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October 1, 2014

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If there were no races at Richmond, I’d quit watching NASCAR

I like to think that there is nothing that could curb my interest in NASCAR Sprint Cup racing. But if Richmond International Raceway were ever to be removed from the Cup schedule, I would have to seriously reconsider my commitment as a fan.

The raucous race we saw Saturday night is why this track is the perfect place to host the final event before the start of the Chase. Bent sheet metal, bent emotions and the settling of scores made the race one of the best of the season. And the fact that all of this started as early as the eighth lap demonstrated why this track has a reputation for wiping away the doldrums that set in from watching too many races on cookie-cutter tracks.

Judging from Saturday's race, I'd say the wild-card scenario NASCAR included this season forced drivers competing for those final Chase spots to lay it all on the line. Playing it safe to preserve points was out the window. Combine that with the fact many of the drivers trying to drive their way into the Chase had to overcome damage suffered in wrecks, and you can understand why this short track is the perfect location for the final race of the regular season.

The only thing more interesting than the competition for the Chase spots was the tension between the latest drama queens, Kurt Busch and Jimmie Johnson. We can be reasonably assured that their spat will continue for the final 10 races. And that's a good thing. Predictability is this sport's worst enemy. And it's ironic that Jimmie Johnson, who is predicable when it comes to his behavior and winning championships, is now at the center of the latest drama.

I thought that the initial altercation between Busch and Johnson on Saturday night was an innocent mistake by Busch. It looked like the driver of the No. 22 locked up his brakes trying to avoid hitting Johnson. But the five-time champ didn't see it that way. He was so committed to retaliating that he pitched his car sideways, getting to the rear bumper of Busch's Dodge. It will be worth watching the next 10 races just to see how this reality show plays out. And you thought Johnson was too vanilla.

Here are the results from the SCORE San Felipe Challenge of Champions off-road race in Baja, Calif. The race was held on Saturday. All results have been provided by SCORE.

Pro Cars & Trucks

SCORE TROPHY-TRUCK (Unlimited Production Trucks)—1. Rob MacCachren, Las Vegas, Ford F-150, 4 hours, 12 minutes, 21 seconds (59.94 miles per hour); 2. Gary Weyhrich/Mark Weyhrich, Troutdale, Ore., Ford F-150, 4:21:41; 3. Bryce Menzies, Las Vegas, Ford F-150, 4:24:23; 4.

Clyde Stacy, Bristol, Va./Juan Carlos Lopez, Tecate, Mexico, Tenn., Chevy Silverado, 4:32:24; 5. Cameron Steele, San Clemente, Calif./Cody Stuart, Capistrano Beach, Calif., GMC Sierra, 4:40:06; 6. Nick Vanderwey, Phoenix/Curt LeDuc, Cherry Valley, Calif./Michael Vanderwey, Phoenix, Chevy Silverado, 4:52:35; 7. Adam Householder, Orange, Calif., Chevy Silverado, 5:08:59; 8. Jesse Ashcraft, San Marcos, Calif./Adam Ashcraft, Oceanside, Calif., Ford F-150, 5:16:50; 9. Gus Vildosola Jr./Gus Vildosola Sr., Mexicali, Mexico, Ford F-150, 7:33:21; 10. Pete Sohren, Glendale, Ariz., Ford F-150, 8:32:;28; 11. Ken Losch, Tempe, Ariz./Greg Nunley, Tulare, Calif., Chevy Silverado, 8:51:48

(13 Starters, 11 Finishers)

CLASS 1 (Unlimited single or two-seaters)—1. Daniel McMillin, La Mesa, Calif./Chuck Hovey, Escondido, Calif., Jimco-Chevy, 4:29:23 (56.15 mph); 2. Kory Halopoff/Harley Letner, Orange, Calif., Alpha-Chevy, 4:34:26; 3. Brian Parkhouse/Cody Parkhouse, Long Beach, Calif., Jimco-Chevy, 4:59:19; 4.

Conan Barker, Whittier, Calif./Scott Zeppenfeldt, Brea, Calif./Brad Fauvre, Pacific Palisades, Calif., Porter-Ford, 5:12:12; 5. David Greenhill/Crowley, Texas/Mike Boone, Garden Grove, Calif., Jimco-Chevy, 5:14:06; 6. Dan Martin, El Segundo, Calif./Dale Dondel, San Jacinto, Calif., Racer-Chevy, 5:59:30; 7. Justin Davis, Chino Hills, Calif., ESM-Chevy, 7:48:46.

