Saturday, June 24, 2017

Lauer Scores Speedweek Victory At Southern Oregon Speedway


Lauer Scores Speedweek Victory 
At Southern Oregon Speedway

White City, Oregon...June 24...Danny Lauer won the 35 lap IMCA Modified Main Event Saturday night at Southern Oregon Speedway.  The past Santa Maria Speedway champion took the lead from Ethan Dotson on lap four and withstood the challenge of Dotson through lap 18.  Reigning track champion Mark Wauge took over second at that point, only to surrender the position to John Campos.  Campos gave it a good effort in second, but he was no match for the flying Lauer.  Collen Winebarger made a late pass on Wauge to finish third, and B Main winner Nick Trenchard finished fifth.

Brian Cooper emerged with the IMCA Sport Modified win after post race tech inspection.  Jorddon Braaten started his night with wins in his heat race and the Fast Dash.  Luck of the draw of the Top 6 from the heat races put Braaten on the pole.  He led the non stop event from the waving of the green flag to the checkered flag.  Reigning California State champion Brian Cooper wasn't too far behind Braaten in second, and that became a win after post race tech inspection of Braaten's heads.  Brother Todd Cooper battled Rich McCoy to grab what would become a second place finish.  Two time track champion Dwayne Melvin and Jimmy Ford rounded out the Top 5.

Brock Peters wrapped up a clean sweep with his win in 20 lap Dwarf Car Main Event.  It was his second win of the season and paid $1,000 thanks to the sponsorship of Jim Nelson.  The leader of each lap won an additional $50, and for 17 laps, that driver was Camden Robustelli.  B. Peters had passed his son Cody Peters for second on lap 16, and Robustelli lost power on the back stretch a lap later.  Reigning champion B. Peters led the restart and brought it home to a satisfying victory ahead of C. Peters, Chad Cardoza, Rob Gergel and Randy Slater.

Racing resumes next week with Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars on the card along with Late Models, Pro Stocks, Mini Stocks, JOAT Labs Hornets and OTRO Hardtops.  For further information, go to www.southernoregonspeedway.com.

Unofficial Race Results
IMCA Modifieds
Round 1 Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Ryan Scott Gaylord, Danny Lauer, Ethan Dotson, Mark Wauge.  Round 2 Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Grey Ferrando, Randy Brown, James Welshonse, John Campos.  B Main (12 Laps)-Nick Trenchard, Preston Jones, Steve Sturdavent.  A Main (35 Laps)-Danny Lauer, John Campos, Collen Winebarger, Mark Wauge, Nick Trenchard.

IMCA Sport Modifieds
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Jorddon Braaten, Rich McCoy, Brian Cooper.  Trophy Dash-Jorddon Braaten.  Main Event (25 Laps)-Brian Cooper, Todd Cooper, Rich McCoy, Dwayne Melvin, Jimmy Ford.

SODCA Dwarf Cars
Heat Winners (8 Laps)-Brock Peters, Cody Peters.  A Dash (4 Laps)-Brock Peters.  B Dash-Ryan Smith.  Main Event (20 Laps)-Brock Peters, Cody Peters, Chad Cardoza, Rob Gergel, Randy Slater.

Thursday, June 22, 2017

IMCA Modified Wild West Speedweek Comes To Southern Oregon Speedway, Pit Stops



Southern Oregon Speedway Racing Discussion 
Can Be Heard HERE


IMCA Modified Wild West Speedweek 
Comes To Southern Oregon Speedway

White City, Oregon...Back in 2011, the IMCA Modified Wild West Speedweek Series was created.  It was basically the Modified division's answer to the Sprint Car Speedweek that had been around for several seasons.  The first champion was Medford star Brian Poppa.  Poppa had long built up a reputation as one of the most competitive drivers Southern Oregon Speedway had to offer.  He won many races, including some of the biggest races at the track.  In 2006, Brian won the Modified and Pro Stock championships in the same year.  In 2011, he was stuck in the B Main at the Medford Speedweek race.  This was not an issue for him as he won that race and the Main Event.

In the six seasons that followed, Willamette Speedway star Jesse Williamson won three Speedweek titles, while California stars Alex Stanford and reigning champion Kellen Chadwick won the other two.  Those two are at the top of the list of Californians that will support the week long series.  All Speedweek races pay $1,000 to win, and there's point fund money on the line as well.

