RACE #3 FOR THE NORTH STATE MODIFIED SERIES, PRESENTED BY PROTECT THE HARVEST, WAS CANCELED DUE TO THE “SHELTER-IN-PLACE” DIRECTIVE FROM THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA. THE FOLLOWING IS ONLY ONE VERSION OF WHAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED IF THE EVENT HAD TAKEN PLACE.
ELLIOTT JETS TO WIN IN NSMS VIRTUAL RACE AT LAKEPORT SPEEDWAY
May 23, 2020 – The North State Modified Series, presented by Protect the Harvest, held its third virtual race at Lakeport Speedway Saturday night in front of a crowd of 2500 fans. Social distancing allows 1 car per 100 fans on the track at the same time making this event the largest starting field in the history of the ¼ mile paved oval.
Lakeport driver Ian Elliott was the controversial winner of the “Protect the Harvest 60” as a protest was made by second place runner Darrin Sullivan after the race. The win was upheld after Elliot offered his explanation to the officials.
On only his second time at Lakeport, Rick Avila of Pleasanton set fast time of 12.42o seconds and pulled the number 10 pill for the inversion. This put Cameron Austin and Darrin Knight on the pole, Darrin Sullivan and Ian Elliott in row two. Keith Bloom and Donovan Cox started in row three. Dustin DeRosier and Jason Philpot shared row four, and Scott Winters and Avila were in row five.
Our country’s national anthem was sung by Mister Monk, and June and Ron Rose were the grand marshals. The invocation, “From the Mountain Top” was given by Horse Hawhorne.
Cadillac Pat Sperling paced the field in his bright yellow, super quiet Fiat 131 Supermirafiori. He traded in his flaming Cadi for this car as he felt it better suited his (and Mickey’s) personalities. The crowd agreed and cheered when it put out a small puff of pink smoke as he pulled off the track.
The first five laps of the 60 lap feature saw Austin and Knight side-by-side, waving to each other with each pass. With no opening to gain position, Elliott and Sullivan were getting frustrated and started tapping the back bumpers of the leaders. Austin’s co-pilot Macy Tommila stuck her head out the window and shook her fist at Sullivan, and Curt Agustinovich, Knight’s co-pilot relayed his displeasure to Elliot with only a partially closed fist.
At this point the race was slowed when an unidentified body came flying out of the spotter’s stand, landed on the bad-boy trampoline and bounced right into the penalty box located next to turn two. When spotter’s tower official Lynette Hall was asked if there was a problem, she simply said “I took care of it.”
The battle for the lead continued until lap 15 when Jeremy Nowlin lost a rear end, spilling black goo on the track. Track officials went to Costco to get toilet paper to clean it up, but the shelves were bare and they came back empty handed. A collection was taken in the grandstands, and the mess was cleaned up with donated face masks.
Bloom lost power and stalled on the track on lap 20 to bring out the third yellow flag. He pitted and returned to take the next green flag, but this time it looked like Cody Braund was behind the wheel. Braund told Bloom that it was “siblings week”, and convinced Bloom to share the ride with his loving brother.
The race was red-flagged on lap 30 for the half time show where a boxing ring was brought out to the infield so that rivaling past Lakeport Speedway drivers could challenge each other to a match. Blair Aiken called out Bob Strauss, but because there was a 200 pound weight difference, officials disallowed the bought. So the “main event” featured Justin Potter, 2004 Bomber champion, and Todd Coburn, 1999 bomber champion. Coburn won the match as Potter would not put down his camera long enough to make a jab, but instead kept snapping photos each time Coburn popped him in the nose. He was going for the “perfect shot.” Stayed tuned to Facebook to see what he captured.
When racing resumed, Knight forged ahead with Elliott following his line into second. Austin faded as he had not had a hair cut in months (shame on you Macy) and the extra hair was weighing him down. Sullivan took over third with Philpot in fourth and Cox in fifth.
With only nine laps to go Elliott’s car started to overheat. Co-pilot, Alyssa Desiree, signaled flagman Johnny Miskill for a time-out. (The virtual rule, executed on May 2, states that “In all races 60 laps or more, each driver gets one time-out per season where they can signal the flagman, the race will be stopped for 5 minutes, and the driver can use that time any way he chooses.”)
Elliott’s pit crew brought the Running Springs Heating and Air truck onto the track and filled his jet engines with R-22 Refrigerant. He did this to lower the temperature of the car so that the reproduction of the corona virus would be reduced and he could finish the race.
When the green fell again, Elliott’s car appeared to have an extra boost of power and he jetted to the lead. Knight and Sullivan battled for second the remaining laps, and at the checkered flag it was Elliott, Sullivan, Knight, Philpot, Cox, Avila, Austin, DeRosier, Winters and Braund.
Sullivan protested Elliott’s win saying that the gas Elliott’s crew put into his engine had to be illegal. Elliott explained that the R-22 refrigerant is a hydrochlorofluorocarbon gas that was only used to lower the temperature of the car so that the reproduction of the corona virus would be reduced as he was not wearing a mask. Track officials accepted his explanation and allowed the win.
The top 10 in the Lucas Oil Dash for Cash were Adrianna Strugnell, Sal Lopez, Rich Cobb, Randy Houston, Mike Neilson, Kylei Keown, Chris Salmina, Ralph Bailey, Richie Potts and Jeff Stephens.
Other feature winners in the local classes were Rick Jelton in the Taco Bell Bombers, Dave Allen in the D&P Pools Legends Cars, Landyn Snider in the S&K Automotive Bandoleros, and Ashley Aceves in the AAA Energy Pro-4 Modifieds.
The North State Modified Series is presented by: Protect the Harvest, Lucas Oil, Hoosier Tire West, Sunoco Race Fuels, Naake Suspension, Five Star Bodies, Racer Bling, Keyser Racing Products, Scribner Plastics, and Franks Radios and O’Reilly Auto Parts.
Lakeport Speedway is sponsored by O’Reilly Auto Parts, Anderson Logging, Sullivan Const Masonry, Lake Parts, Bicoastal Media, Taco Bell, D&P Pools, Hillside Powersports, Clearlake Redi-Mix, Snap-On Tools, S&K Paving & Striping, Lucerne Roofing, S & K Automotive, Under the Sun Garden Supply, Perkins Septic Tanks, Lake County Tribal Health, Don Anderson Attorney At Law, Coleman’s Custom Vinyl, Lake County Welders, Steve Taylor Excavation, Dana Stahl Race Cars, Kelseyville Lions, Mike Sullivan Consulting, Lake Co. Waste Solutions, Gifford Backhoe Service and Majestic Landscaping.
The next NSMS race is scheduled for June 6 at Redwood Acres Raceway in Eureka.