Thursday, December 19, 2019

Southern Oregon Speedway Awards Banquet, Pit Stops



Southern Oregon Speedway Racing Discussion
Can Be Heard HERE



Southern Oregon Speedway Awards Banquet
January 25, 2020
Los Arcos Mexican Restaurant
Sage Road in Medford
Bring a dish or dessert

Doors Open at 5:00 PM
Food Served at 6:00 PM
Trophy Presentation at 7:00 PM

Kendall Oil Sprint Cars
1    Mike Wheeler
2    Bailey Hibbard
3    Charlie Thompson
4    Enrique Jaime
5    David Hibbard
6    Johnny Burke
7    TJ Winningham
8    Anissa Curtice
9    David Marble
10    Jake Wheeler

Rookie Of The Year - Johnny Burke

Late Models
1    Trent Elliott
2    Dave Everson
3    Darren Coffell
4    Dave Foote
5    Miles Deubert
6    Mark Wauge
7    Bob Dees
8    Nathan Augustine
9    Chris Biggs
10    Eric Massey

Rookie Of The Year - Chris Biggs

IMCA Modifieds
1    Zach Fe∆ętinger
2    Jimmy Lipke
3    Ray Kniffen Jr
4    Jesse Bailey
5    Justin Foux
6    Duane Orsburn
7    Albert Gill
8    David Satterfield
9    Nick Trenchard
10    Jeremy Ohlde

Rookie Of The Year - Jimmy Lipke

IMCA Sport Modifieds
1    Jorddon Braaten
2    Mike Medel
3    Branden Wilson
4    Isaac Sanders
5    Matt Sanders
6    Steve Lysinger
7    Joby Shields
8    Brian Knorr
9    Austin Petrey
10    Willie McFall

Rookie Of The Year - Austin Petrey

Valley Store All Late Model Lites
1    Greg Arnold
2    Charlie Eaton
3    Ross Payant
4    Krista Hadley
5    Dusty Aos
6    Eric Aos
7    Terry Hadley
8    Pete Bowne
9    Jim Cunningham
10    Mike Cloud

Rookie Of The Year - Pete Bowne

Bobbio’s Pizza Mini Stocks
1    David Steele
2    Ashtin Hedges
3    Kristopher Mix
4    Hunter Magnan
5    Dylan Irving
6    Steve Goetz
7    Michael McLeod
8    Brandyn Wonsyld
9    Andrew Hall
10    Gary Anderson

Rookie Of The Year - Dylan Irving


Hornet Class Trophies Pick Up at Miles Deubert's JOAT Labs after January 28th

JOAT Labs Hornets
1    Dylan Sauer
2    Jenna Hedges
3    Tim Hedges
4    Quentin Tritchler
5    Chris Boynton
6    Shawn Nelson
7    Lacey Sauer
8    Ryan Nelson
9    Derrel Nelson
10    Zach Nelson

Rookie Of The Year - Quentin Tritchler




Pit Stops

The rumor is that Southern Oregon Speedway will have their banquet on January 25th. Who gets what trophies was the subject of some debate during the last month. In reporting the IMCA Modified finish in the season finale, the name of Jesse Bailey was included. There seemed to be a gray area in what Bailey had done. He took a green flag in an IMCA Modified Trophy Dash, but to the letter of the IMCA rule book, that doesn't count for anything. He broke in that race and didn't take a green flag in his heat race. Had he taken a green flag in his heat race, though he scratched from the Main Event, he still would have received his minimum 11 points. IMCA rendered its verdict, and Bailey was dropped from his podium point position as Jimmy Lipke will wrap up top rookie honors in second. Ray Kniffen Jr will enjoy his best career effort in third.

Interestingly enough, Zach Fettinger wasn't leaving anything to chance at the last race. Knowing he could break in his heat race, Fettinger asked track officials if he could save his car for the Main Event and start last. As there weren't enough cars to offer a B Main, he was perfectly within his rights to start last on the Main Event grid, thereby ensuring that he would at least get last place points. With Bailey breaking in the Trophy Dash, Zach had nothing to worry about. He is the 2019 IMCA Modified champion at Southern Oregon Speedway.

There's been lots of talk in the Late Model ranks lately. There's a persistent rumor that two-time Calculated Comfort Outlaw Pro Stock champion Dr Scott Lenz will finally be moving up to take on the challenge of racing with the Late Model stars. If this is true, it's certainly welcome news. The rumors that Pete Bowne purchased the Joey Tanner championship #111 Late Model were true. He put second-generation star Bruce Rayburn Jr behind the wheel at Yreka, and this resulted in victory. Rayburn gives us another star to watch in Late Models next year.

It's been rather interesting watching the development of Late Model racing at Southern Oregon Speedway. For years, management didn't give this division a second thought. The season might end with a special show, and there might even be a special show during the year, but there appeared to be no interest in having a regular championship race for this class, as was done back at the old Posse Grounds. When Mike McCann entered the picture, that changed. Three of the first people to jump on board to help build this class were 2016 champion Bob Dees, 2017 champion Nathan Augustine and longtime racer Mike Linder, who has since retired. All three can be proud that if the Late Model division has a fighting chance at Southern Oregon Speedway, they were on the ground floor in making it happen.

With a little more notoriety and money on the line, however, it was Trent Elliott taking the glory this year. He won most of the Main Events, picked up the $4,000 victory in the Cottonwood Classic and can call himself the champion this year. Elliott wasn't really challenged, and that left an interesting battle for second between past Pro Stock champion Dave Everson and Darren Coffell. However, Everson grabbed a podium finish in the finale, and that insured  him runner-up status in this year's chase ahead of Coffell. From the rumors we are hearing, car count is going to continue to grow next season.

Obviously, the division growing by leaps and bounds this year was the IMCA Sport Modified class. Frequently, their numbers reached into the twenties, and we're still hearing about drivers looking to join the ranks next year. The cream of the crop in Oregon seems to be three-time champion Jorddon Braaten, who again won State championship honors as well. Having clinched the track championship, Braaten has indicated that he's interested in testing his skills against some of the top drivers out of state, meaning we may not see him at Southern Oregon Speedway very often next year.

We're likely to see two-time champion Mike Medel. Mike didn't really have a banner year this season, but he was still a consistent Top 10 finisher. It seemed like the brakes started to go his way as the season came to a close, and then came the surprising absence of feature winner Isaac Sanders in the final race. Medel saved his best for last with a Top 5 effort that netted him second in the standings ahead of Branden Wilson. Wilson turned a few heads as he brought his Limited Sprint to that division's final race to make hot laps. It looks like he'll be doing more racing in that class next year, though no announcements have been made to suggest that he won't be competing in IMCA Sport Modifieds as well.

The competition level is at an all-time high in IMCA Sport Modifieds at Southern Oregon Speedway, as evidenced by the winner of the final feature. Past Outlaw Kart champion Bartley Foster shocked the field with a feature victory in that final race. This came just a couple of weeks after Merissa Henson won the $2,000 prize in the Sport Modified portion of the R Charles Snyder Salute. Like Foster, Henson got her start at the little track. This has many people looking at the division and thinking that they can shock the field next year as well.

There has been some Mini Stock activity as well, which has possibly been hastened by the discontinuation of the Hornet class. Two drivers responsible for giving the Hornet division the jump-start it needed, Tim Hedges and Derrel Nelson Jr, both have Mini Stocks for next season. We would not be surprised to see word that Jenna Hedges will join her husband and her son Ashtin to make it three family members in the class next year. Greg McDaniels showed up at the end of the season race and is likely to be seen more often next year. It's been sort of a transitional year for the Mini Stocks with newer drivers in the field, which has led to the dominance of seasoned veteran David Steele in winning his second-straight championship ahead of Ashtin Hedges and Kristopher Mix. However, it's expected that things are going to become even more competitive in the track's entry-level class next year.

People keep pointing to the Late Model Lites class and wondering if Steele would like to take on the next challenge. Lee Doty has been the chief instigator in getting this class fired back up during these past four years. We are also hearing of more drivers getting involved next year. We were happy to see the return of the Hadley family, and Krista Hadley certainly made her presence known with some strong performances. Husband Terry, the division's all-time win leader, had his mechanical problems or might have been tougher to beat. Likewise, longtime class supporter Eric Aos and son Dusty Aos didn't have the best of years.

Greg Arnold seems to be up for a race wherever he can get it. When Late Model Lites weren't competing, he might put a Late Model motor in his car and go out and run with those guys. One night, he had the Late Model motor in his car, but Lee Doty graciously allowed him to drive his car to keep his points up. The Doty car has since been bought by longtime competitor Ross Payant. Arnold did accomplish his championship goal, outrunning last year's title winner, Charlie Eaton. These three drivers are certainly expected to make their presence known next year, but they won't go alone.

Word has it that we will be seeing another member of the Walker family back in action again, the grandson of Hall of Famer Jim Walker and son of Tony Walker. Furthermore, the Narramore family has reportedly purchased the car driven to the 2017 championship by Bob Burkett. Though it seems to be a challenge trying to establish a car count in this division, nobody's giving up on the cause, and a fifth-consecutive season is anticipated.

The speedway has also had its strongest support for the Sprint Car class yet. The Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars came off of a very entertaining season, made more entertaining when Mike Wheeler skipped a race to go on a Hawaiian vacation. This opened the door for Wheeler to surrender his point lead to Bailey Hibbard, while past champion Charlie Thompson also set himself up for a shot at the championship in the final race. It was a night filled with drama, but Mike Wheeler didn't miss a beat in that final race as he reclaimed the point lead and the championship. He joins his nephew Jake Wheeler as a Southern Oregon Speedway champion.

Upon winning his second Sprint Car feature of the year at Southern Oregon Speedway, Jake Wheeler made the comment that he might actually run for points again next year. Wheeler was lured back into this class by Ron Osborne, who put him behind the wheel of his fast #42 car. Add in the knowledge of crew chief and longtime Sprint Car racer for Vern Wheeler Jr, and you have a winning combination. Having two Wheeler family members as a part of this class in 2020 will make things that much more interesting.

