Ryan McDaniel scores big win in Merced

Ryan McDaniel scores big win in Merced

By Sean Stanish

           After a great Round 1 at Chico’s Silver Dollar Speedway, the IMCA All Star Modified Tour headed south to Ed Parker’s Merced Speedway Saturday night, which saw Olivehurst’s Ryan McDaniel dominate the second race of 2017.  McDaniel, who is the defending series champion, started third, but was at the head of the pack by lap 3.  Plumas Lake’s Duane Cleveland started on pole and led the first circuit before Randy Brown of Chowchilla railed around the outside to lead lap two.  Ryan McDaniel kept it low the whole way around the speedway, and capitalized on a small bobble by Brown in turn three to lead the third lap.  McDaniel was able to pull away while Brown, Cleveland, Ethan Dotson of Bakersfield, and Martinez’s Troy Foulger battled for the runner-up spot.  As Ryan McDaniel set a torrid pace at the front, lapped traffic started entering the picture, which allowed Ethan Dotson to challenge for the lead around the 12 lap mark.  However, the first and only caution came out soon after, when Troy Foulger brought his car to a halt high in turn one.  Foulger, who was running in third, was able to make repairs and tag the back for the restart.  The caution was timely for the leaders as they tried to manage the thick lapped traffic.  Meanwhile, B-Main transfers Bobby Hogge IV and Bakersfield’s Robby Sawyer made their presence known and were positioned fourth and fifth for the restart. 

           On the restart, Ryan McDaniel was able to pull away from Ethan Dotson and Randy Brown to take the victory half a second ahead of Dotson and Brown.  Bobby Hogge IV and Robby Sawyer settled for fourth and fifth, respectively, as passing proved tough in the latter stages of the event.  Oakley’s Kellen Chadwick brought it home sixth after starting 14th, with Winton’s Paul Stone, Duane Cleveland, Merced’s Mike Villanueva, and Nipomo’s Chris Crompe completing the top ten.  Round 1 winner, Salinas’ Cody Burke, had a less-than-stellar night and finished 15th.  Heat race wins went to Randy Brown, Mike Villanueva, Ryan McDaniel, Antioch’s Carl Berendsen, Chris Crompe, and Duane Cleveland.  B-Mains were captured by Bobby Hogge IV and Kellen Chadwick.  A total of 48 teams from all across the state were in attendance.  Ryan McDaniel sits atop the point standings two races into the season.  Kellen Chadwick is in second, 3 points behind.  The IMCA All Star Modified Tour will head back north for Round 3, which will be held at Rick Faeth’s Petaluma Speedway on May 6th.

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