Young Guns shine in
BCRA’s return to Merced
The mighty midgets of the Bay Cities Racing Association (BCRA) made a triumphant return to the ¼-mile banked Merced Speedway on the Merced County Fairgrounds. With eighteen cars signed in for the event, a pill draw was held to determine the starting line-ups for the three six-car eight-lap heat races.
The first heat race featured multi-time BCRA and defending car owner champion Floyd Alvis sharing the front row with Nick Chivello. At the drop of the green, Chivello jumped into three lead with Rookie-of-the year contender Danny Carroll in hot pursuit. As the field entered turn three on the third lap, smoke poured from the Del Morris #71R and Chivello rolled to a stop on the high side of turn his evening finished due to terminal engine problems. Carroll inherited the lead and led the rest of the way topping Alvis and JR Williams after Maria Cofer dropped out on lap 7 with apparent ignition trouble. Rich Holbrook was unable to start the first heat
Frankie Guerrini III and Alex Schutte led the field to the green flag for the start of the second heat race and Schutte’s #28 grabbed the lead as Guerrini and Cory Elliott staged a pitched race-long battle for second place. At the drop of the checkered flag, Schutte won followed by Guerrini, Elliott, Terry Nichols, Tyler Dolacki and Bobby Wilson.
Michael Faccinto and former BCRA dirt champion Shannon McQueen paced the field but it soon was evident that all was not right in the engine compartment of McQueen’s Boss/Esslinger and likewise Dan Parker suffered engine trouble with his #38 midget. Faccinto led Robert Dalby at the finish.
First heat race winner Danny Carroll drew the number 4 invert pill for the feature, with Alvis on the pole position with Faccinto alongside, as Schutte and Carroll shared the second row. There was a multi-car melee as the field exited turn 2 with the cars of David Prickett, Terry Nichols and Floyd Alvis coming to stop. All the cars except Alvis were able to restart and rejoin the field for the complete restart.
On the second start, Schutte shot into the lead with Guerrini, Dalby and Faccinto close behind trailed by Elliott and Carroll. Schutte chose the high groove around the Merced Speedway banking, and Dalby after moving into second place made repeated attempts to pass for the lead as he was the only driver to attempt to pass on the low side of turns three and four. On lap nine, Elliott had charged to run in third place trailed by Guerrini.
The red flag flew on lap 15 as Nick Foster Junior flipped hard in Dave Thurston’s #11 midget as he entered turn one. The car was heavily damaged by Foster thankfully emerged uninjured. Shortly after the restart, Schutte’s #28 midget slid high off the turn one and two banking which opened the door for Robert Dalby to grab the lead with Cory Elliott in second place as Schutte recovered to run in third place.
On lap twenty, Elliott rocketed past Dalby to grab the lead as Schutte again slid high in turns one and two and dropped out of the top five. Guerrini executed a brilliant low side move under Dalby entering turn one to take over second place with Carroll in third place. At the end of thirty thrilling racing laps the top five finishers were Elliott, Guerrini, Dalby, Carroll and Faccinto. Merced Speedway promoter Ed Parker awarded car owner Dave Thurston $576 from the track’s "rollover fund."
The BCRA mighty midgets return to action on the ¼-mile paved Lakeport Speedway on the grounds of the Lake County Fairgrounds on Saturday April 29 while the next BCRA dirt track races will be part of a back-to-back weekend on June 9 and 10 at Ocean Speedway on Friday night and Petaluma Speedway on Saturday night.