This year is the most grueling Speedweek yet.  After opening at Siskiyou Motor Speedway in Yreka on Friday, they head to Southern Oregon Speedway on Saturday.  The next two nights are at Cottage Grove Speedway.  Following that, there is a one night break on Tuesday in which Coos Bay Speedway has offered a $1,500 to win non point race that may attract a few drivers.  On Wednesday, it's Sunset Speedway and Thursday, Friday and Saturday will be at Willamette Speedway.

A field of roughly 40 competitors from throughout the west coast is anticipated for this event, led by Chadwick, Williamson and Stanford.  Between just these three drivers, they have eared 18 total Speedweek victories.  Chadwick earned all four of his last season.  While these three might be the top contenders for the Speedweek championship, they will have to compete with other top notch competitors like Collen Winebarger, Rob Ireland, Grey Ferrando, Danny Lauer and Mark Carrell.

Southern Oregon Speedway has its own track championship, and it's going to be a battle just to make it into the Main Event this week.  The IMCA point update following the most recent race has yet to be released, but Albert Gill and Jesse Bailey appear to be tied.  Gill earned his second straight runnnerup finish last week, while Bailey drove to his third straight Top 3 finish.  With six Top 3 finishes in the last 12 races at the track, Bailey has been the model of consistency.  First and foremost, the goal for these two drivers is to make the Main Event this Saturday, and then they will set out to defend the local honor against an all star field of invaders.  Other regulars to watch for include Monte Bischoff, Mark Wauge, Nick Trenchard, Jeremy Ohlde, James Anderson, Scott Crumm and James Welshonse.

Thanks to the efforts of Pacific Sport Modified Series organizer Steve Kerstulovich, the IMCA Sport Modifieds are getting to run at six of the eight Speedweek events as a support class.  They will also crown a series champion.  Point leader and recent winner Mike Medel is hoping that champion will be him.  Medel had his hands full battling Rich McCoy last week, but he got the job done.  McCoy is hoping this will be his week to win, but all of the competitors can expect the return of reigning Oregon State champion Jorddon Braaten.  Braaten missed last week due to a wedding.

Because of the efforts to create a Sport Mod Speedweek, more visiting drivers are anticipated.  At the top of that list will be Yreka point leader Justin Foux and two time Yreka winner Justin McCreedie.  Reigning California State champion Brian Cooper recently announced his plans to come race.  Brian's brother Todd will be here along with Jimmy Ford and Keith Brown Jr.  Todd won the Haudenshild Tribute race last season for this division.  The invaders can also anticipate some close competition from local stars like Willie McFall, Jesse Merriman, Dwayne Melvin and A.J. Parker.

The SODCA Dwarf Cars are already seeing a good battle in points between recent winners Brock Peters and Camden Robustelli.  Peters is the reigning champion and Robustelli is coming off of back to back runnerup seasons.  They may be the favorites to win this week, but you can expect good competition from two time champion Josh King, Cody Peters, Chad Cardoza, Rob Gergel and Fred Hay.

For a little extra excitement, the Outlaw Kart track will open on Friday night.  The Speedway Karts have been added to the program along with Beginners Box Stocks, Box Stocks, 250 Intermediates and 500 Open Karts.  Our list of 2016  champions in those four classes last year were Kiley Grimes, Trevor Grimes, Bodee Weiser and Johnny Burke.  The first three are anticipated this Friday along with other rising young stars such as Malachi Johnson, Shailene Horn, Roger Whipple, Natalie Richard, Vinny DeBenedetti, Braden Weiser, Brenden Bartlett, Wyatt Pinckney and Reece Slyter.  It is sure to be a fun night of racing as the format calls for two sets of heat races and then Main Events in all classes.

Saturday's big show will be one you won't want to miss.  The IMCA Modifieds alone will be a great show, and IMCA Sport Modifieds and SODCA Dwarf Cars are the icing on the cake.  Gates open at 5 PM with the first race at 7 PM.  General Admission is $15 and Seniors, Juniors and Military are $10 and Children 5 and under are free.  For further information, go to www.southernoregonspeedway.com.

