Derek Copeland took the lead when Jason Romero pitted with a flat right rear tire and led the remaining laps to score his first career Pacific Challenge Series (PCS) victory at Shasta Speedway (CA) Saturday night.
Copeland scored the win in front of his home track crowd and a field of 18 Super Late Models, as the series made its lone visit to the Fairgrounds Facility in Anderson, California for the Spring Shootout 100. The win came in only his fourth career start in a Super Late Model and was the second race in a row in which the winner was a first-time touring series victor, after Carlos Vieira turned the same feat in the opener.
“It means a lot to me, to be able to run against some of the best drivers on the West Coast, and to be able to come away with the win at my home track,” Copeland told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “It’s been awhile since I got my last big win.”
The evening started with Jason Romero setting a new track record of 15.406 at the paved 3/8-mile facility, as 17 of the 19 attendees took time. Cole Moore was second quick with Copeland third, 2015 PCS Champion Mike Beeler fourth and Travis Milburn fifth. The fast eight redrew for position in the “A” Dash, with Romero grabbing the victory to put himself on the pole for the feature.
Romero jumped out to an early lead, looking to make it a weekend sweep, but a flat tire on lap 18 derailed his efforts. Romero would return, but several laps down. His chance for victory eliminated.
A lap 24 caution, for Tracy Bolin allowed the field to bunch up, but Copeland pulled away and maintain a comfortable lead. The focal battle was for second, with Shannon Mansch under pressure from John Moore, Cole Moore and Travis Milburn. Cole Moore would lose a motor on lap 56 for another yellow, negating his father John’s pass for second. When action resumed, Copeland once again reasserted his dominance, with the battle for second resuming. On lap 83, Milburn got under John Moore and then Mansch to take second. Moore would follow and take over third two corners later.
The final caution would come out on lap 86 for a stalled Ryan Peoples, who had worked his way into seventh the position. The last restart produced the same result for Copeland, as he once again powered away from the field. Moore made his way back by Milburn in the preferred lower groove on the double-file start. From there, Moore held on to second, despite constant pressure from Milburn.
Copeland crossed the finish line 1.3 seconds ahead of Moore, Milburn, Beeler, Mansch, Matthew Wendt, Chris Scribner, Trevor Harrison, Jason Romero and Jack Wood.
When asked about the victory, Copeland was quick to give credit to the efforts of his team.
“The key to the victory was the hard work in the shop, and my crew working on the car to make sure it was right. It also helped having Jeremy Doss on the radio,” Copeland surmised.
John Moore finished second, but felt he had the winning car if he could have gotten by Shannon Mansch earlier.
“I definitely had a winning car tonight,” Moore told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “I just got frustrated behind the 61 (Mansch). I was a lot faster than her and got up to her inside and under her multiple times. But I just didn’t want to take her out, so I backed out. I have raced with her many times over the years, and I wish she would have just let me go, but that is racing. I used up my car and got trapped behind her when Milburn got by me late in the race. I really believe I had something for the 24 (Copeland) and I’m sure we will see him again. We had a good points night and we will go on to the next one in good position.”
Travis Milburn had a strong car, but had a difficult time getting the track position to challenge Copeland for the win. And when he did, the final restart was his undoing.
“I think I need to go back to restart school,” Milburn said jokingly. “I haven’t had a lot of practice lately. I think if the final restart had gone better, I could have gotten in behind the 24 (Copeland). We seemed to be fairly even with him. I believe the only shot I had to pass him would have been to either nudge him or have him make a mistake. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the restart I needed and dropped back to third.”
-By Kevin Peters, Speed51.com West Coast Correspondent
-Photo credit: Speed51.com
Pacific Challenge Series Unofficial Results
Shasta Speedway (CA) – May 6, 2017
- Derek Copeland
- John Moore
- Travis Milburn
- Mike Beeler
- Shannon Mansch
- Matthew Wendt
- Chris Scribner
- Trevor Harrison
- Jason Romero
- Jack Wood
- Ryan Peoples
- Robert Vining
- Cole Moore
- Eric Gannon
- Ryan Lentz
- Tracy Bolin
- Jason Mitchell
- Alexander Mead