Terry Schank Jr. Earns Second Straight Soares ClassicRick Faeth
PETALUMA, CA – Aug 8
By Rick Faeth
The 4th annual Soares Classic saw a new sponsor, PJ’s Automotive make a debut, on a pleasant shirt sleeved weather night with a full pit area and smooth track conditions. The Joe Hunt Wingless Sprints vs Pit Stop USA Spec Sprints saw Klint Simpson best the field of 17 with a rapid lap of 14.210 in group format qualifying. Simpson backed up his fast time effort with a heat race win and Chase Johnson, making a rare non-wing appearance won the second heat. Veteran Jimmy Christian copped the 6-lap dash to earn the coveted pole position of the 50-lap feature. At the drop of the Scott Erwin green flag it was Christian getting the better of Sparky Howard to lead through the first four stanzas. On the move was Simpson as he worked by Johnson and Howard for second by the 10 lap. Hot on Simpson’s bumper was Gary Nelson Jr. as all competitors paced themselves smartly for the long 50-lap distance. Shayna Sylvia experienced motor problems and drew the first caution on lap 15. With 22 laps down Johnson experienced a flat right front and lost positions struggling to the scheduled 25-lap fuel stop. After the break it was defending track champion Terry Schank Jr. on a major move as he restarted 10th but placed the Roger Gleason #1 on the cushion to rapidly make up places. As the balance of the field worked the low groove Schank was 8th on lap 30 and fifth by lap 34. Two quick cautions for Colton Slack and Ryon Silverling allowed the field to stay close. Schank continued his march as he was third on lap 35 and was the runner-up a circuit later. Christian began to suffer from tire wear as Schank boldly took the lead with a textbook crossover outside move on lap 38. Also on the move was Johnson as he broke into the top five by lap 44. As the checkered flag flew it was an ecstatic Schank earning the patient win for a back-to-back Soares Classic win over a Simpson, Nelson, Johnson, and Christian.
The Larsen Racing Products IMCA Modifieds saw a field of 13 sign in with Norm Boeck and expected father Michael Paul Jr. earning the preliminary heat race wins. The 25-lap feature saw Chris Compton cop the early lead with Nick DeCarlo maneuvering by by lap two. Lots of action proceeded behind the point leader as visiting Ryan McDaniel and Duane Cleveland were all over the rear of DeCarlo. McDaniel suffered steering issues and retired mid-race as Cleveland challenged DeCarlo all the way to the end. Quick Nick notched his 6th win of 2015 over Cleveland, and rapidly closing Oreste Gonnella, Josh Combs, and Paul Jr.
The Lumberjack Restaurant Super Stocks found Gary Adams and defending track champion Bret Blackwood notch heat race honors. Phillip Shelby visiting from MRP completely dominated the feature over challenging Matt While and point leader Steve Studebaker. However post-race tech inspection found Shelby’s effort for naught thus handing the win to While over Studebaker, Mike Learn, Trevor Brady, and Woody Woodward.
The Larsen Racing Products Dwarfs saw Discovery Bay’s Dave Mosier win both the heat race and the feature in a rapid time of 8:28 over Carroll Mendenhall, John Peters, improving Danny Marsh, and Chad Matthias.
The Santa Rosa Auto Body 600’s continue to show strong support with 23 cars competing. 8-lap heat race winners were: Nick Robfogel, David Engstrom, and Bruno Bianchi. The 20-lap scheduled main got off to an inauspicious start as Charlie Morrison and Dustin Sponsler tipped over and caused damage to the front straightaway catch fencing coming to the green. Three cautions and another red-flag necessitated an early stoppage at 7-laps after 30 minutes. Engstrom was awarded the win over Jared Morrison, Robfogel, Chase Johnson, and Jason McIntosh.
Petaluma Speedway returns to action Saturday Night, August 15th featuring round #3 of the Pit Stop USA Shootout Series with the Winged 360’s competing for $2,000 to win while the Spec Sprints have a $1,000 to win up for grabs. Also on tap are the Larsen Racing Products Dwarfs, Lumberjack Restaurant Super Stocks, and the Jake’s Performance Hobbies Mini Stocks. For more information please go to www.petaluma-speedway.com.