Val Verde’s Drake Emerges From Crowds at Ventura


The West Coast Clash for United States Auto Club Midgets and three-quarter Midgets at the Ventura County Fair was misnamed. It should have been the West Coast Crash.

Seventh-five cars were competing for 40 main-event slots in the two main-event races as the drivers bumped, banged, spun and flipped their way through a long racing program that delayed the start of the Midget feature Saturday night.

However, Jay Drake of Val Verde showed he is beginning to feel at home on the quarter-mile dirt track as he drove a smooth race to claim the 20-lap three-quarter Midget main event.


Drake, the defending three-quarter Midget champion, has won both of his main-event starts at Ventura this season.

Frank Deiny Jr. of Burbank finished second with Page Jones of Torrance third.

Deiny’s second-place finish pushed him back into the season points lead, surpassing Gary Schroeder of Burbank, who had held an eight-point lead over Deiny at the beginning of the night.

After having his right-front tire sheared off during a heat race, Walt Johnson of Sun Valley was able to put his car back together in time to win the 10-lap three-quarter Midget semi-main event, qualifying for the main event.

Robert Dolacki of La Puente took command early and went on to win the 10-lap Midget semi-main event and gain a transfer to that division’s main.

Jordan Hermansader of Rancho Palos Verdes was another 10-lap Midget heat-race winner, capping a recovery from injuries suffered in Ventura’s opening-night Midget program nearly five months ago.

Other heat-winners were A.J. Johnson of Paramount, Duane Markum of Stanton and Jones.

Kenny White of Ventura took the lead from J. J. Ersce of Bellflower on Lap 4 and went on to win a three-quarter Midget eight-lap heat race. Other heat winners were Deiny, Jim Voitel of San Gabriel, and Mark Holtz of Bellingham, Wash.