Renno Roars Past Heath for 40-Lap Victory at Saugus
In a 40-lap Sportsman main event laced with intrigue, the actual finish turned out to hold its own in interest.
Rookie Doug Renno of Canoga Park, who started sixth, won his third main event of the season Saturday night at Saugus Speedway in front of 3,710, passing leader Joe Heath of Northridge on Lap 37 and barely holding on to win. Heath took second and rookie Russ Beckers of Sepulveda was third.
The race featured two red and three yellow flags, an accident that sent Pat Mintey Jr. of Quartz Hill to the hospital for precautionary measures and an untimely car malfunction that marred some otherwise fine driving by points leader Lance Hooper of Palmdale.
Hooper, who had started 14th, moved his way to third to the delight of the crowd, which cheered his every pass. But on Lap 26, just after taking over third, Hooper’s car gave way and spilled oil on the track. This automatically forced him to the pits.
“Rules are rules,” race director Monte Monteleone said. Hooper eventually finished the race one lap down.
Heath, meanwhile, led from Lap 3 until Renno’s repeated challenges forced him to give way.
In the 25-lap Street Stock oval main event, Brian Kelley of Arleta charged late and won his sixth main event of the season--two oval and four figure-eight. Kelley, who entered the evening tied for fourth in the points standings, started 10th and didn’t assume the lead until Lap 19.
Pole-sitter Oliver Aguilar led the race until Kelley’s move for first. When Kelley did make his bid, he and Aguilar raced door to door for 1 1/2 laps before Kelley pulled away. After that, Aguilar failed to finish among the top four.
Rip Michels of Arleta, who was tied with Kelley for fourth place in the standings, finished second. Ed Horst of Canoga Park, who was third in the points standings, finished third. Garrett Cromsight of Antelope Valley finished fourth.
Points leader Dave Blankenship of Reseda suffered damage to his left front tire on Lap 13 and had to pit. He returned, however, to finish the race one lap down.
The 40-lap Sportsman main event was under way relatively early, but an accident involving racers Ken Sapper of Glendale and Mintey Jr. caused a delay. The two tangled coming out of Turn 2 on Lap 3, with Mintey hitting the wall.
Sapper left his vehicle under his own power, but Mintey was taken to Henry Mayo Medical Center for precautionary measures. Mintey was alert and talking when he left the track.
Fresh off first- and second-place finishes a week ago in the Winston 100 (twin 50-lap races), Hooper started on the pole and won the six-lap Sportsman trophy dash.
Michels won the Street Stock oval trophy dash after Craig Rayburn of Newhall and Cromsight tangled bumpers in a small pileup at Turn 3. Horst took the Street Stock figure-eight trophy dash.
Hooper continued his fine driving in the six-lap fast-heat race, passing Beckers on the outside of the back straightaway to take the checkered flag. Blankenship won the Street Stock oval fast heat and Richard Smith of Reseda won the Street Stock figure-eight fast heat.