No new-car blues for Brawley driver
Russell Allen walked around the front of his car to see what was going on with the front bumper.
He found it hanging on by two bolts. There are supposed to be four.
Then he noticed a bolt or two missing from the side panel.
Such details are part of bringing out a race car for the first time.
What’s not part of bringing out a new car for its maiden voyage is parking it in victory lane. But that’s what Allen did as the driver from Brawley bested a field of 16 cars to win Saturday night’s IMCA Modified Division feature event in Round 4 of the 2015 Cocopah Speedway Racing Series.
“It’s a fast car,” said Russell in perhaps the understatement of the evening from Budweiser Victory Lane.
It wasn’t like that from the get go, however.
After arriving at the track two hours late, he found the car wouldn’t run during an unscheduled hot lap session, suffering from a carburetor issue. It was the first time Allen had been behind the wheel of the car.
And the problem persisted during his heat race, in which he finished fifth.
By the time the feature event rolled out onto the track, Allen felt he and his crew had solved the problem, but he was starting outside the fourth row.
Then a crash on the opening lap collected a number of cars, but Allen was not one of them. That, he said, was the start of good things to come.
After the ensuing restart he made his way up to second place and used the high line to get past the early race leader, Yuma’s Ty Rogers. But then Rogers passed Allen back.
“I was having some little problems,” said Allen. “This a new car, the brakes weren’t as good as I wanted them to be. I was getting used to it, and I wasn’t driving it hard enough.”
Two laps later, on another restart Allen, still using the high line, drove his car deep into Turn 1 and got back around Rogers, who chose to stick with the bottom groove.
“In the first corner everyone went to the bottom and I’m like, ‘Well thanks for the top guys.’ The top is where it was at.
“I just drove it in there and got around him. I don’t think I saw anybody else after that.”
True. Allen drove away from the field while Rogers faded to sixth place.
Imperial’s Duane Rogers finished second behind Allen, Imperial’s Steven McCollough was third, Yuma’s Brett Simala was fourth and the series point leader, Jeffry Sheppard Jr., from Golden Valley, rounded out the top five.
In other Cocopah Speedway Racing Series action Saturday night, Mesa’s Cody Graham won the IMCA Sport Modified feature event; Yuma’s Manny Baldiviez won the IMCA Stock Car feature event, and in the process regained the top spot in the series standings; and Yuma’s Brent Wofford became the fourth different driver to win an IMCA Hobby Stock Division feature event.
And in the night’s showcase event, Phoenix’s R.J. Johnson drove off with the win in the USAC Southwest Sprint Cars, 30-lap feature event. Johnson is the defending series champion.
The series point leader entering the Saturday night show, Phoenix driver Stevie Sussex, flipped after hitting the wall between Turns 3 and 4 on the 15th lap of the feature event while running in second place. He walked away from the crash.