Chief instigator of the Limited Sprint movement, 2018 champion David Hibbard, is anticipated. He and his son Bailey have been strong supporters of the class for the past three seasons, and David could certainly not be accused of ignoring his race track when it needed his help. He's an example of somebody who has risen above and beyond to help keep the momentum that is being established here going. Drivers like Enrique Jaime, Aaron Miller and Blaine Cory still support this division. With new stars such as David Marble, Anissa Curtice and top rookie Johnny Burke, Sprint Car racing will continue at Southern Oregon Speedway going into 2020.

Southern Oregon Dwarf Cars have continued to be a reliable class at the speedway on any night in which they are booked. Frequently, they were bringing two dozen competitors, which produced some of the more entertaining action you would see on the 3/10th mile clay oval. It's a combination of drivers who have experience, such as reigning champion Josh King, two-time champion Brock Peters, Chad Cardoza, Ryan Smith and ageless veteran Fred Hay, and newer competitors such as Ashleigh Strain, Michael Johnson, Sean Trujillo, Shane Hines and Trevor Davis. When the Dwarf Cars come to Southern Oregon Speedway, they bring the speed and the excitement. They recently held their awards banquet, and King was crowned champion over Camden Robustelli, Cardoza and Hay.

Management is carefully looking at the things that happened this past season to figure out what adjustments might be needed or what additions might be added. Southern Oregon Speedway had its Third Annual Hall of Fame night, which has served as a way to get some of the old family names back to the track again. Thus, you're seeing names like Walker and Rayburn returning to the racing action. This is also a special night, because it honors the great heritage that is Southern Oregon racing.

The R Charles Snyder Salute is the marquee event of the season, but this year's Cascade Wingless Sprint Car Challenge, presented by Herz Precision Parts, was one that had everybody talking. Some are even referring to this as the race of the year. The Cottonwood Classic showed that Southern Oregon Speedway can still host a marquee Late Model show and had a good turnout. The IMCA Modified Wild West Speedweek race and the Seventh Annual Roger Haudenshild Tribute race were also very special nights. There's lots of things to talk about for what was accomplished in 2019, but there is much work to be done to make it even better in 2020. Rest assured, the planning stages have begun.


From My Point Of View

It's been quiet here on the Southern Oregon Speedway racing blog, which was my intention. For one thing, once the season came to a conclusion, I was on a train back to my old home track in Antioch, California. I spent a month down there helping out and visiting old friends. Also, I tend to shut everything down on my end for a couple of months after the season is up. I'm usually pretty worn out at that time. I always intend to do a little bit more, but for one reason or another, I shut down until a month or so before the new season begins.

Normally, you're not going to see my opinion shared on this blog. On my DCRR Racing Media sites, I tend to be more vocal in my observations. When it comes to this blog and Southern Oregon Speedway, I tend to just want to put the news out there so everybody knows what's going on. In my opinion, the state of Southern Oregon Speedway is pretty darn good right now. It's not as good as it could be, but it's better than it was before KJE Enterprises came along prior to the 2016 season. It's a work-in-progress.

Our promoter, Mike McCann, will deliver his annual State of the Race Track Address at the banquet, which will take place on January 25th at Los Arcos Mexican Restaurant in Medford. I know Mike will look around and see where we've made progress this year and where there's work to be done. Overall, however, numbers are up once again.

The business of trying to make a race track better isn't easy. It becomes a full-time effort. You stress on things quite a bit, and even when you pull off a good night, it's not always easy to stand back and enjoy it. We do work pretty hard at what we do. However, I would be remiss if I didn't point out that we couldn't do what we do without all of the great support of the drivers and their crews, the awesome fans and the sponsors of the speedway. Sponsorship certainly helps make what we do possible.

It's been an education for me. Though I've long since had an understanding of what goes into making a race track work, I've been educated in ways that I never imagined. Moving up to Oregon wasn't an easy decision for a lifelong Californian such as myself. However, there were two things that swayed my decision. Firstly, Mike McCann has built a reputation of going to race tracks that have been on the down slide and turning them around. I've respected his work from afar for years, so being offered the opportunity to come in here and do what I do was certainly very tempting. I was interested in being a part of this. 

Secondly, I'm somebody who believes in racing tradition. That means great racers, champions and all of that means something to me. Racing history matters. We may be where we are now, but it was the people who came along before us who helped make it all possible. I was very well aware of the history of Medford racing before coming up here, so being a part of the effort to help bring things back to respectability was something I was keenly interested in. I wanted to make people proud to be a part of the racing program at Southern Oregon Speedway again.

Southern Oregon Speedway has some of the most passionate fans and racers. They believe in this race track. They are always watching what we are doing. They will certainly let you know what you are doing wrong, but they are also willing to support you if you make a sincere effort. There were many skeptical racers when we came into the picture, and I honestly don't blame them. They had the last 10 years to look back on in frustration. Plus, they've heard it all before. You're going to make things better, just like the last guy, the guy before that and so on. Show me. 

The biggest issue we were dealing with when we came into the picture was dwindling car counts. Other than the traveling Southern Oregon Dwarf Cars and Calculated Comfort Outlaw Pro Stocks, numbers weren't looking so good in the other classes unless there were special events being held. We knew we had work to do to convince the racers in the established classes that they needed to be a part of this. We also knew that we needed more on the card so that we could strengthen the car counts in whatever divisions we booked on any given night.

IMCA Modifieds and Sport Modifieds are staple classes at the speedway. The fans enjoy them, and nights in which these classes are booked tend to get some of the best crowd support. In their eighth season on the roster, the Sport Modifieds had their best car counts yet. I don't know if we saw a night in which this division didn't deliver at least 20 cars. The competition level is tough, and if you win in this class, you certainly earned it. Anybody can win, not just the established names you might expect. This was proven twice late in the season with the huge victory of Merissa Henson and the season finale triumph of Bartley Foster. 

I personally feel like the IMCA Modified car count could be a little bit stronger. However, I also want to point out that I don't think we've had a car count with less than 10 entries in the last three years. This may not seem huge, but in the three or four years prior to our arrival, seeing double digits in the IMCA Modified class at any non special event was not the norm. You don't get yourself to the numbers you'd like to see overnight. I personally believe this division should be in the 16 to 20 car range, but we are still a work-in-progress. I'm happy to take the 12 cars per race we get now as there are some tracks that wish they had that. 

Southern Oregon Speedway also remains committed to IMCA sanctioning. Prior to last season, we were honored for five consecutive years under the banner of the oldest sanctioning body for auto racing in the United States. Next year will actually be our eighth season. Racers like the IMCA sanctioning because they know there's a consistent set of rules that most of the tracks run. Therefore, when we do big events under the sanctioning, drivers are more interested in coming out to support them. Also, if drivers have concerns over something that's going on in their division, they can always contact IMCA. Southern Oregon Speedway remains committed to maintaining this sanctioning for our two Modified classes.

In 2016, Mike made the commitment that race tracks rarely make these days. He decided to add both a Sprint Car and Late Model division to the rotation. This didn't just mean special races, but rather championship divisions. Not knowing exactly who was willing to do what, Mike took an open rule approach to both divisions. Our Late Model division came from the Open Stock class, while Sprint Cars running a limited rules package came from an open rules effort. Both divisions required investment on the track's part to make them fly. Southern Oregon Speedway has never made a serious commitment to establishing Late Model racing here, and there hasn't been that great of an effort behind establishing Sprint Cars either, despite the fact that we've had over a decade worth of championship seasons  prior to our arrival, the last being in 2010.

With the Sprint Car division, we've managed to build something thanks to several young drivers who have graduated from Outlaw Kart racing. This is good reason to be optimistic. Not only because we've got a Sprint Car division for the fans to enjoy, but given the age of the drivers on this roster, it bodes well for this division to continue to get stronger in the years ahead. However, we're not taking anything for granted. We will remain committed to running this class. Much like the IMCA Modifieds, we will continue to have special Sprint Car races during the season. 

Mike assessed the progress of the Late Model division as it entered its fourth season and decided it was time to give them a special race. With the August 24th Cottonwood Classic, Southern Oregon Speedway again became a track that showcased a big race for the popular class. Fans got to enjoy 24 of these high speed machines competing for a $4,000 for prize. We had approaching 40 different drivers come out for at least one appearance in this class, and new drivers are joining. Next season looks to be even bigger and better for Late Model racing in Medford.

It's important that we have Sprint Cars, Late Models and IMCA Modifieds for another reason. On almost every occasion in which we have a race scheduled, you will see at least one of these divisions competing. Fans like a nice variety of racing, but they also like the speed. These three divisions certainly bring the speed. By giving them nights off and rotating the classes, it helps keep the local drivers ready for any night in which they are booked. Personally, I wish we could book these divisions on a heavier schedule, but doing such would put the car count in jeopardy again and be a reason for fans to question whether they want to come out to be with us on a Saturday night.

 I couldn't discuss this year without mentioning something that turned out to be a big disappointment. After the rough-and-tumble way our second to last scheduled Hornets race went, the division was dropped from the season finale and subsequently isn't being considered for the 2020 schedule. I don't really want to get into the particulars of what happened that night or even attempt to point any fingers of blame. There's really no point to that.

When I was making my plans to come up here prior to 2016, I tried to get myself up to speed on what was happening at the track. I noticed the Hornet division was there, but it was almost an afterthought. In speaking with Mike, I suggested we needed to do what we could to grow this division. It's the most affordable way to get into the world of racing, and I saw much potential. What was neat was that it didn't take long before Miles Deubert of JOAT Labs saw the same potential, started building cages for these cars and came on board as the title sponsor. We made an effort to grow this class, and the numbers increased early on.

There were some good people who were involved in this class, and they are why the class did start to grow and was putting on some good races. My disappointment is that we were only getting started. I saw so much more potential with this class, but there were problems holding it back as well. Being the booster that I was, I'd like to have looked over at Mike and said that he got this one wrong, but I really can't. It was the only course of action that could be taken. 

