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Cocopah Speedway

Red-hot Whitwell grabs WCS victory at Yuma

October 7, 2012, 7:37 am
By Stephanie Odom
R.C. Whitwell heads for victory in Yuma, Ariz. (photofinishphotos.com)
R.C. Whitwell heads for victory in Yuma, Ariz. (photofinishphotos.com)

YUMA, Ariz. (Oct. 6) — Pole-starting R.C. Whitwell of Tucson, Ariz., defended his home-state turf and continued his personal five-race winning streak Saturday on the West Coast Late Model Shootout at Cocopah Speedway.

Driving the Mike Tahtinen-owned No. 24az, Whitwell led every lap to become the sixth series winner in six events while collecting $2,000 in a rare Late Model event at Yuma. | Slideshow

Fast qualifier Ricky Thornton Jr. of Chandler, Ariz., finished second with Jason Papich of Santa Maria, Calif., in third. Rob Sanders of Bakersfield, Calif., and Lonnie Parker Jr. of El Mirage, Ariz., rounded out the top five in the event for the California-based tour.

Whitwell led comfortably most of the 30-lapper, but Thornton closed in in the final laps amid traffic. He got within striking distance but couldn’t make a move as Whitwell scored his fifth victory in six starts for Tahtinen.

Notes: Whitwell’s GRT Race Car is sponsored by Casa Grande Auto Repair. ... Whitwell drove for Poplar Bluff, Mo.-based Steve Rushin last year and early this season before returning to Arizona. ... Series points leader Clay Daly was forced pilot Joey Moriarty's backup car after mechanical gremlins sidelined his No. 32B following a heat race victory; he finished 12th. ... The West Coast Shootout concludes its season Nov. 9-10 at Canyon Speedway in Peoria, Ariz.

West Coast Shootout @ Cocopah: (1) R.C. Whitwell, (2) Ricky Thornton Jr., (3) Jason Papich, (4) Rob Sanders, (5) Lonnie Parker Jr., (6) James Chavez Jr., (7) Nick Bartels, (8) Dino Napier, (9) Joey Moriarty, (10) Anthony Madrid, (11) Tony Toste, (12) Clay Daly, (13) Tommy Malcolm, (14) Brad Williams, (15) Carla Laney, (16) Bill Bartels, (17) Chris Duchac, (18) Mike Kirby. Fast qualifier (among 18 cars): Thornton, 18.495 seconds. Heat race winners: Thornton, Papich, Daly. Dash winner: Whitwell.

Correction: Fixes Whitwell's chassis manufacturer.

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