Pit Stops

A six division program entertained the crowd last Saturday night at Southern Oregon Speedway.  This was an event that included lots of speed, including the Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars.  An interesting trend this year finds that there have been three different teams to have won Main Events after three races.  Plus, car count has improved over the first three races last season when it was four for each race.  We've seen 11, seven and eight cars so far, and wins have been earned by Jake Waddell, Kyler Barraza and Bailey Hibbard.

Hibbard may be kicking himself after his error after the first race saw him head to his pit rather than the scales.  The disqualification that night has likely kept him out of the point lead despite his second place finish and last week's victory.  Bailey has gone from the kid with self doubt about whether he should be racing a Sprint Car to a more confident competitor, and his time competing at Southern Oregon Speedway has made all the difference.  He now has two wins and a second to show for it.

Last week, the 16 year old hard charger surprised Kyler Barraza by beating him in the Scramble to grab the Min Event pole.  Though Barraza got the jump on him at the start of the Main Event, young Hibbard used a lap four restart to grab the lead.  He led a Hibbard family 1-2 finish as his father David Hibbard made a late move for the second place finish.  Bailey is a past 250 Kart champion at Cottage Grove, and it's way too early to count him out in this battle.  Likewise, his father is still in the hunt.  David is the 2014 Cottage Grove Limited Sprint champion.

Barraza has clearly staked his claim as the driver to beat in the division so far.  Though he fell back to third last week at the checkered flag, he's the only driver with all Top 3 finishes.  The last two times he has competed for championships, he ended the season as the Southern Oregon Sprint Tour champion.  Barraza will be gunning for more Main Event glory when the division returns for three races in July (The 1st, 8th and 22nd).

Merissa Henson continues to impress with her ability to drive a Sprint Car.  Some might have been wondering how she would adapt to the switch from a Top 5 Mini Stock competitor to a Sprint Car rookie.  If you've seen her in 250 and 500 Open Karts, you knew that wouldn't be a problem.  Henson grabbed a fifth place finish last week behind two time Cottage Grove champion Patrick Dills.  She now has two lead lap Main Event finishes.  Her second place heat race and Trophy Dash finishes last week helped keep her in second in the standings as the top rookie in the field.

Late Model car count doubled to eight cars, and we still haven't seen all of the drivers who intend to compete this year.  Dustin Knight commented before the races that Rapp Racing will field another car later this season with Rich McCoy behind the wheel.  Through the years, McCoy has racked up several Modified feature wins in addition to his Mini Stock title.  Knight is also a champion in both Pro Stocks and Modifieds, and he's set his sights on the Late Model title. 

Knight let a win get away from him at the opener when he misjudged where to go in traffic, opening the door for championship rival Nathan Augustine to race by.  Dustin remarked that as hooked up as his #77 car is, it's sometimes difficult to judge how fast he's coming up on slower traffic, and that's what got him in the opener.  In the recent Main Event, he seemed to be getting the job done when his car lost power in Turn 2 halfway through the race.  This gave the lead to Augustine.

After winning the Coos Bay championship last year, Nathan has decided to run for points in Medford this year.  The schedule makes it easier on him than elsewhere as there aren't as many dates.  Augustine's car took a little damage in his recent visits to Madras and Cottage Grove, but his heat and dash wins showed that things were still okay.  When Knight had his misfortune, Nathan gained the lead, and it looked like a win was a forgone conclusion.  Unfortunately, he slowed his pace just a bit, figuring he had a big enough lead.  He was also lapping a slower car.

What he hadn't counted on was Knight had his foot to the floor on a mission to regain the lead.  Knight was using every inch of the race track he could find for the extra traction, and even a brush with the front wall as they took the white flag wasn't going to slow him down.  Knight made a controversial slide job pass in the final turn, barely brushing the nose of Augsutine's car.  The move got the biggest reaction of the crowd as they were on their feet cheering.  Knight was a happy winner and Augustine was a bit displeased by the way he lost the lead.  The points should still reflect Augustine as the leader, but this is sure to be a battle that will go down to the wire.

