After a careful off season research and decision by track manager Whitey Rich, the 9-1 compression rule came into effect in an effort to curtail rising Late Model cost factors. A new 110 inch wheelbase ruling outdates the popular Nova's and allows for the introduction of new models such as the Buick Regal, Olds Cutlass, and Monte Carlo. Lovable Frog Trent shows up with an in-line six-cylinder, but gives it up before the year is out. The introduction of the still current 390 carburetor also takes place this season.
Ron Roach is on the flagstand this season, and Blake Tatum joins his dad Chuck in the pit area for tech work along side seasoned veteran Danny Caruso.
With the new rules in effect it was decided to re-establish the track record which was promptly done by Steve McGovney at 14.788, which didn't stand for long until Norman David lowered it to the season best of 14.437. Since the Hobby division was no longer allowed to run coil over springs, a valid agreement was put forth by Eric Seely of Modesto to allow a new record in their division which he promptly did at 15.632. Seely reset the standard three more times this year, and Mike Lane once, but the final and best mark came from Modesto's Ted Magee at 15.234 on September fourth. Ironically, the new record was under the previous coil over standard.
It was a bad year for drivers, cars, and track personal with Chief Stewart Val Reed taking the first blow as he was knocked off the front straight tires by hobby driver Steve Wright on June 28th. On August seventh, Ron Strmiska and Harry Belletto made contact down the backchute with Strmiska ending in one of the worst crashes on record with life threatening injuries with many, myself included, considering his career at an end. A little over a month later, Buzz Devore got himself up onto the front chute fencing, which in turn threw him back on his roof just past the flagstand.
A personal note in the 1982 season included the chance by yours truly to hot lap a race car. On a date that will last in humor, I spent two complete practice session's in Reed's car setting still unbroken lap records in the mid to high 20s, and giving me an instant lesson in leaving the driving to those much better at the job. (after 30 odd laps of action, the stickers were still on the tires when I re-entered the pits)
Rick Meyers hit the high number of six fast times on the year, with a rising star from Modesto by the name of Kevin Gottula notching four dash wins. Boyd took home six feature wins, with Lyon notching twelve main top five finishes. Lyon took the season title followed by Boyd and McGovney, with Gottula, Meyers, and Strmiska's pre-wreck stats also topping the list.
Seely and Magee were the top runners in the Hobby ranks with Seely picking off eight fast times, six dash wins, and eleven total victories to Magee's seven feature wins, and sixteen main top five runs. Magee took the season championship with Seely, Mike Lane, Dave Irwin of Manteca, and Modesto's Rene Bourgois not far behind.
Jim Staggs of Stockton won the Late Model semi main battle, with Rookie of the year honors going to Steve Loogman. John Unger was the most improved driver on the year, with Tom Virgo winning the Sportsman award.
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