Ramsey and Allen fifth for final race, season
Last updated 11/24/2006 at Noon
The Brooktown Racing car driven by Jim Ramsey and Dennis Allen finished fifth in the final Cruiser race of the 2006 Perris Auto Speedway season.
The fifth-place finish November 11 also gave the Thunderbird fifth place in the final season standings. The Cruiser class involves two drivers, one who handles the steering wheel and brake pedal and one who controls the gas pedal, and Cruiser points are given to cars and not to drivers, which allows for relief drivers over the course of the season.
“It was a wild night,” Ramsey said. “I had no idea we hit the board.”
The leaderboard covers the top five cars. “We went over half the race with half power,” Allen said.
Ramsey and Allen haven’t determined whether that is due to a broken throttle cable or to transmission failure. “We weren’t going fast, but nobody was passing us,” Ramsey said. “We finished all the laps and everybody else didn’t.”
Ramsey and Allen entered the final race sixth in the point standings, but they were a single point behind the #13 car of Daniel Henderson and Eric King. In the previous race October 28, the Cadillac of Henderson and King rolled four times, once end over end and three times on its side. The drivers were able to walk away from the collision and the stuffed black cat bolted to the back of the car for the Halloween weekend was undamaged, but the Cadillac was not suitable for driving November 11.
Although the #13 car fell from fifth to eighth in the standings, Henderson became a Brooktown Racing driver for the season’s final night. Regular driver Mike McGlone was absent, and Henderson, who had steered with King, took the gas pedal in the Thunderbird co-driven by Scott Urquhart.
“We had fun,” Henderson said of his Brooktown Racing debut. “It didn’t last long, though. Lost a throttle.”
Urquhart and Henderson eventually pulled into the pits and finished tenth. The third Brooktown Racing car, driven by Dave Hill and Bob Hunsaker, completed 11 laps of the 15-lap main event before a blown motor sent a piston rod through the engine and oil pan and sent Hill and Hunsaker to the pits. Hill and Hunsaker finished ninth for the night, and the station wagon finished tenth in the season point standings.
Urquhart’s Thunderbird finished 11th in the season point standings. The Brooktown Racing car driven by Kevin Martin and Debbie Martin did not race November 11 due to torque converter problems and finished 14th in the season standings.
Track officials cancelled all but the Art’s Concrete Pumping Extreme Topless Late Models heat races in order to eliminate the possibility of another car taking out a championship contender in the heat race. Ramsey and Allen started the main event on the outside of the second row with Hill and Hunsaker beginning on the inside of the fifth row and Urquhart and Henderson taking the green flag on the outside of the sixth row.
“The track was beautiful out there for the main,” Ramsey said of the half-mile dirt oval.
“We got good traction off the line,” Allen said. “There was no drift.”
Ramsey and Allen were in fifth after one lap but had fallen to eighth by the beginning of the sixth lap. Kevin Whittaker and Drew Diederich found themselves with a flat tire in the sixth lap, and Ramsey and Allen gained a position. Urquhart and Henderson moved into sixth place due to Whittaker and Diederich’s tire problems, but when Urquhart and Henderson started slowing Ramsey and Allen took over sixth place in the tenth lap, albeit in a slow-speed pursuit.
“We lost power. I felt it go blip, blip,” Allen said. “We were going the same speed in the turns that we were going in the straightaway.”
The #22 car of Eddie Lagor and Robert Connelly pulled into the pits in the 13th lap, and although they returned to the track in an unsuccessful effort to hold onto their points lead their presence in the pits during two laps not only cost them the points championship but also allowed Ramsey and Allen to move into fifth place.
Despite the lack of power, the Thunderbird stayed in fifth place. “I couldn’t hear anybody coming,” Allen said. “I thought, ‘This is weird.’”
The #69 car driven by Tyson Talkington and Larry Ingram was behind Allen and Ramsey until it became lapped traffic for the Thunderbird. The #69 car was also sideways at the time, and Ramsey and Allen plowed into the other car.
“I didn’t think we were going to finish when we broadsided the 69,” Ramsey said.
The Thunderbird kept running and crossed the finish line in fifth place.
Andy Dellario and Justin Turner won both the race and the points championship, finishing the season 14 points ahead of Lagor and Connelly. In 2005 Ramsey had utilized Dellario, who in a different car also won the 2004 championship, for one race in Allen’s absence.
Although Ramsey and Allen had finished third in the 2004 standings and second in 2005, they placed fifth in their initial 2003 season and thus have four top-five finishes in the standings in four seasons. “That’s pretty good,” Ramsey said.
“With the same car. That’s what’s amazing,” Allen said.
“It’s still running,” Ramsey said of the 1977 Thunderbird.
“We all had problems with our car, but I think everybody had a good time,” Ramsey said.