Round 3: Gaylord Steals Win From Center on Final Lap at Cocopah
YUMA, AZ (February 12, 2017) – The IMCA Arizona Modified Tour rolled into Cocopah Speedway for the third and final event of the tour at the semi-banked three-eighths mile dirt oval. A strong field of 76 IMCA Modifieds were checked in for the Sunday afternoon matinée, with the top 31 drivers making the field for the 25-lap main event.
Some say that afternoon racing can lack passing and overall excitement, but that theory was proved wrong in a big way as the Modifieds took to the track.
On the final lap, Ryan Gaylord followed leader Eric Center into the final set of corners when Center missed the groove on the bottom while trying to maneuver past a lap car. That left the door wide open for Gaylord and he capitalized.
Gaylord, of Denver, Colo., shot to the bottom to take the lead off of turn four, and the win.
“That was basically my only shot to get the win,” said Gaylord of his dive to the inside of Center on the final lap. “I was just trying to be patient and save my tires out there.”
As a result of the miscue, Center drifted back to the fourth position at the checkers. He followed Justin Zeitner and Hunter Marriott to the line.
After taking the lead on lap seven, Center held the point all the way until the final lap.
“I almost want to cry right now,” joked Center in victory. “But I’m still really happy. There is a lot of luck involved with this stuff and you just have to be spot on. We had a good car tonight, but one little mistake is all it takes.”
Jason George turned in a dominating performance during the IMCA SportMod feature. The Laveen, Ariz. driver led 19 of the 20 laps to capture the win. Mike Tanner, Nick Spainhoward, Brady Bjella, and Tyler Mecl rounded out the top five.
The IMCA Stock Car feature went to Andrew Altenburg. The driver out of Truman, Minn. took the lead at the halfway point of the 20-lap main event and cruised to the victory. Jason Rogers came home in the runner-up spot as Manny Baldiviez wheeled his way from 13th to round out the podium. Kyle Frederick and George Fronsman finished fourth and fifth, respectively.