Urquhart wins heat race, sixth in main

Brad Urquhart won his Street Stocks heat race July 20 at Barona Speedway and finished sixth in that night’s main event.

“I’m really happy with the progress Mark Norris Racing is bringing to my car’s setup and performance. We changed the car’s tire stagger, and that seemed to help the car’s turning. We changed the gears and that seemed to help. We corrected the car’s tire overspinning from the last race coming out of the turns,” Urquhart said.

Norris first began working with Urquhart for Barona’s July 6 race. “Mark is as knowledgeable a person as I’ve met at the racetrack so far,” Urquhart said. “I’m really happy with Mark helping on the car.”

Urquhart, who finished fifth in the July 6 main event, began the July 20 heat race on the outside of the front row alongside Roger Kerr. “His car is considered the fastest car in the class,” Urquhart said of Kerr’s 2010 Monte Carlo.

Kerr had the better acceleration at the start of the heat race and led for the first three laps. “Each lap I slowly gained on him a little bit,” Urquhart said. “I was closing the gap each turn.”

Urquhart took the lead at the end of the fourth lap. “Between turns 3 and 4 I got on the inside of him,” he said.

Urquhart moved alongside Kerr coming out of turn four. “This time my car got a better forward bite and I pulled ahead just enough to take the lead,” Urquhart said. “My car took a little bit of a pretty nice lead on him.”

Barona Speedway is a quarter-mile dirt oval, and the track became rougher near the end of the eight-lap heat race. Urquhart’s 1978 Nova was pushing out during the final couple of laps. “He closed the gap on me, but I was able to hold him off by about a car length,” Urquhart said. “That felt good to beat him because his car is very fast.”

The heat race win was Urquhart’s first of 2013.

Urquhart raced in the Street Stocks’ second heat race July 20. Fallbrook’s other driver, Rod Robison, was in the first heat race and finished second after starting on the pole. “I led about half of the race,” Robison said.

Dennis Taylor went from second to first at Robison’s expense. “I just overdrove the car a little bit and let Dennis by,” Robison said.

After the heat race Robison found that his 1976 Nova had four burned spark plug wires. “It was probably really running only on six cylinders,” he said. “We were just down on power.”

Robison feels that the spark plug wires alone didn’t keep him from winning the heat race. “I should have been able to keep him behind me, but I wasn’t,” he said.

Robison matched his best heat race finish of the season. “I’ll take a second,” he said.

Robison and his son, James, are also part of Urquhart’s pit crew. Norris, Everett Hartsuyker, and Urquhart’s brother Todd were also on Urquhart’s pit crew July 20. Between the heat race and the main event the pit crew discovered that Urquhart’s tire toe was toed out too far, which Norris suspects caused the push on the rough track.

Urquhart began the 20-lap main event on the outside of the front row, alongside Kerr, while Robison started the feature on the outside of the second row, behind Urquhart. “It seemed like I was beside Roger all night long one way or another,” Urquhart said.

Kerr, whose car is approximately 150 pounds lighter than Urquhart’s, got the jump on Urquhart to begin the main event. On three occasions Urquhart advanced to Kerr’s quarterpanel, although each time Kerr pulled away coming out of the turns. The race included three yellow flag cautions which were followed by double-file restarts; on all three of those restarts Urquhart was positioned on the outside while Kerr was on the inside. “Every single time I got outjumped by his car,” Urquhart said.

“His running lines were perfect,” Urquhart said of Kerr. “That kept me from setting him up for a possible pass. Our cars were pretty evenly matched once the start was over. If I had been ahead of him, he would have had a difficult time trying to get by me as well.”

Urquhart stayed in second behind Kerr until the final turn of the last lap. “I just went for the big home run move on the inside and it was more than the car could handle,” Urquhart said.

“My car’s rear end slid around 150 degrees and spun into the infield. I was able to save it, but by the time I did four more cars went by me before I crossed the finish line,” Urquhart said. “I went for the win but just came up a little short.”

Urquhart praised Kerr’s driving. “#56 (Kerr) ran a great race and deserved the win,” Urquhart said.

Robison only finished eight laps of the main event. “We were still having problems with the car,” he said.

The ninth-lap failure turned out to be a broken transmission. Robison was given an official 12th-place finish. “It was a typical double points night,” Robison said. “I haven’t had any good luck on double points nights this year.”

Robison, who missed two previous races, was still seventh in the season point standings after the night. Urquhart, who missed three races prior to July 20, was eighth in the standings.

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