MERCED, Calif. (Jan. 3) – Duane Cleveland opened his trailer Saturday morning for the first time since racing in Las Vegas two months ago and unloaded the car that won the IMCA Xtreme Motor Sports Modified feature on night two of the West Coast Nationals at Merced Speedway.
“At seven this morning, I decided to race today and took the car out of its trailer and scaled it,” Cleveland said from victory lane. “I got to Merced just in time for the show.”
The win paid $2,500 and put Cleveland on the ballot for September’s Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational.
Cleveland took the lead early in the 30-lap feature after battling Oregon traveler Tom Berry Jr.
Cleveland was never to be challenged for the rest of the distance. Berry, who had never before raced at Merced, held off Kellen Chadwick until the waning moments of the race. Chadwick took up the chase of Cleveland but time ran out before he could catch him.
“It was a good time out there. The track was great,” Cleveland said. “The last time I won here I beat Chris Shannon. This time I won the trophy he donated.”
Cleveland shared the spotlight with Fred Ryland, who brought home the Shannon Pump Company trophy and a $1,750 check for the Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMods.
Ryland proved untouchable in the 30-lapper.
After a first circuit pileup eliminated several cars, Ryland worked his way to the lead on the 10th lap. Nick Spainhoward, who had been in the middle of the pileup, managed to come back to gain second place despite having a damaged car.
Right after the pileup, racing resumed with Wayne Dotson and Rick Diaz of taking turns at running down Ryland. Dotson and Diaz tangled in the fourth turn, leaving the path to victory lane clear for Ryland’s next 20 laps.
Modifieds – 1. Duane Cleveland; 2. Kellen Chadwick; 3. Tom Berry Jr.; 4. Ryan McDaniel; 5. Troy Foulger; 6. Nick DeCarlo; 7. Alex Wilson; 8. Ethan Dotson; 9. Paul Stone; 10. Bill Egleston; 11. Jeremy Richey; 12. Bricen James; 13. John MacDougall; 14. Bryan Clark; 15. Jerry Movrich; 16. Cody Laney; 17. Chris Clark; 18. Collen Winebarger.
Northern SportMods – 1. Fred Ryland; 2. Nick Spainhoward; 3. Neil Barcellos; 4. Megan Ponciano; 5. Josh Hensley; 6. Matt Mayo; 7. Al Johnson; 8. Wayne Dotson; 9. Rick Diaz; 10. Ryan Larimer; 11. Richard Mueller; 12. Alan Pace; 13. Jeremy Hoff; 14. Tim Elias; 15. Chris Ray; 16. Anthony Gulianni; 17. Keith Brown; 18. Bruce Nelson; 19. Chris Falkenberg.