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Round two of the 2017 NMRA-TQ Midget Series took place Saturday at the banked, third-mile clay Bakersfield Speedway. TQ teams call the speedway their home track and they were one of the multi-divisions in action as usual. The combined field this week totaled 108 racing cars in the pits beyond turns one and two.
NMRA-TQs ran a pair of five-car, eight-lap heat races and a 20-lap main event, won by Chuck West, of Clovis. The six-time NMRA-TQ driving champion started fifth and led all 20 laps. With TQ driving titles in 2002, 06, 08, 11-12 and 15 already on his racing resume, West is atop the current driver point standings. The father of three daughters drove the No. 38 West Evans Motorsports Spike/Bob Wirth Suzuki. West now leads season opening winner Bruce Hiroshima 126-124.
West Evans, the NMRA manager since the association was reborn in 2002, started sixth and finished second. The three-time TQ driving champion (2010, 13 and 15) drove his own No. 36 Spike/Bob Wirth Suzuki. He now ranks sixth in 2017 driving points and holds first and fifth as a car owner. His third TQ midget, the No. 37 Stealth/Bob Wirth Suzuki, will see action this season later with Shawn Buckley as the driver.
Camarillo resident Bruce Hiroshima, still chasing his first TQ championship as a driver and car owner, started fourth and finished third. He drove his No. 5 Rick Stewart chassis with a 750cc Honda engine. Pole starter Brandon Wiley, from Sierra Madre, drove Hiroshima's No. 20 Clerc/Honda to fourth position. Scott Dobson, the 2009 NMRA driving champion, raced his own Stealth/Kawasaki from seventh grid position to fifth place.
Scott Niven, from Moorpark, started third and finished sixth in Steve Parke's No. 59 Stewart/Honda. Rookie Jason Arnolde, from Santee, came from ninth in Rick Poe's Dennis Hart-built chassis with Honda power. Second-year TQ driver Kevin Kale, from Westminster, started second in his dad's Stealth/Honda and placed eighth.
Lakewood's Wes Cummings, NMRA's 2016 rookie of the year, drove a second Ace Kale-owned TQ, a Dave Ellis/Honda, to ninth spot. Patriarch Ace Kale, of Westminster, started eighth in his No. 77 Stewart/Honda and followed his No. 07 and 70 TQs in tenth place.
The two heat races went to West, from pole position, and to Wiley, from last starting spot. Runners-up were Niven (from second) and Evans (from fourth). The next non-wing NMRA-TQ race will be Saturday, April 22 when another open-wheel class, winged California Lightning Sprints that also use motorcycle engines, also will be on the Bakersfield Speedway multi-division racing program.
Heat 1 – 8 L: Chuck West, Scott Niven, Scott Dobson, Jason Arnolde, Wes Cummings.
Heat 2 – 8 L: Brandon Wiley, West Evans, Bruce Hiroshima, Kevin Kale, Ace Kale.
Main – 20 L: C. West, W. Evans, Hiroshima, Wiley, Dobson, Niven, Arnolde, K. Kale, Cummings, A. Kale.
      Drivers                                     Car Owners
1 Chuck West       126     1 No. 38 Evans Motorsports 132
2 Bruce Hiroshima 124     2 No. 5 Bruce Hiroshima     130
3 Scott Niven         111     3 No. 59 Steve Parke           117
4 Scott Dobson       105   4 No. 18 Scott Dobson         111
5 West Evans         102   5 No. 36 Evans Motorsports  108
6 Kevin Kale             96   6 No. 07 Ace Kale                 96
7 Ace Kale               80   7 No. 77 Ace Kale                 86
8 Wes Cummings     69   8 No. 70 Ace Kale                 75
9 Brandon Wiley       57   9 No. 20 Bruce Hiroshima      60
10 Don Mosley          54  10 No. 11 Doyle Mosley          57