By DON MARTIN II
Fred Ryland scored a thrilling victory in the 25 lap IMCA Sport Modified Main Event Saturday night at Merced Speedway. The point leader became the fourth different winner in five races. The night featured a thrilling Fireworks Display, and all of the fans who came to watch the show got in for free. This was made possible thanks to sponsorship from Margie Mejia
Because of his high point average, Ryland found himself having to start back in the sixth row, and Chris Falkenberg raced into the early lead. IMCA State point leader Guy Ahlwardt also made his way to the front. Eventually, Ryland raced past Ahlwardt and began to challenge Falkenberg. On the final lap, Ryland made his winning pass and scored the victory with Falkenberg settling for second. Ahlwardt finished third, followed by Kevin Johnson, KC Keller, Chase Thomas, Kelly Wilkinson, Todd Gomez, Jack Aguiar and Tony Peffer.
There were 25 competitors, and the four eight lap heat race wins went to reigning champion Jeremy Hoff, Falkenberg, Ahlwardt and Keller. Gomez won the first of two 12 lap B Mains ahead of Chase Thomas and Tony Peffer. Chuck Weir outran Tyler Thomas to win the second B Main with Aguilar making the transfer in third.
Bakersfield’s Kevin Irwin won the 20 lap Hobby Stock Main Event. Irwin shared the front row with championship contender Michael Shearer, and the two drivers battled at the front of the pack. Nicholas Johnson was soon in the mix and took second from Shearer. However, Irwin went on to score the victory ahead of Johnson, Shearer, Allen Neal, Raul Rodriguez Sr, Cody Smiley, Austin Van Hoff, point leader Shannon Nelson, Donnie Shearer and Race Shelton. The eight lap heat race wins went to Rodriguez, Johnson and Neal. Timmy Crews won the 10 lap B Main ahead of Kristie Shearer and Robbie Loquaci.
Shawn DePriest won his second 15 lap Mini Stock Main Event. Much like Irwin, DePriest took full advantage of a front row starting position and charged into the lead. Lucy Falkenberg came from the seventh starting position to second, but DePriest collected the winner’s prize money which was donated in memory of Eddie Ragsdale. The father of championship hopeful Lee Ragsdale, Eddie Ragsdale passed away during the week. Lee Ragsdale managed to score a third place finish, followed by rookie Tyler Post, Jennifer Rodgers, Leonard Burnett, Jerry Tubbs, Austin Sprague, Leann Tatum and Gene Glover. Glover and Falkenberg won their respective eight lap heat races.
Point leader Timmy Crews scored his fourth California Sharp Mini Late Model Main Event win of the season. Championship contender Logan Clay raced into the lead from his front row starting position. Clay was looking for his first win of the season, but Crews made his way from the third row to take the lead. Crews sped to victory with Clay settling for second ahead of Carson Guthrie, Jeremiah Enriquez, Kennzzie Brown, Ian Shearer, Kaylin Lopez and Riley Jeppeson. Guthrie won the eight lap heat race.
Racing will return on July 20th with a special appearance by the Hunt Wingless Spec Sprint Series. Also competing will be the IMCA Sport Modifieds, Hobby Stocks and California Sharp Mini Late Models. For further information, go online to: mercedspeedway.net.