(12 Starters, 7 Finishers)

CLASS 1-2/1600 (VW-powered, single or two-seaters to 1600cc)—1. Arturo Velazco/Abel Velazco, Banning, Calif./Esteban Cruz, Banning, Calif. VBR, 6:22:07 (39.58 mph); 2. Brian Wilson/Kyle Quinn, Irvine, Calif., Kreger, 6:27:43; 3. Jesus Velez/Rogrigo Ferta, Mexicali, Mexico, PKF, 7:17:52; 4. Rick Boyer/Cory Boyer, Bakersfield, Calif., Lothringer, 7:20:41; 5. Luke McMillin, El Cajon, Calif./Justin Smith, Capistrano Beach, Calif., AlumiCraft, 8:32:10; 6. J.J. Schnarr, Reno, Nev., Levco, 10:03:10; 7. Brad Wilson, Long Beach, Calif./Brian DeNault, San Clemente, Calif., Kreger, 10:59:02.

(8 Starters, 7 Finishers)

CLASS 5 (Unlimited VW Baja Bugs)—1. Kevin Carr/Luis Barragan, Jr., Mexicali, 6:14:58 (40.34 mph); 2. Cody Kellogg, Cypress, Calif./Rick Wilcoxson, Upland, Calif./Troy Johnson, Riverside, Calif., 10:46:48.

(2 Starters, 2 Finishers)

CLASS 5/1600 (1600cc VW Baja Bugs)—1. Emilio Salcido, Calexico, Calif./Daniel Leon, Mexicali, Mexico, 9:53:37 (25.48 mph). (1 Starter, 1 Finisher)

CLASS 6 (Unlimited, production mini trucks)—1. Heidi Steele, San Clemente, Calif./Rene Brugger, San Diego, Ford Ranger, 5:57:12 (42.34 mph); 2. Marc Burnett, Chula Vista, Calif./Steve Willenberg, Lakeside, Calif., Ford Ranger, 8:00:18;

(6 Starters, 2 Finishers)

CLASS 7 (Open, production mini trucks)—1. Arturo Alvarez/Quetzalli Cortez, Mexicali, Mexico, Ford Ranger, 8:50:38 (28.50 mph); 2. Dan Chamlee/Tom Chamlee, Carpenteria, Calif., Ford Ranger, 10:55:22.

(3 Starters, 2 Finishers)

CLASS 7SX (Modified, open mini trucks)--

(1 Starter, 0 Finisher)

CLASS 8 (Full-sized two-wheel drive trucks)—1. Justin Matney/Jerome Miltier, Bristol, Tenn., Chevy Silverado, 6:23:11 (39.47 mph); 2. Noah Ostanik, 39, Encinitas, Calif./Kevin Guevara, 34, Vista, Calif., Ford F-150, 7:44:20.

(3 Starters, 2 Finishers)

CLASS 9 (VW-powered, Short wheelbase, single or two-seaters)--

(1 Starter, 0 Finisher)

CLASS 10 (Single or two-seaters to 1650cc)—1. Matt Cullen/Mike Lombardi, Long Beach, Calif./Chuck Sacks, Canyon Lake, Calif., AlumiCraft-VW, 5:34:10 (45.26 mph); 2. Sergio Salgado/Gustavo PinuelasMexicali, Mexico, Jimco-Honda, 5:41:12; 3. John Langley/Morgan Langley, Santa Monica, Calif., Racer-Chevy, 6:49:51; 4. Peter Hajas, Wayzata, Minn./Steven Hajas, Delano, Minn., Kreger-Chevy, 7:08:11. (4 Starters, 4 Finishers)

SCORE LITE (VW-powered, Limited single-1776cc-or two-seaters-1835cc)—1. Zak Langley, Santa Monica, Calif./Bernie Carr, Solvang, Calif., Smithbuilt, 6:22:04 (39.59 mph); 2. Rafael Navarro IV, Temecula, Calif./Vic Bruckmann, Lemon Grove, Calif., Jimco, 6:34:28; 3. Steven Lisa, Paradise Valley, Ariz./Anthony Lisa, Scottsdale, Ariz., Foddrill, 6:34:42; 4. Joaquin Moreno, Calexico, Calif./Jorge Sanchez, Mexicali, Mexico, Jimco, 9:53:07; 5. Sergio Frias, Jorge Cuchutemoc, Ensenada, Mexico, David’s, 9:59:48.