In the end, it was decided that what was going on in the division could have a negative impact on the effort to turn this racing program around. The only other thing I can say is I'm sorry for the people who were not involved in what caused the decision to be made. Had there been enough support from these people all season long, another decision might have been possible, and Hornets could have been on the schedule for 2020. This is just my observation. For now, at least, it looks like the division has been put on hiatus.

What I do see is that the Mini Stock division continues to move forward, and it looks like there will be some new drivers joining the class next year. When we came here, we saw the car count grow to as many as 17 cars on one night in 2016. Everything looked to be going pretty well, but numbers went down a little bit after that. It was suggested to me by a few people that maybe the Hornet division being on the roster negatively impacted the Mini Stocks. Is that the case? I don't know. What I do know is the Mini Stocks put on a good show and we saw some new drivers on the roster that got much better during the year. Racing will only get better in this class in 2020, and I think we're going to have a bigger field as well.

Late Model Lites gave us three 4 Cylinder classes, though this division is a bit pricier than the Mini Stock class. They get around the track very quickly and do put on a good show when we have enough competitors in the field. As the season came to a close, we were seeing more drivers at the track. It is a good division, and there are people behind the scenes trying to get more drivers out there. From what I hear, numbers will be bigger next year. I also have nothing but respect for Lee Doty of Valley Store All, who was a big booster in getting the division back on the roster and has gone above and beyond as a title sponsor to give this division a fighting chance for the last three seasons.

The biggest car count was witnessed in the Southern Oregon Dwarf Cars. The association booked the majority of their races in Medford, and they again seemed to be a part of many of the big events we had throughout the season. They've got an impressive group of championship-caliber racers, but they've also attracted some good up-and-coming stars as well. What's good to see is that car count has risen to the point where we're in need of B Mains to help make the races go smoother and make for a better show. In terms of car count, Dwarf Cars and Sport Modifieds were certainly the MVP classes at the track.

If there was a class I could add to the roster, it would be a Street Stock or Hobby Stock division. When I say Street Stock, I mean more in line with the Oregon Street Stock than the California class. In California, you would probably call them Hobby Stocks. Technology is changing in such a way that this beloved division is fading away as cars are getting harder to find. What has been gaining some momentum is the IMCA Stock Car, which uses the metric race car, rather than the Camaros and Firebirds that have been widely popular in this division.

I can clearly look at the speedway and say that it's not necessary to have an IMCA Stock Car or Street Stock division. The Mini Stock class handles things okay. However, there are people who like their fendered Stock Car divisions with a little more horsepower. Southern Oregon Speedway has certainly not done much in its lifetime to build this type of class, and it would be nice to see. I couldn't tell you that this division will be added to the roster next year, because there's been no particular talk. However, it's possible we could see a race or two booked during the season. 

We did have an Iron Giant race scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend this year, but rain had other plans. This was particularly disappointing to me as the touring group delivered over 20 competitors in their visit the year before. From everything I was hearing, those numbers might have increased just a little bit this year, and I was greatly looking forward to their visit. Unfortunately, after the rain out, we were unable to schedule a makeup date that worked for both parties. As for next year, we'll see what comes.

The division that's been there when we need them is the Calculated Comfort Outlaw Pro Stocks. In my mind, we certainly haven't seen enough races for them in the past couple of seasons. The speedway was built in part on the strength of Pro Stock racing, which in the early days delivered such a car count that C Mains were needed. Some talented drivers have been a part of this class through the years, and they still have a good roster. When they come to town, we can see car count in the low twenties. We booked them three times this season, and the highlight was certainly the night they headlined in July.

The biggest problem with the Pro Stocks that I can see on the schedule is that they might not be needed for the R Charles Snyder Salute. We need to speed up a couple of programs we have during the year that are special races. That's one of those nights. The show certainly hasn't gone well for them in their two appearances at this race, and that's led to yellow-checkered finishes on both occasions. I've certainly got other ideas on where they could fit in, but I won't say much. I'd just like to see them more, and we'll see how things work out on the schedule. They put on a good show in general. I know some people will say they have their rough spots, but I see rough spots in other divisions too. It happens.

I can't talk about the Pro Stocks without mentioning the passing of Bryan Hammond. This was a night that was very emotional for me as I stood in the pits watching things unfold. Bryan was a staunch supporter of Pro Stock racing and was in the midst of his best season in points with the group as a Top 5 driver. Moments after taking the checkered flag, he suffered a heart attack in the pits. Depending on what the family might have in mind, I wouldn't mind seeing a night that paid tribute to Bryan. Not only was he a good racing supporter, he also sponsored the group on multiple occasions to help keep it going.

During the course of the season, we did different things to give the fans a nice variety of things to enjoy. I mentioned the rain out of what should have been a big Street Stock race. We did have a two-day Monster Truck event that went pretty well in June. A rare August rainout wiped out the $2,000 to win Ironhead Nationals for the Winged Sprint Car class.  Unfortunately, we weren't able to find a makeup date for them, but that race should be back next year.

Another race that I could make a case for being the most exciting race of the season was the Herz Precision Parts Cascade Wingless Sprint Car Challenge. This year, several local drivers took their wings off to challenge themselves, and Jake Wheeler clearly demonstrated that he is one of the top Sprint Car drivers in Southern Oregon. He nearly pulled off the upset victory over Geoff Ensign before settling for a still respectable second. They exchanged the lead back and forth on multiple occasions. It didn't take long after the checkered flag waved before this race's title sponsor, Mark Herz, signed on to support this race for another season. 

What was nice to see was how the locals embraced wingless racing just a little bit more. There was a better turnout in the stands as well. I heard more than a few people talk about how the Wingless Sprint Cars put on a good show. This was what Mike had in mind when he added this event. It was never about changing things over to wingless racing, though he did feature wingless racing at Sunset Speedway back in the day. It was about giving the fans different Sprint Car attractions. Given the fact that Wingless Sprint Series champion Rob Lindsay showed up and had a good finish in third, I would love to see that group come in for a visit or two next year. Then again, I enjoy Wingless Sprint Car racing as well as winged. Different disciplines, but both entertain the fans.

I'd love to put together a list of my 10 favorite moments, which would be the subject for another column. However, I'm very proud of the event we put on in June honoring Roger Haudenshild. We even cut a division from last year because we wanted to make the show go quicker. However, car count increased in the other divisions. We might be looking at a night that only needs IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds and Pro Stocks. Though we went late, the racing was good and the fans were still entertained. Going late and just accepting that as an "oh well" type of thing is not an option for us. We'll make it better. However, I do remain very proud that we've turned this race into something I know Roger would be proud of.

Our goal on any given week is to give the fans a good show that doesn't drag on. One of the reasons we scheduled as many divisions as we did on any given week is because we were growing the car count. At the time, we needed to do that to give fans 40 or 50 cars so they knew they were getting a respectable turn out. Car count in all divisions has grown to the point where we can actually run less divisions on any given week. This will all be stuff that Mike will factor in when he puts the new schedule together. You want to give the fans a good show so they'll be there to watch next week. It's not just about how many cars you have in the pits or what happens on the track, but you want to end at a decent hour.

I've heard other promoters even talk about the two and a half to three hour show. We're starting at 7 and it would be nice to end at 9:30 to 10. Obviously, you're going to have nights where things get a little bit out of control, but that's not the norm. The other thing I would like to see is getting back to Trophy Dash presentations after the Trophy Dashes. We were doing that during the first couple of years, but after we brought in the new clay and track conditions became more challenging, we started pushing the presentations off until the end of the evening in order to keep the show going. I think we can do better here. 

When I talk about track conditions, I have to mention how hard Jim Rodgers works to make things right. He's out there every week doing what needs to be done. He knows Southern Oregon Speedway pretty damn well, so generally speaking, he delivers exactly the kind of track he's going after. You can't control when rain happens the night before or certain things like that, but he does his best with what he works with. Though the clay has proven to be a challenge for him at times, I think he delivered some great racing surfaces throughout the year.

Presentation of program is pretty important, and this year we made the change to bring announcer Cory Penfold and Moxie Media on board. Cory was walking into new territory. Though he was familiar with the racers and the happenings at Willamette Speedway, he was learning a whole new roster at Southern Oregon Speedway. However, he and his enthusiastic crew endeavored to learn as much as they could and gave Southern Oregon Speedway the best coverage they could through their Moxie Media platform. Cory is already chomping at the bit to get back on the microphone and help make things even better. He's learned a lot, and he's ready to take things up another notch.

Getting back to the heritage idea, I'm so proud of what we've been able to establish with Hall of Fame night. Seeing people who have meant so much to this racing community through the years being honored with the recognition they deserve was exactly what I had in mind. I want the fans of racing past to know that we honor our heritage. It's helped get us to where we are today. Even better is the fact that we're seeing some of those family names getting back into racing again. 

We've only scratched the surface. I know there are people who wonder why this person or that person hasn't been inducted, but I know one thing for sure. There are many great racers and people behind the scenes who will ultimately be honored as Southern Oregon Racing Hall of Fame members in the years to come. Hall of Fame night will continue to be part of what we do, and I am so honored to have been part of the effort to establish this night on our schedule.

It's with honoring racing tradition in mind that I pushed for a race for R Charles Snyder. The Labor Day show became his night, and it's been wonderful to see the community embrace it. I know what Charles meant to the community, and every time people come up to me and talk to me about him, it's with love and respect for what he did. Again, we had another big car count with over 100 competitors at the second day of the event. The Sport Modifieds again knocked it out of the ballpark with just shy of 50 cars. It was again one of our biggest shows of the year.

There's so many people to thank from the people that I work with on the staff to people in the pits and in the grandstands that I've had the pleasure of interacting with. People who have helped make my job a little bit easier with their help. This is why I say we are a racing family. We are all a part of making this race track better than it's been in years and something we can truly be proud of. I hear other race track's names get thrown out there as the example, and my goal is to see people throwing Southern Oregon Speedway out as the example of how you do things right and make things better. We are a work in progress, but I defy anybody who was here four years ago and here this year to tell me things haven't gotten better.

