Fallbrook racers are leaders of the pack at two regional raceways
Thursday, May 10th, 2012
Issue 19, Volume 16.
Not only did Brad Urquhart win Barona Speedway’s Pure Stocks main event April 28, but he also finalized matters of a retroactive win from the March 31 race in which the only driver to finish ahead of him was disqualified during the post-race inspection.
"That was exciting," Urquhart said. "It was nice to have two trophies in my arms for the photographs."
The Pure Stocks opened the season March 31; Urquhart won the eight-lap heat race and left the track that night believing he had finished second, behind Roger Harper, in the 20-lap main event. Harper’s car did not make the minimum weight during the post-race inspection.
Rain prevented Barona Speedway from holding races on April 14, so the Pure Stocks next returned to the track April 28. Urquhart began that night’s heat race in the third row and finished in the middle of the pack.
"I was being cautious in the heat race because the track was extremely rough and I was concerned about something breaking," Urquhart said. "Nothing broke. I was fortunate."
Urquhart also did not test the 1970 Monte Carlo fully during the practice laps prior to the heat races due to the risk of damage from the dirt oval’s conditions.
The Pure Stocks were the fourth class to run a main event April 28.
"There was a fair amount of traffic before the main event," Urquhart said.
That made track conditions suitable for racing. "It started out better," Urquhart said. "The first ten laps my car was handling well on the track."
Urquhart’s own start began on the outside of the front row with Rich Schnereger on the pole. "He’s got a very competitive car," Urquhart said of Schnereger.
"We were about even halfway down the straightaway," Urquhart said of the start. "I pulled ahead of him just before the corner."
A yellow caution flag was thrown after ten laps. "The restart went smooth, but at the time of the yellow I had a reasonably good lead," Urquhart said.
The restart allowed the other cars to line up behind Urquhart. "Some of their cars were up really close to myself, and it was a pretty competitive race all the way to the finish," he said.
Dave Evangelou finished the race in second place. Evangelou and Robert Hughes Jr. had battled for second place before Hughes settled for a third-place finish.
The decreased distance between Urquhart and his nearest competitors wasn’t the only struggle during the final ten laps. "The track was turning very rough in part due to the substantial rain," Urquhart said.
"The last ten laps I felt I was in a popcorn machine," he said. "I was bouncing around pretty good."
The grooves were deepest where most of the cars were running. "They tended to be right in the middle of the track," Urquhart said. "For the most part I chose to endure the grooves of the track and stay in the middle as much as possible."
Barona Speedway is a quarter-mile track, and Urquhart had to slow three times for lapped traffic. In two of those he made minor contact, and under Barona Speedway rules all cars involved in a collision, which causes a yellow flag, are sent to the back.
"The first one, it was a bump and nothing happened. On the second one, a lapped car came down into me, hit my car, and bounced off the wall somewhat. I was fortunate that a yellow had come out a split second before we made contact," Urquhart said.
Urquhart said that his front-row start was one of the keys to winning the race. "The second key for winning was I came up on lapped traffic three different times and guessed correctly which way to go around them each time. On the last lap I came up on two cars and guessed correctly low side pass. IfI had gone high side, I would have been passed," he said.
"You need luck and good breaks to win a main event. Winning two back to back is unusually fortunate," Urquhart said.
Because of Harper’s March 31 disqualification, Urquhart began the April 28 race as the leader in the season point standings, and he retained the points lead with his second win.
"They’re chasing me," he said. "It’s nice to be the hunted instead of the hunter."
The 1970 Monte Carlo was the oldest car in either of this year’s races.
"During the off-season I put my car on a diet and took off 350 pounds of weight including going to a 25-pound battery instead of a 50-pound battery. It’s made a big difference in my straightaway speed," Urquhart said. "I’m still trying to find the right combination for my suspension."
Rod Robison and Richard Heisel comprised Urquhart’s April 28 crew. Urquhart is sponsored by Chassis Masters, Eagle Eye Fabrication, Fallbrook Auto Works, Fallbrook Fertilizer Feed and Farm Supply, and Mastertech.
Urquhart is dedicating this season to two of his family members who are battling cancer. His wife, Carol, has lobular breast cancer and his sister Tracy has brain cancer.
If weather permits the Pure Stocks will next race May 12.
Tully moves into point standings lead at Perris
A second-place finish in his April 14 Street Stocks heat race at Perris Auto Speedway and a third-place result in that night’s main event put Fallbrook driver Brian Tully into the season point standings lead.
Tully ended the night with 108 points for the season, six more than second-place driver Mike Malcomb. "All in all it’s been a great season so far," Tully said. "I’ve been pretty fortunate."
The Street Stocks season began March 3. After finishing fourth in his heat race, Tully started the main event on the outside of the fifth row. Tully had been in second place during the main event, but there were no yellow flags during the 25-lap race and Tully became stuck behind lapped traffic. He was in third place with two laps to go, but he found himself on the wall on the back straightaway and came off the wall on two wheels. Fourth place in a Perris Auto Speedway Stock Car Auto Racing main event is worth 51 points in the season standings.
Second place in the heat race gives a driver three points in the season standings. Tully was on the outside of the fourth row when he began the April 14 main event. He once again moved up to second before losing that position to Malcomb. "A guy got by me and I didn’t push him hard to get him out of the way," Tully said.
Third place gives a driver 54 points in the standings, along with a public post-race interview.
"It was a great feeling," Tully said of his podium finish. "I really felt blessed."
Tully will be 69 years old on June 2. "I’m keeping up with the kids," he said.
Steve McCain is Tully’s mechanic who set up the engine and chassis on Tully’s 1974 Nova. "The car was hooking up really well," Tully said.
The magnitude of McCain’s engine work was revealed in further detail when the cars of the top four finishers were impounded for a post-race inspection. The division rules allow for a compression ration of up to 10.5:1, and the Nova’s compression ratio of 9.7:1 was the lowest among the four cars. Street Stocks are allowed an engine of up to 360 cubic inches, and Tully’s 356 cubic inch engine was also the lowest among those four cars.
"I just get out there and push the pedal to the medal," Tully said.
Tully’s crew also includes crew chief Willie Watley and crew member Donita Ritchey. He is sponsored by Above Board Construction, Best Muffler, Brian Tully Insurance, Luke’s Transmission, and McCain Racing Engines.
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