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Holmes denied 4th win at All-American Speedway

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Holmes denied 4th win at All-American Speedway

Roger Penske and driver Ryan Briscoe prepare for last weekend's Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach. Briscoe would finish second to Miek Conway in the race.


POSTED April 23, 2011 1:51 a.m.
After doggedly pursuing pole-sitter Greg Pursley through the first 133 laps of last Saturday’s Toyota/NAPA AutoCare 150 at Roseville’s All-American Speedway, defending NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion Eric Holmes of Escalon had his fourth career win at his home track within his grasp only to see it slip away in the final laps.

It took four restarts before Holmes was able to slip under Pursley to finally wrestle away the race lead, but all his efforts went for naught when the two continued to jostle, allowing Holmes’ teammate Moses Smith to slip past both of them.

Three laps later things got worse when Holmes was tapped from behind by Wilton’s Jason Fensler putting him into a spin.

By the time Holmes regained control, he had dropped all the back to the 11th spot. He made a final hard charge towards the front in the final ten laps and before taking the checkered flag in sixth.

“It was frustrating,” said Holmes. “We were ready to get it done. We had held off the pack of cars behind us and kept pace with the pole sitter ready to make our move during the final laps.”

Fensler went on to win by 0.686 seconds over Smith and Pursley for his second series win in just five starts in the series, his first coming in 2008 at Altamont Raceway Park.

“We just kept ourselves in position the whole entire race and that was the key,” said Fensler, who started 15th. “We didn’t have a real good car, but we put ourselves in position.”

The Toyota/NAPA AutoCare 150 will be televised on SPEED Channel on Thursday, May 5. The next race will be on April 30 at Miller Motorsport Park in Tooele, Utah.

It took 24 laps for early season-points leader Jason Aguirre, of Atwater, to get past Stockton’s Ben Lewis II in the first of two Super Stock features at Stockton’s 99 Speedway last Saturday. He then spent the remainder of the race holding off the hard charging Rich Harper of Stockton to take the checkered flag.

“With about two laps to go, the clutch started slipping,” said Aguirre, “I knew it was going out so I was happy to win this one.”

Lewis rebounded in the second feature to post a wire-to-wire win with Harper once again ending up the bridesmaid.

“We were pretty loose in the first race,” said Lewis. “But we brought it in and got it fixed up and did pretty good.”

Other feature winners included Stockton’s Mike Massone in the Bombers, Modesto’s Guido Bindi in the Mini trucks and Manteca’s Joseph Reichmuth notched his third win in a row in the Basically-4-Cylinders.

This Saturday’s program at the 99 will feature a Drift Competition and Stunt Bike Show.

The grandstands were packed throughout all of last weekend’s racing to witness one of the largest fields in the 37 year history of the Toyota Grand Prix of Long Beach.

In all 27 IZOD Indy cars, including the welcome return of past series and race champions Paul Tracy of Canada and Sebastien Bourdais of France, sat on the grid to take the green flag.

“The fans were great. You could just feel the enthusiasm all weekend long,” commented 2010 Indy Car Series champion Dario Franchitti. “The buzz is definitely back.”

Michael Andretti, team owner of winning driver Mike Conway’s car, echoed those thoughts to the media in his post race comments.

“This is a special place and I always am excited to come back. You can really feel the energy here,” said Andretti who won his first and final race at Long Beach. “Outside of Indy there is no race that is more important than this one.”

Team owner Roger Penske was honored by the Road Racing Drivers Club prior to this year’s race. The “Captain” has been involved in racing as a driver and owner since 1958 and has scored victories in every series in which he has competed. With 23 national championships, including 12 in IndyCar racing and 15 Indy 500 victories, Penske Racing has been referred to as the “New York Yankees of motorsports.”

The guest list at the function included such icons as Bobby Rahal, Dan Gurney, Parnelli Jones, Rick Mears, IndyCar CEO Randy Bernard, NHRA great Don Prudhomme, Vince Granatelli, as well as Penske Racing’s current lineup of Helio Castroneves, Ryan Briscoe and Will Power.

To contact Dale Bosowski, e-mail
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