There's certainly a few areas where we can improve when we're presenting the program on any given night. We're looking into a few of those areas. We know we can do better. I know where I have sort of lagged a little bit compared to previous years. I could do a better job of getting information out in a more timely manner. I know that within 48 hours of a show, all the information should be out there, and it was during the first three years. It's only this last year, as I felt a little bit more of the stress, that I've let things lag more than I should have. Articles should be up quicker, results should be up quicker and we need to do a better job of handling the MyLaps situation. We should be able to have those stats posted before we leave the track that night. 

I've analyzed the way I'm presenting things to see if there are things that I can do better. Obviously, putting the word out there has a direct impact on getting racers motivated to come out and race and fans more motivated to come out and spectate. Have I truly done the best that I can to make this happen? Numbers are better, but are they where they should be? I'm looking at other aspects of what we do on any given week to see what touches I can put in there that I haven't done yet. The souvenir program will get a good looking over as I enter my fifth year of putting those together. There is much room for improvement.

Cory and I recently had a conversation about the presentation of each race and making every event special and a night in which everybody wants to be there. Obviously, every race isn't going to be of the high caliber of an R Charles Snyder Salute or Roger Haudenshild Tribute, but that doesn't mean that every race can't be special in its own right. We do want to showcase every division on the roster. As I said coming in here, every division and every driver matters. I want to continue to do what I can to spread the word about the great racers that we have at Southern Oregon Speedway.

Hopefully I covered everything I wanted to cover here as I don't want to drag this on any longer than I have. It's been my distinct pleasure to be a part of Southern Oregon Speedway, to get to know all the great people in this community and to do what I can to help make things better than they were when I got here. There's more work to be done. After a little bit of a break, it's going to be time to get back to work. I look forward to seeing everybody at the banquet in January. More details will be forthcoming regarding the 2020 schedule, any rule adjustments and those sorts of things. Until then, thank you for reading and thank you for making the 2019 season at Southern Oregon Speedway such a success...

Don

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Orsburn, Wheeler, Foster, King Win On Hays Oil Championship Night At Southern Oregon Speedway


Southern Oregon Speedway Racing Discussion
Can Be Heard HERE

Orsburn Outduels Gill For IMCA Modified Win 
At Southern Oregon Speedway

White City, Oregon...September 14...Duane Orsburn wrapped up the season at Southern Oregon Speedway with an impressive 25 lap IMCA Modified Main event win Saturday night. Orsburn currently leads the standings at Siskiyou Speedway, and his win came after heavy pressure from three-time champion Albert Gill. With his third place finish, Zach Fettinger wrapped up the season championship.

Orsburn kicked off the evening with a four lap Trophy Dash win, and championship hopeful Jesse Bailey suffered mechanical issues in that race to end his night. Fettinger opted to skip the heat race and start at the back of the Main Event as a safety precaution. The heat race wins went to Ray Kniffen Jr and Gill.

Steve Borror had the pole and led just one lap before an inside pass in Turn 2 gained Orsburn the lead. David Satterfield followed into second, and contact sent Borror spinning in Turn 3 for the only yellow flag of the race on lap three. Orsburn continued to lead the restart as Gil slipped past Satterfield for second. A close race for third got too close as contact dropped Satterfield back several positions. Jeremy Richey held third just ahead of Jeffrey Hudson and Fettinger. Orsburn and Gill took their battle far ahead of the pack, and Fettinger took the fourth position from Hudson on lap 11. The leaders came up on slower traffic on lap 18. The slower car was running the bottom groove that Orsburn was running, and Gill took a look to the outside as they exited Turn 2. Unfortunately, Gill's momentum seemed to slow as Orsburn lapped the slower car. It was at that time when Fettinger gained the third position. Gill remained close behind Orsburn for the remaining laps, but Orsburn prevailed for the hard fought win. Fettinger settled for third, followed by Richey, Hudson, Kniffen, Dave Duste Jr, Satterfield,  Borror and Jimmy Lipke.

For all the latest news and notes from the speedway during the offseason, go to the Southern Oregon Speedway Facebook page or www.southernoregonspeedway.com.

Race Results
IMCA Modifieds
Heat 1-Ray Kniffen Jr, Duane Orsburn, Jeremy Richey, Steve Borror, Jeffrey Hudson.

Heat 2-Albert Gill, Dave Duste Jr, Jimmy Lipke, David Satterfield.

Trophy Dash-Duane Orsburn, Jeremy Richey, Jesse Bailey, Jimmy Lipke.

Main Event-Duane Orsburn, Albert Gill, Zach Fettinger, Jeremy Richey, Jeffrey Hudson, Ray Kniffen Jr, Dave Duste Jr, David Satterfield, Steve Borror, Jimmy Lipke, Jesse Bailey DNS.


Jake Wheeler Wins Race, Mike Wheeler Is Sprint Car Champion At Southern Oregon Speedway

White City, Oregon...September 14...Jake Wheeler drove an impressive race to win the 25 lap Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car Main Event Saturday night at Southern Oregon Speedway. This was the second win of the season for the 2016 champion aboard the Ron Osborne owned Sprinter. Despite losing the point lead coming into the night, Mike Wheeler used a second place finish to regain the lead and become the new champion.

Going into the night, Bailey Hibbard held a three point lead over Mike Wheeler and a four point advantage over previous feature winner Charlie Thompson. Wheeler and Thompson shared the first heat race, and it was Enrique Jaime picking up the win ahead of Wheeler. This gave Wheeler a one point lead over Hibbard, but Hibbard had the front row for the next heat race. After a false start, Hibbard made contact with one of the infield tractor tires and suffered front end damage, ending his heat race. This year's top rookie, Johnny Burke, won the race ahead of 2018 champion David Hibbard. The Top 3 heat race finishers redrew for their starting lineup in the six lap Scramble, and Mike Wheeler outran nephew Jake Wheeler to earn the pole for the feature race with his win.

The Wheeler's shared the front row for the Main Event, and it was Jake Wheeler leading from the get-go ahead of Mike Wheeler and David Hibbard. Forced to start last after making repairs, Bailey Hibbard worked his way very quickly into the sixth position and began battling Charlie Thompson for fifth. The yellow flag waved on lap 10 for a David Marble spun in Turn 2, but Jake Wheeler remained in command on the restart ahead of Mike Wheeler. Within a couple of laps, Jake Wheeler already held a straightaway advantage. An inside pass on the front stretch of the 20th lap gained Charlie Thompson fourth from Johnny Burke, but Thompson coasted to a stop in Turn 4 for a yellow flag on lap 22. Thompson's race was over, and another yellow flag flew for Jared Hood in Turn 1. Again, Jake Wheeler led Mike Wheeler on the restart as Camden Robustelli moved the TJ Winningham entry into the fourth position. Jake Wheeler cruised to victory, and Mike Wheeler solidified a championship season with his second place finish. David Hibbard settled for third, followed by Robustelli, Bailey Hibbard, Jaime, Anissa Curtice, Burke, Marble and Hood.

For all the news during the off-season, be sure to check the Southern Oregon Speedway Facebook page or go to www.southernoregonspeedway.com.

Race Results
Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars
Heat 1-Enrique Jaime, Mike Wheeler, Jake Wheeler, Charlie Thompson, Jared Hood, Anissa Curtice.

Heat 2-Johnny Burke, David Hibbard, David Marble, Camden Robustelli, Aaron Miller, Bailey Hibbard.

Scramble-Mike Wheeler, Jake Wheeler, David Hibbard, Johnny Burke, Enrique Jaime, David Marble.

Main Event-Jake Wheeler, Mike Wheeler, David Hibbard, Camden Robustelli, Bailey Hibbard, Enrique Jaime, Anissa Curtice, Johnny Burke, David Marble, Jared Hood, Charlie Thompson, Aaron Miller.


Foster Scores Surprise IMCA Sport Modified Win 
At Southern Oregon Speedway

White City, Oregon...September 14...Bartley Foster scored a surprise victory in the 20 lap season finale for the IMCA Sport Modified division Saturday night at Southern Oregon Speedway. This was only the third start for Foster, who is a past champion in Outlaw Karts at the little track. With his fifth place finish, Jorddon Braaten wrapped up his third Southern Oregon Speedway championship as well as the Oregon State title.

There were 21 competitors for the show, and they ran four eight lap heat races. Steve Lysinger and Billy Richey picked up their first wins of the season, while Branden Wilson and Siskiyou Speedway championship contender Ryder Boswell were the other heat winners. Wilson also picked up four lap Trophy Dash honors. Lloyd Speer was a Main Event scratch.

Foster had a front row start for the Main Event and bolted into the lead at the waving of the green flag. Joby Shields raced past Jesse Skidmore for second on lap two as Foster begin to stretch his advantage. Wilson was making a charge from the fifth row and settled into fourth behind Mike Medel on lap six. A yellow flag waived on lap nine, wiping out a straightaway advantage for Foster. Chris Silva retired, and Foster led Shields and Wilson on the restart. An outside pass on the frontstretch of the 11th lap gained Wilson the second position, and a yellow flag waved on lap 12 as Willie McFall and newcomer Brionna Fuller hooked bumpers. There were yellow flags during the next two laps, but Foster led Wilson on each restart. Even a late yellow flag on lap 17 wouldn't stop Foster as he resumed command on the restart and brought it home to the impressive win. Wilson settled for second with Shields a season high third. Medel settled for fourth, followed by Braaten, Boswell, Skidmore, Austin Petray, Richey and Merissa Henson.

You can keep up to date on any offseason announcements on the Southern Oregon Speedway Facebook page or www.southernoregonspeedway.com.

Race Results
IMCA Sport Modifieds
Heat 1-Steve Lysinger, Jesse Skidmore, Mike Medel, Merissa Henson, Lloyd Speer, Zach Nelson.

