From the Desk of Kevin Triplett
On Saturday April 27, the POWRi Bay Cities Racing Association (BCRA) midget series made their first 2019 visit to the historic Stockton 99 Speedway to help celebrate the club’s 80th year of racing. The midgets raced as part of a program that also included the BCRA vintage division, the Gunslingers winged sprint cars, the North State Modifieds, and the Legends of Kearny Bowl.
Unfortunately, during practice, two POWRi BCRA midgets suffered mechanical problems and were forced to withdraw; Cody Jessop’s engine spun a bearing, and David Goodwill’s car broke a throttle shaft. Chad Nichols in the #17 Shanoian Esslinger was the first drvier out for time trials and Chad set the mark for others to try to match at 13.005 seconds. Mark Maliepaard in his #51 Fit & Finish Hot Rod Interiors Special was second fastest with his best lap of 13.228 seconds, followed by Frankie Guerrini in Bob Rosen’s #4 midget third fastest at 13.714 seconds. BCRA stalwart JR Williams in the J& J Racing #74 was fourth fastest and fourth-generation racer Robert Carson was the fifth fastest qualifier.
Guerrini and Maliepaard shared the front row for the start of the evening’s 20-lap feature race with quick qualifier Chad Nichols slotted into third place. Guerrini held the point for the first lap before Maliepaard slipped past in turn three into the race lead, then on the next lap Nichols dropped Guerrini to third place. Nichols gave chase to the leader but Maliepaard ran consistently fast laps and Nichols could never get close enough to make a move. By the end of the race #51 held a comfortable 4-car advantage over Nichols. Guerrini came home third with JR Williams fourth and rookie of the year contender Robert Carson in fifth place. The feature ran caution flag free and was completed in four minutes, 22 and 92/100 seconds.
The POWRi BCRA midget series kicks off the month of May with an action-packed doubleheader first weekend. The first race on Friday night May 3 at the Dirt Track at Kern County Raceway Park will have the mighty midgets in action along with the track’s Pro Stock and American Stocks series and the 305-cubic inch winged sprint cars. The following day, Saturday May 4 the POWRi BCRA midget series will visit the paved Madera Speedway along with the Legends of the Kearney Bowl, the California Hard Tops, the Western US Midgets, SWT (South West Tour) Trucks, Legends cars and the 100-lap California Challenge Cup for the track’s stock car division.