SAN BERNARDINO, California (September 23, 2017) – The SuperClean 100 at Orange Show Speedway Saturday night was neither super nor clean. It was a succession of caution flags interrupted occasionally by a few laps of high-speed Lucas Oil Modified Series racing and a demonstration of what can happen when drivers of varied skill levels get together on a tight quarter-mile paved oval.
Jim Mardis thought it was the prettiest race he’s seen in a long, long time. The 32-year-old from Yucaipa, California, had a different view of it than everyone else, however, because he led every inch of the 100 laps and ended the first full day of fall in the winner’s circle for the first time since November 22, 2014.
“I’ve been looking for this for a loooong time,” said Mardis, who started the month by marrying Danielle Tegge and ended it with a performance that washed away much of the frustration he had said he felt in recent seasons because his results hadn’t been at the level that brought him back-to-back series titles in 2010 and 2011.
“This thing was fast, it was on rails,” Mardis said of his Smart & Final/Blue Water Technologies STR Chevrolet after leading Taylor Miinch, Scott Winters, Blake Rogers and Dylan Cappello across the finish line. “I couldn’t ask for a better car. It did everything I wanted it to do.”
What the car did mostly was respond instantly every time Mardis mashed the gas pedal on a restart from one of the dozen official caution flags and keep running to the finish while Mardis said “I hope I don’t run out of fuel” every time one of those pesky yellow flags waved.
“The car was really good from the time we unloaded (for practice) Friday,” he said. “I haven’t had a car this good in years.”
The win, by ..438 of a second, was Mardis’s ninth in the series, tying him with past champion Jimmy Dickerson for third on the all-time list, and he never faced a challenge for the lead.
Miinch started fourth, alongside fast qualifier Michael Womack, but moved into third on the opening lap and to second on lap 19. That’s where he spent the balance of the evening. The Blossom Valley, California, driver stayed close, never trailing Mardis by more than a second, but never got close enough to think of making a pass.
When it was over Miinch talked of being smart on the track, which is one reason he has 14 straight finishes of fourth or better, and admitted to at times thinking of what he had to gain in the Hoosier Tire West point standings, which is understandable. Miinch went into the event, the eighth of 10 in the championship season, leading Cappello by 52 points and Jason Irwin by 59. He left with a 58-point lead over Cappello and a 107-point advantage over Irwin, who lost power on lap 56 and finished 22nd in the 24-car field.
Finishing behind Irwin were two others accustomed to being up front – 2016 DJ Safety Rookie of the Year Travis Thirkettle, who lost to the Turn 1 wall after an unintentional nudge from Cappello on lap 30, and Linny White, who pulled into the infield and parked on lap 24.
Meanwhile, Northern Arizona University freshman Rogers, of Yuma, Arizona, got his second top 5 and seventh top 10 of the season to stay fourth in the points and Dustin Tilbury of Edgewood, New Mexico, overcame an early spin that sent him to the rear of the field to finish eighth and get his third top 10 of the year.
The Lucas Oil Modified Series presented by RAM Mounts has a short two-week break before action resumes at Madera Speedway October 7.
LUCAS OIL MODIFIED SERIES
SUPERCLEAN100 presented by Optima Batteries
Orange Show Speedway, San Baernardino, California
.250-mile slightly banked paved oval
Saturday, September 23, 2017
MAIN EVENT (100 laps) – 1. Jim Mardis (51), Yucaipa, Ca.; 2. Taylor Miinch (4T), Blossom Valley, Ca.; 3. Scott Winters (24a), Tracy, Ca.; 4. Blake Rogers (4b), Yuma, Az.; 5. Dylan Cappello (11), Peoria, Az.; 6. Shelby Stroebel (24), Meridian, Idaho; 7. Wes Miller (87), Turlock, Ca.; 8. Dustin Tilbury (17d), Edgewood, N.M.; 9. Eddie Secord (84), Oak Hills, Ca.; 10. Ryan Partridge (9), Rancho Cucamonga, Ca.;
- Tony Forfa IV (34), Redlands, Ca.; 12. Eric Hamilton (11h), Hanford, Ca.; 13. William Guevara (55), Lake Havasu City, Az.; 14. Mark Allison (115), Las Vegas; 15. Mike Mitchell (77), Loomis, Ca.; 16. Michael Womack (3), Troutman, N.C.; 17. Chris Cook (2), Tabiona, Utah; 18. Doug Carpenter (3), El Cajon, Ca.; 19. Jerry Toporek (40) Venice, Ca.; 20. Rod Proctor (21), Riverside, Ca.;
- Dave Arce (5), Santee, Ca.; 22. Jason Irwin (9i), Albuquerque, N.M.; 23. Travis Thirketlle (5t), Newhall, Ca.; 24. Linny White (99), Colton, Ca.
Margin of victory — .439 seconds. Lead changes – none. Caution flags – 12 for 26 laps. Fast qualifier – Womack, 13.633 seconds. Trophy Dash (6 laps) – Thirkettle, Cook, Miinch, Mardis, Secord, Womack.
The Lucas Oil Modified Series presented by RAM Mounts is supported by a potent marketing concept known as “Team Lucas” whose members include General Tire, GEICO, Optima Batteries, Super Clean, K&N Filters, Zotto, Spray Nine Cleaner/Degreaser and RAM Mounts. Additional sponsorship is provided by Lucas Oil Products, Protect the Harvest, MAVTV Motorsports Network, Lucas Oil Racing TV, Hoosier Tire West, Sunoco Race Fuels, Aero Racing Wheels, ASI Racewear, Five Star Race Car Bodies, Frank’s Radios, Racing Plus-Parker Pumper, Reeves Complete Auto Center, Joe’s Racing Products, Scribner Plastics, Fast EZ-EFI System-COMP, United Rentals and DJ Safety.
Detailed information on the series is available at www.LucasOilModifieds.com.
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