Yuma’s Ebers makes good on victory lap pledge
One way or another, Craig Ebers said he was taking a victory lap Saturday night at Cocopah Speedway.
“We hadn’t finished a race in almost a year,” Ebers said, “and I told (race director) Lenna (Miller) before we started, ‘I don’t care if I’m last or first, I’m taking a victory lap.’”
And he did exactly that.
But then again it was expected as Ebers not only finished the IMCA Hobby Stock Division feature event, but led all 20 laps to get his first win of the 2016 Cocopah Speedway Racing Series.
“This feels good, but we were going to celebrate if we just got some checkers; win or lose I was taking a victory lap,” said a smiling Ebers afterward in Budweiser Victory Lane.
In other racing action Saturday night in Round 5 of the Cocopah Speedway series, Imperial’s Lance Mari returned to victory lane for the first time since the season opener, winning the IMCA Modified Division feature event; Yuma’s Manny Baldiviez won the IMCA Stock Car feature event; and Yuma’s Timmy Reese won his first IMCA Sport Modified feature event of the season after Yuma’s Charles Hunt, who actually crossed the finish line first, was disqualified for being under weight in the post-race technical inspection.
And in the night’s showcase event, Stevie Sussex, from Peoria, won the USAC Southwest Sprint Car Series feature event, while Yuma’s Mike Martin finished third.
Yuma’s Kent Rosevear, in the same race, rolled his rented race car 11 laps into the 30-lap feature event. Rosevear was not injured in the mishap.
In the Hobby Stock finale, Ebers started from the front row, grabbed the lead at the drop of the green flag and never looked back. It wasn’t as easy as it looked, however.
“It was nerve racking,” Ebers said of being on point for every lap of the feature. “I was thinking, ‘Just don’t screw up.’”
The 2014 Hobby Stock champion in the Cocopah series said his slow start in 2016 was due to a rollover on his first night out and two motors that went sour.
“We were just trying to get it to hold together,” Ebers said.
As meaningful as Ebers’ run was in the Hobby Stock feature, Hunt’s run to the checkers was probably more meaningful, as it would have been the first win of his racing career. And he did it in convincing fashion, stretching his lead each time after a number of yellow caution flags.
“Chuck drove that race very well,” said Reese, who crossed the finish line in second place.
“I was very much not in contention for where he was at, but we were hanging on to second place, and I guess the rules are the rules; 11 pounds is 11 pounds.
“I hate to see anybody lose that way, especially Chuck,” Reese continued. “Chuck’s worked very, very hard. He drives very, very clean, and that was his victory. I hated to see that, I really did.”
In the Stock Car finale, Yuma’s Jimmy Davy appeared to be on course to get his second straight win until he came up on lapped traffic on the back straight. He then chose to go high, while Baldiviez, who was running second, chose to go low and took over the lead in the process. Baldiviez then had control of the race the remainder of the way.