The Dees family was back with the beautiful cars of reigning champion Bob Dees and his rookie son Garrett Dees.  Also returning was Mike Linder and Don Garrett Jr., who was piloting the former Augustine car.  Linder had a beautiful new blue body on his car.  Garrett and Linder have been racing together for years, and the two are pretty much founding members of the Limited Sprint effort nearly 25 years ago.  All was not right with Garrett's car, which still didn't have a number on the new yellow body, and he retired early in the race.  Linder was enjoying a good battle with Kristy Grout and B. Dees before ending a respectable season debut with a third place finish.

Grout could only chase Dees, but she still finished a lead lap fifth after a second in the Trophy Dash.  In fact, Kristy even led the dash early.  The good news in all of this is that the six drivers who finished could still drive their cars up on the trailer.  Next time, we hope to see the season debuts of John Dees and Steve Lemley.  Dave Foote was a bit disappointed that he missed the Main Event.  He was having starter issues.  The Coos Bay resident was unable to find the push truck he needed to at least attempt to get a Main Event start.

Motor issues seem to be effecting some of the top Mini Stock competitors this year.  There were carburetor and fuel issues slowing down 2013 champion Steve Goetz and 2014 champion Gary Anderson in the first two races, and neither one looked like their usual selves on the track.  Goetz was asked by teammate and motor man David Steele to come to the Yreka race a week earlier to see if he had things sorted out.  The adjustments hadn't solved the problem, so they had a list of a few things to try on the #55 car last week.

Meanwhile, Steele himself had encountered motor issues during the two weeks leading up to this race.  He competed in Yreka, but motor issues prompted him to scratch from the Main Event rather than risk any more damage.  Last week, David had more problems with the motor, but he decided to sacrifice the motor to get a Main Event start for his points.  Last place points were still better than non starting points.  Goetz managed a seventh place finish after running third for several laps.  It looks as if there will be some more work to be done.

For Anderson, there was a clear indication that the #0 car was back in running order after he won his heat race.  Come Main Event time, Gary was surprised when the much improved Kristopher Mix shot into the early lead.  Mix had already finished third in a Main Event here and recently had a career best second in Yreka.  In fact, Mix is very much in the championship hunt this season.  Anderson made his winning move on lap eight and led the rest of the way for the win.  Mix was a close second, and Dillen Lausen grabbed another podium finish in third.  The point battle up front between Steele, Lausen and Mix is close, and Anderson just reasserted himself into that contest with his impressive performance.

Speaking of impressive, you have to give it to young Michael Johnson.  The second generation racer is piloting the former Merissa Henson car, and he has shown much improvement.  Johnson's Achilles heel last week seemed to be Turn 2, where he spun in both his heat race and the Main Event.  Johnson started to make a move that possibly could have resulted in a first career win.  He was running an outside line that nobody else seemed interested in, and he grabbed second from Mix.  Unfortunately, he spun late.  He managed to make a late pass on Patrick Stringer-Stine for fifth as reigning champion Bob Burkett returned for a fourth place finish.  Stringer-Stine was none too pleased about the crash that left his chassis damaged last time.  He feels as if his car is much more competitive now, and that hampered his efforts to get a win.  His repairs at least allowed him to get a respectable lead lap finish in sixth last week.

The OTRO Hardtops were back to entertain the crowd, and they brought their best field yet with eight cars.  This included the season debuts of Dean Cast and Jimmy Del Castille.  Del Castille won his first Trophy Dash to start the night, and Jamie Britton made his second dirt start with a heat race win.  We also saw Nathan Augustine in the Dusty Trotter owned #26 car.  Augustine had to change motors during the week to get the car ready, and he didn't have much luck in the Main Event.  D. Trotter is working on a second car, which could see the track this year.

Mark Minter was a heat race winner, and he and Britton ran at the front of the Main Event.  Minter spent the offseason making much needed repairs and getting the motor together for the Minter Family #33 car, and he's been fast so far.  He ran second behind Britton for several laps before the two made contact in Turn 2 as they battled for the lead on lap 11.  Minter hit the brakes, and both gathered it back up.  However, Minter still made the pass for the lead and eventual victory.  Vic & Louise Bridges had Bruce Wilkerson behind the wheel of their #63 Sedan.  Wilkerson is a past Street Stock racer at Marysvile, CA Raceway.  He would make a late pass on Britton for the second place finish as Britton settled for third.  Hardtops return to Southern Oregon Speedway on July 1st.

