Weather and a Crazy Finish Highlight Saturday's AAS Race

By Jeremy McDonald

ROSEVILLE-- If the weather wasn't enough to handle Saturday at All American Speedway, the ending of the Street Stock race was just crazy.

During practice at 3pm, it was sunny and warm; and by the time qualifying was over at 5:30, it was cloudy and raining.

“Change is neat, but we can’t race with the track being wet,” said Bomber racer Tony Latimer.  “But it’s stopping now and we can go out there and dry it up.”

That was at 6:15, it took 20 minutes worth of cars driving on the track to dry it off.  But by 6:35, the night’s races proceeded.

F-4 MODIFIEDS
Keith Hopkinson Jr was the car to beat Saturday, easily taking the trophy dash earlier in the day to start a few spots off the lead en route to a main event victory.

But Hopkinson Jr credits it to luck to start the main event races.

“We had some good breaks,” he said.  “The car has always been good, but these cars as just as fast as I am.  The 5 car (of Jess Yendes),the 11 Car (of Ray Molina),  the 4 car (of Keith Hopkinson Sr.).  They had little problems and I didn’t, I got out there and was able to get it on.”

BOMBERS

It sounds like a broken record but Erick Ray wins once more in the Bombers Division.

After battling through some early traffic Ray manage to catch up with the 89 car of (name),  who was pretty dominant himself, and took the Bomber lead by lap 11.

“The car is on a rail, it always is,” described Ray with his car.  “We just get lucky with the set up.  We work on it a lot, we don’t let it sit in the garage or on the trailer, we actually put work in and do our homework and get this thing as good as good as we can.”


Despite spin-outs during the race that could've put a damper on Ray's lead, but no caution flags waved as Ray got his sixth straight win.

“Six in a row, its truly amazing,” said Ray.  “I couldn’t do it without my team and my family.  Everybody out here.  Kids, everyone that comes and shows up.  It’s just amazing.  It’s our year I guess.”

HARDTOPS
In the 15 lap main event, it came down to Bill McCoughlin and Jason Armstrong for the win.

McCoughlin looked as if he could win the event entering the final lap holding a slight advantage over Armstrong, but coming out turn four Armstrong's six-cylinder car got enough of a push for the win.

STREET STOCKS 
In the final race of the night, Mark Gardiner and Kody Szuh set the early pace in the Street Stock race with a sizable lead on the field entering lap 11.

Slowly but surely, Andrew Peeler made his way to the front and was in third by lap 12.

Patience proved to be the difference maker for Peeler, sitting third at the start of the 18th lap, Gardiner got into Szuh exiting turn one that brought out the yellow and gave Peeler the lead.

 “I didn’t need that at all,” said Peeler on the caution.  “I had this car rolling pretty good and I didn’t  know what it was going to do after the caution.”

Peeler slowly built a lead on the field after the green dropped on lap 18 however, but a two cautions late and smart driving by Gardiner through traffic following the lap 18 wreck set up the controversial ending as they sat one, two after a lap 30 caution.

At the end of lap 34, with Gardiner and Peeler neck and beck and with the white flag should have been waved, the wrong flag was waved.

“We were racing side-by-side and saw that they threw the white flag,” started Gardiener.  “So we came back around and I took the checkered flag.  People were still racing and I stayed in even longer, (so I) got back in it after I saw that everyone was still racing.”

What resulted was a default win to Gardiner who had a 0.006 second lead on Peeler when the mishap occurred.

“I’m half torn and half excited at the same time because I didn’t know if I won that,” said Peeler.  “They’re saying that I didn’t but I’m saying I did.  So I’m kind of mixed right now (about it).”