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By: Elijah Jones
CHICO, CA (3-3-17) - The Sport Modifieds have been the talk of social media all throughout the offseason. With a new traveling tour debuting this weekend, the sport mods are determined to be one of the top divisions of racing on the west coast in 2017. They proved that last night when 30 cars rolled into the pit area for night one of the Mini Gold Cup. Last nights event was not a part of the newly formed West Coast Sport Mod Tour but it was a great precursor to what we can look forward to this year with that tour.
The night began with four individual Heat Races, where they would transfer the top four finishers directly to the Main Event. That would leave the rest to have to fight their way through the B-Main Event. Heat Race #1 was claimed by the #44S of Shane Devolder who had a strong car all night long. Heat Race #2 was claimed by Turlock, CA driver Chris Falkenberg in the #3CF. It was good to see some new faces at the Silver Dollar Speedway last night. Chris was one of those drivers we haven't seen much of, and he proved to be a great competitor. Heat Race #3 was claimed by local driver Clinton Earl in the Earl's Plumbing #84. While the fourth and final Heat Race was taken by the #51N of Jayson Nelson from Pleasant Hill, OR. Another driver from out of town who proved they are a force to be reckoned with.
With all of the great action we saw out of the Sport Mods last night, the B-Main was the low point of the night. 14 cars were scheduled to start the race and when the race was called official after 11 laps there were only 4 remaining on the racetrack. This happens eventually in every racing class, and it just goes to show how hard these drivers are trying to make it into the show. When the checkered flag dropped it was the #15 of Anthony Giuliani, #128 of Keith Brown, #2C of Trevor Clymens, and #38A of Todd Gomez who would transfer out of the B-Main and into the Feature Event.
At the drop of the Green flag the #44S of Shane Devolder looked to have the strongest car on the racetrack as he would jump out to the early race lead. The #7J of Fred Ryland though had other ideas as he charged through the field after starting 13th. Ryland would take over the race lead from Devolder who was running around the outside of the racetrack. Ryland though a pro at rolling around the bottom had an absolute rocket ship of a race car. Once he got to the lead it looked as though he would pull away for the win. That was not the case though as once he got up front, Devolder and Brian Cooper stepped their game up and chased the #7J of Ryland down and we had a three car battle for the race lead. Ryland and Cooper ran nose to tail around the bottom of the racetrack while Devolder let it all hang out on the top side of the racing surface. Going into turn number one though as the race wore down Cooper got into the corner a little faster than Ryland and got into the left rear tire of Ryland. Two laps later Ryland slowed to a stop with a flat left rear, and his run at the front was over as he took the car to the trailer. That put the #44S of Shane Devolder back at the helm with Brian Cooper in the second spot. Those two drivers put on a show in the last five laps of the Main Event. Devolder ripping the outside while Cooper patiently worked the bottom of the racetrack. As the two exited turn four to take the white flag Cooper edged ahead for the first time. They went through one and two side by side and fought down the back straightaway. As they drove into three and four for the final time Cooper hit the bottom line perfectly and drove to his first win of the season at the Silver Dollar Speedway. Shane Devolder's excellent run came up one position short as he settled to the second position. Phillip Shelby piloted the #86 machine to a third place finish after an opening lap mistake dropped him near the rear of the field. The #128 of Keith Brown started the race in the 18th position and at the end of the 20 lap main event he wound up in the fourth position. A great drive for Brown after having to come from the B-Main Event. The top five was rounded out by the #3CF of Chris Falkenberg who had picked up a Heat Race win earlier in the evening.With the great racing we saw at the front of the Sport Mod field last night we are excited to see the new West Coast Sport Mod Tour kick off tonight at the Silver Dollar Speedway. Approximately 50 Sport Mods are expected to sign into the pit gate for tonight's event. The front gate is scheduled to open at 5:00pm with racing to start at 6:30pm. Stay tuned on our Facebook page for updates throughout the day. For ticket information and directions to the racetrack please go to www.silverdollarspeedway.com.