Sunday, July 28, 2019

Eric Johnson Sets Fast Time, Wins Modified Feature At Lakeport

Eric Johnson after his modified win at Lakeport Speedway Saturday night (Photo Courtesy Russell Bishop)

Via Nadine Strauss/NCRA Media

July 27 2019…… Lakeport, CA….. Coming back from an early-race spin that sent him to the back of the pack, Eric Johnson of Kelseyville worked his way back to the front to claim his first season win and $750 in the NCRA modified class at Lakeport Speedway Saturday night. Johnson also set fast time over the 13 car field with a 12.959 second lap and was the only competitor in the 12 second bracket.

In the Taco Bell Bombers, Mike Sullivan of Lakeport stole the lead away from Trevor Abella on lap nine and led the remaining distance to collect his second feature win of the year.

The visiting AAA Energy Systems Pro-4 Modifieds saw Ukiah’s Mike Peterson lead wire-to-wire and hold off the challenges of fast-qualifier (13.858) Chris Straka the second half of the 30-lapper to win his first Lakeport race. Young Aiden Daniels of Fort Bragg led the entire distance to capture the D&P Pools Legends Car feature. And Trey Daniels of Fort Bragg passed Landon Snider on lap eight to make it win number 3 in the Anderson Logging Bandolero division.

In addition to the racing action over 100 kids of all ages were thrilled with rides around the race track in real race cars. The highlight of this event was a ride in the boat towed behind the crowd-favorite Shark Car that will be competing in the Lakeport Speedway boat race on September 14.

Modified action began with outside pole setter Richard Knight out in front of Anthony Esburg and Mikey Snider. Charlie Collins passed Snider for third on lap six just before Johnson lost control, spun,and collected Tyler Caturegli. Johnson pitted for adjustments but returned before the action resumed.

Collins moved into second place on the restart as Chris Salmina and Ian Elliott were working their ways to join the font-runners. Collins moved to the high side and when he got next to Knight the two made contract, sending Collins sideways on the track. Collins gained control but lost his forward momentum. Collins moved ahead again and took the lead only to be tapped in the rear from Knight. Knight regained the lead, but when Collins made his next bid for the number one spot, they toughed again, this time sending both cars spinning on the front-stretch.

Knight then drove toward Collins, spun around in the dirt covering Collins' car with infield dust. Knight was black-flagged and disqualified from the race for his actions.

This left Salmina and Darrin Sullivan up front for the double-file restart where those two battled back and forth for the lead the next five rounds until they, too, crashed together to slow the race again. At this point Kevin Coburn found himself in the lead with Johnson second and last-time winner Jeremy Nowlin third.

Johnson forged ahead of Coburn on the lap 21 restart and drove the remaining distance for the win. Coburn finished second with Nowlin third. Collins came back to post a fourth place finish and Sullivan raced back to place fifth.

Heat race wins went to Knight and Esburg. Coburn won the trophy dash.

Evan Smith led the first three circuits of the Taco Bell Bombers main event until Trevor Abella took control with an outside pass. Sullivan, Lauren Snider and Forrest Kuecker were next in line. Sullivan swapped places with Smith on lap six, and when Smith pushed high, Snider and Kuecker also got by. Sullivan made the winning pass on lap nine, and at the same time Kuecker retired his mount to the infield.

With only three laps to go while the leaders were driving through heavy lapped traffic, Abella was hit by John McCullough sending Abella’s car hard into the wall. Sullivan drove the final three to victory followed by Snider, Donovan Cox, Rick Jelton and Davey Jones.

Heat wins went to Sullivan and Snider. Snider also won the trophy dash.

With the elimination of trophy dash winner Wade Eldridge in a heat-race crash, only six cars took the green flag in the Pro-4 modified feature event. Peterson blasted out in front of Ashley Aceves at the drop of the green flag and pulled ahead while Andy Leuzinger and Ron Portlock were dicing for position. Leuzinger slowed on lap 8, allowing both Portlock and Straka to drive by. Leuzinger finally looped his car on lap 11 to slow the action.

Ten rounds later the yellow flag flew again when Straka spun in turn four. With only four laps to go Portlock’s engine went up in smoke which spread oil the entire length of the track. Peterson led the final rounds to capture his first Pro-4 victory over Leuzinger, Straka, Portlock and Aceves. Straka won the heat race.

The Legends Car feature went non-stop with Aiden Daniels and sister Kylie Daniels running one-two every lap. Cody Winchel finished third and also won the trophy dash and heat race. Dave Allen was the fourth place finisher. Kylie Daniels set fast time of 14.037 seconds.

The Bandolero race also ran without caution with Trey Daniels chalking up his third consecutive win. He also set fast time of 14.815 seconds. Snider finished second and also won the heat race. Justin Sabol won the trophy dash but had mechanical problems and was not able to start the main event.

The next auto race at Lakeport Speedway will be on Saturday, August 10. Back by popular demand will be the Pro Drifters for an exciting out-of-control display of horse-power, handing and speed.

Also competing will be the NCRA Modifieds, Taco Bell Bombers, Legends Cars, Jammers, Bandoleros, and Pro-4 Modifieds. Gates open at 5 pm with racing at 6 pm.

NCRA races at Lakeport Speedway are presented by Hillside Honda, Anderson Logging, Taco Bell, D & P Pools, Lake County Tribal Health, Lake Parts, Carlton Tires, Don Anderson Law Firm, Clearlake Redi-Mix, Steve Taylor Construction, Detail Plus, , KXBX 98.3 FM, Lake County Welding, Perkins Pumps, Sheldon Signs, and 707 Graphics.