To get the evening started the Grand National Sport Trucks came out nine trucks strong for their first heat race. Dan Esslinger grabbed the lead off the starting line and was able to keep Danny Thompson at bay until midway the second lap. From here on out there wasn’t much to debate about as Danny Thompson took off like a rocket and never looked back. Thompson as you will remember had just won the main event two weeks earlier in Phoenix. And is currently second in the points standing. This heat win of 20 points and four points for passing added more fuel to Thompson fire.
Roger Mears Sr. trailed behind his son for three laps but decided it was time to give Jr a lesson in passing. Once around Sr headed for Thompson but wasn’t able to make up the real estate. Roger Mears Jr went on to take third place and Ivan Stewart, current points leader, came across fourth. Rod Millen brought the Ford around for fifth place.
Team Jeep, who have been hot contenders this year, suffered traffic problems and finished with Glenn Harris in sixth and last year’s Rose Bowl winner Walker Evans seventh.
A total of seven UltraStock vehicles came out on the field to battle in the first heat. Jeff Elrod jumped out front and put the hammer down. He appeared headed for victory lane when on the third lap he lost a wheel. Tim Lewis who was running in second place took over the lead and went on to win.
The field got strung out early and no one was able to pass and take a position. Chris Neil brought his BF Goodrich VW around for a second place finish. Brad Castle managed third place and fourth went to Paul Nissley. Brian Collins came home fifth and Lloyd Castle was able to cross over ahead of early leader Jeff Elrod.
Only six cars were entered in the second UltraStock heat race. However Sam Harris failed to get his Bridgestone clad Mazda to the starting line. Making only five contestants.
On the start Larry Noel, winner of this year’s Houston event, jumped out early and went on to an easy victory. Noel’s closest competition came from Vincent Tjelmeland in his General Tire Nissan. Tjelmeland was able to close in on a couple of occasions but couldn’t produce a serious threat. Jim Smith brought his Jeep home in third place and Doug Bath was fourth. Joey Moore finished fifth.
The fourth event of the evening was heat one of the 4-Wheel ATVs. There were 14 riders competing. On the start Roger Helsley jumped his Suzuki out front. Helsley had constant pressure from Don Turk aboard a Honda until the end of lap two when Turk got by and headed home. This was not the end of Helsley’s problems though as he was also headed by Donny Banks, Chris Couto, Charles Shepherd, Sean Stubbs, and Mike Olmsted. All finishing in that order.
Next out was the second 4-Wheel ATV heat race qualifiers. There was 13 of them. A 25 year old Doug Eichner stole the show early by jumping his Honda out front. He was challenged midway by Paul Herman. Herman however ran out of steam and fell back allowing third place Ryan Strehorn to pressure him Herman however held onto his second spot. Third went to Strehorn and Tony Fox came across fourth. Andrew Buck was fifth.
SuperLite action has turned into fierce competition recently. Each of the five preceding main events has been won by individuals with not one repeat winner this year. A total of 11 cars came out for this first round.
At the front of the pack was young 18 year old Dustin Coonfield driving a Briggsbuilt. Coonfield led every lap in this heat which was to become his first MTEG victory. Coonfield’s closest competition came from veteran Rory Holliday who held on to finish second. Tim Baker managed to third place and fourth went to Frank Chavez.
Ron Schartau brought his Briggsbuilt around the track to earn fifth place. Sixth went to the senior member of the event Edward Moore, age 52.
Another set of 11 drivers came out to compete in the second round of Superlite action. When it was all said and done the event had gone to the dogs. That’s dog food sponsor Nature’s Recipe that is. Greg George took off from the start and was never challenged. When he stopped to take a bow at victory circle he first seen his teammate Rennie Awana taking home second place honors.
Third place went to Joe Price in a Triple E, while Chuck Parker earned fourth place. Fifth went to John Gersjes and sixth went to Don Archibald.
The eighth race of the evening was Super 1600 odd qualifiers. Fourteen drivers entered the Rose Bowl. Once underway Bob Gordon grabbed the early lead. Gordon was not out front on easy street. He had 13 other very serious contenders vying for his position. His closest rival was one Jerry Whelchel who stalked his every move for six laps. As Gordon came upon lapped traffic Whelchel made his move and went inside on the right hand switch back to capture the lead and eventual win.
Bob Gordon was able to maneuver around the lapped car and hold second place. After being in the action for first place Greg George had to settle for third place. Marty Coyne captured fourth place and fifth went to Brad Castle. Larry Noel brought his BF Goodrich Chenowth home sixth.
Super 1600 heat two had 13 cars competing. Right from the green flag the defending class champion Mitch Mustard decided to use his front row starting position to his advantage. Once out front Mustard never looked back and drove on to the winners circle. Mustard was aided in the first lap by a two car confrontation which held the pack up allowing Mustard to get nearly a half lap lead. By the second lap Mustard was lapping traffic.
Following Mustard was Frank Arciero Jr, Danny Rice, Jimmy Adams, and Steve Wright. With Mustard spreading it all over the competition the point of interest was between Danny Rice and Jimmy Adams. The two diced it up at every corner. Another battle occurred for fifth place as Steve Wright had a slew of contenders challenging for his position. Meanwhile Mustard could do no wrong. He was weaving in and out of traffic with ease.
At the end of eight laps it was Mitch Mustard showing his championship style. Second place went to Frank Arciero and third was Danny Rice. Jimmy Adams captured fourth place and fifth went to Dan Bently.
In the first heat of UltraCross 250cc Pro Motorcycle racing Chris Young decided from the start he wanted the victory. Once out front he never looked back once to see Kyle Lewis taking the second place spot. Third went to Lowell Thomson and fourth was Larry Brooks. Kerry Mulligan came across fifth.
