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Jason Fensler Wins Race and Championship

SRL Public Relations/Eddie Alves
Photo: #63 Jason Fensler
Photo Credit: David Misco

Tracy, Calif. (October 9th) --
  The 2005 SRL Wild West Late Model season came to an end Saturday night at Altamont Raceway & Arena in Tracy, California. Jason Fensler cruised to his seventh win of the year and also clinched the 2005 series point championship. Jeff Anthony the 2002 series champion finished second as Joey Zampa crossed the finish-line in the third position. Jeff Belletto of Salida, California finished in fourth right behind Zampa, as Tracy Bolin rounded out the top five finishers.

Jason Fensler entered Saturday with a 46 point lead over two-time winner Mark Smith of Tracy, California. Fensler earned fast time honors with a lap of 18.120 second lap around the fast half-mile. Smith qualified second as he stopped the clock with a 18.230 second lap.
Joey Zampa turned an 18.381 which was good enough for third. Rick Ruzbarsky made his second qualifying attempt of the 2005 season and qualified fourth with an 18.422 second lap. Eric Schmidt rounded out the top five qualifiers as he also turned a 18.422 second lap. Twenty-five cars made a qualifying attempt. Harold Rieker Jr. suffered mechanical problems during practice and did not make a qualifying attempt. Jason Fensler earned five points for setting fast time and would enter the “ACDELCO/Allied Auto Store 100” with a 47 point lead over Mark Smith.

The eight car event placed brother’s Steve and Jeff Belletto on the front row. Steve Belletto was driving his father’s familiar number 74 Chevrolet Monte Carlo. Steve Belletto hit the kill switch on his steering wheel as he led the field to the green flag. Belletto made a veteran move as he moved his car to the bottom of the race track as the field stormed by. Belletto would fall to the 18th position as bother Jeff led lap one. The first of three caution flags waived on lap two as 2005 Victory Circle Chassis & Parts Rookie of the Year Jeremy Wood and 2004 Rookie of the Year Mark Smith tangled heading into turn three. Wood’s car bounced hard off of the backstretch wall and came to a stop in turn three. Wood retired his car for the night as Smith suffered cosmetic damage.

Jeff Belletto continued to lead as Eric Schmidt ran second, Troy Ermish third, Jason Fensler fourth and Joey Zampa fifth. Fensler passed Ermish on lap five and then made his way around Schmidt on lap seven. Jason Fensler has his sights on leader Jeff Belletto and made his way around Belletto as the two raced to the start/finish line on lap nine. Troy Ermish passed Schmidt to take the third position away on lap 16 as Fensler stretched his lead over Belletto. Jeff Anthony started ninth and passed Rick Ruzbarsky on lap 26 to move into the sixth position. Ken Boyd qualified and started in the 15th position, by lap 27 Boyd had picked off five cars and rounded out the top ten.

The second caution flag of the evening waived on lap 33 as Steve Belletto’s car came to a stop in the middle of turns one and two. Fensler led the field back to green with the lapped cars of Eric Graham and David Mantooth between Jeff Belletto who was running in the second position. Troy Ermish continued in third as the field reached the half-way point. Eric Schmidt ran fourth with a very fast Jeff Anthony fifth.

The third and final caution of the night came out on lap 56 as New Mexico’s Jamie Dick spun in turn one. Aaron Day’s of Patterson, California had no where to go as he approached the stalled car of Jamie Dick sitting in turn one. Days’ car came to stop a long side of Dick’s with significant damage. Both Aaron Days and Jamie Dick retired their cars for the night.

Jeff Anthony continued to make his way to the front as he now ran third on the lap 58 restart. Four laps later Anthony would pass Jeff Belletto and take over second place. Troy Ermish spun exiting turn two and dropped to 11th on lap 75. Joey Zampa moved into fourth and Tracy Bolin took over the fifth position. Zampa then made his way to third by passing Jeff Belletto on lap 86. Neither Jeff Anthony nor Joey Zampa could catch Jason Fensler has he cruised to his seventh victory of the 2005 season. Jeff Belletto would finish fourth and Tracy Bolin fifth after qualifying 12th. Ken Boyd finished sixth as Eric Schmidt fell to seventh. Rookie Kyle Gottula finished eight, Rusty Buholz ninth and Randy Hedrick tenth.

Jason Fensler and the entire Beebe Racing Enterprises team celebrated the series championship on the front straightway after the completion of the 100 lap feature event. Mark Smith would finish in the 14th position and hold onto second place in the championship standings beating Eric Schmidt by six points. Ken Boyd will finish fourth and Joey Zampa fifth. The top 15 drivers will be recognized as the season ending awards banquet in three weeks.

Jeremy Wood was able to drive his car to the front straightaway after the race as Wood was introduced as the 2005 Victory Circle Chassis & Parts Rookie of the Year in front of his hometown crowd. 18 year old Jeremy Wood will be the recipient of a brand new 2005 Victory Circle Chassis from Victory Circle Chassis & Parts. $5,000 will be divided between Jason Fensler, Mark Smith, and Troy Ermish who finished in the top three in the Apex Financial Group Qualifying Points. Apex Financial Group is based in Stockton Ca, and specializing in home loans and the refinancing of property.

The SRL Wild West Late Model Shootout will hold their 2005 awards banquet Saturday, October 29, 2005 at The Holiday Inn Capital Plaza in Sacramento, California.

Best lap time:
18.482 Speed 97.392 (Jason Fensler Lap7)
Margin of Victory
6.390 seconds
Lap Leaders: Jeff Belletto (1-8), Jason Fensler (9-100)

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