Gaylord steals IMCA Modified win from Center on last lap at Cocopah

His last-lap larceny made Ryan Gaylord the winner of the final Arizona IMCA Modified Tour main event at Cocopah Speedway. (Photo by Cheryl Sluka)

By Mike Spieker

YUMA, Ariz. (Feb. 12) – Last-lap larceny made Ryan Gaylord the winner of the Arizona IMCA Modified Tour finale Sunday at Cocopah Speedway.

On the final lap of what was also the last of three Winter Nationals events, Gaylord followed leader Eric Center into turns three and four. When Center missed the groove on the bottom while trying to maneuver past a lap car, it left the door wide open for Gaylord and he capitalized.

Gaylord shot to the bottom to take the lead off turn four and sped to the $1,250 win.

“That was basically my only shot to get the win,” said Gaylord, already on the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot. “I was just trying to be patient and save my tires out there.”

As a result of the miscue, Center drifted back to fourth. He followed Justin Zeitner and Hunter Marriott to the line.

After taking the lead on lap seven, Center had held the point all the way until the final lap.

“I almost want to cry right now,” joked Center. “But I’m still really happy. There is a lot of luck involved with this stuff and you just have to be spot on. We had a good car tonight but one little mistake is all it takes.”

The IMCA Sunoco Stock Car feature went to Andrew Altenburg. The Minnesota driver took the lead at halfway and cruised to the victory. Jason Rogers came home in the runner-up spot as Manny Baldiviez wheeled his way from 13th starting to third.

Jason George turned in a dominating performance in the Karl Chevrolet Northern SportMod feature, leading all but one of the 20 circuits. Opening night winner Mike Tanner took second.

Brent Wofford beat Scott Shaw to the IMCA Sunoco Hobby Stock checkers.

Feature Results

Modifieds – 1. 
Ryan Gaylord
; 2. Justin Zeitner; 3. 
Hunter Marriott; 4. 
Eric Center
; 5. Curt Lund; 6. Jesse Sobbing
; 7. Shawn Strand; 8. 
Marlyn Seidler
; 9, Jeff James; 10. Paul Stone
; 11. John Parmeley; 12. Spencer Wilson
; 13. Jeff Taylor; 14. 
Tim Balding; 15. 
Ross Statham
; 16. Bill Miller
; 17. Tim Ward; 18. Bricen 
James; 19. 
Ethan Dotson
; 20. Jeremy Thornton
; 21. Tripp Gaylord; 22. 
Austin Kuehl
; 23. Lucas Schott; 24. Casey Skyberg
; 25. Jimmy Gustin
; 26. Lance Mari; 27. 
Chaz Baca; 28. Raymond McSpadden; 29. Tad Reutzel
; 30. Grey Ferrando.

Stock Cars – 1. 
Andrew Altenburg; 2. Race Fisher
; 3. Jason Rogers; 4. Manny Baldiviez; 5. Kyle Frederick; 6. George Fronsman; 7. Jody York; 8. 
Elijah Zevenbergen; 9. Larry Brigner; 10. Joe O’Bryan; 11. Brendon LaBatte; 12. Tony Hill
; 13.Thomas Daffern; 14. Aaron Spangler; 15. Micheal Mabbitt; 16. Joe Haines
; 17. Steven Kihle.

Northern SportMods – 1. Jason George
; 2. Mike Tanner
; 3. Nick Spainhoward; 4. Brady Bjella; 
5. Tyler Mecl; 
6. Mark Madrid
; 7. Kyle Smith
; 8. Dwayne Melvin
; 9. Fred Ryland
; 10. Miles Morris
; 11. Brian Roode
; 12. Adolfo Noriega; 1
3. Corey Clayton
; 14. Ron Pegues
; 15. Allen Webb
; 16. Tommy Wyman; 17. Chris Toth
; 18. Austin Kiefer; 19. Dale Kunz
; 20. Joshua Cordova
; 21. Kenny Wyman Jr. 22. Dennis Gates.

Hobby Stocks – 1. 
Brent Wofford; 2. Scott Shaw; 3. Joshua Cordova; 4. Craig Ebers; 5. Cory Tharp; 6. 
Jim Robinson; 7. Jason Penny; 8. Jason Beshears; 9. Lyle Driscoll.