Daffern takes feature event at night #2 of Deacon Dick Rautenberg Memorial
Story by Randy Hoeft @YumaSunSports
Photos by N2Photographics
During Saturday night’s drivers’ meeting at Cocopah Speedway, Tommy Daffern approached one of the track photographers and asked if he would get a photo of his new car, “before it gets destroyed.”
Later that night Daffern and his car posed for another photo, this one in Budweiser Victory Lane after the driver from Brawley took home the feature event win in the IMCA Stock Car Division during the second night of the third annual Deacon Dick Rautenberg Memorial.
“I was worried something was going to break and I was going to wad this thing up,” said Daffern, explaining why he asked for the “before” photo. “You never know when you come with an untested car.”
It was Daffern’s first time in the new car on the track, but it didn’t look like it as he went out and put it through its paces in the preliminary heat race, then went out and went pedal to the metal again in the 15-lap feature event.
“On the first lap of the heat race Tony Hill got into me a little bit and I figured, ‘Well, the first scratch is in it so I might as well drive it,’” said Daffern with a grin. He finished second in what shaped up to be an eight-lap shake down run.
“The car felt great, so I drove the hell out of it,” he added.
Back in the pit after the heat race, “Everybody asked, ‘Why did you have to drive it so hard?’ And I said, ‘If something is going break, I want to figure out when, that way you can fix it before the main event.’
“You have to run competitive against those cars to see how you are going to match up against them, and the car felt amazing!”
In the feature, Daffern started outside the front row, battled with Yuma’s Manny Baldiviez for the lead, then took charge of the race, running fast and hard on the high line.
“The car felt amazing,” said Daffern. “I have never felt more relaxed driving a car. Every lap I got more and more confident in the car, more comfortable.
“It’s been a long time coming.”
Toward the end of the race Daffern had to hold off one last charge from the driver from Cortez, Colo., Hill, who couldn’t manage to get underneath Daffern and had to settle for second place.
Third place went to Yuma’s Joe Haines, Baldiviez ran fourth and Yuma’s Joey Essary rounded out the top five.
In other racing action Saturday night, Chandler’s Tim Ward drove off with the $1,000-to-win IMCA Modified Division feature event win, J.R. Herrera, from Price, Utah, won the IMCA Sport Modified feature event, and Yuma’s Craig Ebers won the IMCA Hobby Stock feature event.
On the first night of the memorial event, meanwhile, Yuma’s Bobby Horton won Friday’s Modified feature, Baldiviez took the Stock Car feature event win, Yuma’s Adolfo Noriega won the Sport Modified feature and Yuma’s Leonard Manos won the Hobby Stock feature event.