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Costa Mesa Speedway

Orange County Fairgrounds - Costa Mesa, CA

2001 Costa Mesa
Costa Mesa Speedway
September 29, 2001
From Ryan Evans

Josh Larsen - 2001 Costa Mesa Season Points Champion

2001 Costa Mesa Season Points Champion Josh Larsen won the Scratch Main for the second consecutive week at the expense of National Champion Charlie Venegas at Costa Mesa Saturday.
Venegas was first out of the gate from his inside starting position and took control of the lead exiting turn two. Larsen, who started in gate three, chased after Venegas on the back straight. Venegas held a comfortable lead after one lap, but Larsen was able to make up ground with each lap. Although Larsen had cut into his lead, Venegas entered the last corner with the race in hand. Disaster struck Venegas as he exited turn four, when he drifted wide and slowed dramatically which allowed Larsen to steal the victory at the finish line. Venegas coasted across the line for second, Shawn McConnell was third, Scott Brant was fourth, and Mike Faria was fifth.

After finishing the race Venegas pulled to the infield and it became obvious that he was in pain. Venegas had to be helped off the track. Venegas said that he felt a sharp pain just above his right knee in the final corner. Pain that was excruciating enough to force him to slow down. He wasn't sure about the extent of his injury, but was expected to visit a physician Sunday.

It was only the third meeting for Venegas this season after breaking that same leg in an ice race in January. Venegas has been competing, despite having a metal rod in his right leg to get himself ready for the upcoming National Championship.

The meeting was an all-scratch format that had 20 riders competing in three rounds of five-man heats with 4, 3, 2, 1, 0 scoring. The top 10 scorers qualfied for two five-man semis. From their the format differed from similar events in the past. The semis didn't automatically transfer riders to the main. Instead, the riders scored points and the top four in cumulative scoring qualified to the Scratch Main, while the fifth through eighth cumulative scorers transfered to the Last Chance.

The evening began with 1999 Junior National Champion Eric Carrillo getting the victory in his first race at Costa Mesa. Chris Manchester wasn't so lucky, as he blew a motor and was forced to borrow a bike from Randy DiFrancesco for the rest of the evening. The rest of the first round saw Larsen, Venegas, and Faria all get easy victories.

Larsen was penalized for touching the tapes in the first race of round two. On the second attempt Manchester defeated DiFrancesco, the man who provided him with a bike, while Larsen finished fifth. Venegas, Faria, and Carrillo met in the next race in a battle of first round winners. It was Venegas who would remain perfect by taking the victory while Faria broke a primary chain and Carrillo only managed third behind Jim Estes. McConnell took the win over Eddie Castro in the next race, and Brant closed out the round with a victory over Dukie Ermolenko.

Ermolenko opened up the final round with a victory over Manchester. Larsen got back on track with a victory over DiFrancesco in the second race. McConnell handed Venegas his first loss in the next race and his victory pushed him into a tie with Venegas at the top. Faria bounced back from his round two misfortune with a win to complete the qualifying rounds.

After the three qualifying rounds the ten riders who would make up the semi finals were Venegas and McConnell with 11 points each, DiFrancesco with nine, Larsen, Faria, Brant, Ermolenko, and Estes each, and Carrillo and Manchester taking the final two spots after scoring seven each.
Faria made a fantastic start from gate four in the first semi and held McConnell back the entire way to get the victory and four points. Venegas got the start from the pole in the second semi, but Larsen crossed under him exiting turn two to take the lead. Larsen kept Venegas at bay the entire distance to earn the win.

The four qualifiers four the main were Venegas and McConnell with 14 points each, and Larsen and Faria with 12 points each. Brant, Ermolenko, and DiFrancesco qualified for the Last Chance, but a runoff between Manchester, Estes, and Carrillo was needed to determine the final spot in the Last Chance. Estes took the victory in the runoff, but couldn't duplicate that feat in the Last Chance as Brant earned the final spot in the Scratch Main with the victory.

In the Support Main Event, John DeFries won his third main event in four weeks and his fourth victory of the season.2001 Costa Mesa Support Season Champion David Lynch finished second, Jeff Blaydes finished third, and Gerry Duttweiler finished fourth.


Support Consolation
182 - Rudy Laurer
100 - Phil Harmatiuk
148 - Chris Metoyer
269 - Ed Martinez

Support Consolation
336 - Bill Green
117 - Billy Braden
296 - Tom Rossano
197 - Kim Stevens

Support Main Event
316 - John DeFries
131 - David Lynch
173 - Jeff Blaydes
200 - Gerry Duttweiler

Rider                       1   2   3       T   S      T
  1 - Charlie Venegas       4   4   3      11   3     14***
  4 - Josh Larsen           4   0   4       8   4     12***
  6 - Shawn McConnell       3   4   4      11   3     14***
  9 - Mike Faria            4   R   4       8   4     12***
 10 - Scott Brant           2   4   2       8   2     10**
 12 - Randy DiFrancesco     3   3   3       9   0      9**
 14 - Eddie Castro          1   3   2       6   -      6
 15 - Dukie Ermolenko       1   3   4       8   2     10**
 17 - Robbie Sauer          3   1   1       5   -      5
 21 - Brad Sauer            1   2   0       3   -      3
 23 - Mark Adams            2   2   2       6   -      6
 47 - Johnny Walker         1   1   0       2   -      2
 56 - Jim Estes             2   3   3       8   0      8*
 75n - Eric Carrillo        4   2   1       7   1      8*
130 - Chris Manchester      E   4   3       7   1      8*
139 - Shaun Harmatiuk       0   2   1       3   -      3
223 - Bobby Krips           2   1   1       4   -      4
230 - Doug Greyson          0   0   0       0   -      0
243 - Sean McDougall        3   F   2       5   -      5
254 - Bryan Yarrow          0   1   0       1   -      1
* Qualified for runoff for Last Chance 
** Qualified for Last Chance
*** Qualified for Scratch Main 

Race Results
 1: Carrillo, McDougall, Adams, Walker, Manchester (engine failure)
 2: Larsen, McConnell, Estes, B.Sauer, Greyson
 3: Venegas, R.Sauer, Brant, Castro, Yarrow (tape penalty)
 4: Faria, DiFrancesco, Krips, Ermolenko, Harmatiuk
13: Manchester, DiFrancesco, Harmatiuk, Yarrow, Larsen (tape penalty)
14: Venegas, Estes, Carrillo, Krips, Faria (retired)
15: McConnell, Castro, B.Sauer, Walker, McDougall (fell)
16: Brant, Ermolenko, Adams, R.Sauer, Greyson
20: Ermolenko, Manchester, Castro, Krips, B.Sauer (fell, remounted)
21: Larsen, DiFrancesco, McDougall, R.Sauer, Walker
22: McConnell, Venegas, Adams, Harmatiuk, Greyson
23: Faria, Estes, Brant, Carrillo, Yarrow
Semi #1: Faria, McConnell, Brant, Manchester, DiFrancesco (engine failure)
Semi #2: Larsen, Venegas, Ermolenko, Carrillo, Estes
Runoff for Last Chance: Estes, Carrillo, Manchester (fell, remounted)
Last Chance: Brant, Ermolenko, Estes, DiFrancesco

Scratch Main Event
  4 - Josh Larsen
  1 - Charlie Venegas
  6 - Shawn McConnell
 10 - Scott Brant
  9 - Mike Faria
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