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SRL Public Relations / Eddie Alves
Eric Schmidt Wins "Coca-Cola 100" at Mesa Marin Raceway
Photo: Eric Schmidt and Golden State Racing Team in Victory Lane at Mesa Marin Raceway; #05 Eric Schmidt at Mesa Marin Raceway
Photo Credit: David Misco Official SRL Photographer

Bakersfield, Calif. (July 30th) -- Eric Schmidt of Roseville, California cruised to victory in the "Coca-Cola 100" leading every lap Saturday night at Mesa Marin Raceway in Bakersfield, California. Fast qualifier Mark Smith finished second, Jason Fensler third, rookie Jeremy Wood fourth as Joey Zampa rounded out the top five in the series final visit to the historic high banked half mile.

“The last race here we had a second or third place car and things worked out good for us. Tonight we earned the win, the car was good all night long.” A hot and tired Schmidt said in victory lane.

Mark Smith of Tracy, California was the fastest of 17 cars who attempted qualifying Saturday
afternoon. Smith’s lap of 18.648 seconds beat Ken Boyd who turned a lap of 18.680 seconds. Troy Ermish qualified third as he stopped the clock in 18.718 seconds. Harold Rieker Jr. qualified fourth and race winner Eric Schmidt fifth. New Mexico’s Jamie Dick suffered mechanical problems during practice and did not attempt qualifying.

Mark Smith drew a six out of the possible six, eight or ten to determine the invert for the 100 lap feature event. Steve Belletto and Eric Schmidt started on the front row as the field took the green flag and headed into turn one. Schmidt nosed Belletto at the start finish-line to lead lap. It took Mark Smith just two laps to go from sixth to second as Jason Fensler took third on lap three from this seventh starting position. Troy Ermish ran fourth while Victory Circle Chassis and Parts Rookie of the Year point leader Jeremy Wood charged into fifth by lap five after starting eight.

Harry Belletto retired on lap 10 with mechanical failure. The first of two cautions was displayed on lap 20 as Aaron Days and Tracy Bolin wrecked in turn four. Days would retire his Chevy Monte Carlo and finish in the 16th position. Bolin continued and finished 12th two laps down. When the field restarted Schmidt and Smith continued to set a blistering pace as they pulled away from Fensler who ran third. Bob McCoun made his first start of the 2005 season Saturday night and started 17th after spinning in qualifying. McCoun worked his way up to 11th on lap 30.

As the field reached the halfway point Schmidt and Smith continued there dominance as Fensler continued in third, Ermish fourth, Wood fifth, followed by Harold Rieker Jr., Jeff Anthony, Joey Zampa, Ken Boyd and pole sitter Steve Belletto. McCoun moved into the top ten for the first time on lap 53 as Steve Belletto retired with suspension failure. Zampa moved around Rieker on lap 62 to take the seventh position away. The second and final caution came out on lap 82 as Troy Ermish and the lapped car of Bob McCoun made contact in turn four as both cars spun sending Ermish’s car into the wall. Jason Fensler did his best to get around Mark Smith on the restart but failed as Schmidt and Smith pulled away. Jeremy Wood took over fourth place after Ermish’s misfortune as Joey Zampa moved into fifth.

Mark Smith did his best in the closing laps to catch and pass Eric Schmidt but came up short as Schmidt swept both races at Mesa Marin Raceway in 2005. Smith finished second for the second consecutive race in a row as Jason Fensler finished third, Jeremy Wood earned his first career SRL top five finish as he finished fourth just holding off Joey Zampa in fifth. Jeff Anthony finished sixth as Harold Rieker Jr. followed in seventh. Ken Boyd crossed the line in eight, Dave Byrd ninth and Thane Alderman tenth in his first career SRL start.

“We had the two best cars tonight. Were still after our first win. Our team is getting better and better each race. We can’t wait to go to Altamont.” Mark Smith said after finishing second at Mesa Marin Raceway.

“We did not have the best car tonight and surprised we finished where we did. I’m happy with third. I’m glad we had the cushion from the beginning of the year. Mark (Smith) and Eric (Schmidt) are really coming on strong.” Point leader Jason Fensler said after finishing third Saturday night at Mesa Marin Raceway.

Harold Rieker Jr. won the four lap trophy dash followed by Ken Boyd, Mark Smith and Troy Ermish.

Average race speed: 87.918 MPH
Best lap time: 18.913 Speed 95.173  (Eric Schmidt)
Margin of Victory:
0.884 seconds

The SRL Wild West Shootout heads to Altamont Raceway & Arena on Saturday, August 20th.

Davey Hamilton’s SRL “Wild West Shootout” would like to thank their 2005 Sponsors, which include: Afco, Apex Financial Group, Bassett Racing Wheels, Brodix Inc., Casciaro Homes, Dynatech, DPI, Eibach Springs, FRE, Five Star Stock Car Bodies, Frank’s Radio Service, G. P. Fabrication, Hoosier Tire West, Impact Racing, Fensler Racing Inc., Paul Oil Co., Perry Race Cars, Peterson Fluid Systems, Pit Stop USA.Com, Madera Auto Center, Sunoco, Total Seal Inc., U. S. Brake, and Victory Circle Chassis and Parts.


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