Heat 2-Branden Wilson, Austin Petray, Brionna Fuller, Chris Silva, Danny Rule.

Heat 3-Ryder Boswell, Bartley Foster, Joby Shields, Brian Knorr.

Heat 4-Billy Richey, Jorddon Braaten, Willie McFall, Gary Foster, Michael Rule.

Trophy Dash-Branden Wilson, Mike Medel, Jorddon Braaten, Austin Petray.

Main Event-Bartley Foster, Branden Wilson, Joby Shields, Mike Medel, Jorddon Braaten, Ryder Boswell, Jesse Skidmore, Austin Petray, Billy Richey, Merissa Henson, Steve Lysinger, Michael Rule, Brian Knorr, Brionna Fuller, Willie McFall, Zach Nelson, Gary Foster, Danny Rule, Chris Silva, Lloyd Speer DNS.


King Is Crowned Four-time Dwarf Car Champion 
At Southern Oregon Speedway

White City, Oregon...September 14...Josh King scored the victory in the 25 lap SODCA Dwarf Car Main Event Saturday Night at Southern Oregon Speedway. This was the fourth win of the season for King, who has won at seven different tracks this year, and he used it to wrap up his unprecedented fourth Southern Oregon Dwarf Car championship.

There were 21 competitors for the show, and Michael Johnson picked up his first heat race win of the season ahead of Trevor Davis. King outran Ryan Smith to win their eight lap heat, and Cody Peters got off to a good start by outrunning Mason Lewman to win the third heat. Cody Peters continued his momentum by holding off Smith to win the A Dash, while his father Brock Peters picked up the B Dash victory ahead of Camden Robustelli.

Lewman led the opening lap of the feature race before an inside pass in Turn 4 gained Cody Peters the lead. Brock Peters made this a close three-car battle up front, and they were soon joined by King. King slipped past Brock Peters for third on lap six, and King raced ahead of Lewman for second in traffic on lap eight. Cody Peters led King and Lewman through three yellow flags during a five lap span, but it was when a red flag waved on lap 15 that the race's complexion changed. Contact sent Jesse Lorentz flipping on the back straightaway to end his night. On the restart, King made a move around Cody Peters in Turn 2, and Brock Peters moved in to challenge his son for position. There was contact between the two on the backstrech, collecting Fred Hay, Reggie Ayers and Joe Sanders behind them. After a red flag to untangle the cars, King led Ryan Smith and Chad Cardoza on the restart. King set a rapid peace out front, and even a final yellow flag for Don Gifford on lap 22 would not deter him. King remained in control and scored the victory ahead of Smith, Cardoza, Hay, Johnson, Davis, Shane Hines, Ayers, Gifford and Dane Halbert.

For further information on the Southern Oregon Dwarf Cars, go to www.sodca.net. To keep up on all the latest happenings at Southern Oregon Speedway, go to the Facebook page or www.southernoregonspeedway.com.

Race Results
Southern Oregon Dwarf Cars
Heat 1-Michael Johnson, Trevor Davis, Ashleigh Strain, Joe Sanders, Shane Hines, Sean Trujillo, Steve Walker.

Heat 2-Josh King, Ryan Smith, Camden Robustelli, Jesse Lorentz, Paul Haslow, Reggie Ayers, Dane Halbert.

Heat 3-Cody Peters, Mason Lewman, Brock Peters, Fred Hay, Don Gifford, Chad Cardoza, Mark Nielsen.

A Dash-Cody Peters, Ryan Smith, Mason Lewman, Trevor Davis, Michael Johnson, Josh King.

B Dash-Brock Peters, Camden Robustelli, Fred Hay, Jesse Lorentz, Joe Sanders, Ashleigh Strain.

Main Event-Josh King, Ryan Smith, Chad Cardoza, Fred Hay, Michael Johnson, Trevor Davis, Shane Hines, Reggie Ayers, Don Gifford, Dane Halbert, Cody Peters, Brock Peters, Joe Sanders, Jesse Lorentz, Ashleigh Strain, Mason Lewman, Camden Robustelli, Sean Trujillo, Paul Haslow, Mark Nielsen, Steve Walker DNS.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Wheeler Family Tops Sprint Cars, Orsburn Wins Modifieds At Southern Oregon Speedway



Southern Oregon Speedway Racing Discussion
Can Be Heard HERE


Wheeler Family Tops Sprint Cars, Orsburn Wins Modifieds 
At Southern Oregon Speedway

White City, Oregon...September 14...Jake Wheeler won the 25 lap Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car Main Event Saturday on Hays Oil Championship Night at Southern Oregon Speedway. This was the second win of the season for the 2016 champion. Mike Wheeler was a race long second, and this enabled him to regain the point lead and win the season championship. Despite winning the six lap Scramble, Mike Wheeler was no match for his nephew Jake in the Main Event. David Hibbard held off Camden Robustelli for a third place finish as Bailey Hibbard settled for fifth.

Duane Orsburn won the 25 lap IMCA Modified Main Event Saturday night at Southern Oregon Speedway. This was the first win for Orsburn since 2016. Orsburn took the lead from Steve Borror on lap two. The only yellow flag waved on lap three, and three-time champion Albert Gill settled into second behind Orsburn on the restart. Despite heavy pressure from Gill for the final 20 laps, Orsburn kept his cool and made the right moves lapping slower cars for the impressive win. New champion Zach Fettinger finished third ahead of Jeremy Richey and Jeffrey Hudson.

Bartley Foster won the 20 lap IMCA Sport Modified Main Event. Foster led flag to flag for his first ever win. He held a straightaway lead over Joby Shields before a lap nine yellow flag waved. Branden Wilson settled into second on lap 11 and pressured Foster in the closing laps. However, Foster kept his cool and won ahead of Wilson, Joby Shields, Mike Medel and new champion Jorddon Braaten.

Josh King won the 25 lap SODCA Dwarf Car Main Event. This was his fourth win at the speedway this year, and it wrapped up his fourth championship. Cody Peters led the first 15 laps of the race before a red flag waved for a Jesse Lorentz flip on the backstretch. King made a move around Peters on the restart, and Brock Peters made contact with his son Cody on the backstretch for a yellow flag. King led the restart and the final 10 laps to win ahead of Ryan Smith, Chad Cardoza, Fred Hay and Michael Johnson.

This wraps up the 2019 season. For news on the coming season, check out www.southernoregonspeedway.com.

Unofficial Race Results
Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Enrique Jaime, Johnny Burke. Scramble (6 Laps)-Mike Wheeler. Main Event (25 Laps)-Jake Wheeler, Mike Wheeler, David Hibbard, Camden Robustelli, Bailey Hibbard.

IMCA Modifieds
Heat Winners (8 laps)-Ray Kniffin Jr, Albert Gill. Trophy Dash (4 Laps)-Duane Orsburn. Main Event (25 Laps)-Duane Orsburn, Albert Gill, Zach Fettinger, Jeremy Richey, Jeffrey Hudson.

IMCA Sport Modifieds
Heat Winners (8 laps)-Steve Lysinger, Branden Wilson, Ryder Boswell, Billy Richey. Trophy Dash (4 Laps)-Branden Wilson. Main Event (20 Laps)-Bartley Foster, Branden Wilson, Joby Shields, Mike Medel, Jorddon Braaten.

SODCA Dwarf Cars
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Michael Johnson, Josh King, Cody Peters. A Dash (6 Laps)-Josh King. B Dash (6 Laps)-Brock Peters. Main Event (25 Laps)-Josh King, Ryan Smith, Chad Cardoza, Fred Hay, Michael Johnson.


Thursday, September 12, 2019

Southern Oregon Speedway Preparers for Season Finale Saturday Night, Pit Stops



Southern Oregon Speedway Racing Discussion
Can Be Heard HERE


Southern Oregon Speedway Preparers 
for Season Finale Saturday Night

White City, Oregon...This Saturday night, Southern Oregon Speedway will be bringing down the curtain on an exciting racing season. It's Hays Oil Championship Night at the speedway, and there is an exciting Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car point race to be decided. Also competing will be the IMCA Modified, IMCA Sport Modified and Southern Oregon Dwarf Cars.

When Mike Wheeler took a Hawaiian vacation with his family and missed the August 24th race, he knew he had a little bit of leeway. He carried a 40 point advantage into that night, and Bailey Hibbard used a fifth place finish to cut that to 17 points. What Wheeler wasn't counting on was the motor issues that plagued him last Saturday night. He ended up last in the Main Event and lost the point lead as a result. He fell to three points behind Hibbard in what has become a hotly contested battle.

Meanwhile, 2009 champion Charlie Thompson stepped up and scored his first feature win of the season last week. It was a race that nearly went bad for him as he brushed the wall coming of Turn 4. He gathered it back up, but not before rookie David Marble made contact and flipped. Because Thompson continued his momentum, he found himself still leading for the restart. He would hold off the advances of Hibbard for the win, and he is only four point behind Hibbard with Wheeler just a point ahead of him. The championship will be determined between these three drivers, and it's anybody's guess who will win.

Mike Wheeler does lead the field with three feature victories this season, while his nephew Jake Wheeler also has a win. Jake started the season later than everybody else. He once again did a good job driving the Ron Osbourne Sprinter to a third place finish last week. He'll be out to see if he can win this week, and other drivers to watch for include reigning champion David Hibbard, Enrique Jaime, top rookie Johnny Burke and TJ Winningham.

Zach Fettinger set out to win the IMCA Modified championship this year after his struggles in the R Charles Snyder Salute the year before cost him any hopes of winning it then. Fettinger has a feature win, and it will be difficult to get him out of the point lead if he starts this Saturday night. 2017 champion Jesse Bailey has done a great job this year with a pair of victories, but because of his struggles at the R Charles Snyder Salute this year, his title hopes aren't as strong going into the finale. He may also have his hands full fighting off top rookie Justin Foux for second in the standings.

