There’s an old adage that works out just as well in sports as in life.
“Better lucky than good — is that what they say” said Modesto’s Mike David, minutes after recording his fifth NASCAR Grand National West Series career win and his first win in 2007 action Saturday at Altamont Motorsports Park.
That’s the old saying — but it’s even better to be both.
David certainly seemed to have a mix of fortune and skill at his disposal, as the 2006 points runner-up and sportsmanship award winner kept his No. 2 Ford in or near the top-five for nearly all of the race’s 200 laps, despite nearly constant contact in the 27-car field and nine resulting caution flags.
The checkered flag became his after he tapped and passed second-place finisher Andrew Myers’s No. 44 car to move into third place on Lap 199. Moments before David entered Turn 3, leader Johnny Borneman’s No. 8 car collided with Justin Lofton’s No. 66, sending both drivers into the wall and giving David the win on the only lap of the race he led.
“I didn’t know they’d be that aggressive with each other — last lap, last corner,” David said. “They both wanted to win so bad … it worked out good for us.”
Tim Woods III of Chino Hills took third. The leader for most of the race, Mike Duncan, was forced to pit late with tire trouble after escaping contact.
“There was no other way to pass people here,” Woods said. “I’m not condoning that, but I understand. I got moved by a couple people and I moved a couple people. That’s how it goes.”
Woods ought to know. He held first from pole-winner Duncan until Lap 36, when Duncan roared back into the lead following a caution and held it until the Lap 100 break. He pitted just before the Lap 193 caution that led to the finale.
Tracy’s Ryan Philpott won his third consecutive NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Western Late Models contest in the early event after winning his third pole for the best qualifying time in the 17-car field.
He started eighth after the usual inversion but took first in Lap 23 of the 100-lap affair after a bump on a restart, keeping his No. 52 Chevrolet “Red Rocket” undefeated for the season.
“This is the one we built from the ground up to race fast, and that’s what it’s doing,” Philpott said. “It’s fast on Lap 1 and it’s fast on Lap 100. We’ll just keep it dialed up for the long runs, and keep on getting the wins.”
The WLMs retake the track Saturday. The Grand National Series will return for its season finale in September.
David’s win means the Modesto driver has swept all the recent local Grand National events. Both of his 2006 wins came at Stockton 99 Speedway … Though it wasn’t his first visit, Woods is the first black driver to race a NASCAR event at Altamont. He also raced last October … During the Grand National race, a sound meter picked up on noise levels of up to 100 decibels at the edge of the track’s property … A helicopter and small single-engine airplane visited the skies above Altamont during Saturday’s races. Track officials said they had nothing to do with the program. The FAA had warned officials last fall about aircrafts after neighbors’ complaints … The first Toyota Camry to compete in the West Series and the first to compete in stock car racing at Altamont was brought onto the track as Kyle Cattanach and the Melo Motorsports team made their series debut. Despite losing several laps due to unscheduled pit stops, Cattanach finished 14th.
To reach Sports Editor Christopher H. Roberts, call 830-4267 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.