Kern County Crowns First Track Champs
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. – Kern County Raceway Park crowned its first track champions on Saturday night, with Tim Smith grabbing his fourth NASCAR Pro Late Model win to take that series title, along with championships going to Kyleigh Forester and Jerry Flippo in Mini Dwarfs and Billy Lay in the NASCAR Mini Stocks.
Smith had a back-and-forth duel throughout the 50 lap Pro Late Model event with NASCAR CITGO Lubricants Late Model champion David Mayhew and SRL Southwest Tour standout Jeremy Doss. The three cars dominated against the ten car turnout, running nose-to-tail through the race.
Mayhew took advantage of a lap 33 caution for Jeffery Eshleman hitting the turn two wall, to take the lead on the outside of Smith. Smith stayed on Mayhew’s bumper for the next 15 laps before using a slight tap in turn four to move inside Mayhew to take the lead back.
Smith darted to an exciting .533 second win over Mayhew with Doss only five car lengths behind them. The victory was Smith’s third consecutive win and perhaps one of the best races so far at the new half-mile speedway.
“We hit on something really big,” Smith said. “It’s been a really fun time this year and I can’t wait til next year!”
Eric Brust won his first NASCAR Spec-Mod main event by .328 seconds over Chris Dalton in the 30 lap contest. Bailey Thompson won her fourth trophy dash of the year and had the lead from the first 13 laps before slowing with distributor problems.
The caution put Brust into a lead that he never relinquished, despite having to slow dramatically in lapped traffic on the final set of corners. Dalton sailed in the outside but fell short to Brust with Sidney Payne rounding out the top-three.
Racin Vernon led the final 24 laps in a wild NASCAR Mini Stock race to take his third feature win of the season and five time winner Billy Lay taking down the series championship. Lay led the first six laps before hard contact with new track record holder Dylan Baker allowed Vernon to scoot past.
Baker stopped with damage and on the restart Vernon stepped away from Lay. Lay and Justin Fine got together with Lay spinning, and then on lap 25 Lay tangled with Randy Smith. Lay managed to hang on for a fifth place finish to take the series championship while it was Vernon taking a .817 second win over Fine in the last restart.
Kyleigh Forester won her seventh Jr. Mini Dwarf main event using a “spin and win” in lapped traffic, to claim the inaugural series championship. Second in points Kabe McClenny led the first two laps of competition and finished second to end a great year for him.
The Sr. Mini Dwarf main event was dominated by Anthony Balcazar, storming from his third starting position to lead all 20 laps for his first division win. Points leader Jerry Flippo flipped his entry down the backstretch on the opening lap, and remarkably came back to finish third behind Jeremy Clark and win the series championship. Saturday’s race was the only event Flippo didn’t win during the eight race season.