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Stephens Turns Luck Around at Ventura

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Ventura’s Tom Stephens knows the “less-than-glamorous” side of stock-car racing.

After 15 racing dates in which Stephens endured nothing but mechanical breakdowns, accidents, frustration and bad luck, everything finally went his way Friday night at Ventura Raceway.

Stephens, who started on the pole position, won the Street Stock 20-lap main event for the first time this season as his Camaro ran without mechanical failure for one of the rare times this season.

Stephens held off season points leader Paul Moore of Oak View, who finished second.

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Jim Firsich of Port Hueneme finished third and Harley Barrett of Oxnard placed fourth. Only seven of 14 cars finished.

Chris Raschke of Ventura drove to his second consecutive 20-lap main-event victory in the Mini Stock division after sitting out the first half of the racing season at Ventura.

Season points leader Marty Desbrow of Ventura was second and Steve Rowe of Fillmore third.

Ken Hewitt of Moorpark took the lead on Lap 4 and went on to win his first race of the season in the Mini Stock A heat race. Hewitt gained the lead when Mike Spencer of Oxnard and Richard Webster of Camarillo bumped each other out of contention heading into Turn 4.

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In other Mini Stock heat races, Robert McMahon of Port Hueneme and Ventura’s Mike Raschke, Chris’ cousin, drove to victory.

Zeke DeRose of Sun Valley used his outside front-row position to gain a wire-to-wire victory in an eight-lap Street Stock heat race. Stephens also had a wire-to-wire victory in the other heat race.

Mike Raschke wrested the lead from Tony Dighera of Agoura Hills at the start-finish line of Lap 7 and went on to win the 10-lap semi-main event and head a four-car transfer field into the main event. Dighera, Alan King of Camarillo, and Ernie Malone of Ojai also made the transfer.

Four-lap trophy dash victories went to Chris Raschke in the Mini Stocks and Scott Olsen of Ventura in the Street Stocks.

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