Bring on the turkey

Bring on the turkey

Simala wins, ready for holiday show

Brett Simala can’t wait for Thanksgiving to get here.
And it has  nothing to do with wanting to dive into some roasted turkey, mashed potatoes and  gravy. After winning Saturday night’s Pro-Stock Division feature event in  convincing fashion at Cocopah Speedway, the veteran racer said he’s anxious to  get to the next event on the calendar, the third annual Turkey Classic for  Pro-Stocks on Thanksgiving Weekend.
As a matter of fact, after winning  his division-leading sixth feature event he said he was ready to race the  Classic the very next day.
“Let’s do it tomorrow,” said a smiling Simala  from victory lane. “We’re ready!”
“Let’s do it tonight!” exclaimed his  father, two-time driving champion Stan Simala.
Unfortunately, the Yuma  team will have to put its enthusiasm on hold for three weeks with the Turkey  Classic not scheduled until Nov. 23 and 24 at Cocopah Speedway.
In other  racing action Saturday night, Yuma’s Adolfo Noriega won his series-best 12th  feature event in the Street Stock Division, moving to within one win of tying  the track record for feature event wins in a single season, and Yuma’s Steve  Anthony won his second straight Factory Stock Division feature event.
In  the Pro-Stock finale Simala asserted his dominance in a hurry. Starting outside  the front row he beat the division point leader, El Centro’s Travis Dove, into  Turn 1 and was off and running. According to track officials Simala enjoyed a  seven-second lead over the field at one point in the 20-lap event.
“I was  just driving the car,” said Simala. “I just did what the car wanted. The car did  the work.”
He acknowledged that in the two weeks since the last race at  the track, when he finished second, “We did change some things on the car that  we have been wanting to try, and it definitely made a big  difference.”
But that was not the only difference. Two weeks ago, while  leading the feature event, Simala was twice charged with re-start violations,  which resulted in his being put to the rear of the field, ending any bid for the  win that night.
Saturday night on a late restart, “Just to be on the safe  side, I kind of made sure the other car was taking off with me before I fully  accelerated,” said Simala.
The hesitation getting on the gas did not  bother him though, because “when the car is that good I have so much confidence  in it I don’t care who they put next to me, I’m not going to get  beat.”
Simala put an exclamation point on his winning drive earlier  Saturday night when he passed Dove again, putting Dove one lap  down.
“When the season started we had two goals,” continued Simala, “to  win the Turkey Classic and to win the championship.”
With only one series  point race remaining on the schedule, Dec. 8, Simala is aware that winning the  championship is pretty much out of reach. Entering Saturday night’s show he  trailed Dove by 20 points, and Simala’s win only cut the margin to 15.
“I  just want to win a lot of races,” he said, “and the championships will  come.”
Yuma’s Kent Rosevear finished second behind Simala in Saturday  night’s feature event, driving the Pro-Stock owned by Joe Haines in what  amounted to a shakedown in preparation for the Turkey Classic. Third place went  to Brawley’s Brent Ashurst, fourth place to Brawley’s Russell Allen and fifth  place to San Diego’s Steve Jonas. Dove finished sixth.
In the Street  Stock feature event Noriega started inside the sixth row, and in a departure  from what fans have come to expect, he did not bide his time before starting his  move to the front.
“I’m not going to waste too much time any more,  because you never know what’s going to happen,” said the defending series  champion. “On a track like this where it’s tacky, less guys are spinning out so  there is a chance the whole thing can go green; we’ve seen it before. And I’d  hate to be caught with about three or four laps to go and still have six or  seven fast cars to pass.
“So we don’t waste any time.”
That was  apparent as Noriega weaved his way through traffic, waged a brief battle with  Yuma’s Bobby Horton and Timmy Reese at the front, then took over the lead and  was never challenged.
“We were patient enough to not get into any trouble  and pick our spots, and it worked out pretty good,” said Noriega. “It was a  little crowded there in the first half because everyone wants it, so it was one  foot on the brake and one on the gas.
“The track was awesome tonight too.  If we could have a track like this every night it would be  great.”
Finishing second was Horton, followed by Reese in third, Yuma’s  Joey Essary in fourth and Yuma’s Dave Amos rounding out the top five.
The  Factory Stock feature turned out to be a preview of things to come in the Street  Stock feature as Anthony, like Noriega, started near the back, worked his way  through traffic, and once he got out front was never heard from  again.
“The car was on a rail tonight,” said Anthony afterward. “The car  was running great, handled beautifully anywhere on the track. I just wanted to  take my time, I wanted to be clean. I got my chance and I went around and never  looked back. It felt good. The car felt great. It was a nice  ride.”
Second place went to the series point leader, Yuma’s Jimmy Davy,  in one of his best showings lately at the Somerton oval, while Yuma’s Miles  Morris was third, Yuma’s Jordan White was fourth and Yuma’s Craig Ebers was  fifth.

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