STOCKTON, CALIFORNIA – 2014 Highbanks Hustle winner Jake Hagopian of Fresno topped an all-star roster of drivers to win the Friday night special at Delta Speedway in Stockton, CA. The one-seventh mile dirt track welcomed a myriad of professional dirt racers to challenge the valley’s best in four divisions of Micro Sprint racing.
22 cars started the Super 600 feature for 30 laps. Jake Andreotti, in his second start, started on the pole and led lap one in a good start for the rookie. Andreotti hit lapped traffic on lap nine and that allowed Hagopian to sweep by on the outside to take the lead. After a lap 10 caution, World of Outlaws points leader Shane Stewart used the restart to lead 2014 Turkey Bowl winner Colby Copeland and USAC National Champion Bryan Clauson through the pack. Clauson then went to work on Copeland for the fifth spot which gave Stewart a brief separation from them.
The caution came out for Alex Panella spinning in turn four on lap 16. Stewart and Duggan threw back-and-forth slidejobs before another caution. Clauson and the Team Silco teammates of Copeland and Stewart staged a great race for fourth but that allowed Hagopian to enjoy a comfortable lead on Andreotti and Duggan.
After another yellow, Clauson started to assert himself as he moved into fourth and challenged Duggan for third. Duggan ended up getting shuffled outside of the top-five as the race moved into the closing stages. Hagopian went on for a 1.7 second win ahead of Andreotti, Clauson, Stewart, and Copeland.
“I gotta thank the Conde family for having me down here and putting on this race. Delta Speedway is a great thing and it is building every day. I love racing here. (I) got out front early and tried to minimize mistakes,” Hagopian said. “Jake (Andreotti) got going pretty good. He’s going to be real fast this year and someone to watch for sure!”
Two of the most anticipated Pro drivers, Michael Faccinto and David Gravel, each had problems that forced them to scratch for the feature. Faccinto won his heat race before losing the motor on the cool down lap while Gravel was involved in an opening lap crash in his heat.
The non-wing feature got off to an auspicious start as Jarett Gilmer had a hard flip in turn two on the second lap. Tyler Smith used a lap five restart to take over the second position from Brent Brooks. Several cars spun on lap eight and the following restart saw Smith use the highside to clear Maibes for the lead.
Maibes fell out of the race on lap 20 and allowed Danny Carroll to move up into the third position. Carroll and Brett Brooks put on a great battle for the second position while Smith enjoyed a half lap advantage. Carroll finally slid Brooks on lap 26 and the caution came out on lap 27 to bring them together for a shootout. Smith proved too strong as he jetted away for the win with Carroll, Brooks, Tushar Neal, and Kenny Taylor the top-five.
In the Restricted 600s, 16 cars took to the track for a 25 lap feature. Jake “The Ace” Tuttle jumped out to the early lead with Nikko Panella challenging Joey Ancona for second. Tommy Carroll spun on lap three in turn four, with Ethan Lessor tagging the turn four wall trying to avoid.
A side-by-side battle for the lead ensued between Tuttle and Ancona just past halfway in lapped traffic with several three wide maneuvers. Ancona took over the top spot by a nose on lap 15. Ancona went on to top Tuttle, Winter Series winner Brookyln Holland, Panella, and Hueslmann the top-five finishers.
Dylan Bloomfield led Jr. Sprints from the start with Garth Kasiner hot on his trail as part of a four car breakaway. Kasiner used traffic to take the lead down the backstretch as the caution came out for the first time. Kasiner took off on the restart, while battling continued for second. Isabell Barnes, who won both of her heat races on the night, made her way up to second by lap 10. Kasiner fought off Barnes through a set of late restarts to take the win with Jeffrey Pahule, Jr., Bloomfield, and Karter Velasquez the top-five.
Delta Speedway officially opens its 2015 points season on April 11th with racing for all four track divisions. For more information on Delta Speedway, follow them online at www.deltaspeedwaystockton.com or on Facebook and Instagram.
-Delta Speedway Press Release. Photo Credit: Ross Wece Photo
March 20 – Non Points Friday Night Special
Delta Speedway – Stockton, CA
Feature (30 laps): 1) #9c Jake Hagopian, 2) #7p Jake Andreotti, 3) #91c Bryan Clauson, 4) 2x Shane Stewart, 5) 24 Colby Copeland, 6) 11 Vincent Duggan, 7) #79 Dahne Lynn McKay, 8) #3x Kaleb Montgomery, 9) #1 Travis Labat, 10) #21r Raio Morgan, 11) #3 Chris Hinkle, 12) #12 Alex Panella, 13) #39k Kaitlyn Hammer, 14) #30 Dustin Maibes, 15) #38 Mike Barnes, 16) #98 Sean Watts, 17) #28 Nathan Rolfe, 18) #5 Mike Rich, 19) #72 Dustan Sponsler, 20) #41 Gio Scelzi, 21) #6e Emily Williams
Lap leaders: Andreotti 1-8, Hagopian 9-30