Grand American Division Remains Phipps' Domain

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Dave Phipps continued his dominance of Saugus Speedway's Grand American Modified division by winning his third 25-lap main event in four starts before a Saturday night crowd of 3,970.

Phipps, a 12-year track veteran from Simi Valley and the division's defending champion, claimed the spotlight from the start of the evening by establishing a track-record, one-lap qualifying time of 16.56 seconds. Phipps held the old mark at 16.74 seconds.

In the main event, Phipps started eighth in accordance with the track's policy of placing the top eight qualifiers in inverse order.

No problem. By Lap 15, Phipps had moved to fourth position, made a pass on each of the next three laps and taken the lead for good.

Phipps' margin of victory over Dave Blankenship of Reseda was 2.5 seconds on the one-third-mile oval.

"We're here to race," Phipps said. "I don't know, I just have experience. I've been doing this since 1980. I've learned."

Bill McLean of Canoga Park started on the pole and held the lead until Phipps roared past him in front of the starter's tower.

McLean finished third. Gary Sigman of Carson, who smashed into the back straightaway wall on Lap 9, rallied to finish fourth.

The 40-lap Sportsman main event was not under way at press time. In other races, Ron Cerven of Palmdale won an abbreviated Street Stock oval main event that was halted after 17 of a scheduled 25 laps. A fifth multi-car smash-up left the track with oil in many areas and created a lengthy delay.

Cerven, the division's points leader, claimed the lead on Lap 10 by making a pass of John Penning.

In the 15-lap Hobby Stock oval main event, Mark Allen of Sunland posted his first career victory ahead of Greg Maliniemi and Rich Ocheltree, both of Van Nuys.

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