Foulger, Ahlwardt win at Merced Speedway
By Don Martin
Special to the Times
Troy Foulger charged to victory in the 30 lap IMCA Modified Main Event Saturday night at Merced Speedway. This was the division leading fifth win of the season for Foulger aboard the Bowers Racing Modified as he closes in on the championship.
The early stages of the race saw Robby Jeppesen and Billy Wilker battling for the lead before Alex Stanford got by. Foulger made a charge from the fifth row to battle Stanford before taking over the lead.
Foulger went on to the impressive win with Stanford a strong second, followed by Wilker, Jeppesen, State point leader Trevor Fitzgibbon, Robert Marsh, Jesse James Burks, Ray Mayer, Monty Tomlinson and Justin Villanueva. The eight lap heat race wins were earned by Stanford, Wilker and Fitzgibbon.
Guy Ahlwardt won the 25 lap IMCA Sport Modified Main Event. This was the first Merced win for Ahlwardt, who has a big lead in the State point race. Ahlwardt and point later Fred Ryland have high point averages, which put them back in the fifth and sixth rows, respectively, for the start. They made a mad dash to the front of the pack, where they battled Bruce “Bubba” Nelson and Nick Tucker. Both drivers got by, and Ahlwardt held off the challenges of Ryland for the impressive victory.
Ryland maintained his point lead with a second place finished, follow by Nelson, Tucker, KC Keller, Chase Thomas, Kelly Wilkinson, Patti Ryland, Chuck Weir and Kodie Dean. The eight lap heat race wins were earned by Tucker, Ahlwardt and Weir. Patti Ryland won her second straight 12 lap B Main ahead of Wilkinson, Dean and Doff Cooksey.
Rick Elliot won the 20 lap Valley Sportsman Main Event. This was the second win of the season for Elliott as he holds a commanding lead in the championship battle. Elliott and heat race winner Gary Hildebrand started in the third row of the feature race. They both managed to get around Dwayne Short, who was going for his third-straight win. Elliott took the checkered flag ahead of Hildebrand, Short, two-time champion Mike Friesen, reigning champion Jerry Cecil and Jeff West.
Riley Jeppesen won the 12 lap California Sharp Mini Late Model Main Event. This was the second win of the season for Jeppesen, and it came after he held off point leader Timmy Crews for the victory. Logan Clay finished third, follow by Carson Guthrie and Ian Shearer. Jeppesen also won the eight lap heat race.
After a week off to allow the local competitors to compete in the Highway 99 Series race down at Bakersfield, racing resumes on August 31st. Management just announced the $1,500 to win race for the IMCA Sport Modifieds that night. Also competing will be the Mini Stocks, Valley Sportsman division and California Sharp Mini Late Models. For further information, go online to: mercedspeedway.net.