Dalton Sargeant made the return to Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield, California hoping to better his second place in last month’s Winter Showdown Super Late Model event. He accomplished that goal tonight by winning the NAPA 150, the season opener for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West division.
Sargeant, who also won the 21 Means 21 Pole Award, took the lead back from David Mayhew on lap 102 and held off another late charge from Mayhew on a green-white-checkered finish and get the big win.
“It was a long race and we wanted to keep the tires under the car and be good in the long run,” Sargeant said in victory lane. “It definitely paid off after falling back and hard charge to the front near the end.”
Sargeant would get the lead at the start over Brandon McReynolds. McReynolds night would come to an end on lap 4 when he blew a motor.
On the following restart, David Mayhew, who has won multiple Late Model features at Kern County, would challenge Sargeant for the lead.
On lap 15, Mayhew got a strong run on Sargeant using the outside line going into turn one and complete the pass going into turn three.
Mayhew would pull away and take command of the race by the halfway mark. Sargeant would fall back to fifth.
The Jefferson-Pitts race team made the right adjustment to Sargeant’s car as he worked his way towards the front by moving to second on lap 92.
Ten laps later, Sargeant would go on the inside of Mayhew in turns one and two to challenge for the lead. As the battle went into turn three, Sargeant appeared to drift up to Mayhew and the two touched with Sargeant getting the edge and taking back the lead.
“It was just a racing pass. I couldn’t get him on the top side and had to pass him on the bottom,” Sargeant explained. “I washed up just a tad bit and barely touched him to get him out of the way and run his line a little bit.”
Sargeant would lead the field until the caution flew with three laps to go when Luis Tyrell got some front end damage and stopped on the inside of turn one, setting up a green-white-checkered finish.
Mayhew restarted on the inside of Sargeant on the final restart.
As the two went into turn one, Mayhew drifted up to Sargeant’s line and made slight contact with Sargeant, but Sargeant wasn’t fazed by it and took off to get the victory.
“We were really cruising in the first half and made a little adjustment during the break, trying to stay ahead of the track but caught ourselves down a bit,” Mayhew said after the race. “We had a really good car on the longer run there, but the restarts really killed us there. The car was really coming around and with 20 to go, I thought I had something for him, but he drove an awesome race. I was all over him, trying not to wreck him. He held on to his composure and held on for the win.”
Mayhew then held off a late charge from Noah Gragson to finish second.
“All of the guys from Jefferson-Pitts Racing gave me a really good car. We saved our stuff until the halfway break,” Gragson said. “We were cruising and saved our tires to be there at the end. We started picking them off one by one. Mayhew looked a little tight and I thought if I could get underneath him, but we didn’t get that break. Overall, it was a good points day.”
James Bickford finished fourth and Chris Eggleston rounded out the top five.
The NASCAR K&N Pro Series West will return to action on Saturday, April 11th at Irwindale Speedway in Irwindale, California.
NASCAR Race Central Live powered by Speed51.com Replay at: http://speed51.com/?p=21125
NASCAR K&N PRO SERIES WEST
|16||84||Jack DeLong III|
Kevin Ramsell, Speed51.com Director of Business/Midwest Editor. Twitter: @KevinRamsell
Photo Credit: Getty Images for NASCAR