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ERIE -- It was a race night May 22, even with high winds, close finishes and hard crashes in all four divisions. Brighton’s Cris Muhler, in his first drive with the CARC modified coupes, …
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ERIE -- It was a race night May 22, even with high winds, close finishes and hard crashes in all four divisions.
Brighton’s Cris Muhler, in his first drive with the CARC modified coupes, started inside on the second row in the main event and out dueled his fellow competitors to take the win.
Piloting the Bill Doty-owned mod coupe, Muhler grabbed the lead on lap 6 and showed the way around Colorado National Speedway’s 3/8-mile paved track.
There were a few caution flags during the 25-lap feature that tightened up the field. But on each restart, Muhler set sail and never was truly challenged on his way to his first win in the division. Muhler is a rookie to the division, even though he has raced in the pro trucks, late models, grand American modifieds and super modified divisions at the track.
His experience really paid off on this night.
“We got off to a bad start during hot laps when we realized that we had the wrong set of gears for the track,” Muhler said. “After correcting that issue, we used the qualifying race to figure things out for the main event.”
Thirteen mod coupes started the race. One car, J. D. Gresham’s No. 75, was missing from the lineup after he suffered a hard crash in turn 4 during the first qualifying race for the division. The crash destroyed the front of the car. Gresham was OK, but his night was done.
“I’m very disappointed,” he said. “I had a car that could have won the heat race.”
The main wasn’t without its difficulty. Carl Vair of Golden tried a bonsai inside pass on Corey Gordon of Northglenn. The two locked up, and Gordon was able to roll away with minimal damage. But Vair’s right front was pointing a different direction than normal, and his night was done at the midway point of the race.
The No. 17 car, Scott Rhoades, dropped out past midway with an engine failure. Last weekend’s winner, Joe St Peter, ran most of the main event on just seven cylinders. He still garnered a fifth-place finish.
The hard charger was one Jamie Bubak. The teen wunderkind and only woman driving in the Mod Coupe division had to be push-started in the pits. When she got back onto the track, she was a quarter-track back from the starting pack when the green flag flew. By the sixth lap, she caught the fastest back markers and powered her way into contention for a top-five finish.
The No. 34 car, Bryan Gossel, another rookie in the division, ran a strong race and was battling for the lead at one point early on. But he had to drop out with a broken suspension and finished in 10th place.
Muhler said the track changed considerably for the main.
“I know from past experience that when the legend cars run, they tend to peel up a lot of the rubber that is laid down by the other divisions,” Muhler said. “So the track was an ever changing thing during the main, and it took a few laps for the track to come around.”
Muhler also finished third in the Pro Truck main event. Fort Lupton’s Gerald Gardner finished ninth in the Pro Trucks as well. Jeff Walbaum, of Brighton, finished in 10th place in the Sportsman Main Event.
“The past couple of years had become kind of tedious,” Muhler said. “The fun was starting to go away. Then an older gentleman, (Bill Doty) stepped up and purchased the 34 Chevy Mod Coupe that formerly belonged to Mike Fetters of Brighton and then put me in the seat and said, ‘Let’s go have some fun.’
“The club welcomed me with open arms and has helped me at every opportunity. The organization is a very good one with great people in it. The cars are really fun to drive.”
Races at Colorado National Speedway May 29 will have a Memorial weekend Late Model 100 lap feature along with the Pro Trucks, Super Stocks, the exotic Super Modifieds and the wild and crazy Figure 8s. Gates open at 3 p.m. Early qualifying races start at 5 PM.
Prices will be $15 for adults, (13 and up), kids are $6, (6-12) and children under 6 are free.
Main Event results:
Mod Coupes: 1st- Cris Muhler, Brighton; 2nd- Frank Denning III, Lafayette; 3rd- Gary Land, Littleton; 4th- Joe James Jr, Denver; 5th- Joe St Peter, Englewood; 6th- Jamie Bubak, Arvada; 7th- Rich Bubak, Arvada; 8th- Chet Graham, Kiowa; 9th- Matt Devich, Hartsel; 10th- Bryan Gossel, Ft Collins.
Legends: 1st- Wayne Barlock, Eaton; 2nd- Bill Yeros, Lakewood; 3rd- Pete Delarco, Highlands Ranch; 4th- Darrell Stewart, Arvada; 5th- Kyle McCartney, Denver; 6th- Jason Stewart, Arvada; 7th-Phil Peconi, Littleton; 8th- Timothy Faatz, Windsor; 9th- Corey Seip, Littleton; 10th- David Hondel, Cheyenne, Wy.
Pro Trucks: 1st- Chris Leaf, Kearsey; 2nd- Happy Feree, Denver; 3rd- Cris Muhler, Brighton; 4th- Adam Deines, Longmont; 5th- Roger Avants, Littleton; 6th- Matt Burton, Englewood; 7th- Billy Harkins, Lakewood; 8th- Troy Whittar, Eastlake; 9th- Gerald Gardner, Ft. Lupton; 10th- Justin Simonson, Wheatridge.
Sportsman: 1st- Bruce Borchardt, Lafayette; 2nd- Eric Blackard, Lakewood; 3rd- Jimbob Rogers, Erie; 4th- Tommy Roe, Thornton; 5th- Lee Kemmit, Thornton; 6th- Stan griffin, Strasburg; 7th- Scott Estes, Parker; 8th- Frankie Estes, Parker; 9th- Nick Brinlee, Broomfield; 10th- Jeff Walbaum, Brighton.
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