Costa Mesa Speedway
Orange County Fairgrounds - Costa Mesa, CA
2001 Father’s Day
Costa Mesa Speedway
June 16, 2001
From Ryan Evans
Randy DiFrancesco celebrated his birthday in style by winning both main events at Costa Mesa Saturday Night.
The lineup in the Scratch Main featured Andy Northrup on the pole, DiFrancesco in gate two, Mike Faria in three, Gary Hicks in four, and Dukie Ermolenko on the outside. Faria and Hicks were away first but bumped in turn one which slowed both riders and opened the door for DiFrancesco to take the lead. Hicks recovered quickly and went to the outside. DiFrancesco stayed on the low line and on the second lap began feeling pressure from Faria on the inside. Hicks stayed wide, but DiFrancesco wisely decided to protect the inside from Faria. Hicks put in a valiant effort on the outside, and despite the pressure from Faria, DiFrancesco remained poised and won the first Scratch Main of his career. Faria beat Hicks to the line for second, Ermolenko was fourth, and Northrup was fifth. With his first Scratch Main victory in the bag, the question was could DiFrancesco make it a double main event evening?
In the Handicap Main, Kitt Nay started alone on the 10 yard line with Robbie Sauer and Mark Adams right behind him on the 20. Nay took the lead and Sauer held Adams off in turn one to take control of second. Nay stretched his lead with each lap and Sauer opened up ground on third place which was occupied by DiFrancesco after lap two. Victory seemed assured for Nay as he opened up a 20 yard lead on Sauer, who still maintained a cushion in front of DiFrancesco. At the end of lap four, bad luck bit Nay as he lost a chain. Nay's misfortune fell in Sauer's lap as he had to take evasive action from the slowing leader. DiFrancesco pounced on the opportunity and immediately took the lead, but he had Hicks breathing down his neck again. Hicks didn't take the outside this time, choosing to stay low and put the heat on DiFrancesco. For three and a half laps Hicks gave DiFrancesco everything he had, including rubbing him several times, but DiFrancesco was up to the challenge and won the Handicap Main. Hicks was second, Northrup was third, Ermolenko was fourth, and Adams was fifth.
Sean McDougall got a great start and ran away with the Support Main Event. Jeff Blaydes finished second, Danny Holt finished third, Robert Fiesler finished fourth, and Donnie Robinson finished fifth.
Tom Rossano took the early lead in the Support B Main Event. Rossano was very steady in front and opened up a big lead. On the last lap Rohn Zellner took down veteran Mike Boyle in turn one which drew a very animated reaction from the normally mild-mannered Boyle. The race was declared over with Rossano being credited with the victory, Boyle was credited with second, Shane Kump was third, and Scott Tidwell was fourth.
Skyler Greyson went three-for-three in Junior action as he was victorious in both heats and the main event. Greyson started on the 30 yard line each time and was able to fight through traffic and earn the victory in all three races.
In an unusual scene that brought back old memories, Gary Hicks had a fire ignite on his bike while sitting at the line for his Scratch Semi. Hicks quickly jumped off his bike and an infield worker used an extinguisher to douse the fire. The incident inspired announcer Terry Clanton to change Hicks' nickname from "Gorgeous" to "The Flame-thrower".
The rider roster was a little thin Saturday Night due to many injuries that have been sustained the past couple weeks. Josh Larsen suffered several broken bones in his left hand last week and will be out four weeks. Chris Manchester injured his leg last week, but fortunately it wasn't broken, and he will return next week. Eddie Castro had a surgery not related to a speedway injury, and Shawn McConnell is still hobbling around on a broken ankle suffered several weeks ago at San Bernardino.
Next week is the third annual Olympique of Speedway. This is the earned handicap championship in which riders are handicapped based on their finish in their previous heat. The first round is traditional scratch racing, but after that a heat winner is handicapped 30 yards, second place is handicapped 20 yards and third place is handicapped 10 yards. The system always produces interesting results. The current champion is Charlie Venegas, but he will be unable to defend his title as he is still recovering from his off-season leg injury.
Support B Consolation
117 - Billy Braden 10 (penalty line)
196 - Rod Lenz 20 (penalty line)
205 - Mike Lewis 20 (penalty line)
197 - Kim Stevens 10
153 - Craig Muzio 10 (penalty line)
137 - Jeremiah Reynolds 10 (non starter)
Support B Main Event
296 - Tom Rossano 10
198 - Mike Boyle 20
228 - >Shane Kump 20 (fell, remounted)
118 - Scott Tidwell 10
163 - Rohn Zellner 20 (fell)
132 - David Moore 10 (penalty line) (fell)
Support Main Event
243 - Sean McDougall
173 - Jeff Blaydes
220 - Danny Holt
106 - Robert Fiesler
388 - Donnie Robinson
Junior Main Event
2 - Skyler Greyson 30
34 - Destin Cantrell 10
142 - Ricky Wells 20
27 - Krystal Cramer 30
3 - Justin Boyle 40 (fell, remounted)
99 - Miles Calvin 40 (non starter)
Handicap Main Event
12 - Randy DiFrancesco 40
3 - Gary Hicks 50
166 - Andy Northrup 40
15 - Dukie Ermolenko 40
23 - Mark Adams 20
17 - Robbie Sauer 20 (fell)
216 - Kitt Nay 10 (retired)
5 - Brad Oxley 50 (excluded)
Scratch Main Event
12 - Randy DiFrancesco
9 - Mike Faria
3 - Gary Hicks
15 - Dukie Ermolenko
166 - Andy Northrup