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Drake Dazzles in Mr. Excitement 40 Opener


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Drake Dazzles in Mr. Excitement 40 Opener

by Lonnie Wheatley


PEORIA, Ariz. (November 7, 2014) – Steve Drake picked up right where he left off last year by racing to West Coast Late Models victory lane on the opening night of the Mr. Excitement 40 Tribute to Terry Belcher atop the 1/3-mile Canyon Speedway Park clay oval.

While the San Luis Obispo, CA, racer topped the 30-lap nightcap, Iowa’s Mike Jergens nipped Mike Strobl in a virtual photo finish for IMCA Modified honors, Bo Partain held off Matt Martinez to take Pure Stock laurels and Jason Crowe bested the Renegades.

After setting quick time earlier in the night, Drake gridded the West Coast Late Model feature from the pole position and gunned into the early lead.

Drake fought off some strong challenges from Clay Daly and Wisconsin’s Pat Doar at the midway point then went on to post the win after sweeping both nights of last year’s Mr. Excitement 40 event.

“The track was so good, I wasn’t even sure where to go,” the current West Coast Late Model points leader explained in victory lane. “I finally went to the bottom and decided I would stay there until someone showed me a nose.”

Drake took the checkered flag ahead of Doar, who took possession of second for keeps when Daly suffered a broken axle while running second with just over a handful of laps remaining.

Cody Laney raced from 11th to claim the show position behind Drake and Doar with R.C. Whitwell and Don Shaw rounding out the top five.

In the 25-lap IMCA Modified feature, Mike Jergens escaped a wild opening lap skirmish to nip Mike Strobl at the line with Jason Noll in third as the lead trio raced off the final corner in three-wide fashion in a dramatic duel for the win.

With Jergens starting fourth and Strobl racing through the pack from 20th, fifth-starter Noll advanced from fourth into the lead in the two lap span from round five to seven after George Fronsman paced the early rounds.

Jergens battled past Noll for the point on the 18th lap with Strobl edging ahead the next time around. The trio of Jergens, Strobl and Noll swapped positions repeatedly over the final rounds before the frantic dash for the stipe off the final corner with “The Flying Banana” prevailing.

While Jergens edged Strobl at the line by inches and Noll by just a few feet, Trent Gaust crossed the stripe fourth with Tyler Mecl racing from 17th to round out the top five.

In the 20-lap Pure Stock main event, Bo Partain raced from the 11th position to pass Nick Langer for the point in the early going and then fought off 19th-starter Matt Martinez in the final circuits to preserve the win with Steve Bitting, Marlowe Wrightsman and Joe Vlasity in the top five.

Jason Crowe battled past early pace setter Mark Kilian nine rounds into the 20-lap Renegade feature en route to victory lane ahead of David Harrington, Craig Carrajet, Kilian and Sara Reblin.

The Mr. Excitement 40 Tribute to Terry Belcher featuring West Coast Late Models along with IMCA Modifieds, Pure Stocks and Renegades concludes on Saturday night with racing action going green at 7:00 p.m.

Canyon Speedway Park
Mr. Excitement 40 Tribute to Terry Belcher Night One
November 7, 2014 Results:

West Coast Late Models:

Fast Qualifier: 11x-Steve Drake

First Heat: 1. 91T-Tony Toste, 2. 75-Tommy Malcom, 3. 28-John Cornell, 4. 16c-Dave Bennard, 5. 23s-Buckey Andrews, 6. 99-Mitch Mohler, 7. 70h-Bryan Ledbetter, Jr.

Second Heat: 1. 32b-Clay Daly, 2. 0-Jake O’Neill, 3. 5-R.C. Whitwell, 4. 7-Cody Laney, 5. 8p-Lonnie Parker, Jr., 6. 7v-Robert King, 7. 22g-Paul Guglielmoni.

Third Heat: 1. 11-Pat Doar, 2. 11x-Steve Drake, 3. 42s-Don Shaw, 4. 22b-Bruce Duckett, 5. 21d-Mark Daye, 6. 17-Craig Parker, 7. 77-Nick Bartels, 8. 29-Jerry Fincher.

“A” Feature: 1. 11x-Steve Drake, 2. 11-Pat Doar, 3. 7-Cody Laney, 4. 5-R.C. Whitwell, 5. 42s-Don Shaw, 6. 91T-Tony Toste, 7. 16c-Dave Bennard, 8. 21d-Mark Daye, 9. 75-Tommy Malcom, 10. 28-John Cornell, 11. 0-Jake O’Neill, 12. 32b-Clay Daly, 13. 29-Jerry Fincher, 14. 8p-Lonnie Parker, Jr., 15. 70b-Bryan Ledbetter, Jr., 16. 77-Nick Bartels, 17. 17-Craig Parker, 18. 7v-Robert King, 19. 22b-Bruce Duckett, 20. 22g-Paul Guglielmoni, 21. 99-Mitch Mohler.

