Nichols takes Stockton win as Wilson claims championship
From the desk of Kevin Triplett
The mighty midget cars and stars of the Bay Cities Racing Association (BCRA) gathered at the historic Stockton 99 Speedway for the 2016 season finale as part of a program with the King of The Wing (KOTW) Sprint Cars National Series and the Northern California Modified Association (NCMA) sprint cars.
The air temperature was still in the upper 80’s when time trials began shortly after 5 PM. Madera feature winner Scott Pierovich in The Morris Insurance Esslinger was the fastest qualifier with a lap at 13.036, which just edged Chad Nichels in the #17N Shanoian Esslinger by 18/1000th of second. David Goodwill who was serving double duty as he also raced a NCMA sprint car posted third quick time with Nick Chivello in the Bob Rosen/Mr. Espresso #4.
2016 Washington Midget Racing Association (WMRA) champion Tony Seidelman started from the pole position of the first heat race and built up a commanding lead while behind him, Pierovich worked his way through traffic. JR Williams dropped out early with a helmet issue while Pierovich cleared the field and steadily began to reel in the leader.
Coming to the checkered flag, Pierovich made a last-ditch effort to dive low underneath Seidelman through turns three and four on the banked ¼-mile oval, but Seidelman used the power of his Gaerte engine to out-drag Pierovich to the finish line. Nichols took the win in the second 8-lap heat race over Chivello who had passed points leader Bobby Wilson mid-race via a nifty low move through turns three and four.
Wilson and Seidelman shared the front row for the start of the thirty-lap feature and Chivello and Goodwill started from the second row. The #17 cars of Nichols and Pierovich comprised the third row, veterans Floyd Alvis and Bill Lindsey were in the fourth row and JR William started shotgun on the field. At the drop of the green, Chivello took the lead and held on despite repeated attacks on the low side through turn four by Nichols.
On lap eight, Pierovich’ s engine soured in turn two and Scott pulled into the infield, his evening finished early due to a broken rocker arm in the #17K’s Esslinger engine. Nichols continued to hound Chivello at both ends of the track, as Seidelman rode in third with Goodwill in fourth position. On lap 14, Nichols set up the leader through turns three and four, pulled alongside on the front stretch and then completed the pass on the low side of turns 1 and 2.
Once in the lead, Nichols began to draw away, and at the drop of the checkered flag held an eight-car advantage over Chivello as Seidelman and Goodwill finished in third and fourth places respectively. Nichols and 2106 BCRA season champion and rookie-of-the-year Bobby Wilson then parked their cars on the front stretch to receive the accolades of the crowd and participate in jubilant post-race interviews.
Next up on the BCRA calendar is the general membership meeting scheduled for Sunday October 23, at 1:30pm at the Round Table Pizza restaurant located at 150 North Wilma Avenue in Ripon, California. There are four Director positons open for election: one (1) one-year term Member at Large, two (2) two-year Owner Directors and one (1) Driver Director 2-year term. Attendees are invited to arrive early and have lunch before the meeting.