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Racing Around: Mortensen keeps his victory

June 2, 2011
By JAMES A. ELLIS ( , The Leader Herald

Creating a level playing field was one of the intents, along with keeping the cost down, in the creation of the 602 limited sportsman division that runs sealed crate engines.

However, teams and drivers are always looking for an edge whether it is under the hood or just hitting the right set-up.

Saturday night, after Mark Mortensen's victory in the 20-lap 602 limited sportsman feature at Fonda Speedway, a protest was filed and his car impounded for testing.

Defending 602 limited sportsman track champion John?Scarborough questioned the horsepower that was being generated by Mortensen's crate engine after the strong run to his second feature win of the season. Therefore, he put up the protest money and the track officials impounded the car.

Tuesday, the engine was put on a dyno at Hunt's Machine Shop and deemed 100 percent legal. Mortensen was officially awarded the victory, prize money and trophy at that time.

"The motor is 100 percent legal and I would like to thank everyone on the Mortensen Motorsports Racing Team for their cooperation in this matter," Fonda Speedway promoter Ric Lucia said.

The system worked and everybody involved should be commended for that.

Scarborough questioned the power, so he exercised his prerogative put up the protest money and specifically asked to have the engine checked on a dyno. The track officials honored the request and the Mortensen team cooperated.

That is the way it is supposed to work, and like it or not, Scarborough did the right thing. He had a question and followed procedure instead of just complaining about it.

Over the years, I have heard grumbling about people running light-weight cranks or using longer or shorter rods in their engines or even having padding on the roll bars that could be rotated to reveal mirrors so the driver could block.

Of course, seldom was the protest money put up. When it was, the majority of the time the situation was unjustified.

It also does work the other way where the rules have been stretched to the limit and after post-race tech or a protest, wins have been taken away.

The IMCA division had an engine-claiming rule, but there was allegedly a "gentleman's agreement" among the drivers not to enforce the rule.

I do remember a night when the present street stock division was just starting out and the engine-claiming rule was used and the tow truck driver was busy lifting claimed engines from two or three cars one night. One driver said he would not honor the claim because he had too much money tied up in the engine and he was asked to change divisions.

Midweek special

The first midweek special of the season is scheduled for Wednesday when the O'Reilly All-Star Sprinters make a return visit to Fonda Speedway.

Last year, the 410-sprinters put on a show that left race fans wanting more when Tyler Walker and Daryn Pittman battled down to the final lap of the A-main with Pittman pulling out the victory.

Also on the card is a 30-lap, $3,000-to-win main event for the modifieds.

This week

Fonda Speedway will host a meet and greet session on the front stretch, giving fans an opportunity to go track side and talk with the drivers and collect autographs.

The second leg of the Harry's Auto Street Stock Series will be run at Glen Ridge Motorsports Park on Robison and Smith Uniform Service Night.

Caroga Creek Raceway will host a two-day racing event on Friday and Saturday.

Along with Friday night's normal race card, Saturday's program will feature the New York Dirt Kart Series in the opening event of its six-race season. Gates open at 4 p.m. Friday with racing starting at 7 p.m. Gates will open at 3 p.m. Saturday with the green flag dropping on the program at 6 p.m.



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