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Bristol Motor Speedway

NOTEBOOK: Sans wins 27-lap Petaluma special

September 26, 2007, 10:07 am
From track, staff and series reports
Manzanita Speedway will host its first Late Model race since 2004. (NDD)
Manzanita Speedway will host its first Late Model race since 2004. (NDD)

Over the years, Ed Sans Jr. has left an indelible mark on the track and in the record books at Petaluma (Calif.) Speedway. The long-time racing veteran from Los Altos Hills, who dominated the Late Model division in the late 1990s by winning five championships in six years before adding a record-breaking sixth title in 2005, placed another jewel in his crown Sept. 22 by winning the 28th annual M. Maselli & Son’s event for the second time.

Sans joins Mike Gustafson and John M. Soares as the only two-time winners, the longest running Late Model event in California. The only drivers to win it more than twice are four-time winner John Silva and three-time winners Steve Vaughan and Larry Damitz.

Despite leading every lap of the race from his front-row starting spot, Sans was hard-pressed and seriously challenged most of the way by Shawn DeForest. “He pressured me all the way I knew he’d be fast," Sans said after his 52nd career victory on Petaluma's sticky oval. "I think I had the preferred line and ran my own race.”

An inadvertent signal from a track official to the flagman caused the scheduled 35-lap race to be checkered after just 27 laps, causing some consternation among several competitors.

“If we would have gone 35 laps, I would have got him," said a disappointed DeForest, who shadowed Sans for 16 circuits. "I was right there."

Third place went to trophy dash winner Paul Guglielmoni, who owned the spot for the first 11 laps before losing it to Oregon visitor Mark Carrell and then regaining it on lap 18. Fast qualifier Clarke Guglielmoni started seventh and finished fourth over 2007 Petaluma track champion Rod Arnold. Carrel finished sixth, followed by Ron Bartels of El Segundo, John Silva, Richard Papenhausen, and Oregon’s Rob Mayea. — Harley Osborne

Bakersfield's West Coast Nationals set for Oct. 12-13

One of California's biggest unsanctioned Dirt Late Model events is scheduled for Oct. 12-13 at Bakersfield (Calif.) Speedway as the track hosts the Budweiser West Coast Nationals. The event features two complete programs with Friday's winner receiving $2,00 and Saturday's winner receiving $3,000.

Cars will run under Western Allstars rules. The race format calls for the top six qualifiers transferring to an inverted dash, the results of which will set the first three rows for the feature event. Other drivers will run heat races (with four cars inverted) and consolation races to earn feature starting spots. — From track reports

Berry closing in on first WDRA championship

Heading for the Sept. 29 season finale on the Western Dirt Racing Association, Jeep Berry of Grand Junction, Colo., holds a 61-point lead over defending series champion Dean Moore. Berry, who narrowly lost the title to Moore last season, is looking for his first series championship.

WDRA competitors will be battling in the $1,500-to-win Emery Hooker Memorial at Thunder Mountain Speedway in Olathe, Colo. The event honors a long-time racing supporter who died of a heart attack at a WDRA event. —Tom Freimann

Manzanita's Western World Championship coming up

One of the biggest events in the Western states is scheduled for Nov. 8 and 10 at Manzanita Speedway in Phoenix, Ariz. The Western World Late Model Championship will run under Western Allstars rules and will likely feature one of the biggest gatherings of top Western Dirt Late Model racers of the season.

The opener on Thursday, Nov. 8, is scheduled to pay $3,000 to the winner with at least $500 to each starter. The Nov. 10 finale on Saturday will pay $5,000 to the winner and $500 to start. USAC sprint cars will be in action Nov. 9-10 at the track that was recently purchased by Mel Martin and his son Bobby.

New Mexico driver Butch Reid isn't sure he'll be competing, but he knows Manzanita's reputation as one of America's fastest and most exciting tracks is well-earned. "That's the most adrenalin-rush racetrack I've ever raced on," Reid said. "You get out of the car with your knees shaking." — Todd Turner