New Mexico driver overcomes obstacles to win Deacon Dick Rautenberg Memorial finale

New Mexico driver overcomes obstacles to win Deacon Dick Rautenberg Memorial finale

By Randy Hoeft @YumaSunSports

There was an “s” missing.12144933_941809295900869_5016699330492226023_n devilbiss

So, Zane DeVilbiss kneeled down and corrected the spelling of his last name on the big $1,000 check he had just earned for winning the IMCA Modified Division feature event in the second annual Deacon Dick Rautenbenberg Memorial.

As it turns out, it was the smallest problem DeVilbiss had to overcome during the two nights of racing at Cocopah Speedway.

As a matter of fact, it was a wonder DeVilbiss was in the show at all. He and his crew left their home in Farmington, N.M., at 5 a.m. Friday, and a short distance into their trip, DeVilbiss, behind the wheel of the hauler, fell asleep. He woke to see weeds pelting the windshield as the hauler plowed through a bar ditch after drifting off the highway.

Later, while approaching Payson there was a crash up ahead on Highway 260, and the trip came to a halt.

Then, a rain storm on the other side of Payson slowed traffic to a crawl, as did a sand storm outside Phoenix.

And remember that wheat? Some of it had collected on the hauler’s radiator, causing the motor to begin overheating, so, again, slower speeds were necessary.

He called ahead to let track officials know he was going to be late and arrived in time to see the heat race he was supposed to be in taking the green flag.

He then asked to at least be lined up at the back of another heat race, where he finished seventh, not good enough for an automatic starting position in the feature event.

DeVilbiss then found himself in the 21-car semi main, started 16th, and finished second.

That’s when his luck started to turn around. He started 14th in the feature event and wound up finishing third.

He carried that momentum into Saturday night’s big finale, where he won his heat race, started outside the front row for the feature, wrestled the lead away from Imperial’s Steven McCollough and cruised to the win.

“Tonight I finally got that monkey off my back,” said DeVilbiss, a former IMCA Modified Division National Champion, who had been to the Somerton oval before but never had a win to show for it.

In other racing action Saturday night, Holtville’s Chris Toth completed a clean sweep in the IMCA Sport Modified Division, winning his heat race and the feature event, after doing the same thing on Friday night; Yuma’s Manny Baldiviez won the IMCA Stock Car Division feature event; and Yuma’s Leonard Manos won the IMCA Hobby Stock Division feature event.

Friday night’s other winners were Chandler’s Ricky Thornton Jr., in the IMCA Modified feature event; Cortez, Colo., driver Tony Hill in the IMCA Stock Car feature event; and Yuma’s Bob Horton in the IMCA Hobby Stock feature event.

“It’s getting cold back where we’re at,” said DeVilbiss, explaining why he would make the long trek from Farmington to Somerton, “so we wanted to get down here where it’s still warm, and get in a little practice for Vegas too.”

Talking about Friday’s trip he said, “It was quite the eventful day. Plus it took us another 30 minutes to get the truck cleaned up,” after running off the road. “And the radiator was packed with those weeds, and we couldn’t get them out, so the truck keep overheating and we had to keep slowing down and waiting for the truck to cool down before we could get going again.”

“We probably should leave tonight so we can get home in the next couple of days,” said his father and crew chief, Nick DeVilbiss, with a laugh.

Zane DeVilbiss laughed too, because he finally could.

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