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Mud Drags races are back at the fair
Denair local places 2nd
Blake Bennett of Denair was the only local contestant that competed in Wednesday's Mud Drag races. Bennett finished in second place to Bob Nelson of Madera. - photo by CANDY PADILLA/The Journal

After a year in hiatus, the Mud Drags races returned on Wednesday afternoon for some motorsports action at the 2015 Stanislaus County Fair.


A total of eight drivers competed for a $500 grand prize and bragging rights in the open class division.


Denair's Blake Bennett, in his 1985 Chevy pickup, managed to make his way into the final where he eventually lost to Bob Nelson of Madera in a tight championship race.


“I lost and I am a fair loser, but in theory there is always a faster lane. I feel if I had switched lanes then I might have had a better chance,” said Bennett.


“This is my first time here. Anytime I can find mud to go and play in, I will go,” Nelson said. “I will go wherever they are. If I have time and get off work then I will go, I really enjoy it.”


Nelson, 60, along with his son Robert, has been riding for 23 years. For Wednesday’s event they ran their 1970 vintage Bronco to near perfection, winning in outright fashion in the two races prior to the finale and topping out in the qualification round.


“I have been doing this because we are a little competitive — let’s just say that because I don't like to lose,” Nelson said. “We usually race each other so nobody lets up. It’s a good father-son relationship.”


The Bronco is unlike any other as it has full size axles along with a 205 transfer case and the engine is stroked to 557 cubic inches with all trick flow, said Nelson. The car all together weighs in at about 4,700 pounds.


“I have only changed this engine once,” Nelson said. “We do the work ourselves, my son and I. We have no sponsors so all we invest is from our pocket and is used to build our little toy.”


Bennett, who is 29-years-old and started racing about 12 years ago, began the afternoon with a solid performance in the qualifying round and swept through his first and second to earn himself a championship meeting against Nelson.


“I always come to Turlock because it is my hometown track,” said Bennett, who won the super stock in 2010, 2012 and 2013. “It’s nice because I get a lot of friends and family members that are able to come out and watch me race. It’s great being local and being able to get support.”