Jimmy Lipke has done an exceptional job in his rookie season in the class. Just a couple weeks ago, he scored a $1,200 victory in the annual John Arnberg race in Yreka. He is currently in the Top 5 in the standings at Southern Oregon Speedway and looking to strengthen that this week. Three-time reigning champion Albert Gill will be back giving it another run this week, and other stars to watch for include Yreka point leader Duane Orsburn, Ray Kniffen Jr and Jeremy Ohlde.

Jorddon Braaten has pretty much assured himself of a third IMCA Sport Modified championship, and he also leads the Oregon State point race. Braaten merely needs take a green flag to lock things up. He has been impressive all season long with three victories and a strong second place finish in the recent R Charles Snyder Salute. Isaac Sanders has given it a good run with a win of his own, but he slipped a little further behind in second. It's likely that Sanders will finish there, but there is a chance for others to advance.

Coming off of his solid fifth place finish at the big show, two-time champion Mike Medel has moved up to third in the standings, but it is still close between he, Matt Sanders and Branden Wilson. Things can still shuffle around, and a win in the finale could make all the difference for these three. Other stars of the division to watch this week include Brian Knorr, Steve Lysinger, Joby Shields and Willie McFall

All season long, the Southern Oregon Dwarf Cars have been a battle between Camden Robustelli and three-time champion Josh King. Each driver has picked up three wins at Southern Oregon Speedway, and it's likely that the title will be decided between these two. Also in the hunt, however, is the consistent Chad Cordoza. Though he hasn't won yet this year, he has a knack for finishing in the Top 3. For Robustelli, the frustration of losing the championship in a tangle in traffic in last season's finale is still fresh in his mind. He knows he will have to have another big performance to finally secure his first ever Dwarf Car championship.

In addition to these three stars, the Dwarf Car class has some other fast competitors who will be out to get the final win of the season. Leading the charge will be two-time champion Brock Peters, Cody Peters, Fred Hay, Ryan Smith, Jesse Lorentz and Kalvin Morton.

This is the last chance to check out some exciting racing action on the 3/10th mile clay oval this season. Gates open at 5 pm with the first race starting at 7 pm. General Admission Adults 13+ are $13. Seniors 62+, Veterans and Juniors 7 to 12 are $7. Children 6 and under are free. For further information, go to www.southernoregonspeedway.com.


Pit Stops

There wasn't too much drama in the three divisions that held their season finale races last week at Southern Oregon Speedway. We knew that Trent Elliott had clinched the Late Model championship. We knew that David Steele pretty much won the Bobbio's Pizza Mini Stock championship the moment he started the Main Event. We also knew that Greg Arnold just needed to not finish last in the Valley Store All Late Model Lites Main Event and he would win the championship.

Two of those drivers put the exclamation point on their seasons with feature victories. For Late Model point leader Trent Elliott, he started in the second row and had the lead on the second lap. After that, there was little doubt that unless he had problems, he would win his fifth Main Event at the season. Elliott has been fast all season long, and other than Darren Coffell, nobody's come very close to matching him. As Elliott was putting a nice bowtie on his championship season, there was still the matter of who would finish second in the points.

It's really a shame that Mark Wauge had the motor issues that he struggled with for a few races. He looked fast from the moment he made his division debut. If not for those problems, it's likely that Wauge would have ended up finishing second in the standings. As it was, he gave a glimpse of things to come by winning his heat race and finishing second in the final Main Event of the season. This is a clear indication that Wauge will be somebody to watch in next year's battle. Wauge came within one point of Miles Deubert for fiftth in the standings as Deubert fell out of the Main Event early.

Darren Coffell probably seemed like the odds on favorite to get the second position in points. He's been really fast all year, and he had two Main Event victories to show for it. However, you cannot underestimate the ability of Dave Everson. He's won several Pro Stock Main Events in his career at Southern Oregon Speedway and is also the 2013 champion in that division. He's rapidly improved in his short time in the Late Models, and he came out swinging last week with his second four lap Trophy Dash win. After finishing second in his heat race, Dave pretty much knew that as long as he didn't let Coffell get too far ahead of him, he could still hold on to second in the standings. Coffell ran third ahead of Everson, but then mechanical issues struck and Coffell was out. Everson scored his third third place finish of the season and therefore ended up finishing second in the final standings.

Willamette Speedway championship contender Tomas Hunziker made a surprise visit to the speedway. He was one of the competitors at the Cottonwood Classic just a couple of weeks earlier. With his home track not running, Tomas gave it a good effort with a fourth place finish. He is only eight points out of the lead at his home track in third and is also a feature winner there. Overtaking reigning champion Joey Tanner is certainly a possibility. Back in the fifth position was Dave Foote. The 2012 Coos Bay Speedway champion had a for sale sign on his car, but this isn't because he's looking to make an exit from the sport. Reportedly, Dave is looking to upgrade his his equipment to be more competitive next season. He will end up fourth in this season standings this year with a season high second place feature finish. As a two-time winner last season, he's hoping to get back in the winner's circle again next year.

For Bobbio's Pizza Mini Stock point leader David Steele, he was feeling just a little bit more sporty. Having won the heat race he was in and the night's regularly scheduled Trophy Dash, he refused his front row starting spot in the Main Event and started last. Though Ashtin Hedges knew that his championship hopes were over, he had his second feature win of the season in his sites. The young charger led most of the race, but it took less than 10 laps before Steele found his way into second. Getting around Hedges was another matter as he was running fast, consistent laps. It wasn't until the final lap when Steele thrilled the crowd by putting his car up on the outside and beating Hedges back to the line by inches.

Hedges was just a little bit frustrated with himself afterwards for letting this one get away and settling for his division leading sixth second place finish. However, he can be proud of what he accomplished. He's come a long way from his abbreviated first season and has set himself up as one of the drivers to beat going into next year. Second place in the standings is certainly something he can be a proud of.

Maybe it wasn't the way he wanted to end up third in the standings, but Kristopher Mix none-the-less secured that ranking just by being there. Mix had his eyes on a pair of Trophy Dash wins and got the first one when motor issues reared their ugly head in the second one. He lost the lead to Steele, but the worst news was that he would be unable to start the Main Event. However, the team was in celebratory mood in the winner's circle as this was his first Trophy Dash win of the season.

Hunter Magnan and Steve Goetz can only wonder what could have been. For both drivers, the season started with major motor issues. Goetz blew a motor in a visit to Yreka and wasn't ready for the season opener or the next race. Magnan made the opener, but motor issues cut that night short. It took him a few weeks to get going, so the 2018 point runner-up never made a threat in the point race. Like Hedges, however, Magnan did get a feature win. Both drivers had respectable showings in the season finale as Goetz was third ahead of Magnan. Minus the motor issues they had this year, they would certainly have to be considered bigger threats in the point race in 2020.

The point earning opportunity for Charlie Eaton improved as the Valley Store All Late Model Lites class was able to get a makeup Trophy Dash. Eaton did win one of the Trophy Dashes, while Ross Payant was the other winner. However, Greg Arnold did a good enough job of getting his points in the preliminaries that he knew the championship would pretty much be his as long as he didn't stumble in the Main Event. Arnold won four Main Events during the season, and his fourth place finish in the finale, not far behind Eaton, meant that he won his first championship in this division. He'll have a nice championship trophy to add to his mantle next to his 2002 Super Trucks championship.

Payant, meanwhile, was talked out of retirement by car owner Lee Doty. Doty announced his retirement prior to the season, but he's been instrumental in getting this division back to the track. He wanted to see it continued and has still been active in that cause. Payant scored a victory in Lee's car earlier this season, and there was an announcement prior to this race. Ross has purchased this car for next season. He went on to win the final race of the season after an early duel with the division's all time Main Event win leader, Terry Hadley. Hadley had second until a flat tire sent him to the pits, giving the position to his wife, Krista Hadley. For Krista, this was her third runner-up finish of the season after she won her heat race earlier in the evening. All in all, it was the best showing of the season for the division.

The drama came into play with the Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car class. For the past three seasons, there has been no drama in this division heading into the finale. Everybody knew in 2016 that Jake Wheeler was the champion at the final race. Kyler Barraza clinched the championship the next year before the final race, and David Hibbard did the same before the finale last year. However, the sure championship that appeared to be in the sites of Mike Wheeler slipped away. He now is in for a fight this Saturday night. Wheeler skipped a race due to a planned Hawaii vacation, and things just got worse last week.

All day, Wheeler had been struggling with motor issues, but the team was hoping he could just maintain and hold on to some semblance of his point lead. Those hopes went out the window about halfway through the race when his motor lost power and he was out of the event. Because he ended up last, the door was open for Bailey Hibbard to take over, and the young charger walked right through. After winning his heat race over Charlie Thompson, Bailey chased Thompson throughout most of the Main Event before finishing second. His season best effort gained him a three point advantage over Wheeler. It's not just Wheeler and Hibbard in the hunt.

Thompson, who is the 2009 champion, used his win in the Scramble to grab the pole position for the feature race. He then proceeded to lead all the way for his first win of the season. In doing so, Charlie is just four points behind Hibbard. Now comes the real question. Will it be Wheeler, Hibbard or Thompson who wins the championship? We know Wheeler can win as he's picked up three victories. Thompson just won and that leaves Bailey Hibbard looking for his first win of the season. Though he recently got a win in Cottage Grove, Bailey is still looking for his first win of the year at his home track. He has won six feature races in his career at Southern Oregon Speedway.

Ron Osborne's decision to put Jake Wheeler behind the wheel of the #42 Sprinter has certainly made things interesting. Wheeler's been enjoying his time running his Winged 360 Sprinter at various venues and recently earned a Top 10 finish in a very competitive field down at Chico, California. Jake already has a win in this car a couple races ago, and Saturday night saw him score a respectable third place finish. Behind him, Johnny Burke was looking to use a fourth place finish to take the top rookie position in the standings as Anissa Curtice didn't show up. Reigning champion David Hibbard shuffled Burke back to a fifth place finish. However, coupled with his heat race win earlier in the evening, Burke is now the top rookie with one race remaining.

