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Buttonwillow Raceway, California

November 12-13, 2005 - Wrapping up this racing season was about as good, as the beginning of the season! The enthusiasm of the spec racers just can’t be matched. This was the last race counting both for the Western States Challenge Series, and the Nor Cal Regional Series. Spencer Sharp had already clinched the Western States Challenge, and had previous commitments so he couldn’t make it. But his dad Tim Sharp a very experienced, and formidable driver (also contributing editor to Grassroots Motorsports magazine) brought out the Levy Racing number nine car to support the race.

The Lawson’s showed up with only the number 11 car with Bob Lawson at he wheel, Dan’s number 14 is being readied for the twenty five hour race at Thunderhill the first weekend of December. Even with a few of the regulars not being there like Mike Easton, Ed Gavin, Mike Joyce, and Dan Lawson’s car, nine Challenge Cars went to war, on the three mile #1 configuration. Donny Edwards driving the #1 Evan’s racing car had to just start the races to clinch the Nor Cal Championship. But as usual Donny let everyone know he was there to more than just start, setting the pace from the first practice on.

Practice and qualifying went very well on Saturday with no major incidences. Donny set fast time with a 2:08 and change. Dave Standridge set up second quick.

The race saw all nine Challenge Cars coming down the front stretch waiting for the green flag, when it fell everyone jumped on the throttle and it was quite a sight. Donny took the early lead, with Tim Sharp in close pursuit. Bob Lawson started in the back having not qualified very well but immediately started picking people off, as the handling gremlins were resolved. Newcomer Keith Drake was getting to know the beautiful black number 43 in his first official race (see the build story on the factory five web site). Langley was driving the Mike Beeler’s red #110 having not finished the rebuild from the Infinion race crash on his own car. Keith Delaney driving for Farra Snook (they came all the way from Oregon) was doing fine until oil pressure indicated zero and had to pull in. It later turned out to be a bad sending unit and he was able to continue racing the rest of the weekend. Right at the later stages of the race Tim Sharp and Bob Lawson were running nose to tail! Battling hard for second. Coming out of turn nine to the front straight Bob got a really good run and might have passed but a yellow at the flag stand made him back off. Tim running very well held on the final lap coming in second. The finishing order was Donny, Tim, Bob, Langley Keith, Rick Anderson, and Robert woods.

Unfortunately Dave Standridge’s car fell out with some bent pushrods, putting him out for the weekend. The good news is his significant other Tasha Bigelow, has taken delivery of another spec racer that LK Motorsports is building, and she will be a welcome addition to next year’s competitors.

Although the Nor Cal championship was rapped up, not so for third and fourth as Langley and Bob Lawson were a mere five points apart at the beginning of the weekend. With Saturday’s results that race was even leaving only Sundays race to figure who was going to be third in the season points race.

Sunday morning rolled around, and everyone was ready to go. Practice and qualifying went well except for the Evan’s car couldn’t qualify as they had a broken tranny mount that was being repaired and failed to get done in time. Langley set the fast time, with Bob posting second quick. This put the two on the front row, racing for third place in the points chase.

Coming down for the green flag Bob got the jump but the two touched with Langley’s left front getting into the right side rear wheel of Bob’s car sending his spinning in front and around Langley’s car, the wild scramble ensuing had everyone dodging the mayhem as Bob barely stop the car a mere inches before hitting the wall! Shoving it back in gear and setting out in hot pursuit. After the dust cleared Donny had driven into the dirt, but had passed the entire field! Langley was hot on his tail, and Tim Sharp was third, but he had been rear ended in the maylay, and soon found out third gear had broke leaving him on the sidelines. Keith Drake took up the chase after Langley. Everyone one was setting a torrid pace, but none were going faster than Bob Lawson! Bob was driving with his hair on fire! After getting back on the track Bob started picking off cars, but had a long way to go to catch the leaders in just 35 mins. Undaunted Bob pressed very hard and after about six laps had passed Keith for third and could see Langley and Donny at the end of the front straight as he came on to it. They could also see him! Lap after lap Bob continually closed the gap, as Donny started to pull away from Langley. Although pulling away his laps were about one second per lap slower than Bob’s #11 that was just on fire! As the laps were getting down to the end Langley feeling the heat miscalculated turn one and spun out into the dirt, just as he came back on the track Bob streaked by setting sail for Edwards in the number one car, a mere four seconds ahead. Langley back on the track was pushing his limits trying to get Bob back but one lap later missed the apex on turn seven spinning again and dashing any hope of catching Bob and securing third place in the points chase. But Bob had already forgotten about Langley and was still closing on Donny as they took the white flag, only a mere three car lengths behind! As they came onto the front straight streaking towards the checkered flag Donny put one tire in the dirt and Bob got his run, but Donny held on by the distance of the front fender! It was quite an ending to a great season!

The final points standing will be posted on the challenge series sight soon.

Congratulations to Spencer Sharp on garnering the West Coast Challenge Series Championship, and to Donny Edwards on the Nor Cal regional championship.

We are all looking forward already to next year season. There will be about twenty cars per race next year starting In February! There are currently seven new cars and teams being built at this writing.

Until then I wish everyone a great holiday season, and we will see you at the track in 2006.

Dan Lawson

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