Ramsey third in Factory Stock main - Martin makes division debut
Last updated 4/24/2008 at Noon
Jim Ramsey finished third in the Factory Stock main event April 5 at the Perris Auto Speedway.
The race also saw Kevin Martin make his debut in the Factory Stock division, although Martin’s car was disabled during the first lap of the 20-lap main event.
“The car ran really well, handled really good through the turns,” Ramsey said. “I thought I was fairly competitive considering some of the cars are really fast.”
Ramsey was actually fifth across the checkered flag, but the post-race tech inspection determined that winner Roger Young and second-place Warren Bates both had locked rear ends. Young and Bates were disqualified, Ron Davis was declared the winner, and Ramsey was designated as the third-place finisher behind Davis and Darryl Kinnane.
Davis had started the race in the fifth row and passed Ramsey on a fourth-lap restart en route to his first Factory Stock win. “We always play catchup,” Davis said.
This year the Perris Auto Speedway replaced the Cruiser division, in which one driver controlled the steering wheel and brake pedal and the other driver operated the gas pedal, with the single-driver Factory Stock division. Ramsey made his Factory Stock debut March 1 at the season’s first race, but Martin’s car wasn’t ready until the April 5 competition.
“I got almost a quarter of a lap out of it,” Martin said.
Actually, Martin also completed a six-lap heat race and finished fourth in that competition, although the two disqualified drivers were both in front of him so he officially finished second behind Phil Holmes.
“We did pretty good in the heat,” said Martin.
The Factory Stocks fielded an 11-car competition, which not only was a record for the new class but also allowed for two heat races for the first time in the division’s history. Martin was passed by Holmes, who celebrated his 36th birthday that night, in the third lap of the first heat race. Ramsey finished fourth in the second heat race.
Martin began the main event on the outside of the front row, alongside polesitter Scott Buchanan. Ramsey had a main event start on the outside of the fourth row.
Martin was on the outside of a four-wide configuration going into turn one of the first lap, and his Lincoln Town Car was assisted into the turn one wall. The Town Car’s radiator was busted off its mounts, the bumper was torn off, and the battery was dislodged.
Martin had spent the previous four years driving in the Cruiser class. “I enjoyed it,” he said of his first Factory Stock race. “It was different. I felt comfortable.”
Martin noted that in the Factory Stocks he didn’t have to coordinate with the driver on the gas pedal. “I think it’s a little easier,” he said.
Although the Town Car retained its police car decor, track personnel told Martin to remove the lights and siren which had graced the car during its Cruiser years and the car was bereft of that decoration. “I thought it was a crowd-pleaser,” Martin said.
The incident involving Martin wasn’t the only one to occur on the first lap. Although no yellow flag was thrown at the time of Martin’s immobility, Buchanan had reached the far straightaway before being turned around. Ronnie Cole hit Buchanan’s car head-on, and the first red flag in Factory Stock history was thrown.
Ramsey was behind Cole at the time. “I got to see what was happening ahead of me,” Ramsey said. “I looked way ahead coming out of the turn.”
That view of the far straightaway from turn two allowed Ramsey to avoid Buchanan – and thus also Cole. “I saw the car, so I stayed way right,” Ramsey said.
After the collision occurred, Ramsey was able to squeeze between the crash and the wall. “I just nailed it,” he said.
Ramsey was fourth after the red flag. After the restart following a fourth-lap yellow flag Kinnane, who was in second, spun while Davis passed Ramsey. Kinnane and Ramsey battled for fourth during the 14th lap before Kinnane finally pulled ahead a lap later.