Ramsey, Lackey win Cruiser main event
Last updated 6/21/2007 at Noon
Brooktown Racing drivers Jim Ramsey and Mike Lackey won the Cruiser division main event June 16 at Perris Auto Speedway.
The win in the 12-lap main event was the first for Ramsey in two years and the first ever for Lackey and for the 1975 LTD they drove.
“The car ran really good,” Ramsey said.
“It was a fun night and Jim did a great job,” Lackey said.
The Cruiser class has two drivers; one operates the steering wheel while the other has control of the gas pedal. Ramsey steered the car and Lackey took the throttle.
“Mike did a great job on the gas tonight,” Ramsey said. “He made the car go.”
For four years plus the first three races of the 2007 season, Ramsey had driven a 1977 Thunderbird. By 2007 that car was the longest-running Cruiser at Perris Auto Speedway. In January 2007 Ramsey and original co-driver Dennis Allen purchased a 1975 LTD from Fallbrook drivers Scott Denton and Keith Krueger, who had driven that car as a Factory Stock at Cajon Speedway and Barona Speedway. Work on converting the LTD into a working Cruiser was not completed by the beginning of the season, and the LTD made its Perris and Cruiser debut May 5.
That May 5 race was the first for Lackey as a driver, as Allen was at the Route 66 rally that day and missed the Perris race. Ramsey and Lackey finished fifth that day and finished fourth May 19 when Allen was at a softball tournament.
Allen was out of town June 16 for Father’s Day Weekend. Ramsey’s 22-year-old daughter and Lackey’s 19-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son all live locally, so Lackey once again substituted for Allen.
Lackey, who has been the crew chief for Ramsey and Allen since they began racing in 2003, is receptive to replacing Allen as Ramsey’s co-driver. “We’re going to put a seat in the back and let Dennis sit in that,” he said.
Despite Allen’s absence June 16, the Cruiser still had three crew members including the drivers. Tim Summit made his Perris Auto Speedway and pit crew debut that night on behalf of Ramsey and Lackey.
Ramsey and Lackey finished fourth in the six-lap heat race after starting on the outside of the fourth row. They were in fifth after a second-lap red flag which saw several cars exit the track and gained their final spot when Ray Bundy and Bill Shoemaker found themselves minus one tire in the fifth lap.
Ramsey and Lackey began the main event in the second row while the Brooktown Racing team of Scott Urquhart and Brian Tully started on the outside of the front row. Urquhart and Tully took the initial lead while Ramsey and Lackey quickly moved into second.
“We got a good jump,” Tully said. “He dropped the flag and we were gone.”
Unfortunately for Urquhart and Tully, their right front wheel was gone after they rounded turn one in the second lap. That gave Ramsey and Lackey the lead. “We were on the inside, so we didn’t have to avoid anybody; we just kept going,” Ramsey said.
On turn two of the second lap Donny Fengler and Phil Holmes hugged the wall, allowing Bundy and Shoemaker to take over second. A red flag was thrown in the third lap, and Urquhart and Tully were towed off the track. Bundy and Shoemaker stayed in second for the remainder of the race.
“Couldn’t get by them,” Bundy said. “He ran a good race. We couldn’t catch him. He ran a good line.”
Passing Ramsey and Lackey would have required Bundy and Shoemaker to utilize the track’s inside groove on a night of main events where the outside groove seemed to be the faster one. “The top was really pretty fast. The bottom was real ugly,” Bundy said. “When we had to go low to pass lapped cars, it was scary.”
Ramsey and Lackey weren’t paying attention to the better groove. “I had no idea how far behind anybody was,” Ramsey said. “We got out of the hole so fast.”
The winners had to deal with lapped traffic twice, once on the fifth lap to pass Tom and Jeff Gillum before the Gillums opted for the pits and once on the ninth lap to get around Molly Mann and Shannon Anfensen, two first-time drivers who completed the race and were given a sixth-place finish.
“Last six laps really running hard in the corners,” Ramsey said. “The car just runs out of the hole really good.”
Ramsey, Allen, and Lackey are sponsored by Costello’s Auto Repair, Fallbrook Muffler, The Fight Lab, Master Tech, Quality Clutch and Transmission, Mahr’s Tire & Auto, Ultra Graphix Screen Printing and Village News, Inc. (which includes the Temecula/Murrieta Valley News as well as the Fallbrook/Bonsall Village News).
The Cruisers are next scheduled to race July 14.