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Colorado Challenge @ I-76 Speedway 7/17/04 results

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Colorado Challenge presented by DIRT Magazine @ I-76 Speedway

By J M Hallas

Jones Up To Challenge

Fort Morgan, Colo., Touring pro driver Ron Jones completed the weekend sweep to claim the Colorado Challenge payday. After winning his qualifier on Friday night, Jones started where he left off as he took the fast dash win to snag the pole position for the 50 lap, 25 car A-main on the 1/4 mile semi-banked track.


Jones and John Hansen led the field to green with Jones getting into turn 1 first. Tony Leiker moved inside Hansen through turns 1-2, but Hansen pulled him on the back stretch. Hansen and Leiker made slight contact going back into turn 1 on lap 1, with Hansen spinning in turn 2 as Dick Brack and Josh Reisch spun behind Hansen and stopped, while Hansen kept rolling. Hansen was given his spot back, Leiker a warning for contact and D. Brack and Reisch going to the tail.


On the restart, Leiker tried the high side and had just lost third to Darren Deloach, when Allen Sharpensteen spun to bring out yellow again. As green waved, Leiker again tried high, while Deloach moved low to get along side Leiker. The battle continued as Leiker retook the third spot on lap 3. By lap 5 the top five of Jones, Hansen, Leiker, Deloach and Joe Mullins were beginning to pull away.


Two drivers on the charge were Brad Shelton who was up to eleventh from eighteenth and Jeff Hartwell up to eighth from fourteenth. Jones had built a two car edge over Hansen by lap 10, with Hansen holding the same gap to Leiker. Justin Yeager got past John Atherton on lap 11 to move into sixth. Jones increased his lead as the top eight sorted out single file, with a 3 car fight going for ninth. Shelton took another spot on lap 17 to get into the top ten.


Jones had just caught traffic on lap 20 and began lapping cars when B. Brack spun to slow the action and give Jones a clear track ahead. Leiker tried to dive low under Hansen as green again waved, but was unable to make the pass. As the crossed flags were shown it was still Jones, Hansen, Leiker, Deloach and Mullins running in the top five.


As if someone had put up a go sign after halfway several drivers turned up the heat. Yeager got inside Mullins for fifth and got next to Deloach for fourth, with Deloack holding him off. On lap 26 Leiker and Hansen were again side by side for second. This gave Jones the chance to inch away as the duo stayed wheel to wheel through lapn 28. Mullins and Yeager swapped the fifth spot again as Mullins got the edge.


Leiker finally completed his pass on Hansen, while Jeff Tubbs moved by Hartwell for eighth on lap 29. Jones still had a good lead on lap 30 with second through fifth running nose to tail and Atherton challenging Yeager for sixth. Deloach moved past Hansen using the high groove to grab third, while Shelton closed on Hartwell for ninth. Yeager and Atherton were still slugging it out for sixth on lap 32 as they appeared to be tied at the rub rails.


Folllowing Deloach's lead, Mullins tried Hansen on the little used high groove, but Hansen fought him off. Jones had nearly an eigth car gap to Leiker on lap 35, with Leiker having two cars over Deloach and a big gap to Hansen and Mullins. Yeager and Atherton couldn't get away from each other as the duo were still swapping the spot on lap 37. In the meantime Leiker was sneaking up on Jones and took a shot low in turns 1-2 on lap 40, which gave Deloach the chance toclose in as well.


With the top three running in line, Mullins finally got around Hansen to snag fourth. Jones got a short scare on lap 42 when he ran up on a slower car, but Clint Geist quickly moved up out of the way of the leaders. The final yellow flew on lap 46 when Beau Spiecher rolled to stop before he could make the pit exit, setting up a four lap shootout for all the marbles.


The top three got a good jump as a lap car separated them from the field. Deloach took a look low on Leiker but was unable to get past. J.Tubbs, Hansen and a lap car were three wide on lap 47 allowing J. Tubbs to get fifth. With two to go, Deloach again took a shot, this time on the high side as Mullins closed in on the second place battle. Jones had a slight, but comfortable lead as the white was shown and as the checkers waved it was the Minnesota driver in a Texas car sponsored by D&M Race Cars, Tim's Automotive Machine, Mesilla Valley Trucking and Diamond Racing Wheels taking the win

1 7 Ron Jones Zimmerman, Minn.

2 18 Tony Leiker Gillette, Wyo.

3 21 Derren Deloach Lamar, Colo.

4 46 Joe Mullins Boulder, Colo.

5 37 Jeff Tubbs Colby, Kan.

6 8H John Hansen Brush, Colo.

7 33y Justin Yeager Green River, Wyo.

8 47 John Atherton Longmont, Colo.

9 1S Brad Shelton Fort Morgan, Colo.

10 23x Jeff Hartwell Colby, Kan.

11 175 Allen Sharpensteen Amarillo, Tx.

12 3 Brady Coen Wiley, Colo.

13 44 Kevin Hoeme Hays, Kan.

14 96 Don Shepherd Boulder, Colo.

15 6 Brad Kembel Fort Morgan, Colo.

16 7A Tim Anderson Fort Morgan, Colo.

17 31 Neal DeBord Amarillo, Tx.

18 76 Mike Shaw Lakewood, Colo.

19 98 Josh Reisch Luverne, Minn.

20 73T Nick Tubbs Colby,Kan.

21 81m Mike Sagel Greeley,Colo.

22 36B Clint Geist Lamar, Colo.

23 8 Dick Brack Longmont, Colo.

24 73 Beau Spiecher Arvada, Colo.

25 ww1 Ricky Alvarado Gilcrest, Colo.


Jeff Hartwell won one of Slider Hard Charger awards for his efforts on Friday night. After breaking in his heat, Hartwell started in thirteenth in his qualifier and made his way up to second at the finish.


The second Slider Hard Charger Award was almost a toss up, but Brad Kembel, who got the final transfer spot out of the last chance races and started twenty-fifth moved up10 spot to finish fifteenth. Honorable mention would go to Brad Shelton who moved up nine positions from eighteenth to ninth.

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