The IMCA Sport Modified point race was rocked by the absence of two time champion Jorddon Braaten.  Jorddon was attending his sister's wedding.  Mike Medel had finished second to Braaten in the first two races, and it might have been easy to assume a win would be a piece of cake for the reigning track champion.  If you assumed that, you were wrong.  Medel is driving the first new car he's had since starting racing at the track back in the 1990's, and winning more races this year is a goal.  He got things started with a Trophy Dash win.  The Main Event would be far from a slam dunk.

As Medel came up from the fourth row, Jesse Merriman sped into the lead.  Rich McCoy is still trying to make up for the hot lap crash in the opener that ended his night early, and he quickly moved into second in this race.  His bid to challenge Merriman for the lead resulted in a spin.  Medel benefited from a yellow flag a couple of laps later.   He followed Merriman for a lap before making his pass, only to find McCoy closely following him in second.  Medel was not giving up the bottom groove that McCoy was trying to take.  After some serious pressure for a few laps, Medel prevailed at the checkered flag.  McCoy was a close second, and you have to believe a feature win is just around the corner for the #95 car.

Merriman settled for third, but he has to be happy with the way his car ran in this race.  The former Dwarf Car star is making a good transition to the Sport Modified class.  Two time champion Dwayne Melvin has come back for a pair of races to challenge the hooked up race track.  Though not a big fan of tacky racing surfaces, he did get a win in the season finale last year.  This time around, he outdueled second ranked Willie McFall to get a fourth place finish.  This puts him into the next Trophy Dash.  When it comes to potential winners, you certainly can not count out either Melvin or McFall.

The IMCA Modified division was headed for a post Haudenshild Race dip again as several competitors were absent.  However, the addition of Brian Bowman, Ryan Baker, Max Augustine and California visitors Derek Nance and Tim Cecil kept the count in double digits.  Nance is a long time Merced Speedway competitor in both Late Models and IMCA Modifieds, but it's been a while since he's won a feature.  Cecil comes from a racing family.  His grandfather is Watsonville Hall Of Famer Jerry Cecil and his father is Street Stock legend Mike Cecil.  Mike lost his battle with Cancer 20 years ago, and that track has held a race in his honor ever since.  When Nance and Cecil arrived in Yreka, they were informed that the better car count for this class would be in Medford.  They quickly headed north.

The night started of looking like it would belong to Albert Gill.  The two time champion won both the Trophy Dash and his heat race.  Gill showed no signs of slowing down as he raced into the lead early in the Main Event.  Even a yellow flag that allowed Nance to restart right behind him didn't look like it would stop Gill.  Gill was running strong, but when he came up on two slower cars fighting for position, it proved to be his undoing.  Nance ducked underneath all of them down the back stretch and emerged with the lead.  Nance would bring it home to a satisfying victory, while Cecil finished fifth behind Baker..  Nance and Cecil will be back later this season.

Gill settled for his second straight runnerup finish, which still made it a good point effort.  Behind Gill in third was Jesse Bailey.  Bailey's third place finish was his sixth Top 3 finish in the last 12 races.  However, he hasn't won since the 2015 season opener, and he's looking to change that soon.  At the moment, the battle is between Gill and Bailey for the point lead.

On Friday night, the Outlaw Kart track opens for its first race of the season.  In addition to the 500 Open Karts, 250 Intermediates, Box Stocks and Beginners Box Stocks, there will also be Speedway Karts.  Count in the mid 30's is anticipated, and it could reach into the 40's as well.

So far this season, we've noticed that 500 Open Karts in the area who have competed include rookies Reece Slyter and Wyatt Pinckney as well as Jeffrey Hudson and Kenny Boardman.  We're not sure who might show up.  Kevin Hilgendorff recently relocated to Medford, and Johnny Burke is the reigning champion.  Other Karts who have supported recent races and could be there include 2013 runnerup Jantzen Knips, past champion Stephanie Krisp, Brody Sim and Merissa Henson. 

