By Floyd Busby
LAKEPORT, CA., MAY 16: Frankie Guerrini scored the Bay Cities Racing Association midget win at the Lakeport Speedway by leading only the last two feet of the race. Guerrini made the final-lap pass at the finish line, besting Davey Hamilton Jr. at the line by a margin of .027-seconds to conclude the 30-lap feature. The two young lions were so intense, that immediately after crossing the finish line they came upon a car to be lapped. Both braked hard, banged together and ended up coming to s stop against the turn-1 crashwall. Guerrini was pushed back to the starting line for the congratulatory winner’s circle while the dejected Hamilton was pushed to the pits.
Hamilton, flying to Northern California from Indy to make his first career start in a full midget, started the feature on the pole aboard Bob Rosen’s Mr. Espresso Beast/Fontana by virtue of the fast-six inverted start. Hamilton jumped into the lead at the green over nine-time BCRA champion Floyd Alvis. Hamilton began opening a sizable lead over the field as Guerrini, aboard the F&F Racing Beast/Esslinger, held third, then bested Alvis for second on lap-2. Michael Snider stormed to third on lap-3 aboard the Lauren Snider Beast/Esslinger with Scott Pierovich placing the Del Morris Beast/Esslinger into fourth one lap later.
The three pursuers, along with fifth-riding Mark Maliepaard in the M/S Beast/Esslinger, began to quickly reel in Hamilton. Guerrini made several attempts to take control on the outside to no avail.
On the 19th lap J.R. Williams began slowing in turn-4 and coasted into the first turn to bring out the caution flag on lap 20. On the restart Snider aggressively challenged Guerrini on the backstretch, charging into turn-3 on the outside to slide by for second, holding that position as the caution flag was waved on the 22nd round for a spinning Maliepaard. At this point Snider was penalized two positions for having jumped the previous restart, dropping him to fourth behind Cody Gerhardt’s Eskesen Beast/Mopar. At the green Snider quickly took third, then in a aggressively charge to second as Guerrini was knocked back to fourth behind Gerhardt. Guerrini bounced back to challenge and pass Gerhardt, then pressured Snider for several laps as the top four cars appeared under the proverbial “blanket”. Guerrini forced his way under Snider in turn-3 to take second on the 27th circuit.
Over the final three laps Guerrini attempted the difficult Lakeport outside line, but could not best Hamilton’s flawless drive until the final lap, final turn, charging wheel-to-wheel down the front chute and pulling ahead to take the win by.027 of a second, leading the race for only the last two feet. The duo was followed closely by Snider and Gerhardt who were chased to the line by Scott Pierovich, Lauren Snider, Maliepaard, Alvis, Gary Conterno, Michael Donaldson and Rick Holbrook.
Cody Gerhardt topped the field in qualifying at 11.788 seconds on the quarter-mile paved oval. Scott Pierovich crossed the line first in the first heat race, but was penalized two positions to place third behind Lauren Snider and Cody Gerhardt. Michael Snider scored the second heat win over Hamilton and Guerrini.
QUAL: 1. Cody Gerhardt #29 11.788, Eskesen Beast/Mopar, 2. Michael Snider #6K 11.979, Snider Beast/Esslinger, 3. Lauren Snider #2K 12.104, Snider Beast/Mopar, 4. Frankie Guerrini #63 12.276, F&F Beast/Esslinger, 5. Floyd Alvis #18 12.276, Champion Automotive Stealth/Esslinger, 6. Davey Hamilton Jr. #4 12.281, Mr. Espresso Beast/Fontana, 7. Scott Pierovich #17K 12.311, Del Morris Beast/Esslinger, 8. Mark Maliepaard #51 12.323, M/S Motorsports Beast/Esslinger, 9. Rick Holbrook #74 12.756, J&J Associates Stealth/Fontana, 10. Gary Conterno #55 12.765, Conterno Beast/Mopar, 11. Michael Donaldson #9 12.918, Donaldson Stealth/Esslinger, 12. J.R. Williams #2 13.417, J&J Associates Beast/Mopar