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July 8: Brown Hopes To Continue Winning Ways after Post Memorial IMCA Mod Victory

(070117) Merced Speedway - Randy Brown and his family pose in victory lane after winning the Tim Post Memorial IMCA Modified feature last Saturday night at Merced Speedway (Mike Adaskaveg Photo)

Randy Brown and his family pose in victory lane after winning the Tim Post Memorial IMCA Modified feature last Saturday night at Merced Speedway.

By Mike Adaskaveg

Special to the Sun-Star

Chowchilla’s Randy Brown, reigning champ of Merced Speedway’s IMCA Modified division, showed he wasn’t about to give up his crown last Saturday night as he outran a hard charging Paul Stone to be victorious in the Tim Post Memorial before 6,000 cheering fans.

The IMCA modified main event had a bigger grand finale than the fireworks display that followed. Early leader Villanueva gave up his lead to Brown, and then gave up second to Stone.

It was on the checkered flag lap that Villanueva’s son, Justin, and Merced’s Tim Cecil crashed on the front stretch, with the younger Villanueva’s car coming to rest under the finish line flag stand on top of Cecil’s car. The cars narrowly missed flagger Doug Laidlaw.

“I always check for my son on the cool down lap,” said Mike Villanueva. “I saw a black car on its side so I pulled into the infield and ran to him.”

Drivers helped Justin Villanueva exit the car by climbing up through the passenger side window.

“He was fine, he can’t wait to get back to the track this Saturday night,” Villanueva said on Monday. “We’re going to patch the car up and he’ll be racing again.”

(070117) Merced Speedway - Justin Villanueva of Atwater emerges from his overturned race car as he crashed, along with Merced's Tim Cecil on the last lap of the Tim Post Memorial IMCA modified feature event at Merced Speedway last Saturday night. Helping him from the car are his dad, Mike, and driver Bruce Nelson, left. Flagman Doug Laidlaw hols the red flag. (Mike Adaskaveg Photo)

Merced Speedway – Justin Villanueva of Atwater emerges from his overturned race car as he crashed, along with Merced’s Tim Cecil on the last lap of the Tim Post Memorial IMCA modified feature event at Merced Speedway last Saturday night. Helping him from the car are his dad, Mike, and driver Bruce Nelson, left. Flagman Doug Laidlaw hols the red flag.

Brown, who was waiting for the challenge from Stone, never saw it materialize.

“I was looking for the nose of his car to come up alongside mine after the caution flag with six (laps) to go,” Brown said. “I got a hand signal from my crew on the backstretch that we were doing just fine.”

The track’s clay surface turned slick and hard as the race progressed.

“We were dead even – there was nowhere to go to get up enough speed to pass him (Brown)”, Stone explained in victory lane.

Brown was more concerned about finishing ahead of Villanueva.

“He’s going for the championship and so am I,” Brown explained. “I am not going to give the championship away by no means.”

Villanueva, down 23 points from Brown at the season’s halfway point, knows he can come back.

“All it will take is for him to have a bad night and me to have a good night,” Villanueva said. “That happens in racing. It’s always a gamble. You have to be there to gamble.”

Brown collected $2,000 for the win, a surprise purse announced by track owner Ed Parker at the drivers meeting. After losing an engine in the IMCA Oregon tour, he was happy to be at his home track.

“That money really helped us after losing an engine,” he explained. “We left the tour Friday just to be at Merced Speedway.”

Brown will juggle his schedule again, hopefully leaving for the IMCA’s Dakota tour after this Saturday night’s race in Merced.

“It’s a juggling act – we’re going to make all the races here and we’re going to hit the big IMCA shows,” he said. “We’re doing it with only one car.”

Brown took his family on the Oregon tour, but won’t for the Dakota tour, which is attended by the country’s top drivers.

“The Oregon tour had a slower pace which made it great for families,” Brown said. “Dakota will be fast paced and highly competitive.”

DIAZ, NELSON TAKE FEATURES AT TIM POST MEMORIAL

Bruce “Bubba” Nelson jumped into Michael Shearer’s hobby stock to win the Hobby Stock portion of the Tim Post Memorial, topping Garret Corn of Catheys Valley.

In the IMCA SportMod division, it was Chowchilla’s Rick Diaz coming back to top teen Shane DeVolder of Pacifica, who won the IMCA SportMod feature on Fair night two weeks earlier. Diaz trails Brentwood’s Fred Ryland by 35 points in the SportMod point standings.

SATURDAY NIGHT AT MERCED SPEEDWAY

(070117) Merced Speedway - Randy Brown of Chowchilla( 16B) passes Atwater's Mike Villanueva (69) in the Tim Post Memorial IMCA Modified feature event last Saturday night at Merced Speedway. Brown won, Villanueva finished third. The two are locked into a battle for the track championship. (MikeAdaskaveg Photo)

Randy Brown of Chowchilla( 16B) passes Atwater’s Mike Villanueva (69) in the Tim Post Memorial IMCA Modified feature event last Saturday night at Merced Speedway. Brown won, Villanueva finished third. The two are locked into a battle for the track championship.

The IMCA Modified division returns this Saturday night at Merced Speedway, headlining the card with Winged 305 Sprint Cars. Mini-Late Models and Mini- Stocks will also race in a full program of qualifying events and a feature event for each of the four divisions.

On the Track: The IMCA Modified division will headline the show. The IMCA SportMod, Mini-Stock and the all-new Mini-Late Model divisions will each have qualifying races and a feature event on the quarter-mile clay oval.

 

Gates Open: Pit Area – 1 p.m., Grandstand 5 p.m.

 

Racing: Starts 7 p.m. will end approximately 10 p.m.

 

Admission: Adults $12.00; Children 6-12 yrs. old $5.00; Family Four Pack of tickets is $30. Children fewer than six are free.

 

Location: Merced Speedway is within the Merced County Fairgrounds 900 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, Merced, Calif.