The 250 Karts figure to be represented by two of the top stars in the area, reigning champion Bodee Weiser and brother Braden Weiser.  Top 5 2016 competitor Brenden Bartlett had his moments last season, and he should be fast.  Teammate Devin Felix made the move up to the 250's late last season.  There are some fast competitors in this division who could be there this week, including Colby Bergquist, Ashleigh Strain, Braden Cory and 2016 Yreka Box Stock champion Brionna Fuller.  With third ranked 2016 competitor Enrique Jaime in a Sprint Car, we could see his sister Isabella in that Kart this week or in the weeks ahead.

Trevor Grimes is the two time reigning Box Stock champion.  He won three times last year and is clearly the driver to beat.  However, 2016 Yreka Beginners Box Stock champion Taylor Fuller is moving up this year for his next challenge.  Past Top 5 competitor Vinny DeBenedetti is making his return after a year off.  We also have Natalie Richard coming off of her second straight Roseburg Indoors championship and 2016 runnerup Emma Rodgers.  Other hard chargers to watch for include Ryan Hirschbock, Loveah Crice and Natalie Hudson.

Kiley Grimes is the reigning Beginners Box Stock champion.  More importantly, she is looking for her first feature win.  Second ranked 2016 competitor Shailene Horn and fourth ranked Jacob James were both feature winners last season who may be tough to beat.  We also have to keep an eye on Malachi Johnson.  This youngster looked like he'd been racing for a while when he made his first start midway through last season.  The Whipple brothers, Thomas and Roger, Adrian Richard and Nicholas Davis Jr. are other drivers to watch for.

The Fuller family are big boosters of the Speedway Kart class.  Larry Fuller finished second in points in Yreka last year ahead of teammate Nick Davis, Lori Fuller and Sean Fuller.  Young Brionna Fuller has gotten the chance to race in Yreka this year.  There's also Rambo Motorsports, and Steve Rambo and Johnny Hoult have both competed in the class.  Rambo won the most recent race in Yreka.  We're still learning the names on the roster, but we've heard a field of a half a dozen or so Speedway Karts could be present for their maiden run on the Medford Kart track.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Six Winners Share The Glory At Southern Oregon Speedway

DCRR  Racing Radio Show
Can Be Heard HERE

Southern Oregon Speedway Racing Discussion 
Can Be Heard HERE

Nance Battles Gill For Thrilling IMCA Modified Victory
At Southern Oregon Speedway 

White City, Oregon...June 17...Merced, California visitor Derek Nance won the 25 lap IMCA Modified Main Event Saturday night at Southern Oregon Speedway.  A long time IMCA Modified and Late Model competitor at Merced Speedway, Nance used lapped traffic to make his winning pass on Albert Gill and went on to score the victory.

Gill raced into the lead at the start of the Main Event with Jesse Bailey settling into second on lap two.  Eighth starter Nance was up to third by lap five as Gill had already built a straightaway advantage over Bailey.  A low pass in Turn 2 of the ninth lap gained Nance second from Bailey.  A lap ten caution flag for Max Augustine was the only slowdown of the race.  Gill continued to lead Nance and Bailey on the restart.  The lead duo pulled away from the pack and caught slower traffic by lap 18.  On lap 19, Nance made a move on the inside as they went down the back stretch behind two slower cars who were also fighting for position.  Nance moved into the lead as they entered Turn 3 and led the remaining laps for the victory.  Gill settled for second ahead of Bailey, Ryan Baker, Tim Cecil, Tim Bailey, Shane Everson, Brian Bowman, Augustine and James Anderson.  Gill was a double winner in preliminaries with four lap Trophy Dash and six lap heat race victories, and Bailey won the other heat race.

This Saturday night is the second race of the eight race IMCA Modified Wild West Speedweek, and some of the best drivers on the West Coast will be in town to compete.  For further information, go to www.southernoregonspeedway.com.
Race Results 
MCA Modifieds
Heat 1-Jesse Bailey, Shane Everson, Tim Cecil, Brian Bowman, James Anderson.  Heat 2-Albert Gill, Ryan Baker, Derek Nance, Tim Bailey, Max Augustine.  Trophy Dash-Albert Gill, Jesse Bailey, Shane Everson, James Anderson.  Main Event-Derek Nance, Albert Gill, Jesse Bailey, Ryan Baker, Tim Cecil, Tim Bailey, Shane Everson, Brian Bowman, Max Augustine, James Anderson.


