WATSONVILLE — The 15th running of the Mike Cecil Memorial race began with four prior winners in the lineup. But at the end of 50-lap race, it was Salinas’ Bobby Hogge IV claiming his third title. Former Cecil winner Cody Burke of Salinas finished second followed by his brother Austin, Todd Hermosillo and Chowchilla’s Alex Stanford.
“This is a great honor, being able to pay tribute to Mike and his family,” Hogge said. “Racing families like the Cecil’s are a wonderful part of the speedway’s heritage.”
Cecil, a Watsonville resident, died of cancer in September 1997. Like his father Jerry, he became a tough competitor; his talent and determination produced the street stock division championship in 1995. After his championship season, he stepped up to the track’s major-league division driving a Grand American modified car in 1996 and 1997. The highlight of Cecil’s short modified career was a trophy-dash win on the Fourth of July weekend.
The street stock event was a 100-lap memorial race that began in 1998 with David Soito Jr. taking the win. Danny Scott won the final street stock event in 2006. The class was discontinued, and the memorial event was run by the modified division from 2007 to today. Hogge had back-to-back wins in 2007 and 2008. Hogge’s win last Friday equaled Dennis Phelphrey’s three wins from 2000, 2002 and 2004.
On Friday, Hogge passed front-row starter Todd Hermosillo on lap three to lead the remaining 47 laps despite numerous challenges from the field.
Livermore’s Brian Cass, 2011 track champion and Cecil winner, was the first to drop out with brake problems on lap 13. The 2009 champion, Jim Pettit II of Prunedale, suffered a broken rear suspension and left the race on lap 30.
There were seven starters who battled in the final lap. Stanford and the Burke brothers were Hogge’s most serious challengers.
For the complete article see the 07-31-2012 issue.
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