Michael Paul Sr. of San Anselmo took a pulse-pounding first turn during the first heat race, flipping end over end, then rolling while trying to avoid a spinning Chester Kniss of Antioch. Remarkably, Paul Sr. made it back with a badly bent car to start the feature and see his son go fender to fender with Randy McDaniel of Marysville to win two in a row at the 3/8-mile, high-banked clay oval.
“He (McDaniel) almost had me, but I wasn’t about to let that happen,” Paul Jr. said. “He’s beaten me enough in the past.”
Paul Jr. of Petaluma is the hottest driver of July – winning four area Modified features in a row. “It was a clean race – we (McDaniel and I) were fighting for the bottom groove,” he said. “I knew I had to put my car down on the bottom and keep it there if I was going to win.”
McDaniel almost passed Paul Jr. in the third and fourth turns, but Paul Jr. fought back and kept a nose ahead to the finish line. “I was sitting in the car before the race and I knew I made a mistake when I saw what the sprint cars were doing,” said McDaniel. “I didn’t put enough traction in the left rear (of the car). The right rear was perfect. I was committed to running the bottom, too. Nevertheless, it was a great race. I had a good time tonight. I love this place.”
Troy Foulger, who finished third, came back from being sidelined with distributor problems in his heat race. He’s experienced distributor problems three weeks in a row. “The engine was popping earlier. We replaced the rotor cap,” he said. “But in the feature, I just had nothing for those guys.”
“Cowboy” Craig Smith of San Martin was chased by Ryan Rusconi of San Jose in the waning laps of the feature, but Rusconi couldn’t gain ground. “Nothing is a given here,” Smith said in victory lane. “Ryan was coming on strong. That kid is going to win a feature soon – I hope it’s not at my expense.”
It was Haney vs. Haney early in the Super Hobby Stock feature event. Gene Haney won after battling son Jon, who dropped out with a sour engine in the car his dad usually drives. “I wasn’t worried about Jon,” laughed Brentwood’s Haney. “I knew the engine would come apart in the car I gave him.”
David Rosa of Antioch made a drive to second in his daughter Victoria’s car. Rosa was on Haney’s back bumper at the end. “Just took her car out to help her set it up,” said Rosa. “It’s good now.”
The engagement tour of Brad Myers and Melissa Hansen of Brentwood made another stop in victory lane in the Hobby Stock division. Vacaville’s Cole Oreta battled them all the way to the finish line, weaving through a full field of cars. “It was like driving on 680 during rush hour,” said Myers. “Melissa told me which way to go and I just kept steering.”
“It’s stressful being a passenger in a race car,” Hansen said. “Especially when he drives with one hand and wipes the lens of the camera mounted on the dash. We have hand signals when we drive as a team. It was nuts tonight, but we won.”
Oreta was disappointed for himself, but ran up to compliment the happy couple. “I thought I could get one in the bank, but they took it away,” he said. “It was a great race. He just got me in traffic.”
Bay Point’s Danny Wagner returned to victory lane after being disqualified last week. He caught veteran Ray Bunn with seven laps to go. The win will help Wagner make up what was lost in points last week.
“I needed this comeback,” he said in victory lane. “This was an important win. And to beat Ray Bunn is an accomplishment. He’s a really good driver.”
Bunn, of San Jose, congratulated Wagner. “We bounced together a few times,” he said of their side-by-side battle. “But that’s what great racing is.”
– Contributed by Mike Adavaskeg