21 Robert Mayberry(2)

7 4 Craig Crawley(6)

8 22 Rodney Rodriguez(5)

9 31 Keith Garrett(9)

10 46 Mark Rahn(12)

11 29 Jamie Evans(13)

12 13 Tom Reynolds(pits)

13 12 Tater Mason(11)

14 28 David Martin(1)


Mark Mathias driving the Kendrick Automotive/Oval Components/Texas Hot Rod Shop/Transmissions by Lonnie/Homer Race Cars, took his first ever heat and feature wins as he bested Irish O’Leary in the Road Runner class.

Road Runner

1 20 Mark Mathias

2 55 Irish O’Leary

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It is no surprise that Donny and Larry would be the ones to beat on opening night at SAS.


Both these guys have raced at SAS for years and know what it takes to get dialed in even during the cool spring weather.


Now that Larry is running off his RR instead of his RF, I'm a bit surprised he didn't burn that RR off trying to catch back up to the front runners after going to the back to comply with the "all involved" rule. I imagine Donny still had his tires at the end so it must have been a good show for the final 10 laps, or so. I'm sorry I missed it.


And it was good to hear that a few "invited cars" showed up. This new era of cooperation among the TTOPA tracks is going to be good for racing.


Nick Holt

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Funny you should mention that, Nick. In one of his post-race quotes, that will appear in my full story, he mentioned that exact thing. You psychic or something?


"I was pretty hard on my RR tire throughout the race. I cooked it and it lost some of its grip. Those last dozen laps were the most difficult laps of the race. I was trying to run as fast as I could without punishing the RR to the point where it went totally away. Horelka's tires were in better shape than mine at the end of the race. Glad it was 40 green laps and not 50."

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Pyschic? Naw..


It's all just plain suspension engineering and physics actually. With the "big-bar, soft front spring" set up I believe Larry is using, the Right Rear tire typically is the first to show excessive heat when the driver is working the car as fast as it can possibly go without spinning. In the old days (with a conventional set up), the Right Front would typically be the first to heat up unless the car was set up too loose in the first place.


You need to come to my six-week suspension seminars Reb.. Larry is a guest speaker at one of the six sessions!


Nick Holt

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This should probably go in another thread, but Glad to see James Cole was fast. I guess some of that big spring technology carries over to coilovers, huh Nick! Once the first nite jitters are over it looks like there are going to be 5 or 6 really good contenders. Should make it worth the drive on Sat. nite.

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I think everyone at SAS did a great job this weekend. A lot of hard work over the winter paid off for a lot of good racers. I would like to say that Cole Racing did an out standing job. James Cole only had about 60 laps total in his new late model when he arrived at SAS this weekend. During practice they had some motor problems and scrambled to get it ready for the main event. The folks at SAS were kind enough to give him 4 laps during intermission to see if they got the problem fixed, and with no luck the problem was back again. They franticly work on his car to be sure he at least got to start his rookie season in the class off with making a few laps for last place points if anything. I watched as his engine builder and crew chief decided to remove the roller rockers and push rods out the hurt cylinder and tell him to suit up. There was some hesitation at first but a confident talk with his crew chief and a thumbs up from his motor man were enough for a determined Cole. They ran the car through tech as the field began to pace around the track. He came out with 2 laps to go to green, you could hear the car was not running right but he mashed the throttle as the green flew. Surprisingly enough Cole drove that car harder into the corners than most knowing he had to keep the momentum up. He made his way up to fifth spot and spun trying to pass on the outside in turn two. Starting again at the back of the pack with 25 laps remaining, he managed to get some speed up and keep it moving quick enough through the corners to make his way back up to fourth position where he finished.


I want to say that those guy have a lot of determination and dedication to take the chance they did and to walk away with a top 5 on their first night out.


Good job to all the hard working folks at Cole Racing and great driving James.


CRS Racing.

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