By Kevin Triplett
On a warm Saturday night June 8, the POWRi BCRA (Bay Cities Racing Association) midgets paid their first visit of the 2019 season to Rick Faeth’s Petaluma Speedway. Time trials were exciting, with Alex Schutte in his Toyota-powered midget the fastest qualifier with a best lap of 14.888 seconds around the 3/8-mile dirt oval. Maria Cofer in her father’s #57 midget, now powered by a Stanton SR-11 engine, was just .001 of a second slower on her one and only qualifying lap, as a radius rod bolt broke as she started her second lap and she pulled into the infield.
Hawaii’s Larry Petersen powered Dave and Wendy Thurston’s #11 to third place with his lap of 15.997 seconds, followed by Floyd Alvis in the famed “Yellowbird” midget fourth fastest at 16.667 seconds. Rookie of the Year contender and current BCRA overall points leader Robert Carson in the Howard and Karen Segur #99 was fifth fastest at 17.305 seconds, and Beau Lemire in his family-owned Subaru powered midget posted a best lap of 17.730 seconds. Marvin Mitchell currently sixth in the BCRA dirt points, suffered ignition problems and his #78 machine did not post a time.
For the start of the 8-lap heat race, Lemire elected to move to the tail of the field, which put Petersen on the pole with Alvis alongside as Schutte and Cofer shared the second row. After a pair of aborted starts, the field took the green flag and Schutte led the field into turn one with Cofer in hot pursuit as Petersen settled into third place.
On lap three, the caution flag flew as Lemire spun for the second time in the race – the #14 race car appeared to have handling problems and officials pushed him back to the pit area. When the green flag flew again, Cofer stalked Schutte for a lap, then made her move on the low side down the back stretch and Maria powered into the lead which she never relinquished. At the checkered flag the finishing order was Cofer, Schutte, Petersen, Alvis, Mitchell and Carson.
After POWRi BCRA race director Don Thornburg tallied the passing points from the heat race finish to set the feature starting field, Maria Cofer paced the lineup for the 25-lap feature with Alex Schutte alongside. As the field pushed off and lined up for the feature start, the ignition problems in Marvin Mitchell’s #78 car resurfaced, and Mitchell rolled back to the pit area and did not take the green flag.
At the drop of the green flag, Schutte led the field into turn one followed by Cofer and Petersen. On lap two, Floyd Alvis pulled the #18 into the infield with fuel delivery problems, and on lap four Lemire spun for the second time in the race and was out for the rest of the event. On lap seven, with Schutte still in the lead, Carson’s #99 rolled to stop on the front straightaway. Officials attempted to restart the Joyce Metal Works Special, but it would not re-fire and Robert retired to the pit area.
Schutte commanded the lap eight restart ahead of Cofer and Petersen, and Alex steadily built a lead while on lap 12, the Esslinger engine in the Thurston #11 machine began to backfire, and Larry pulled off the track. As the race continued, Cofer’s car appeared to pick up a push in the corners, which allowed Schutte’s Proficio-sponsored machine to pull away, and Alex had built up a six-car length lead on lap 20. At the drop of the checkered flag, Alex Schutte won by 3.367 seconds over Maria Cofer. Larry Petersen finished third, trailed by Robert Carson in fourth. Floyd Alvis finished fifth, Beau Lemire sixth, and Marvin Mitchell seventh.
The POWRi BCRA mighty midgets continue the club’s 80th season of racing action when they return to action at the tight and exciting Lakeport Speedway on July 5th, for the first night of a holiday weekend pavement doubleheader with Ukiah Speedway scheduled for the next night. Follow the last breaking news and updates at http://www.bcraracing.com/