Until his 1970 Chevy Monte Carlo broke an axle in the 70th lap of the 100-lap Pure Stock Enduro race November 7 at Barona Speedway, Jim Ramsey was running fourth.
“The car handled well, for 70 laps anyway,” Ramsey said. “Overall I was happy with the race.”
The Pure Stocks made their debut at Barona Speedway this year when Barona Speedway promoter Todd Salazar created the class to accommodate the Factory Stock cars from Perris.
“It’s just such an easy class to build a car for,” Salazar said. “It’s a fun class; it’s a cheap class.”
Ramsey, who raced a Factory Stock at Perris in 2008, was a regular in the division during the points season races and finished seventh in the final standings. Barona’s season concluded with non-points races November 7, including the 100-lap Enduro.
The track’s first Enduro saw 14 Pure Stock vehicles take the original green flag.
“Disappointed in the car count,” Salazar said of the Enduro. “I wanted 25 to 30 cars.”
While Salazar was disappointed with drivers who pre-registered and did not show, he was sympathetic to Fallbrook driver Mike McGlone, who would have been part of a 15-car Enduro had McGlone’s car not experienced carburetor problems after it was brought to the track.
McGlone was able to drive his car but was aware of a popping noise, and he opted to join Ramsey’s pit crew rather than to be a driver himself.
While Roy Costello set up Ramsey’s car prior to the race, the Enduro’s “hot pits” in the infield only allowed one pit crew member per driver. Costello watched the race from the stands, assisting during the intermission between 50-lap sessions.
A coin flip determined whether the drivers went in a clockwise or counterclockwise direction for each half of the Enduro. The initial coin flip provided for clockwise right turns, so the first half of the Enduro was also the first time in the track’s 16-year history that cars have driven in the other direction.
“The spectators thought that was pretty cool,” Salazar said.
The clockwise format placed Ramsey on the pole to start the race with John Krempp, Sr., on the inside of the front row. Krempp and his son eventually won the Enduro in their 1996 Ford Crown Victoria. Robby White and Dave White also drove a 1996 Crown Victoria.
“The police interceptor cars, you just can’t keep up with them in the corner,” Ramsey said.
Ramsey’s Monte Carlo and Cole Dick’s 1970 Dodge Coronet were the two oldest cars in the race.
“My car and Cole Dick’s car were probably the heaviest cars,” Ramsey said.
Mike Thing drove a 1996 Chevrolet Caprice for the first 50 laps before Tom Jaggi took that car for the second half of the race. John Krempp Sr. led after the first lap while Thing was in second place and Ramsey was third after one lap. Ramsey passed Thing in the fourth lap to take over second place.
Ramsey first encountered lapped traffic in the eighth lap before passing John Smith’s 1988 Crown Victoria. Ramsey also had to slow for lapped traffic in the 14th lap when he and Robby White went three-wide with a lapped car. White eventually overtook Ramsey for second in the 18th lap.
Because Barona Speedway is a dirt oval, a yellow flag had to be thrown in the 27th lap to remove debris from the track. Dick became the first driver to exit the race in the 30th lap.
In the 35th lap, Dave Evangelou took over third place at Ramsey’s expense. “He got me in turn four there,” Ramsey said.
Evangelou had the help of two lapped cars in Ramsey’s way.
“I went high up along the wall and he went low and he got me out of the corner,” Ramsey said.
Ramsey was on the lead lap until being lapped by Krempp in the 41st lap. Ramsey entered the infield hot pits in the following lap due to a flat tire, but despite re-entering the track two laps down he was still fourth when the Enduro took a break after the first 50 laps.
“I was running well,” Ramsey said. “From lap one I was just throttle open.”
The coin flip sent the 13 remaining cars counterclockwise for the second 50 laps. Seven of those cars utilized relief drivers while six of the drivers, including Ramsey, continued for the second half of the race. McGinn exited the race in the 55th lap after his car’s transmission cooler fell off and he ran it over.
Ramsey left the track in the 70th lap after the Monte Carlo broke its right rear axle. He thus finished 31 laps down and in 12th place.
“Things happen,” Ramsey said. “That’s just part of racing.”
Only seven drivers finished the race.
The broken axle was Ramsey’s third of the season. Ramsey’s seventh-place finish in the season point standings came despite missing three races entirely, failing to start a fourth after breaking an axle during practice laps, and failing to finish an additional race.
Ramsey’s entrance into the pits caused a red flag after a fire broke out under his hood due to oil leaking out of the car’s breather. The only damage to his car from the fire was to the spark plug wires.
“I just had a blast,” Ramsey said. “Hopefully we can have a couple of those next year.”
Ramsey was sponsored by Costello’s Auto Repair, Fallbrook Muffler, Hruby Orbital Systems, Quality Clutch and Transmission, and Village News, Inc.