The IMCA Modified division made it through the pivotal R Charles Snyder Salute, and Zach Fettinger managed to do just enough point damage that he will probably win the championship as long as he starts the season finale. Zach managed to earn a feature start after watching his point lead get cut in half by Jesse Bailey in the previous race. Bailey seemed to be in a good position to make a bigger move, but he was unable to make it out of the B Main and pretty much lost what he gained. Now, the 2017 champion will have his hands full trying to fight off top rookie Justin Foux for the second point position.

You might say that the Sunday Main Event offered a challenging track to deal with. Drivers weren't really able to put it up on the outside, and when Troy Foulger tried to make a move around Shane DeVolder for the lead, he got shuffled back a few positions for his trouble. However, there was passing from the back of the pack as witnessed by last row starter Kellen Chadwick and Nick Trenchard. When DeVolder got just a bit antsy running behind a slower car, the two ended up crashing in Turn 4. This took the race that seemed to be in the hands of DeVolder and broke it wide open. Initially, Bobby Hogge IV took the yellow flag in first, but he had to make a pit stop. Suddenly, Chadwick found himself leading the race.

This was another one of those seasons were second-generation racer Chadwick picked his races and traveled up and down the road. He came to Oregon to win his second Wild West Speedweek Series crown this year and thought the $5,000 prize in the big show could be his. When he broke a rear end in his heat race on Saturday, it looked like Chadwick's weekend might be over. Fortunately, he was able to borrow another one and spent all Sunday morning getting it ready to go racing. Even then, he would be starting at the back of the B Main and hoping to grab one of the six transfer spots that were open. He managed to get fifth.

With a format like the R Charles Snyder Salute uses, your odds of winning the race aren't very good when you start so deep in the pack. The top runners from the preliminaries get the first four rows. You'll be lucky to get to the Top 5. However, Chadwick was not intimidated by the odds. He seemed to be assured of a podium finish, but when the mishap occurred, he was there to get the lead and the victory. A weekend that looked like it might end early ended up with him bringing home the big paycheck and trophy.

The beauty of a race of this magnitude is you get some of the best drivers out there. DeVolder, who is the reigning California State champion, also led much of the Invitational Feature on Saturday before being overtaken by Troy Foulger in traffic. Foulger, who was once again wheeling the Bowers Racing Modified that led him to the victory in this race two years ago, picked up the $1,000 Invitational win. He also raced to a $1,500 third place finish on Sunday, which meant a nice $2,500 trip to the pay window. It was interesting to see the effort turned in by Trenchard, who has been struggling with his new car this year. After winning the B Main, Trenchard managed to climb all the way to a $2,500 second place finish. Not the victory he hoped for, but still a very strong showing.

Jon DeBenedetti has certainly seen his share of victories at Southern Oregon Speedway through the years. He teamed up with Brian Bowman once again and managed to grab a $1,000 fourth place finish in the big feature race. The Top 10 had some good drivers coming from everywhere, and that included past Oregon State and Speedweek champion John Campos, Jeremy Ohlde, Californian Dylan Schriner, Cottage Grove star Paul Rae, Susanville champion Chris Nieman and Merced Speedway veteran Derek Nance, who finished in order. Nance turned in a solid performance all weekend as he also won both of his heat races on Saturday.

Overall, the numbers were down slightly, though still very strong for the weekend. There were just under 80 total IMCA Modifieds and Sport Modifieds. The IMCA Sport Modifieds delivered a solid 48 car field. Again, this featured some of the best drivers Oregon and California have to offer. Everybody knew that Merissa Henson was coming home to race again, but it's not likely that many people figured the teen leadfoot would be the one scoring the victory. We've watched her grow up around the speedway as she ran various different Kart divisions at the little track before graduating to the Mini Stocks and then the Sprint Cars, where she was Rookie of the Year and second in the points in 2017.

During the off-season, past Yreka champion Donny Bottoms was looking for a driver for his Sport Modified. Son DJ Bottoms picked up the championship in Yreka two seasons ago. Merissa agreed to drive for Donny, and preparations were made on the car. This included putting her colors and #17m on it. Henson has already picked up a pair of victories in Yreka and one at Sunset Speedway, but Medford would be the big test. When she won the very first heat race of the night, people took notice. The preliminaries went well, and got even better when she drew a front row start for the big show.

However, a front row start and keeping the lead are two different things. Henson would be tested with several restarts and second-generation racer Chase Thomas running behind her for much of the race. The bigger test would come in the form of two-time champion Jorddon Braaten. Braaten had a disappointing preliminary night that forced him to run the B Main on Sunday. In the B Main, he made a last lap pass on Jimmy Ford to win that race. From deep in the pack, Jorddon methodically worked his way to the front. Once he got to second, however, he found the challenge of passing Merissa a bit too much and was forced to settle for a $1,000 second. Henson, however, led every lap to score the big $2,000 victory. It was the biggest win of her career and certainly proved very popular with the fans.

For Braaten, however, the second place finish did serve to pretty much clinch his third championship. He needs only to take a green flag in the finale to make it official. He's also headed for the Oregon State championship. After Matt Sanders had mechanical issues in a transfer spot in the B Main, he scratched from the feature race. Brother Isaac Sanders seems to be headed for second, but third is now open between two-time champion Mike Medel, Branden Wilson and Matt Sanders. Medel got into a tangle early in the feature race, but he steadily worked his way back to a respectable fifth place finish. Wilson was behind him in sixth.

Rather than doing multiple B Mains, the format called for a C Main with transfers into the B Main. Yreka championship contender Ryder Boswell found himself in that C Main, but he earned a transfer position in third. He then finished fourth in the B Main. Boswell was having one of the biggest nights of his career as he worked his way to the front of the pack and ended up fourth in the feature race behind Susanville star Craig Nieman. Between the performance of Boswell and Henson, the Yreka fans were certainly smiling on Sunday night.

Chase Thomas, who had been doing so well for so long in the Main Event, fell back to an eventual seventh place finish, followed by two-time Medford champion Dwayne Melvin, Doug Coffman and Austin Petray. Petray actually won the C Main, and due to a miscommunication between officials, he ended up starting 23rd in the Main Event.

After such a big race like the R Charles Snyder Salute, there is a bit of let down among the fans. This is certainly a hard race to follow, and the Modified classes also get the week off due to it being the IMCA Boone, Iowa Nationals that weekend. Even if the track could host a point race, which is not allowed under IMCA rules, there would probably be several teams out due to making repairs. However, most of the teams should be ready for the season finale. It's been a good year for both Modified classes, and in particular the Sport Modifieds. Car count continues to grow by leaps and bounds, and one has to wonder what things might look like next year.

With the season only one week from being over, there's plenty of speculation about what 2020 will bring. This will be the 25th season of racing at Southern Oregon Speedway. We are already hearing of new Mini Stocks being prepared, and this could be the best season for the division in three years if these rumors hold true. There could even be a third generation of the Walker family competing in that class as well as a driver or two moving up from the now discontinued Hornets division.

There's also been some speculation as to whether or not there could be a Hobby Stock or Street Stock type of class. There have been a few people lobbying for this type of addition to the roster, and given the discontinuation of the Hornet division for 2020, anything is possible. All of the other divisions that have been offered up this year are expected for next year, and this includes all of the big special shows as well. New surprises are also being discussed for the next schedule, though work won't begin on that for a while.

One division hoping that they can get back to the speedway a little more often in the coming season is the Calculated Comfort Outlaw Pro Stock division. They had the opportunity to be a part of the big Labor Day show and delivered a 20 car field once again. it was just a bit rough going at the start, and everything came to a grinding halt when the race director stopped every car on the track to get them properly lined up for the complete restart.

It just so happened that point leader Dr Scott Lenz had made a pit stop prior to the next attempted restart, and he was able to rejoin the field. What happened next is subject to interpretation of the association's rules as Lenz didn't technically lose a lap. However, because he missed the first restart after pitting, the association reportedly has rules on the books that say he in fact did lose a lap.

Lenz, being as fast as he's been all season, made a rapid run to the front of the pack, and it's likely that he felt there might still be time once he got into second. Little did he know, there was discussion of the time limit when the last restart happened. Lenz was challenging Jeff Haudenshild, but he was not able to make his winning move. Haudenshild scored a rare feat as he evicted Lenz from the winner's circle. Lenz and one-time winner Steve Borror are the only other winners with the group this season.

The rough start to the race also saw 2015 champion Jeffrey Hudson having to restart at the back of the pack in the Scott Bennett owned car. Like Lenz, Hudson was a heat race winner earlier in the evening. Jeffrey reported that IMCA Modified car owner Don Roemer had a new car that would be ready soon, and Jeffrey in fact put that car through its initial pieces in a practice at Yreka on September 8th. On the Labor Day weekend event, Hudson was following Lenz through the pack and would cross the line in third. With the association making the move to put Lenz down a lap, Hudson ended up second, followed by Matt Harlow, two-time champion Ken Irving and Dan Randall.

Tragedy struck the association as Bryan Hammond suffered a heart attack moments after earning another Top 10 feature finish. Hammond entered the night as one of the Top 5 competitors and maintained that status with another solid performance. Sadly, he passed away. It's been a difficult time for the association as just two years ago, they lost Rocky Nash in an ugly crash in Yreka off of Turn 3. Hammond was not just somebody who enthusiastically supported the group by being at almost every race since he started in 2017, he also sponsored the group via his Hammond Construction company.

Thompson, Steele, Elliott, Payant Win Championship Night #1 Features At Southern Oregon Speedway



Southern Oregon Speedway Racing Discussion
Can Be Heard HERE

Thompson Enters Championship Battle With Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car Win At Southern Oregon Speedway

White City, Oregon...September 7...Charlie Thompson won the 25 lap Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car Main Event Saturday night at Southern Oregon Speedway. This was the first win of the season for the 2009 champion, and he collected $1,000 for his effort. With Mike Wheeler retiring from the race early and Bailey Hibbard finishing second, the standings were shaken up with just next week's finale to go. Hibbard now holds a three point lead over Wheeler with Thompson four points out in fourth.

