BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Coca Cola Night at Kern County Raceway Park saw a diverse mix of races with David Mayhew storming to a convincing win in the NASCAR Pro Late Models while the inaugural race for the 911 Racing Series went to Detective Josh Stephens of Shafter Police Department.
Stephens won the 15-lap 911 Racing Series event on the quarter-mile after navigating through a crash on lap 12 that ended the race for fast-time qualifier Chris Eucce of the Bakersfield Fire Department. Eucce was struck by a sliding Craig Trefz of Bakersfield Police while they battled for the lead, hooking Eucce into the outside wall.
The caution set up a green-white-checkered shootout with Stephens leading Kern County Fire’s Shawn Whittington across the stripe by .214 seconds ahead of Trefz, Robert Gomes of the Taft Police Department, and Kern County Sheriff Ian Chandler in fifth.
“I need a water,” said Stephens, the six year veteran of the Shafter Police Department. “I’ve been in high speed chases and stuff but this was an absolute blast!”
In Pro Late Model competition, the race saw three different leaders in the first three laps before 2013 CITGO Lubricant Late Model champion David Mayhew broke free for the victory. Thomas Martin led the opening lap before being overhauled by Johnny White on lap two, then Mayhew took over from White.
A caution came out on lap 10 for fluid from Anthony Mainella’s entry, and Mayhew picked the outside on the restart. Fourth restarting Tim Smith, the 2013 Pro LM champion, followed Mayhew into second place but was unable to close up on Mayhew for the remainder of the 50-lap race.
“The car was really fast,” Mayhew said. “I can’t thank these guys enough.”
On the NASCAR Mini Stock side, Dylan Baker led only the final lap of the 30-lap feature to get the hard earned victory. Randy Smith, father of Pro LM champion Tim Smith, led the first 22 laps in Baker’s old ride with new track recorder holder Racin Vernon racing closely behind him.
The battle boiled over in lapped traffic when Smith slammed into the back of a lapped car and lost the lead to Vernon. Vernon looked to have the win in hand but his engine seized up while taking the white flag, giving Baker all the help he needed. Baker took the victory with Vernon and Smith hanging out to round out the top three, while Terry Pettit got the best of Stacy Evans for fourth.
John Piker broke the stranglehold of Rich Delong III on KCRP Street Stock racing, sweeping qualifying, the trophy dash, and the 25-lap feature. Delong, who came into the event with four consecutive track wins, finished third behind a strong charge by Howie Smith. Perrin Koostra and Rich Delong Jr. rounded out the top five.
Anthony Balcazar held off 2013 Sr. Mini Dwarf champion Jerry Flippo for the season points opening 25-lap win, after winning the season finale in 2013 as well. Andrew Orlando spun from the lead position on a restart on lap five, but managed to drive hard to finish third at the checkered flag.
Kyleigh Forster returned to her winning ways with yet another win for the defending champ of the Jr. Mini Dwarfs. Bailey Thompson finished second over 2013 division runner-up Kabe McClenny who raced in honor his longtime sponsor Andy Stout who passed away during the week.