(Santa Maria, CA - November 26, 2001) Rick
"The Spider" Coffey, of Santa Maria, needed only 17 points
going into the final race of the 2001 racing season to secure his
second career National Cash Advance Late Model Stock championship.
He wasted no time in acquiring those points, grabing 10 for fast
time and 8 when he won his heat race. Devin Crockett, of Arroyo
Grande, placed second in the championship for the second year
in-a-row. Last year's champion, Phil Barrow of Camarillo, was third
with San Luis Obispo's Steve Drake fourth and Santa Maria's Doug
Thornton fifth. "Rookie of the Year" honors went to Jimbo
Clark of Oceano.
"Junkyard" Jimmy Thompson, of Nipomo, won
his second J.B. Dewar Sprint Car championship in as many seasons. He
was also third in the J.B. Dewar/Vanbeurden Bandit Sprint Car Series
held in conjunction with King's Speedway in Hanford. Gary Rayburn,
Jr., of Grover Beach, was second in local points ahead of Series
title winner Jerome Warmerdam of Hanford. Fourth place went to
"Rookie of the Year" Sherman May, of Taft, and fifth to
New Zealander Greg Keegan of Clovis.
Santa Maria's Joey Claborn became the first Claborn
to win a championship at Santa Maria Speedway after years and years
of trying. Joey came out on top in the Rosemary Farm Street Stock
division ahead of Billy Simkins and Chris Lange, two more Santa
Maria pilots. Fourth place Charlie Dowdy is from Arroyo Grande and
fifth place Willy Oathout is another Santa Maria driver. Santa
Maria's Chad Weber became "Rookie of the Year".
United Rentals Mini Stocks were topped by John
Tunnicliffe, of Paso Robles, who battled for most of the season with
Brad Smith of Lompoc. Smith got an A+ for sportsmanship by being one
of the first to congratulate Tunnicliffe each time he won a feature
event. Third in the standings was Kenny Kirkpatrick, of Nipomo;
fourth "Rookie of the Year" Tom Grzincic, of Atascadero;
and fifth Mike Weigel of Lompoc.
Santa Marians Thad Bennett and Scotty Preast had a
real shootout for the 2001 Crossroads Community Church Factory Stock
crown. Preast had what seemed to be an insurmountable lead several
races from the end of the season, but Bennett came on late in the
season to match Preast's six main event victories and win the
championship by ten points. One consolation for Preast was attaining
the "Rookie of the Year" award with his runner-up
performance. Tom Maccianti, of Solvang, finished third in points
followed by Dan Herlihy, of Arroyo Grande, and Brian Brown of Santa
Special races during the year included Budweiser
Golden State Challenge winged 410 Sprint Cars, the ever popular
Santa Maria Ford SCRA Non-Winged 410 Sprints, winged 310 Rebel
Sprint Cars, and California Lightning Sprints powered by motorcycle
engines. USAC Midgets and TQ Midgets also entertained spectators
during the 2001 racing season. Stock Car specials were the CarQuest
Late Model Tour and California Street Stock Championship featuring
one race at each of four California speedways to crown a Street
Stock "King of California". This year it was Brady Bell,
of Bakersfield, beating out Santa Maria's Joey Silva by 3 points.
The 2002 racing season will begin in April 2002.