HulaCross Race & Results - Jul 14, 2013
Written by Chris Messer Friday, 26 July 2013 00:00
The heat races for the stock car classes have just finished and the water truck gives the track a quick spray as the gradeall adjusts a few tires between stock car track turns 2 and 3 to create a chicane for the otherwise oval track. Today's chicane is much broader than the one created for last mont's event, and not as wet, which should provide for better passing and faster racing. Pairs of cars are brought out for three laps each to both provide a little practice time as well as to work the water into the track. The only significant action in this practice was the failure of the 13 driven by Clifton Poteet. Cliff had obviously spent many hours making sure the 13 looked good for the event with a very patriotic approach, but the engine failed Cliff with what sounded like a worsening rod-knock that seized up after his second practice lap, forcing him to be towed off the track. Once everyone had a chance to learn the circuit and the track was deemed ready it was time forthe HulaCross heat races.
The first group is that made up of cars and trucks. On the pole is the 57 of Todd Schuler with the 11J of Stephen Joseph to his right. On row two the 2 driven by Lopaka Vierra and the 88 of Mark Pascua and by himself in the final row it's the 44 driven by Robert Vierra. At the green flag Schuler gets a good start while the 11 is back to 3rd place after being passed by the 2. Now Lopaka has his nuumber 2 fighting for the lead and takes it away from the 57, while behind them the 44 gets into one of the big tires, but Robert manages to keep the 4 truck running. There's no flag and at this point Lopaka is pulling out a big lead; at least five car lengths over Schuler now and it's another five car lengths back to the 11J of Joseph. The line of cars is stretching out a little and, with the heat races only being five laps long, the race is over fairly quickly with the win taken by the 2 followed by the 57, 11J, 88 and 44.
In the SUV heat we anticipate one heck of a battle as these big V-8 vehicles are all very close performance-wise and the points are very tight so every position is important. On the pole is the 11 of Clyde Vierra and to his right the JC1 driven by Cliff Vierra. On row two are the 08 of David Rodrigues and the 83 of Jeff Bergman. On the final row is the 04 driven by Shane Rodrigues. The green is out and they're ofin a mad rush. At the entry to the chicane CLiff Vierra gets into the back of the 11 and turns him to the left under braking for the right hand corner. Cliff gets off Clyde trying not to spin the 11 and this opens the door for the hard charging 08 of David Rodrigues. By the time the JC1 and 11 trucks get back to the racing line the 83 of Bergman is through too and now in 2nd place.
Shane Rodrigues tries to take advantage of the opportunity and gains on the 11, but after getting side by side settles back in line. Jeff Bergman's 83 seems to have a problem as the JC1 gets around him and then he heads for the pits. The 213 of Curtis Bautista has been patiently pacing the field as he's pretty sure there's going to be some heavy battling that's sure to take out a truck or two and the 83 was one of those victims he'd been waiting for. Looking closely I notice that the 04 of Shane Rodrigues has managed to pass the 11 and that the 11 is right on his bumper now even getting their bumpers locked together for almost a full lap before finally separating just before the chicane. At this point the two vehicles almost come to a complete stop with the 11 appearing to stall then get regoing. At the finish it's David Rodrigues in the 08 followed by the JC1, 04, 213 and 11.
The Stock Cars run their main event prior to the HulaCross cars and, as we are becoming accustomed to; the track maintenance crew water the track down before we get started with the car and truck class. On the pole is the 2 of Lopaka Vierra and Todd Schuler is in the 57 to his right. In the 2nd row is the llJ of Stephen Joseph on the inside of Mark Pascua's 88 and on the final row the 44 of Robert Vierra. The 11 and 88 get side by side as they go through the chicane on lap 1 and get tangled at the exit with the 11J ending up with a flat tire. On the next lap the 2 goes wide and the 57 gets though for the lead. Schuler gets a love tap from the 2 as he enters the chicane, but maintains his position while it's about ten car lengths back to the 88 in 3rd. Schuler is holding up 2nd place somewhat and the 2 taps him on the back bumper a few times to let him know he's there, but you've got to admire Schuler's poise as he's not about to let anyone by while fighting to retain the lead position and attempting to get his first win.
Pascua has been driving the wheels off the 88 trying to catch back up to the leaders, but it all goes wrong for him as he exits stock car track turn 1 bouncing a little then up on two wheels, unable to save it and rolling the truck to stop upside down just before getting to the starter's stand. The cab of the truck is crushed down at the front, but thankfully no one has been hurt as the truck had rolled over "fairly" softly thus not causing too severe of an impact. The red flag had been flown so they could get the truck removed and the paramedics check the driver and passenger to be sure they are ok before re-gridding the cars and get the race restarted. On the restart the 57 is in front followed by the 2 and the 44. It's lap 7 and the 2 is going to get another shot or two for the lead. Schuler gets a great start and Lopaka is right behind him as 3rd place is dropping back a few car lengths per lap before getting hung up in the chicane and thenrunning again. Schuler manages to keep the lead for his first HulaCross win while Lopaka Vierra brings the 2 home in 2nd, Rbert Vierra takes the 44 to 3rd. I believe the 11J of Stephen Joseph took 4th place (even with the flat tire and his hood blowing over the front windshield) while the 88 of Mark Pascua finished 5th.
Now the reace we've all been waiting for; the SUV HulaCross main event. On the pole is the 08 of Shane Rodrigues next to the JC1 of Cliff Vierra then on the 2nd row the 04 of Shane Rodrigues next to the 213 of Curtis Bautista while Jeff Bergman has the 83 in the final starting position. They're off as the green flag flies and at the start Bergman drives into the side of the 04 and spins him allowing Bautista through to 3rd. Bautista has to back off the throttle for a while the 213 bycicles for a moment in stock car track turns 2 & 1 (in this order because the HulaCross races are clockwise today) allowing the 83 to catch up a little. Shane's 04 sounds like it's got a missfire and appears to be slowing a little, but meanwhile brother, David, is out front and pulling away with about a six car length lead over the JC1 now. Bergman is trying like heck to get past the 213 who just doesn't seem to have the pace of the front two vehicles who are steadily drawing away.
Getting anxious Bergman rubs against Bautista a few times and smartly backs off having already spun one competitor today, but the laps are running down and he can see his chances of gaining on the leaders slipping away. Bergman then dives to the inside of 213 going into the right hand corner at the begining of the chicane, but there's not enough room and he clips the tire demarking the corner violently rolling the truck and ending up on his lid. Fortunately this well built SUV has a good roll cage which supports the cab during the roll over and we are all relieved to hear that the driver is ok as he gets out with a little help. The JC1 of Cliff Vierra had been starting to ease into the lead David Rodrigues had established,but with the announcement that there are only two laps left I'm thinking his chances are now rather slim. The green flag flies, then the white and at the checkered it's David Rodrigues in the 08 with the win, followed by the JC1 of Cliff Vierra, the 213 of Curtis Bautista takes 3rd while the 04 of Shane Rodrigues takes 4th and the unfortunate 83 of Jeff Bergman in 5th place.
Be sure to check out the photos and current point positions for the rest of the story.