With 19 riders on the field for the second UltraCross heat the crowd was guaranteed plenty of action. Action they did get as Jim Holley moved out front early. But charging through the pack was Mike Graig aboard a Kawasaki. On the fourth lap Graig stole the lead from Holley, but was himself passed by Holley on the next lap. This added more fuel to the fire for Graig and he moved the Kawasaki all over the track until finding a line around on the next to last corner of the event.
Mike Graig came across first and earned 10 passing points and 20 points for the event win. Jim Holley had to settle for second place but added 8 passing and 16 heat points to his total. Mike Chamberlain rode his Yamaha across third and fourth went to Shane Trittier. Andy Grider was fifth.
The second Grand National Sport Truck heat race was full of excitement. On the start Jeff Huber used his front row starting position to his advantage. Dan Esslinger pulled in behind him and Roger Mears Jr trailed. Rod Millen grabbed fourth place and Glenn Harris was knocking on his door.
Going into lap three Huber got up on his top causing a yellow. There looked like trouble back in the pack as Walker Evans was hung up on Ivan Stewart’s bumper. As the two tried to untangle themselves Stewart ended up driving over one of the hydro barriers.
The line up for a restart looked like this: Roger Mears Jr was out front then Danny Thompson, Roger Mears, Glenn Harris, Walker Evans, Ivan Stewart, Jeff Huber and then Dan Esslinger.
On the restart Ivan Stewart charged through the pack and muscled his way inside the first turn to grab fourth. However it was Thompson that had the favorite line and before the lap ended he was out front. Stewart was driving aggressively and pressuring anyone in his way.
Both the Jeeps rolled, in different location, on the same lap. Walker Evans flipped his Jeep off the wall but landed on all four wheels. However he had to retire with suspension problems.
On the restart Danny Thompson kept his lead and had Roger Mears Jr and Roger Sr both on his tail. And the Mears gang was receiving a lot of heat from Ivan Stewart running in fourth.
When the heat ended it was Danny Thompson out front. Roger Mears Jr. held onto second p[lace but Roger Mears Sr had had suffered from the Toyota flu and allowed Ivan Stewart to finish third and Jeff Huber crossed over just ahead of Mears Sr. Danny Thompson added a total of 26 points to his tally while Roger Mears Jr earned 18. Ivan Stewart received 19 points for his third place effort because he had earned 6 passing points.
In the UltraStock main event 13 cars lined up to battle. When the green flag came out it was Vince Tjelmeland in his General Tire Nissan that used his pole starting position to his advantage. Once out front everything seemed to be going his way.
During the first lap Jim Smith got his Jeep sideways in a corner and held up traffic allowing Tjelmeland to gain some breathing room. However by the midway point Tjelmeland had some contenders closing in. Larry Noel had settled into second place and Christopher Neil was close behind for third.
Just when everything appeared to be a cake walk for Vince Tjelmaland, the cake fell in the oven. Just two turns from the win. Tjelmeland went inside on Jim Smith, but Smith stalled for a moment and Tjelmeland rolled over him. Ran right up the side of the Cherokee causing Smith to roll over underneath him. With both of Tjelmeland’s front wheels waving to the crowd all Larry Noel had to do was drive around an go on for the win.
Christopher Neil took second place and third went to Tim Lewis. Jeff Elrod managed fourth and Lloyd Castle brought his Jeep around for fifth place. By winning the event Noel added 29 points to his total, four of which were for passing. During the event Sam Harris had an encounter with Paul Nissley and was dropped four positions by the Rough Driving Committee.
Rennie Awana was anxious to get the SuperLite main event underway and jumped the green flag causing a slight false start. Once they were put back in line and the green flag came out Awana jumped out front. The other 17 drivers were left to argue over second place. Before the lap ended a stroke of luck was handed Awana as Rory Holliday, while running in second place, got sideways and caused the entire pack to jam up. By the time they sorted themselves out Awana had nearly a half lap lead.
Rennie Awana earned yet another 25 points for his easy victory. Joe Price was able to get away from the downtown rush hour traffic first and drove his Triple E to a second place finish. Price earned 21 points for his effort. Sean Finley took third place money home and also added 17 points to his till. Fourth place went to Chuck Parker and Terry Peterson managed a fifth place.
In the 4-Wheel ATV main event 18 riders were entered and were scheduled for seven laps. Donny Banks jumped off the line first but had a hard challenging Don Turk on his tail. The two ran away from the field and battled for position on several occasions but when it was all said and done Donny Banks took home the steak and Don Turk had to settle for hamburger. Third place went to Charles Shepherd and Chris Couto was fourth ahead of Doug Eichner.
The Super 1600 event drew 18 vehicles to race for 12 laps. Once underway Bob Gordon took over. But he had to stay on his toes, so to speak, because he was the engine of a six car train of cars. On his bumper was Frank Arciero Jr then Mitch Mustard and Greg George. Jerry Whelchel was hitched to George and Whelchel had Marty Coyne along for the ride. Then it was Danny Rice. A short distance separated the front six cars to yet another set of racers lead by Brad Castle.
The action remained tense but nothing much happened. Then on lap five Frank Arciero cut inside a corner a little tight and jumped up over a hydro barrier. Before he could get his Chenowth straightened out he found himself in sixth place. A couple of laps later Marty Coyne rolled his car near the same corner that Jimmy Adams sat upside in and caused a restart.
On the restart Bob Gordon set a snails pace to the green flag and his strategy paid off. Mitch Mustard was not allowed to sling shot past and had to stay in second. mustard was able to get within striking distance before the race was over. But when the checkered flag came out it was Bob Gordon that headed for victory circle. Mitch Mustard earned his second place money and third went to Greg George. Fourth place honors went to Jerry Whelchel and fifth was early contender Frank Arciero, Jr.