IMCA Modifieds:

First Heat: 1. 59-Mark Stewart, 2. 23-Terry Haven, 3. 19x-Kenny Gill, 4. 6-Eric Center, 5. 51w-Ronald Webster, 6. 7k-Lance Salo, 7. 68-Brian Roode, 8. 78-Steve Stultz.

Second Heat: 1. 11x-Shawn Zelenka, 2. 37-Mike Jergens, 3. 41-George Fronsman, 4. 45T-Trent Gaust, 5. 76-Dan Lee, 6. 71-Tyler Mecl, 7. X04-Mike Strobl.

Third Heat: 1. 62-Hunter Marriott, 2. 8c-Chris Clark, 3. 8-Nate Warren, 4. 44-Jason Noll, 5. 77-Terry Belcher, Sr., 6. 4r-Ross Statham, 7. 99-Phil Baile.

“A” Feature: 1. 37-Mike Jergens, 2. X04-Mike Strobl, 3. 44-Jason Noll, 4. 45T-Trent Gaust, 5. 71-Tyler Mecl, 6. 62-Hunter Marriott, 7. 11x-Shawn Zelenka, 8. 19x-Kenny Gill, 9. 78-Steve Stultz, 10. 68-Brian Roode, 11. 7k-Lance Salo, 12. 4r-Ross Statham, 13. 76-Dan Lee, 14. 77-Terry Belcher, Sr., 15. 6-Eric Center, 16. 59-Mark Stewart, 17. 51w-Ronald Webster, 18. 99-Phil Baile, 19. 8c-Chris Clark, 20. 41-George Fronsman, 21. 23-Terry Haven, 22. 8-Nate Warren.

Pure Stocks:

First Heat: 1. 7-Steve Bitting, 2. 40sr-Ashley Stafford, 3. 01-Bo Partain, 4. 15-Speedy Madrid, 5. 68v-Joe Vlasity, 6. 06-Marlowe Wrightsman, 7. 84-Mike Goodwin, 8. 6s-Kyle Salo, 9. 2jr-Robert McClelland, 10. 21m-Matt Martinez.

Second Heat: 1. 17L-Nick Langer, 2. 23jr-Chris McCurdy, Jr., 3. 54F-Guy Fite, 4. 24-Josh Carter, 5. 75-Jason Suchta, 6. 28-Mike Herrera, 7. 13m-Johnny Madrid, 8. XX-Chuck Thornton, 9. 5m-Zack Madrid.

“A” Feature: 1. 01-Bo Partain, 2. 21m-Matt Martinez, 3. 7-Steve Bitting, 4. 06-Marlowe Wrightsman, 5. 68v-Joe Vlasity, 6. 54F-Guy Fite, 7. 28-Mike Herrera, 8. 13m-Johnny Madrid, 9. 84-Mike Goodwin, 10. 24-Josh Carter, 11. 75-Jason Suchta, 12. 23jr-Chris McCurdy, Jr., 13. XX-Chuck Thornton, 14. 5m-Zack Madrid, 15. 15-Speedy Madrid, 16. 17L-Nick Langer, 17. 40sr-Ashley Stafford, 18. 6s-Kyle Salo, 19. 2jr-Robert McClelland.


First Heat: 1. 24-Brandy McCurdy, 2. 13-Jason Crowe, 3. 69r-Sara Reblin, 4. 3-David Harrington, 5. 99-Trenton Setelin, 6. 16x-Gabriel Suchta, 7. 1b-Mark Posey.

Second Heat: 1. 85-Joe Peterson, 2. 57a-Tate Allen, 3. 14m-Mark Kilian, 4. 8-Joe Flewelling, 5. 73-Craig Carrajet, 6. 16b-Richard Bennett.

“A” Feature: 1. 13-Jason Crowe, 2. 3-David Harrington, 3. 73-Craig Carrajet, 4. 14m-Mark Kilian, 5. 69r-Sara Reblin, 6. 24-Brandy McCurdy, 7. 85-Joe Peterson, 8. 16x-Gabriel Suchta, 9. 57a-Tate Allen, 10. 8-Joe Flewelling, 11. 99-Trenton Setelin, 12. 16b-Richard Bennett, 13. 1b-Mark Posey.

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