Pirate Speedway - San Bernardino, CA, USA - July 26
"Battling" Buck Blair took home main-event victories in two different racing disciplines on a great night of racing at Pirate Speedway.
Blair had first pick of starting position in the Scratch Main Event and eschewed conventional wisdom by selecting gate five. Gary Hicks, in the main event on his first night at the facility in four years, had second choice and picked gate one. "Fast" Eddie Castro chose gate two, Tyson Talkington picked gate three, which left Steve Russell with gate four.
Hicks led through turn one but Blair found more traction from the abundance of dirt on the outside and surged ahead on the back straight. Hicks made the low line work a little better through turns three and four and the two combatants were side-by-side at the end of lap one. They followed that pattern the next two laps, Blair getting the advantage on the outside in turn two while the inside provided Hicks with more traction exiting turn four. They were still wheel-to-wheel on the final lap when Castro joined the fight on the back straight. Blair and Hicks stuck to their same paths while Castro went deep into the final corner then cutback and tried to split the pair. They raced three-wide to the finish with Blair getting the narrow victory over Hicks with Castro getting third. Talkington finished fourth and Russell was fifth.
Russell Green opened the evening with a win over Talkington and Blair. Castro used the outside to pass and defeat Bobby "Boogaloo" Schwartz in event two. Russell passed Gomez on the outside in the third heat only to have Gomez pass him back and take the win.
Blair began the second round with an outside pass of Russell to get his first victory. Hicks held off Green in event 12 for his first win. Gomez used the outside to pass Talkington and went on to victory to finish round two.
Russell started round three by beating Green. Event 21 was thrilling as Gomez passed McConnell on the outside to take the lead on lap one only to have Castro do the same thing to him two laps later and take his second win. Hicks led event 22 only to have Blair use the cushion to pass him on the final lap for the win.
McConnell won event 26 to get himself into the semis. Castro defeated Talkington in the final heat to remain the only undefeated rider.
Hicks led the first semi for two laps but Gomez went by at the end of lap three. Hicks fought back and his persistence paid off when Gomez fell in the final corner handing the win to Hicks and the other transfer to Talkington. Blair used the outside to grab the lead and the win in the second semi with Castro finishing second to join him in the main.
Russell led the Last Chance from start to finish to claim the final spot in the main-event field. McConnell was second, Gomez finished third, and Green was fourth.
Dave Troutt led the first two laps of the Support Main Event but found himself under pressure on lap three. Northern California's Jamison Dilkey was all over Troutt on lap three and his persistence paid off when he slipped past him as they entered turn three. Dilkey cruised the rest of the way for the win. Chris Jones finished second, Troutt was third, Ron Davis finished fourth, Ben Stevens was fifth, and Kevin Fife finished sixth.
Sebastian Palmese put himself three-quarters of a lap back at the start of the Mini 150 Main Event but the large handicap didn't prevent him from winning. Palmese kept the throttle open and chased down his competitors to take the lead on lap four. He led the final lap to claim the victory. Slater Lightcap was second and Travis Hamilton finished third.
Bryan Motis and Josh Bennett led the Sidecar Main Event until National Champions Joe Jones and Johnny Glover passed them as they took the white flag. Motis and Bennett didn't settle for second, though, and they repaid the favor in the final corner to snatch the victory. Dual Anderson and Ethan Smith finished third and Chris Jones and Dave German were fourth.
The final race of the evening was the TT Main Event. The class was added to the program a few weeks back and the popularity warranted its return on this evening. Blair was victorious to complete a rather unconventional double main event victory. Bobby Tocco finished second and former National Speedway Champion Steve Lucero, who also serves as referee at Pirate Speedway, was third.
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