Looking to make a move on the rookie point lead, Johnny Burke held off 2016 champion Jake Wheeler to win their eight lap heat race. Bailey Hibbard outran Thompson to pick up the second heat race victory. The Top 2 finishers in each heat race redrew for their starting positions in the six lap Scramble, and Thompson went on to pick up the victory in that race. While leading the way, Thompson set a new track record on the 3/10th mile clay oval of 10.991.

With the pole position, Thompson charged into the Main Event lead at the waving of the green flag. Bailey Hibbard also managed to get by Jake Wheeler for second. The first of only three slow downs in the race occurred when Enrique Jaime stalled on the back straight away for a lap six yellow flag. Thompson continued to lead Bailey Hibbard and Jake Wheeler on the restart. Mike Wheeler had been struggling with motor issues all evening, and he finally stalled on the front stretch for a lap 10 yellow flag to end his race. He would be credited with last, which ultimately cost him the point lead at the end of the evening. Thompson continued to lead Bailey Hibbard and Jake Wheeler on the restart. The leaders caught slower traffic, which enabled Hibbard to make a serious challenge on Thompson for the lead. Thompson made contact with the front wall exiting Turn 4 as they worked the 16th lap. With nowhere to go, David Marble made contact and flipped on the front straightaway for a red flag. Marble was not injured. Thompson still had the lead when the race was lined up and continued to hold command over Bailey Hibbard and Jake Wheeler on the restart. Thompson set a fast pace and brought it home to a well earned victory. Bailey Hibbard managed to grab the point lead with his season best second place finish. Jake Wheeler settled for third. Burke held fourth for most of the race before surrendering the position to an inside front stretch pass by David Hibbard on lap 19. David Hibbard finished fourth ahead of Burke, TJ Winningham, Aaron Miller and Jaime.

The Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars are part of this Saturday's Hays Oil Championship Night. Also competing will be the IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds and Southern Oregon Dwarf Cars. For further information, go to www.southernoregonspeedway.com.

Race Results
Kendall Oil Winged Sprints
Heat 1-Johnny Burke, Jake Wheeler, David Marble, Tanner Holmes, TJ Winningham, Aaron Miller.

Heat 2-Bailey Hibbard, Charlie Thompson, Mike Wheeler, David Hibbard, Enrique Jamie.

Scramble-Charlie Thompson, Jake Wheeler, Johnny Burke, Bailey Hibbard.

Main Event-Charlie Thompson, Bailey Hibbard, Jake Wheeler, David Hibbard, Johnny Burke, TJ Winningham, Aaron Miller, Enrique Jamie, Tanner Holmes, David Marble, Mike Wheeler.


Steele Steals Show With Mini Stock Championship 
Clinching Win At Southern Oregon Speedway

White City, Oregon...September 7...David Steele won the 20 lap Bobbio's Pizza Mini Stock Main Event Saturday night at Southern Oregon Speedway. The seventh win of the season capped yet another clean sweep performance as Steele also won his heat race and the regularly scheduled Trophy Dash. It also wrapped up his second consecutive championship. Steele elected to start in the rear and made a charge to the front, winning the race with a last lap pass on Ashtin Hedges.

With the Mini Stock division unable to run their regularly scheduled four lap Trophy Dash at the August 24th Cottonwood Classic, a makeup Dash was held in addition to the regularly scheduled race. Kristopher Mix picked up the win in the makeup Dash and led early in the regular Dash before motor woes cost him the lead to eventual winner Steele. Mix hurt his motor in the process to end his evening prematurely. However, he was still able to wrap up third in the standings. Hedges won the first of two eight lap heat races in front of Steve Goetz, while Steele outran Gary Anderson to win the other heat race.

Hedges had a pole position start next to Gary Anderson for a Main Event that was destined to go without a yellow flag. Hedges charged into the early lead with Goetz racing past Anderson for second on lap two. By the third lap, Steele was already in fourth, and he made a high pass in Turn 2 a lap later to take third from Anderson. Steele quickly closed in on Goetz and made an outside pass on the front stretch on lap six to take over second. Garrett Fredrickson retired from the race with mechanical issues. Steele rapidly closed in on Hedges, and by lap 12, they ran close. Hedges set a good pace, and the leaders were lapping slower traffic in the waning laps. As they raced out of Turn 4 to take the checkered flag, Steele had good momentum on the high side. It was a drag race to the checkered flag with Steele coming out ahead. Hedges settled for his division leading sixth runner-up finish, followed by Goetz, Hunter Magnan, Anderson, Dylan Irving, Greg McDaniels, Brandyn Wonsyld and Fredrickson.

To find out the latest information on the Bobbio's Pizza Mini Stock division and other happenings at the speedway, go to www.southernoregonspeedway.com.

Race Results
Bobbio's Pizza Mini Stocks
Heat 1-Ashtin Hedges, Steve Goetz, Greg McDaniel, Garrett Fredrickson, Dylan Irving.

Heat 2-David Steele, Gary Anderson, Hunter Magnan, Brandyn Wonsyld.

Trophy Dash-David Steele, Ashtin Hedges, Steve Goetz, Kristopher Mix.

Trophy Dash Make Up-Kristopher Mix, David Steele, Steve Goetz, Ashtin Hedges.

Main Event-David Steele, Ashtin Hedges, Steve Goetz, Hunter Magnan, Gary Anderson, Dylan Irving, Greg McDaniels, Brandyn Wonsyld, Garrett Fredrickson, Kristopher Mix DNS.


Elliott Wraps Up Late Model Championship With Victory 
At Southern Oregon Speedway

White City, Oregon...September 7...Taking the lead early on from Mark Wauge, Trent Elliott went on to win the 25 lap Late Model Main Event Saturday night at Southern Oregon Speedway. This was the fifth win of the season for Elliott, and with an increase from the Northwest Trucking Academy, he collected $1,000. Wauge settled for a personal best second place finish.

Knowing that he was still in a close battle with Darren Coffell for second in the standings, Dave Everson picked up his second four lap Trophy Dash win of the season with Wauge following in second. Wauge turned the tables on Everson by holding him off to win their eight lap heat race. Coffell outran Elliott to win the other heat. After mechanical issues in his heat race, Kelly Justason was a Main Event scratch.

Wauge and Coffell led the field to the Main Event green flag as Wauge led the opening lap. However, a low pass in Turn 4 of the second lap gained Elliott the lead. Coffell was running third, just ahead of Everson Miles Deubert headed for the pits on lap 11, and Coffell stalled in Turn 3 for the only yellow flag on lap 16. Coffell was out of the event as Elliott led Wauge and Everson on the restart. The lead trio ran in that order the rest of the way with Tomas Hunziker finishing fourth ahead of Dave Foote and Dana Bowers.

For all of the latest news on Late Models and other happenings at the speedway, go to www.southernoregonspeedway.com.

Race Results
Late Models
Heat 1-Mark Wauge, Dave Everson, Thomas Hunziker, Dave Foote.

Heat 2-Darren Coffell, Trent Elliott, Miles Deuburt, Kelly Justason.

Trophy Dash-Dave Everson, Mark Wauge, Darren Coffell, Trent Elliott.

Main Event-Trent Elliott, Mark Wauge, Dave Everson, Thomas Hunziker, Dave Foote, Dana Bowers, Darren Coffell, Miles Deuburt, Kelly Justason DNS.


Payant Wins Finale, Arnold Late Model Lites Champion 
At Southern Oregon Speedway

White City, Oregon...September 7...Ross Payant won the 20 lap Valley Store All Late Model Lites Main Event Saturday night at Southern Oregon Speedway. Payant has been driving the #7 car for Lee Doty, but he has recently bought the car from the 2017 champion. With his fourth place finish, Greg Arnold wrapped up the division championship after a season long battle with 2018 title winner Charlie Eaton.

After their scheduled four lap Trophy Dash at the August 24th Cottonwood Classic was cancelled, a makeup Dash was given to the division. Payant won the makeup Dash, while Eaton won the regularly scheduled race. The heats were good to the Hadley family as Krista Hadley won the first eight lap heat race despite some serious pressure from Payant. Terry Hadley outran Eaton to win the second heat race. Going into the Main Event, Arnold knew that as long as he didn't finish last he would be the champion.

The rapidly run Main Event had just one yellow flag slow down. Terry Hadley overcame his recent motor issues to charge into the lead ahead of wife Krista and Payant. Payant made an outside pass on the front stretch on the fourth lap to take second from Krista Hadley and set his sites on Terry Hadley. A low pass and Turn 3 of the eighth lap gained Payant the lead from Terry Hadley. After some terrible luck in preliminaries forced him to scratch from four consecutive Main Events, Jim Cunningham was finally able to make a start. He ran more than half of the race before retiring with just five laps to go. Terry Hadley suffered a flat tire on lap 14, handing the second position to Krista Hadley. Debris on the track forced the only yellow flag on that 16, and Payant continued to lead Krista Hadley and Eaton on the restart. They ran in that order all the way to the checkered flag as Arnold finished fourth, followed by Dusty Aos, Cunningham and Terry Hadley.

To find out all the latest news about the Valley Store All Late Model Lites and other happenings at the speedway, go to www.southernoregonspeedway.com.

Race Results
Valley Store All Late Model Lites
Heat 1-Krista Hadley, Ross Payant, Greg Arnold, Jim Cunningham.

Heat 2-Terry Hadley, Charlie Eaton, Dusty Aos.

Trophy Dash-Charlie Eaton, Terry Hadley, Greg Arnold, Krista Hadley.

Trophy Dash Make Up-Ross Payant, Charlie Eaton, Greg Arnold, Krista Hadley.

Main Event-Ross Payant, Krista Hadley, Charlie Eaton, Greg Arnold, Dusty Aos, Jim Cunningham, Terry Hadley.