(6 Starters, 5 Finishers)

CLASS 11 (Stock VW Sedans)--

(3 Starters, 0 Finishers)

STOCK FULL (Stock, Full-sized trucks)—1. Wes Bevly III/Billy Wilson, Corpus Christi, Texas, Ford F-150, 8:36:57 (29.26 mph); 2. Joe Bacal, Anthem, Ariz., Lexus LX570, 10:24:42.

(3 Starters, 2 Finishers)

STOCK MINI (Stock, Mini trucks)--

(2 Starters, 0 Finishers)

PROTRUCK (Limited, production trucks)—1. Jessica McMillin/Andy McMillin, National City, Calif., Ford F-150, 5:23:58 (46.69 mph). (1 Starter, 1 Finisher)

CLASS 7-2 (Unlimited Mini-Truck, 2.2/2.4-Liter Ecotec engine)—1. Reid Rutherford, Montrose, Colo., Mason-Chevy, 7:09:39 (35.20 mph); 2. Fawn Finchum/Ryan Finchum, Mesa, Ariz., TrophyLite-Chevy, 7:21:19; 3. Bruce Finchum, Mesa, Ariz./Mark Cowan, Imperial, Calif., TrophyLite-Chevy, 8:16:50; 4. Wes Bevly IV/Michael Salinas, Corpus Christi, Texas, BajaLite-Chevy, 9:32:25.

(4 Starters, 4 Finishers)

CLASS 4 (Unlimited open-wheel car, 2.2/2.4-Liter Ecotec engine)—1. Clyde Stacy, Bristol, Va./Eduardo Laguna, Mexicali, Mexico, PSD-Chevy, 9:15:29 (27.23 mph).

(2 Starters, 1 Finisher)

CLASS 17 (Class 3, Modified Jeeps

(1 Starter, 0 Finisher)

SPORTSMAN

SPT CAR—1. Peter Lang, Santa Rosa, Calif./Peter Irving, Alamo, Calif., Homebuilt-Buick, 9:08:47 (27.56 mph).

(1 Starter, 1 Finisher)

1. Rob MacCachren, Las Vegas, Ford F-150, 4:12:21 (59.94 mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)

2. Gary Weyhrich/Mark Weyhrich, Troutdale, Ore., Ford F-150, 4:21:41 (57.80 mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)

3. Bryce Menzies, Las Vegas, Ford F-150, 4:24:23 (57.21 mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)

4. Daniel McMillin, La Mesa, Calif./Chuck Hovey, Escondido, Calif., Jimco-Chevy, 4:29:23 (56.15 mph) (Class 1)

5. Clyde Stacy, Bristol, Va./Juan Carlos Lopez, Tecate, Mexico, Tenn., Chevy Silverado, 4:32:24 (55.53 mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)

6. Kory Halopoff/Harley Letner, Orange, Calif., Alpha-Chevy, 4:34:26 (55.12 mph) (Class 1)

7. Cameron Steele, San Clemente, Calif./Cody Stuart, Capistrano Beach, Calif., GMC Sierra, 4:40:06 (54.00 mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)

8. Nick Vanderwey, Phoenix/Curt LeDuc, Cherry Valley, Calif./Michael Vanderwey, Phoenix, Chevy Silverado, 4:52:35 (51.70 mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)

9. Brian Parkhouse/Cody Parkhouse, Long Beach, Calif., Jimco-Chevy, 4:59:19 (50.53 mph) (Class 1)

10. Adam Householder, Orange, Calif., Chevy Silverado, 5:08:59 (48.95 mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)

11. Conan Barker, Whittier, Calif./Scott Zeppenfeldt, Brea, Calif./Brad Fauvre, Pacific Palisades, Calif., Porter-Ford, 5:12:12 (48.45 mph) (Class 1)

12. David Greenhill/Crowley, Texas/Mike Boone, Garden Grove, Calif., Jimco-Chevy, 5:14:06 (48.15 mph) (Class 1)

13.Jesse Ashcraft, San Marcos, Calif./Adam Ashcraft, Oceanside, Calif., Ford F-150, 5:16:50 (47.74 mph) (SCORE Trophy-Truck)

14. Jessica McMillin/Andy McMillin, National City, Calif., Ford F-150, 5:23:58 (46.69 mph) (PROTRUCK)

15. Matt Cullen/Mike Lombardi, Long Beach, Calif./Chuck Sacks, Canyon Lake, Calif., AlumiCraft-VW, 5:34:10 (45.26 mph) (Class 10)

This week's StockcarToon

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