Bobby Hogge IV Claims West Coast Shootout Late Model Victory
by Stephanie Odom on May 2, 2011
Photo by Steve Curtis of RaceImages.net
Bobby Hogge IV celebrated his Saturday night in Bakersfield Speedway’s Victory Lane after a pass by San Luis Obispo’s Steve Drake for the West Coast Shootout Late Model season opener in California.
Eighteen cars started the feature event with Torrance’s Mike Kirby and Steve Drake leading the field to green. Kirby jumped to the front when the green flag dropped with Drake filing into second place. Corona’s Tommy Malcolm moved into fifth place after starting eleventh on the first lap. Approaching lapped traffic on the sixth lap the battles throughout the field were heated. Lompoc’s Mike Johnson raced door to door with Bakersfield’s Rob Sanders for third place while Watsonville’s Clay Daly challenged Malcolm for fifth place.
Cody Barnett brought out the first caution of the night on lap twelve after losing control and spinning out on the front stretch. When racing resumed Andy Obertello came to a stop at the start/finish line bringing out the second yellow of the night. Following the restart Mike Johnson and Sanders ran side by side for second place. Johnson was able to make the pass coming out of turn two and immediately went below Steve Drake for second place. Drake held him off with a yellow flag coming out for David Spears on lap eighteen to slow things down.
During the caution race leader Mike Kirby pulled in after showing signs of smoke ending his night and handing the lead over to Drake. Johnson sat in second place with Salinas’ Bobby Hogge IV, Clay Daly and Nick Bartels rounding out the top five. Racing resumed with Hogge and Daly passing by Johnson for third and fourth. Three laps later a spin by Hesperia’s Chris Barnett brought out the third caution of the night. On the restart David Spears spun for the second time ending his night.
After the restart Sanders pressured Johnson for third place while Hogge closed in on Steve Drake for the lead. Drake moved up the track just enough to allow Hogge underneath him through turns one and two. The duo drag raced down the backstretch side by side and through turn three. Exiting turn four Hogge became the new race leader with six laps remaining. The laps wound down and Hogge went uncontested the remainder of the race to pick up his first West Coast Shootout Late Model victory of the season as well as his first win at Bakersfield Speedway.
“I knew I had to figure something out,” stated Hogge in victory lane, “I had to slow down and stick to the bottom.” Hogge’s win was dedicated to former street stock and modified driver Ron Parker. “He was always here in the pits when he could and helped us out financially.” Parker suffered from a heart attack on Friday sending surgeons in to do a quadruple bypass. Due to the condition of his heart doctors were only able to perform a triple bypass. “It was really hard to find out what had happened to him.”
Steve Drake held on for a second place finish, Rob Sanders, Mike Johnson, Nick Bartels, Clay Daly, Brad Pounds, Tommy Malcolm, Bill Bartels and Dino Napier rounded out the top ten. The series will return to action Memorial Day weekend for a $5,000 to win two day show at the Santa Maria Speedway.