BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — 98.5 The Fox Night at Kern County Raceway Park saw Buddy Shepherd and Tyler Bannister extend their INEX track points leads, while the inaugural street stock 25-lapper was won by Rich Delong and the mini stock powder puff event went to Tanya Aarrington.
Shepherd’s victory is the 13 year-old’s second consecutive win in the INEX Legends division. Racin Vernon led the field to green but was overhauled by Eric Olson on the start. Newcomer Ben Walker started third, and brought Mark Iungerich with him as they passed Olson on lap two.
Olson paced Iungerich for several laps before Shepherd started to charge forward from his seventh starting position. Shepherd took the lead from Walker on lap six with Iungerich and Dallas Montes in tow.
Shepherd dashed to a 2.5 second win with Iungerich fighting off Montes for second. Walker won a narrow battle with Bellflower’s Lacie Price for fourth at the stripe as well.
The 20-lap INEX Bandolero race may have been the race of the night, but it ended with points leader Tyler Bannister getting his fifth win in six attempts during his rookie season. Karson Sylvester led the first three laps before Oxnard’s Ricky Lewis inherited the lead.
Ryan Dunkleberger and Bannister mixed it up for third to draw a caution on lap six, with Bannister spinning and forced to restart at the rear of the field. On the restart, Dunkleberger and Sylvester tangled for third but both cars were able to continue on.
July 6th winner Tony Lamas clamped down on Lewis for the lead but overshot turn three and went off course, loosing a lap while trying to get turned around. Bannister reeled in Lewis and took over the top stop on lap 15.
A caution on lap 18 gave Lewis a shot at Bannister, but he spun while sailing into turn three. Bannister then was forced to fend off La Mirada’s Ryan Vargas in another two-lap shootout and he did so. Bannister claimed a .460 second win over Vargas, Dunkleberger, Braden Rogers, and Colton Page.
The debut of the street stock division on the half-mile track drew five entries after two additional entries from Friday practice failed to appear on Saturday. After a rousing 10-lap heat race, the 25-lap exhibition feature delivered an action packed event.
2011 Madera Speedway champion Howard Holden led the opening eight laps and accumulated a 1.8 second lead in the early going. After Rich Delong II got free from the pack, he caught up to Holden and took over the lead on lap 10.
Delong’s teammate Eric Sunness set quick time and battled with Holden for several laps before challenging Delong. Delong dashed across the line with a .289 second win while Lodi’s Robert Daniels used the apron to make a move around Holden for third. Perrin Koostra rounded out the top-five.
“It feels good to be back in victory lane,” Delong said. “I saw (Sunness) getting bigger in the mirror and I knew I had to just go. I love this place! That was 25 laps of pure driving.”
Tanya Aarrington used Dylan Baker’s race winning NASCAR Mini Stock to win the powder puff mini stock main event, catching fast-time qualifier Robin “Krash” Courtney with just two laps to go to take the 15 lap feature.
“That was a blast and I’m exhausted!” Aarrington said in victory lane. “They finally tightened up my car and it worked!”