Harraka won the pole, but Jonathan Gomez took the early lead in the Toyota/NAPA Auto Parts Bonus Challenge. The two drivers battled for the lead throughout the race. Harraka was able to pull away at the end. But a caution with two laps to go in the race turned the 150-lapper into a three-lap shootout.
“The car was really good,” said Harraka, the 2009 Sunoco Rookie of the Year in the West Series. “We banged wheels a lot, but we had fun.”
Harraka, from Wayne, N.J. and driver of the No. 12 Toyota for Bill McAnally Racing, won the 2009 West Series season finale race at All American Speedway and has won three of the past four West Series races.
Gomez, a driver from Twin Falls, Idaho, finished second. He was followed by rookie Josh Combs from Sacramento, Gary Lewis and David Mayhew.
The race went 10 laps over its scheduled 150. Gomez said, running in second with a green-white-checker flag finish looming, he thought he still had a chance to beat Harraka and win the race.
“I did. I really did,” Gomez said. “I thought I could pinch him down. I really thought I had a chance.”
Newhall’s Greg Pursley looked like he was on his way to a top-three finish, but was spun out on the last lap. He went from third place to seventh.
Eric Holmes, Harraka’s teammate at Bill McAnally Racing and the winner of the spring race at Roseville last year, collided with Jack Sellers midway through the race. Holmes’ car suffered severe damage on the right side and went into the pits for repairs. He finished 10 laps downs and in 21st.
Derek Thorn, a driver from Bakersfield, won the Spears Stockcar Racing League Southwest Tour Series season opener at All American Speedway.
Thorn won the pole and the Mo’s Gold 125. Frazier Park’s M.K. Kanke, the reigning Spears SRL champion and the second-fastest qualifier, blew his motor on the first lap of the race and had to withdraw.
Thomas Martin, a driver from nearby Auburn, was second. He was followed by Josh Combs from Sacramento in third, Ryan Foster from Redding in fourth and rookie Carlos Vieira from Livingston in fifth.
Photo: Paulie Harraka takes a victory lap with the checkered flag in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West season opener at All American Speedway in Roseville. (Brian Bahr/Getty Images for NASCAR)