Alex Schutte grabs the Gold Cup at Silver Dollar Speedway

By Kevin Triplett


Nineteen Bay Cities Racing Association (BCRA) midgets did battle Thursday night September 8 in a race jointly sanctioned with the United States Auto Club Western States midget division as part of Gold Cup Week at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico California. The field boasted many former USAC and BCRA champions including nine-time champion Floyd Alvis, Shannon McQueen, Alex Schutte, and Jerome Rodela as well as Maria Cofer, daughter of 1994 USAC Western States Midget champion John Cofer.

BCRA officials Linda Manning, Karl Hokansen, David LaManna, and Jim Montgomery were supported by USAC Western States director Chris Kearns and his crew of USAC/CRA officials based out of Southern California.   The Silver Dollar track was immaculately prepared and came in well for time trials, with Anaheim driver Robert Dalby first out and the young Anaheim driver set the standard of 14.217 seconds which held up throughout qualifying as the fastest of the evening.

Shannon McQueen behind the wheel of her pink and white #7 Kara Hendrick tribute car was fastest in hot laps but was victimized by a loose fuel fitting and turned in a sub-par qualifying performance of 15.631 seconds, the slowest of the night.  USAC Western States points leader and defending champion Ronnie Gardner experienced problems with the Esslinger engine in his #68 Six8 Motorsports mount, and with his back-up car not ready after Calistoga, Shannon McQueen lent Ronnie her backup car in an act of great sportsmanship.

Gardner and his crew scrambled and got the McQueen machine renumbered #68 ready in time to make his scheduled start in the first heat race at the tail of the field. Outside front row starter Dalby took the lead from pole-sitter Randi Pankratz into the first turn and held on through three turns before McQueen in her repaired mount blasted by to lead the first lap. McQueen built up a substantial lead by the finish followed to the checkered flag by Cory Elliott and Dalby.

The second heat was dominated by outside front row starter Alex Schutte as Frankie Guerrini III in the F& F Racing #63 finished second followed by the twin black #25 Malloy Specials piloted by young phenom Courtney Crone and Jerome Rodela.  Brian Gard continued the trend of the evening as he grabbed the lead at the start from his outside front row position and held the lead until Taylor Simas in Doug Bock’s #62 executed a heart-stopping outside pass through turn two on the third lap.  Simas held on to win over Gard as Matt Streeter in his #14jr Spike/Esslinger finished in the third position.

At the drop of the green flag for the thirty-lap feature, Guerrini launched into the lead from his third starting position and held on for the first 16 laps through the race’s two caution flag periods for spins by Rodela and McQueen that forced those two favorites to restart at the tail of the field.  Behind Guerrini, Simas held down third when Schutte began his charge and within a few laps Alex was in second place with his sights set on leader Guerrini.

Schutte took the lead on lap 17 while Simas’ car began to fade back through the field from third position. In the closing laps Schutte built up a 20-car advantage over the Elliott-Guerrini battle for second place. Frankie prevailed for second place at the finish over Elliott, Streeter, Crone and Rodela. Gardner in his borrowed Spike/Esslinger finished in seventh place ahead of Robert Dalby with Simas ninth and McQueen who recovered from her early race spin to claim tenth place. The final nine finishers in order were Gard, Dustin Golobic, Bobby Wilson, Alvis, Maria Cofer, Pankratz, Nate Wait, and JR Williams.

The BCRA mighty midgets return to action on September 17th on the pavement at Madera Speedway for 30 laps as part of the 45th Annual Harvest Classic Night together with vintage supermodifieds,  MAVTV winged sprint cars, NCMA sprint cars, USAC HPD midgets and multi-engine tractor pulling. The BCRA midget lite division will be in action that same evening racing under their wings at Marysville Raceway Park.


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