NEWS UPDATE: Surprise Upset Leaves Michael Kanke at Eighth in Irwindale Race

UPDATE–FRAZIER PARK (July 18, 2009, 11:07 p.m.)—In a surprise upset, favorite Michael Kanke of Frazier Park came in eighth at the Stockcar Racing League  (SRL) Spears Southwest Tour Series at Irwindale today. The top three leaders, including Kanke, ended up with late-lap mechanical problems.

The San Bernardino Sun reported tonight that Troy Ermish of Fremont "came up with a shocking victory in front of 2,000 when the most dominant three drivers in the race went from the front to practically out of the race with four laps to go."

Kanke, who won three of the first four races this year, was in the front for most of the first 95 laps. Greg Voigt of Goleta and Jim Pettit II of Prinedale, were in second and third place.

"But things went crazy," wrote reporter Keith Lair, of the San Bernardino Sun. "With four laps to go, Pettit blew an engine and slid into the Turn 3 wall. During the caution period, Voigt…suffered a flat rear right tire and had to leave the track to get it changed. When track officials cleared the Pettit mess, Kanke was unable to take off on the restart. His engine went sour. That opened the door for Ermish, 42, who set a series track record with a qualifying run of 99.475 mph."

"I was totally surprised," Ermish said. "They told me on the restarts that Kanke’s start was really, really slow. I jumped on the brakes the first time and the second time I about ran over him."

Kevin Callahan of Bakersfield finished second and Voigt was able to get back to third.

FRAZIER PARK (July 17, 2009, 3 p.m.)—Michael Kanke, of Pinon Pines (whose Kanke Transportation has its office in Lake of the Woods), sports a record of the most wins and top-5 finishes in the former NASCAR Southwest Series.

Last year he had to sit out the season, following injuries that required multiple surgeries.

But the wait was worth it. This year, Kanke, 47 is on his way to winning what is now called the (Stockcar Racing League) SRL SPEARS Southwest Tour Series. He has 208 points, after winning three of the first four races in the series this season.

Kanke won the season opener at All-American Speedway in Roseville and then won the Las Vegas Motor Speedway Bullring. He dropped one, saying, "that’s why they call it a race, ’cause you can’t win them all…." But three weeks ago, at Madera’s Fourth of July race, he rebounded with another win. He leads Greg Voigt of Goleta by 42 points.

The series will run 100 laps at Irwindale Saturday.

This is part of the July 17, 2009 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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