Long time coming: Yuma’s Dupre ends dry spell with feature event win Saturday
- By Randy Hoeft @YumaSunSports
- Photos by N2Photographics
James Dupre can sympathize with the Cleveland Indians and Chicago Cubs.
While it seems like an eternity since the Indians and Cubs had been in the World Series, it had also been a long while since the Yuma driver visited victory lane at Cocopah Speedway.
Dupre ended that drought Saturday night when he dominated the field on the way to winning his first IMCA Sport Modified Division feature event at the Somerton oval since March 2015.
Dupre’s win came in Round 11 of the 2016 Cocopah Speedway Racing Series.
The veteran driver said he knew the second feature event win of his career would come “eventually.”
“It’s just that this field is so stout that everything has got to be right, and if it isn’t right, it ain’t gonna happen,” said Dupre after taking the win.
“I knew eventually it would come and it makes it more special and more worth it when you have to work that hard for it.
“I never want to give up, obviously, but it’s just a lot of work and I’m glad it finally worked out. Hopefully there are more to come.”
In other racing action Saturday night, Brawley’s Russell Allen drove off with the IMCA Modified Division feature event win, Yuma’s Manny Baldiviez won the IMCA Stock Car feature event and Yuma’s Craig Ebers won his second straight IMCA Hobby Stock feature event.
In the 20-lap Sport Modified feature, Dupre started inside the third row of the 15-car field, moved all the way up to second place after one lap and then stalked and passed Somerton’s Joshua Cordova on a yellow-flag restart to take over the lead.
Dupre then stretched the lead until Cordova started to reel the leader back in but could not get close enough to make the winning pass.
“It’s hard to tell how close they are behind you,” said Dupre, “so you just keep pushing, and pushing and pushing, and then when you see the cautions, you get a little worried because then you know they’re right behind you.”
While it was Dupre’s second feature event win of his career, it was the first in what he said is a new car purchased in 2015.
“We bought a new car and have been trying to figure that thing out and I think I finally figured something out,” said Dupre. “ After the summer break it did really really well and it felt like I was hitting on something.”
Cordova finished second behind Dupre, Yuma’s Kyle Smith was third, Imperial’s Corey Clayton was fourth and Brawley’s Steven Daffern rounded out the top five.
The Cocopah Speedway Racing Series point leader, Yuma’s Adolfo Noriega, would finish seventh, but still leads Clayton by 22 points.
In the Modified feature event, Allen used the high line to get around the early leader, Yuma’s Ty Rogers. And when Allen did get around, he steadily pulled away, enjoying almost a full straightaway lead at the finish.
Rogers would finish second, Imperial’s Quentin Tucker was third, Yuma’s Brett Simala was fourth and Mike Strobl, from Surprise, was fifth.
Allen is the division point leader in the Cocopah Series and with the win stretched his lead to 50 points over his nearest challenger, Simala, who moved up two positions into second place Saturday night.
The Stock Car finale saw Baldiviez first try the high line, then use the bottom line to get around Yuma’s Jimmy Davy and take the win.
It was Baldiviez’ second win in his last three starts in what was a borrowed car. He said afterward that he has since purchased the car.
“It’s my car now,” said Baldiviez.
Davy would finish second, Yuma’s Joey Essary was third, Yuma’s Rich Hibbard finished fourth and Yuma’s Joe Haines was fifth.
Baldiviez, the series point leader, is now nine points ahead of Essary after starting the night with a seven-point cushion.
In the Hobby Stock feature Ebers held on for the win after Yuma’s Scott Jeffery made a mid-race charge toward the front.
Jeffery finished second, Yuma’s Jim Robinson was third, Somerton’s Francisco Cordova was fourth and Yuma’s Harvey Quinn finished fifth.
Robinson, the series point leader, is now 22 points ahead of Cordova in the 2016 title chase.