Urquhart wins Street Stocks main in Barona Speedway season finale
Wednesday, November 21st, 2012
Issue 47, Volume 16.
"That was pretty cool," Urquhart said.
The race was Urquhart’s second at Barona Speedway in the 1978 Nova he purchased from Gary Hartsuyker in August and his third overall in the Nova. Urquhart made his Street Stocks debut October 13 at Barona Speedway and finished second in the main event. Urquhart drove the car at Perris Auto Speedway on October 27 but did not finish after contact in the first lap. "Another car went dead sideways and planted me into the wall," Urquhart said.
The Nova had a flat right rear tire, and the car was also overheating after the contact. "The car went around for a few more laps," Urquhart said. "Kind of limped in."
Urquhart and his crew were able to repair the car in time for the November 10 Barona race. There was no practice the night before due to rain. "It rained pretty good," Urquhart said. "They had to cancel the inside track activity because of the moisture."
Other than those inside track races during intermission, the races went on as scheduled November 10. "The main track actually turned out to be in great condition," Urquhart said.
The track crew graded the quarter-mile oval that day. "It actually graded out really nice," Urquhart said. "It made the conditions really consistent all the way around the track, which I like."
Urquhart ran practice laps prior to the heat race. "During hot lapping the car felt really good," he said.
Hartsuyker witnessed the hot laps and subsequently informed Urquhart that the driver was hitting his driving lines and looked comfortable on the track.
"I liked the way the car was driving," Urquhart said. "Everything seemed fine during the hot laps."
That kept Urquhart from detecting a problem which would occur during the heat race. "There was no hint of any loose wires or anything during the hot laps or during the first part of the heat race," he said.
Urquhart began the eight-lap heat race on the pole position and took an early lead. "I tried to focus on hitting my lanes and not overdriving the car into the corners," he said.
He led by two-thirds of a straightaway before his distributor wire loosened. "The car felt smooth and was handling beautifully," Urquhart said.
When the distributor wire disconnected the Nova lost all power. Urquhart was able to coast to the track exit without being hit, but because he did not finish the heat race he had to start the 20-lap main event at the back of the field.
Urquhart’s pit crew November 10 consisted of two father-and-son combinations: Rod and James Robison and Gary and Everett Hartsuyker. Rod Robison and Everett Hartsuyker were able to secure the distributor wire so that Urquhart could race in the main event.
Although Urquhart started the main event on the outside of the back row, he had gone from the back to the lead in his first Street Stocks race. The Barona Speedway rules stipulate that a driver who races in a new class is considered a rookie. Rookies must start in the back for both their first heat race and their first main event, so Urquhart began the October 13 main event in the back but found himself in third place after eight laps, took the lead on the twelfth lap, and stayed in the lead for the next five laps. With three laps remaining Urquhart reverted to his habits from the 1970 Monte Carlo he had driven in the Pure Stocks and was driving the Nova too hard into the corners. That allowed Manny Baldiviez to pass Urquhart, who settled for second that night.
Urquhart began to pass cars early in the November 10 feature, and on the fourth lap he was behind Baldiviez. "He likes to throw his car’s rear end out on a slide manner. It works well for him,"Urquhart said of Baldiviez. "The problem you have if you’re behind him when he does this maneuver is that his car takes up half the track and makes it very difficult to pass him."
Urquhart tried to pass Baldiviez on the inside during turn two of the fourth lap. "He did his maneuver and our cars hooked up and spun out on the infield," Urquhart said.
The contact had relatively insignificant consequences for Urquhart’s Nova. "The car sustained minimal damage and it didn’t affect the performance at all," Urquhart said.
The Nova stalled in the infield, although a push start returned the car’s functions to normal. The incident caused a yellow flag caution, and Barona’s track rules require all drivers involved in a yellow flag incident regardless of fault to go to the back of the pack for the restart. The fact that more laps remained in the race than it took Urquhart to go from the back to the front four weeks earlier worked in Urquhart’s favor. "When I went to the back I thought I could work the car up pretty close to the front," he said. "I just tried to tell myself to hang in there and finish as well as I could. My car was handling well. I just needed to avoid another yellow flag and serious car contact - which I did."
Sunny Trent’s Camaro threw a tire and drive line directly in front of Urquhart, Jim Tucker spun out and nearly hit Urquhart, and Chris Fritz hit Gary Rodriguez on turn four to cause both cars to spin out.
"They were taking up most of any space to get by either one," Urquhart said of Fritz and Rodriguez. "When I came flying around I started to brake and knew I couldn’t stop in time. The only space was between the #12 (Fritz) and the wall and there wasn’t much space. I set the car to the best angle I could, began to squeeze my shoulders bracing for impact, and just fractionally missed #12 and then slightly turned the wheel in time to miss the wall. It was that close."
After avoiding contact during those incidents, Urquhart was in third place with half the race remaining. He then passed Tommy Kerr on the inside to take over second place during the eleventh lap.
That left Mike Harlan’s 1981 Monte Carlo as the only car ahead of Urquhart’s Nova. "He was driving good lines," Urquhart said of Harlan. "The next couple of laps I tried to set him up for an inside move."
On the straightaway between turns two and three during the 16th lap Urquhart passed Harlan on the inside. "The more seat time I get with the car the more confident I’m becoming," Urquhart said.
Urquhart’s final task was to avoid the mistake he made after taking the lead in his first Street Stocks main event. "The last couple of laps I just tried to focus on not getting too excited," he said.
Urquhart stayed in the lead through the checkered flag. David Dvorak finished second. "The fact that I won the season finale here feels pretty good, but most of all it feels great to win the race in front of my wife."
Carol Urquhart is battling lobular breast cancer. The November 10 race was the only one during the season she was able to attend.
Not only did Urquhart win on the final night of the 2012 season, but he also won the year’s first two Pure Stocks races in the Monte Carlo which hit the track wall head-on August 18. "It was a good bookend to everything," he said. "I think the fact that I finished in the upper division with a win negates the head-on collision I had two months ago and some of the other things that happened during the season."
This year Urquhart was sponsored by Eagle Eye Fabrication, Fallbrook Auto Works, and Fallbrook Fertilizer Feed and Farm Supply.
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