Medel Out-duels McCoy For IMCA Sport Modified Win 
At Southern Oregon Speedway

White City, Oregon...June 17...Reigning champion Mike Medel won the 20 lap IMCA Sport Modified Main Event Saturday night at Southern Oregon Speedway.  Medel bought a new car for his title defense, and this was his first win of the season.  Medel took the lead from Jesse Merriman midway through the race and held off Rich McCoy for a well earned victory.

Polesitter Merriman led the early laps of the race as Willie McFall ran second.  A low pass in Turn 2 of the third lap put McCoy into second.  McCoy's bid to catch Merriman saw him spin in Turn 4 of the sixth lap.  Medel made an inside pass in Turn 2 of the seventh lap to take third from Dwayne Melvin, and A.J. Parker brought out a lap eight caution flag.  Merriman continued to lead on the restart as Medel and McCoy raced into second and third.  A David Marble spin brought out the final caution flag on lap 11.  Merriman led the restart, but Medel made a inside pass in Turn 4 of the 12th lap to take the lead.  McCoy raced underneath Merriman in Turn 2 a lap later to take over second.  For the next few laps, McCoy looked hard to find a way around Medel.  However, Medel ran smoothly during the final laps and scored the victory.  McCoy settled for second ahead of Merriman, Dwayne Melvin, McFall, Marble, Jayson Nelson, Tony Bartell and Parker.  Medel also won the four lap Trophy Dash, while McFall and McCoy won six lap heat races.

The IMCA Sport Modifieds will be back to support the IMCA Modified Wild West Speedweek race next Saturday night and will be at all but two of the races during the week as they have their own Speedweek series.  For further information on the happenings at the track, go to www.southernoregonspeedway.com.
Race Results 
IMCA Sport Modifieds
Heat 1-Willie McFall, Dwayne Melvin, Jayson Nelson, Tony Bartell, Jesse Merriman.  Heat 2-Rich McCoy, Mike Medel, David Marble, A.J. Parker.  Trophy Dash-Mike Medel, Rich McCoy, Willie McFall, Dwayne Melvin.  Main Event-Mike Medel, Rich McCoy, Jesse Merriman, Dwayne Melvin, Willie McFall, David Marble, Jayson Nelson, Tony Bartell, A.J. Parker.



Hibbard Third Different Kendall Oil Sprint Car Winner 
At Southern Oregon Speedway

White City, Oregon...June 17...Sixteen year old Bailey Hibbard won the 20 lap Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car Main Event Saturday night at Southern Oregon Speedway.  This was his second career win at the track.  It follows his second place finish last time out and makes him the third different winner in three races.  Hibbard took the lead from previous winner Kyler Barraza early on and brought it home to a $1,000 victory from there.

Barraza started things off the way he left it last time by winning the four lap Trophy Dash and his six lap heat race.  B. Hibbard won his heat race and surprised Barraza by beating him in the four lap Scramble.  Barraza charged into the lead at the start of the Main Event, followed closely by B. Hibbard and 2015-16 Cottage Grove champion Patrick Dills.  Calvin Hibbard stalled on the back stretch for a yellow flag on lap three.  B. Hibbard surprised Barraza by taking the lead on the restart as David Hibbard settled into third.  A lap 17 caution flag flew for Enrique Jaime.  Dusty Redmond joined Jaime on the sidelines.  B. Hibbard continued to lead the restart with father D. Hibbard taking second from Barraza.  It was smooth sailing ahead for B. Hibbard as he led the rest of the way for a well earned victory.  D. Hibbard was a season best second, followed by lead lap finishes for Barraza, Dills and Merissa Henson.

The Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car Series kicks into high gear in July with races scheduled for the 1st, the 8th and the 22nd.  For further information, go to www.southernoregonspeedway.com.
Race Results 
Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars
Heat 1-Kyler Barraza, Merissa Henson, David Hibbard, Dusty Redmond.  Heat 2-Bailey Hibbard, Patrick Dills, Enrique Jaime, Calvin Hibbard (DNS).  Trophy Dash-Kyler Barraza, Merissa Henson, Bailey Hibbard, Enrique Jaime.  Scramble-Bailey Hibbard, Kyler Barraza, Patrick Dills, Merissa Henson.  Main Event-Bailey Hibbard, David Hibbard, Kyler Barraza, Patrick Dills, Merissa Henson, Dusty Redmond, Enrique Jaime, Calvin Hibbard.


