MERCED, Calif. – Garrett Jernagan won the Al Miller Memorial for Northern California Sport Mods at Merced Speedway on Saturday night.
The Bakersfield, Calif., driver picked up $5,000 of the more than $20,000 posted purse in a 30-lap contest at the fairgrounds oval.
Fred Ryland made a fruitful event to track down the speedy Jernagan in the closing laps but came up short. Ever improving Cale Kanke brought his No. 33 home in the third spot.
Jernagan started from the pole position by virtue of winning the Dash. The leaders raced side by side on the two-lane track for five laps before Jernagan’s white and orange No. 4 pulled away to a two car length advantage leaving Kenny Schrader and Jacob Mallet to battle for the second spot.
The leader started catching the tail of the field on lap 10 when Andrew Pearce stopped in the middle of the track in the first turn when the rear end locked up on his No. 15p. The stalled car collected the No. 05 of Jarrod Mounce who spun to avoid Pearce who had to be towed off the track, retiring him from the event.
With a Delaware style restart, Jernagan was able to quickly pull away from the field which battled using both the high and low grooves. Mallet showed his strength and moved into the second spot on lap 13. But the caution would come out on the very next lap when Frank Cefaliello slowed on the track and pulled off into the pit area, done racing for the night.
Again, with another Delaware style restart, Jernagan took advantage of an open track to build up a comfortable lead until the caution lights would come on when Brian Baker would spun coming out of the fourth turn.
On the restart, Schrader would take over second and was followed by Fred Ryland moving into third. Jernagan once again showed he had a fast car, putting distance between himself and a pack of cars made up of Schrader, Ryland and newcomer Kanke. Mallet would lose the handle on his car, falling back into the fifth spot.
The race would slow on the 23rd lap as Mounce would spin again, this time trying to exit the second turn. After the restart, Jernagan would once again take advantage of a clear track and built up a nearly four-second margin. Meanwhile after a fierce battle, Ryland would take control of the second spot while Kanke ran third.
Although Ryland made an honest effort, he would run out of laps before catching Jernagan who led flag to flag.
Garrett Jernagan, Fred Ryland, Cale Kanke, Kenny Schrader, Jacob Mallet, Jr., Tyler Bannister, Nick Spainhoward, Matt Mayo, Richard Ragsdale, Tyler Rodgers, Randy Miller, Jarrod Mounce, Tony Feffer, Riley Jeppesen, Ryan DeForest, John Piker, Brian Baker, Kodie Dean, Frank Cefaliello Jr, Andrew Pearce