WEST VALLEY CITY, Utah – Rocky Mountain Raceways rolled out the red carpet for the Lucas Oil Modified Series presented by LoanMart and the local drivers tried to pull it out from under the tourists.
The pull that made the difference, however, was the eight fast qualifier Michael Hale drew to determine the invert for the starting lineup. That put two-time track champion Hale and five-time titlist Lynn Hardy on the fourth row and the Modified series all-time win leader, Chris Gerchman, on the front row.
Gerchman started outside local driver Zach Webster, took the lead in turn one and stayed in front through 75 laps of the fast three-eighths-mile oval to win Saturday night’s (June 15) BILSTEIN Shocks Great Salt Lake 75 presented by GEICO by .420 of a second over two-time series champion Jim Mardis, who briefly got inside Gerchman’s Peggy’s Sunrise Café/G-n-G Auto STR Chevrolet exiting turn four on the white flag lap.
It was the 15th career win and second of this season for the Spring Branch, Texas, resident and unofficially gives him a two-point lead over Mardis in the Hoosier Tire West point standings with the fifth race on the nine-race schedule coming up July 20 at Madera, California. It also got him a check for $2,000.
“They were definitely hungry behind me,” Gerchman said after surviving seven caution flags and race-long pressure first from impressive series newcomer Chase Catania, who finished third, and then from Mardis. “I’m just thankful the laps ran down.
“We’ve still got a long way to go in the season and we’ve just got to stay focused, but the win definitely helps.”