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Colorado Challenge @ I-76 Speedway Fri Qualifying

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2nd Annual 10K Challenge Presented by DIRT Magazine

By J M Hallas


The qualifying procedures would start with 8 heat races, the finishing prder would set the line-ups for the four qualifying mains. The top four from each A-qualifier would get the automatic transfer to Saturdays big A-main. The four winners will run a dash for position in nthe A-main, while the others drawing for their spots. The remaining unqualified cars would line up in finishing order for last chance qualifiers taking the top two to the main. One last chance race would complete the field.


Heat race winners;

1 8H John Hansen, Brush, Colo.

2 37 Jeff Tubbs, Colby, Kan.

3 751 Ken Maloney, Keenesburg, Colo.

4 18 Tony Leiker, Gillette, Wyo.

5 31 Neal DeBord, Amarillo, Tx.

6 185 George Ashby, Rawlins, Wyo.

7 7 Ron Jones, Dumas, Tx.

8 1s Brad Shelton, Fort Morgan, Colo.


Qualifier #1

John Hansen and Neal DeBord led the field to green for qualifier #1. DeBord was first into turn 1 to get the top spot. Hansen began looking inside DeBord on lap 2 ans was able to complete the pass for the lead on lap 3. By lap 5 the two were beginning to separate themselves from Nick Tubbs, Josh Reisch and Mike Shaw. Reisch got by N.Tubbs for third on lap 7 as Hansen started to get away from DeBord. Shaw grabbed the fourth spot from N. Tubbs on lap 9.


At halfway the top five were Hansen, DeBord, Reisch, Shaw and Joe Mullins. With Hansen motoring away, a good battle was going for the final transfer spot. Mullins and Shaw ran side by side with Dwayne Dechant getting by N. Tubbs and looking for a way around both. Reisch reeled in DeBord trying the high side in turns 1-2 and getting by in Turns 3-4.


Mullins then closed on Debord, while Hansen had checked out on Reisch. Mullins got the third spot with two to go as DeBord was holding on to the final spot for dear life. At the checkers it was the former I-76 Speedway track champion, Hansen taking the win in the Schmeeckle Bros. Crane Service/Weller Fabrication/Amsoil/A& R Automotive and Tire/Bags Pro Shop/Line-X/Temco/SAF Chassis. Reisch, Mullins and DeBord took the other transfer spots.


Qualifier #2

After a couple tries, Jeff Tubbs beat George Ashby into turn 1 for the lead. Darren Deloach got by Ashby on 1 , but a yellow for Eddie Edwards who pushed up into Danny Concelman and Chris Burke, erased the pass. On the restart J. Tubbs got out while Deloach, Ashby and Kevin Hoeme battled three wide for second. Deloach got the position on lap 3 leaving Ashby and Hoeme side by side for third.


Deloack quickly closed on J. Tubbs and after a wheel to wheel fight on lap 7, Deloach snaged the point on lap 8. The caution flew on lap 9 when Burke spun with a flat and tapped the front stretch wall. On the restart, Don Shepherd got around Hoeme for third. Coming to the crossed flags it was Deloach, J. Tubbs, Hoeme retaking the spot, Shepherd and Jim Beaman.


Beamans chance for a transfer ended when Will Brack got hung on the side bars to bring out a yellow. Once back to green John Atherton, Stan Dahley and Jeff Hartwell were three wide for the fifth spot. After a quick caution for debris, Hartwell continued his charge from the rear snaring fourth for Shepherd on the restart. Shepherd and Hartwell continued their personal battle and caught Hoeme on lap 15 going three abreast for third.


Deloach was long gone with four to go, but Hartwell was reeling in J. Tubbs for second. Hartwell caught and passed J. Tubbs with two to go, but nowhere in range of Deloach as he took the checkers in the Culligan/Performance Automotive Inc./Deloach Water Softeners/Signs by Robbie/Wallace GRS & Oil/Dirt Works Chassis out of Lamar, Colo. Hartwell, J.Tubbs and Atherton were the other transferees after Shepherd was put back two spots for jumping a restart.


Qualifier #3

With Ken Maloney and Ron Jones leading the pack, Travis Payne and Don Baisch got hooked together on the start on qualifier #3. Maloney was first into turn as green flew to lead lap 1. Ricky Alvarado and Brad Kembel battled side by side for third on lap 1. Jones gave the high side a shot on lap 3, but failed to get by and fell back behind Maloney. By lap 5 the top four were beginning to check out from the pack.


Jones then tried the low side as he looked inside and was just getting by when yellow waved for debris on the track. Back under green R. Alvardo was wheel to wheel with Jones for second, with both trying to get past Maloney for the lead. On lap 8 it was three wide for the top spot coming to the line, with R. Alvarado getting the advantage in turn 1. Jones was finally able to get inside Maloney for second on lap 9. At the mid point it was R. Alvarado, Jones, Maloney, Clint Geist and Dick Brack in the top five.


During a lap 11 yellow for debris, Maloney pitted from his third spot. R. Alvarado got a good jump on the restart, but was reeled back in by Jones on lap 13. The yellow flew on lap 14 when Beau Spiecher, Kembel and Brack tried to go three wide into turn 1. after contact between the trio, Kembel spun and got collected.


With five to go the top three had separated themselves, while a five car war raged for the final transfer spot. The final yellow came on lap 16 for an infield tire kicked on the track. As green waved again, Jones and R. Alvarado were wheel to wheel for the lead, with Jones securing the spot and R. Alvarado suffering troubles and falling back. At the finish it was the D&M Race Cars hired gun, Jones, sponsored by Mesilla Valley Trucking and Tims Automotive Machine scoring the victory. Geist, D. Brack and Spiecher snared the other transfer positions.


Qualifier #4

Tony Leiker beat Brad Shelton out of turn 2 to get the front spot in qualifier #4, while Justin Yeager, Alan Sharpensteen and Bubba Alvarado were three wide for third. The top six ran single file as Leiker increased his lead, while side by side racing continued back through the field. Adam Hilton brought out the yellow on lap 6 when he rolled toa stop in turn four.


Back under green Sharpensteen got around Shelton for second on lap 7. Mike Sagel and B. Alvarado scrapped for the fourth spot on lap 9 running side by side. At halfway the top five were Leiker, Shelton who got back past Sharpensteen, Yeager and Sagel rounding out the top five. Yeager moved by both Shelton and Sharpensteen on lap 11, with Sharpensteen getting the spot again from Shelton.


Sharpensteen, on the high side moved in on Yeager for second on lap 13, but fell back after getting too high. Leiker had built a big lead with five to go over yeager who had a small gap to Sharpensteen. Sagel snagged the fourth position on lap 16 as five slugged it out for thr last transfer. Tim Anderson made a bonzai charge on the high but came up one spot short on the final lap as Leiker piloting the Pump Sales & Service/Midnight Oilfield Service/Wright Lube/Homax Oil/J-Car Chassis grabbed the win. The final four transfers were Yeager, Sharpensteen and Sagel.

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supertx, They had 72 cars show despite rain all around the area. There were 83 pre-registered, others that wanted to pay at the gate, and no doubt some decided not to take the chance. It rained lightly on and off all day, but nothing at race time. The Mile-High Nationals(NHRA) qualifying got rained out at Bandimere.


Not IMCA sanctioned, IMCA rules except for claim. That kept a few away like Robert Gallegos and his daughter. He leads in Rocky Mountain region points while his daughter leads in regional rookie points. Dan Fitzgerald is leading West region points and didn't make the trip this year.

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