Sunday, September 15, 2019

Knight, Aiken, Winchel Visit Victory Lane At Lakeport Speedway

Keeping it all in the family, Darrin Knight (right) won the $1000 in the modified race and cousin Eric Johnson (won the 2019 NCRA modified championship. Lakeport Speedway flagman Johnny Miskill congratulates both. Photo by Russell Bishop

Via Nadine Strauss/NCRA Media

September 14, 2019…… Lakeport, CA….. A packed house was one hand for the 2019 grand finale at Lakeport Speedway Saturday night and the action was anything but calm.

Three-time North State Modified Series champion Darrin Knight of Kelseyville was the $1000 winner in the NCRA modified Majestic Landscaping 45 lap feature. Joe Aiken also from Kelseyville, came back from a 10-year retirement to claim the Taco Bell bomber feature race, and Cody Winchel of Sebastopol took home the top prize in the D&P Pools Legends Cars Invitational.

The final stage of the 2019 Fiberglass 500 Boat Race Series saw Danny Carpenter of Lakeport the crowd’s choice as the overall winner in his “Wicked Sounds” entry. Johnny Barker of Upper Lake finished second in the “Last Mile” team boat, and Korey Dugger of Clearlake was voted third best in his “Tank Car.” Tom Humphrey once again earned the best nautical theme award with his popular “Shark Car.”

Two-time season winner Jeremy Nowlin of Kelseyville clocked in fastest in the 13-car modified field with a 12.887 second lap. The inverted start saw Mike Neilson and Robert Schmidt in the front row, and when the green flag dropped Schmidt’s car went side-ways and bounced into Neilson’s car. This caused a chain reaction that ended with Mike Sullivan’s brand new car, Mickey Snider’s borrowed car, and Eric Johnson’s championship car all in the front-stretch wall.

Johnson pitted for repairs, but Sullivan and Snider suffered enough damage that both cars had to be towed to the pits.

With not even one lap in the record books the yellow flew again for contact between Schmidt and Richard Knight. When racing finally got under way Neilson forged ahead but Darrin Knight was on a mission and rode the high side all the way to the front in only six laps. Ian Elliot ran a strong third with Dustin DeRosier fourth until he got caught in the high groove and lost ground to both Johnson and Nowlin.

Johnson drove by Neilson for second on lap 14 and Nowlin moved into third on 16. Nowlin continued his forward motion and passed Johnson for second just before the race was slowed again for a Richard Knight spin.

The restart saw Darrin Knight continue his domination, as trophy dash winner Chris Salmina joined the front-runners. The final yellow flew on lap 28 when a confrontation between Elliott and Neilson resulted in Neilson spinning in turn two.

Salmina drove by Johnson on the restart. The final laps went without incident with Darrin Knight crossing the finish line first. Nowlin placed second with Salmina third, Johnson fourth and Schmidt fifth. Rounding out the top 10 were Anthony Esberg, Richard Knight, Elliott, DeRosier and Neilson. Heat wins went to DeRosier and Salmina. Majestic Landscaping

At the end of the event Eric Johnson was crowned the 2019 NCRA modified champion.

The Taco Bell bomber main event saw side-by-side action the entire 30 laps with Darrin Silva, driving for Evan Smith, fighting off Aiken to hold the number one spot. While this battle was brewing Donovan Cox found his car sticking in the outside groove, passing both cars and into the lead on lap two. But Cox cut down too early, clipped Silva and looped his car on the back stretch.

This put Silva and Aiken side-by-side for the restart where the duo rubbed fenders for two laps before Aiken pulled ahead. Forrest Kuecker, driving for Mike Sullivan, came from the back and swapped places with Silva on the fifth lap. The following round Amber Portlock lost control and stalled in turn two.

Snider snuck under Kuecker on the restart and set his sights on Aiken. Snider moved to the outside groove where he inched by Aiken until he was ahead by half a car. But Snider tried to cut back in line too soon, clipped Aiken’s car, lost control and spun on lap 23.

Aiken fought Kuecker’s advances the remaining laps and drove to victory. Kuecker finished second. Snider rebounded to take third ahead of Rick Jelton, John McCullough, Trevor Abella, David Jones, Portlock, Seth Chew, Cox, Jimmy Shankles, and Klinton Waite. Silva’s car overheated early and did not finish.

Snider set fast time of 14.165 seconds. Cox won the trophy dash. Heat wins went to Chew and Kuecker.

Snider earned enough points to claim the 2019 Taco Bell Bomber championship.

Only three legends cars were on hand for the finale’ with James Stillman the trophy dash winner, upsetting Cody Winchel’s chance for a clean sweep. Winchel set fast time of 14.202 seconds with Stillman a close second at 14.238. Winchel also won the heat race and led all but 2 laps of the D&P Pools Invitational to claim the $300 top prize as well as the NCRA Legends Car championship. Stillman finished second and Dave Allen placed third.

Landon Snider of Kelseyville earned the 2019 NCRA Bandolero champion.

The Northern California Racing Association looks forward to racing at Lakeport Speedway in the upcoming 2020 racing season. The NCRA races 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.