Sprint car driver Cameron McGahan, 17, of Kenai showed his inexperience in the Main Event Friday at Twin Cities Raceway, but it wasn't until the victory lap.
McGahan, in just his second year racing sprint cars, started on the pole position in the Kenai Peninsula Racing Lions-Circle Track Division Main Event and held off five other drivers for 15 laps to take the checkered flag.
The problems began when the flag man tried to hand McGahan the checkered flag for a victory lap.
On the first pass, McGahan grasped the flag for an instant before dropping it. He came around for a second try, but again the handoff failed. At that point, McGahan gave up and headed into the pits.
After the race, however, it wasn't the victory lap others drivers were talking about. It was the impressive way McGahan, with such little experience and less power than other racers, had held off the field in his NAPA car.
Four laps into the race, Anchorage's John McDonald, who took the Trophy Dash and Heat II to earn the most points on the evening, moved into second place.
Nine laps into the race, McDonald and his Carlile Transportation car inched inside and ahead of McGahan for an instant on the front straightaway, but McGahan had regained the lead coming out of Turn 2.
McDonald would not threaten the rest of the race.
Cory Davis soars through the air on a jump in the 125 cc expert class Friday at Twin Cities Raceway.
Photo by McNair Rivers
"The kid gave me all I could handle," McDonald said. "He about wore me out. I was breathing pretty hard by the time I got back to the pits."
Kenai's Jackie McGahan, who is Cameron's father, finished third in the Main Event. Jackie knows how tough Cameron can be when he gets a lead.
"Once he gets out in the clean air, he runs such a smooth line that he's hard to catch," Jackie said. "I was in third most of that race, so I was watching those two go at it.
"It was impressive."
Much to the fans' delight, the sprint car racing was a little more furious than a typical city race because McDonald and Todd VenHuizen came down from Anchorage.
"We were surprised those guys showed up," Cameron said. "It was great having them, though. Hopefully, they can make it down more often."
All the sprint car drivers got a chance to test out a new modification at the three-eighths-of-a-mile dirt track the increased bank between Turns 1 and 2. All the drivers interviewed after the race like the steeper bank.
The most consuming race of the evening was Heat I, which Jackie and his Tesoro car won on the way to finishing second in total points for the evening.
Heat I went 15 laps, but it took a long time to get the race started because the cars were having trouble lining up in their proper starting position. Then, Jackie had to persevere through four yellow flags to get the win.
"I think that was the lowest on gas that I've ever been," Jackie said.
The only other class with enough cars to race Friday was the B-Stock Division. Jim Gladish took the Trophy Dash and Main Event to earn the most points on the night. Richard McGahan won Heats I and II, but finished third to William Broussard in points for the evening. McGahan did not finish the Main Event.
Notes: After the racing was over, the McGahans let pit crew members and other various people take the sprint cars for a spin. The driving was rather timid until six-time Tesoro Iron Dog 2000 champion Scott Davis of Soldotna got behind the wheel of Jackie's car. After hammering out a few laps, Davis told Jackie: "I'm sure I made you nervous, but I had to mash it to the floor at least once." ... Anyone in the vicinity of Twin Cities Raceway knows racing is not quiet. That didn't deter a moose from showing up at the track before Heat II. After the animal was chased away once, it came back 10 minutes later before being scared away for good. ... The Motocross Division also had a race Friday night, attracting another good turnout. Most of the racers will head to Fairbanks next weekend for state races.
Kenai Peninsula Racing LionsCircle Track Division
at Twin Cities Raceway
Trophy Dash (5 laps): 1. Josh Fell.
Heat I (10 laps): 1. Josh Fell.
Heat II (10 laps): 1. Josh Fell.
Main event (15 laps): 1. Josh Fell.
Trophy Dash (5 laps): 1. Jim Gladish; 2. Richard McGahan; 3. Debbie Yancy; 4. Willaim Broussard.
Heat I (10 laps): 1. Richard McGahan; 2. Jim Gladish; 3. William Broussard; 4. Debbie Yancy.
Heat II (10 laps): 1. Richard McGahan; 2. Jim Gladish; 3. William Broussard.
Main event (15 laps): 1. Jim Gladish; 2. William Broussard; 3. Debbie Yancy; 4. Richard McGahan.
Total points for evening: 1. Jim Gladish, 98; 2. William Broussard, 83; 3. Richard McGahan, 81; 4. Debbie Yancy, 58.
Trophy Dash (5 laps): 1. Mike Young.
Heat I (10 laps): 1. Mike Young.
Trophy Dash (5 laps): 1. John McDonald; 2. Randy Barnes; 3. Todd VenHuizen; 4. Alex Calahan; 5. Jackie McGahan; 6. Cameron McGahan.
Heat I (15 laps): 1. Jackie McGahan; 2. Todd VenHuizen; 3. John McDonald; 4. Alex Calahan; 5. Cameron McGahan; 6. Randy Barnes.
Heat II (10 laps): 1. John McDonald; 2. Jackie McGahan; 3. Randy Barnes; 4. Alex Calahan; 5. Cameron McGahan; 6. Todd VenHuizen.
Main event (15 laps): 1. Cameron McGahan; 2. John McDonald; 3. Jackie McGahan; 4. Todd VenHuizen; 5. Randy Barnes.
Total points for evening: 1. McDonald, 91; 2. Jackie McGahan, 80; 3. Cameron McGahan, 76; 4. VenHuizen, 69; 5. Barnes, 64; 6. Calahan, 32.
Kenai Peninsula Racing Lions-Motocross Division
at Twin Cities Raceway
50 cc 1. Bruce Hudson; 2. Harley Hill; 3. Austin Gaswint; 4. Jamie Butcher.
60 cc 1. Cody Woodworth; 2. Jed Brown; 3. Jeff Vincent; 4. Dylan Hendricks; 5. Troy Lemay.
125 cc novice 1. Daniel Walker; 2. Shane Ashley; 3. Cortni Brown.
125 cc intermediate 1. Zach Aragon; 2. Corbin Arno.
125 cc expert 1. Ricky Bailey; 2. Cory Davis; 3. Jesse Kelly.
Veterans class 1. Barney Phillips; 2. Mike Kelly; 3. Mike Rewis; 4. Jim Culp.
Under-5 quad 1. Candace Britton.
Mini-quad 1. Carly Meacham; 2. Todd Woodworth.
Quad novice 1. Robert Meacham; 2. Tyler Shamburg.
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