November 9, 2004...
37th Western World Championships at the famed Manzanita
Speedway kicked of on Thursday night with 26 cars signing in for
the first night of qualifying. A different format that most of
us had never seen before had the fans not to happy after the
first two nights of the three night show. Thursday and Friday
saw only Qualifying and three 15 lap heat races. The Promoter
later admitted that it didn’t turn out how he thought it would
and said it would be different for next year.
The track was lightning fast as Tracy Hines almost broke
the five year track record of Brad Noffsinger of 18.551 with a
18.571. Second quick was Levi Jones with a 18.750 and third
quick was Bud Kaeding with a 18.769. This put them on the front
row of the heat races cause the heats were started straight up
in the order you qualified in.
First heat went to Indiana’s John Stanbrough winning
over Tracy Hines leading all 15 laps on the way to victory.
Second heat went to Levi Jones over Davis as he also led all 15
laps to victory which put him on the pole for the main event
after a pill draw after all the heats were done. Third heat went
to Bud Kaeding winning over Tony Elliot.
The track was fast but not as fast as it was the night
before. Fast time went to USAC National Champion Jay drake with
a 19:019 who locked up the title at the end of the weekend.
Second quick went to Rickie Gaunt with a 19.125 and third went
to Josh Wise who was driving a third Tony Stewart car for the
Heat races were a little more entertaining because the
track wasn’t as fast as the night before so it saw a little
more passing. Heat one was all Jay Drake leading all 15 laps for
the win. Second heat was maybe the best race if the hole weekend
and it wasn’t even for the win. Rickie Gaunt started on the
pole of the event but Damion Gardner pulled out to the lead off
the start. About half way through the race Gaunt slowed on the
back straight with a problem and brought out a yellow and was
sent to the back with four laps to go in 11th place. On the
Green it was like Gaunt was shot out of a cannon and he charged
to 4th in two laps when an another yellow came out for John
Evens. On the restart Gaunt went to the outside of Scott and the
inside of Darland to take second passing ten cars in 5 laps.
Gardner toke the win. Third heat went to Josh Wise leading all
15 laps to the win.
The final night of the Western world championship
consisted of three mains a C, B, and A mains. The C main was a
one grove track and wasn’t much racing in it. Jeremy Sherman
took the 15 lap race from start to finish but the real mover was
Steve Ostling who started 12th and moved to 5th to lock him self
into the B main. Following Sherman to the B were Shank, Leslie,
Deskins, Ostling, Wilson, Case and Buckman.
B main was a little better cause the track had slicked out
a little during the C so it saw people came from the back make a
charge to try to make the 40 lap A main. B main winner was Mike
Kirby who had just made a deal with Larry Woodward to have a
full time USAC /CRA ride next year with Volcano’s Coffee as
the sponsor. The mover again in the B main was Steve Ostling who
came from all the way back in 21st starting spot to finish 7th
and one spot out of a transfer to the main event. Following
Kirby to the A main was Gaines, Ford, Coons, Hessert, and Venard.
A main saw 25 cars line up for the 40 lap finale of the
weekend. Pole setter Levi Jones stretched out a big lead at the
start of the main pulling a straight away ahead but Bud Kaeding
was starting to move and ran down Jones by the lap 18 yellow for
Bobby Cody with a flat right rear tire. This was the only yellow
of the hole 40 lap A main. Levi and Bud again pulled out to a
big lead over the rest of the field to settle the win between
the two of them Kaeding stayed right on the rear bumper of Jones
un till Jones ducked low on lap 37 to try to get by a lapped car
and bud stayed on the high side and motored around Jones for the
lead Jones could never challenge Kaeding again and lead the last
three laps on the was to his second Western World title and his
second in three years. This also put him into second in the
final tally of the National Points ahead of Cory Kruseman. Jay
Drake ran a strong 8th to win the National standings for the
first time in his career. Third was Josh Wise forth went to
Davis and fifth went to Damion Gardner. Dickie Gaines came from
20th to finish 8th with his best drive ever at Manzy.