By Ben Deatherage
SOMERTON, Ariz. (Feb. 19) – Lance Mari, David Pitt and a defending national champion all took care of business Friday at Cocopah Speedway.
Mari topped the $1,000 to win main event for IMCA Modifieds and Pitt paced the Karl Kustoms Northern SportMods, while Zack Forster won the first event for IMCA STARS Mod Lites in Arizona.
Forster, who started fifth, obtained the top spot entering the first corner on the opening start. A lap three caution bunched the field up and turned out to be the lone stoppage of the race. On the restart, Forster experienced some immense pressure from fellow Californian Kaden Cochrun.
Cochrun managed to maneuver his way around Forster to beat him out at the line on lap five. However, Forster held his composure and reclaimed the position on the following circuit.
As the long green flag run continued to develop Forster had a brief scare in lapped traffic. Kaden Cochrun did his best to get around Forster, but Forster made some key moves. Forster went on to win the main event and became the first 2021 IMCA STARS Mod Lite winner in Arizona and the third different driver in the division nationally to park his mount in victory lane.
Cochrun placed second with third going Gary DeWitt.
Already on the Fast Shafts All-Star Invitational ballot following his Winter Nationals Hangover victory at Cocopah in January, Mari kept his ride out in front of the rest of the Modified pack and stretched the lead out to over a straightaway advantage.
Ryan Roath held off his challengers to score second with Chaz Baca getting third.
Rock Springs, Wy., traveler Pitt was fast out of the box in the Northern SportMod feature. Pitt, who started from the pole, got to the front at the drop of the first green flag. He did receive pressure from Bo Partain, but managed to nullify any advances made.
A yellow flag on lap four was the only time the field slowed down. Pitt again felt an enormous amount of pressure by the likes of Partain, but he successfully retained the position.
Pitt crossed the line first to win to become the eighth different SportMod winner at Cocopah this year. Partain was a close second followed by Chris Toth.
The Friday program at Somerton also featured opening night of the Western States Dwarf Car Nationals.