Knight Battles Back From Spin For Late Model Victory 
At Southern Oregon Speedway

White City, Oregon...June 17...Dustin Knight made a charge through the pack to win the 20 lap Late Model feature Saturday night at Southern Oregon Speedway.  Knight let a win get away from him earlier this season in traffic, and a mid race spin nearly cost him a shot at victory again.  To the delight of the crowd, Knight made an aggressive pass in the final turn to take the win away from Nathan Augustine.

Augustine started the night off with a four lap Trophy Dash win, while he and Knight both won six lap heat races.  Dave Foot was having starter issues and was unable to start the Main Event.  Knight raced into the early lead ahead of Augustine and Kristy Grout.  Lap three saw Augustine make a Turn 2 pass for the lead, only to lose the lead back to Knight in Turn 4.  The lead duo pulled away from the pack and battled closely for first.  Moments after lapping a slower car, Knight's car died in Turn 2 for a lap ten caution flag.  Augustine led the restart as Mike Linder and reigning champion Bob Dees moved into second and third.  The flying Knight took third from Dees on lap 12 and made a Turn 2 pass on Linder on lap 13 to take over second.  Augustine's lead at that point was nearly a straightaway, and Knight had his foot to the floor in a last ditch effort to make a challenge.  Augustine exercised a bit of caution when lapping a slower car, and this allowed Knight to close the gap as they worked lap 19.  Racing to the white flag, Knight made contact with the front wall, but he kept his momentum up.  Knight dove in low in Turn 3 with an aggressive move and barely slid in front of Augustine in Turn 4.  With the crowd on their feet, Knight sped to the checkered flag, just ahead of Augustine.  Linder finished third ahead of B. Dees, Grout, Garrett Dees and Don Garrett Jr.
Race Results
Late Models
Heat 1-Dustin Knight, Dave Foot, Garrett Dees, Don Garrett Jr.  Heat 2-Nathan Augustine, Kristy Grout, Bob Dees, Mike Linder.  Trophy Dash-Nathan Augustine, Kristy Grout, Dave Foot, Dustin Knight.  Main Event-Dustin Knight, Nathan Augustine, Mike Linder, Bob Dees, Kristy Grout, Garrett Dees, Don Garrett Jr., Dave Foot (DNS).


Anderson Ends Slump With Victory 
At Southern Oregon Speedway

White City, Oregon...June 17...After back to back disappointing efforts to start his season, 2014 champion Gary Anderson rebounded with a 20 lap Mini Stock Main Event victory.  Anderson took the lead from Kristopher Mix and led the rest of the way for a much needed victory. 

Anderson started his night off with a six lap heat race victory, while Mix won his heat race.  The Main Event had to be restarted after Patrick Stringer-Stine and Hunter Magnan tangled in Turn 2.  Incoming point leader David Steele lost a motor on the opening lap to end his race.  Mix led Anderson and 2013 champion Steve Goetz on the restart.  Trophy Dash winner Andrew Hall joined Steele in the pits on lap four as Mix and Anderson battled closely up front.  Reigning champion Bob Burkett moved up to battle Goetz for third.  An inside move on the back stretch of the seventh lap gained Anderson the lead from Mix just as Burkett found his way past Goetz for third.  Championship contender Dillen Lausen moved up to battle Burkett for third, and the final yellow flag flew after ten laps for debris on the track.  Anderson led Mix and Burkett on the restart as Michael Johnson began racing past drivers on the outside.  Johnson took third from Burkett on lap 13 and made a high move in Turn 4 a lap later to take second from Mix.  Mix raced back by on the inside to regain second on lap 15.  Johnson went by Mix for second again on the front stretch on lap 16, but he spun in Turn 2 moments later.  Lausen had passed Burkett and was now third.  Anderson stayed smooth and encountered no menanical gremlins on his way to the win.  Mix a was career best second ahead of Lausen, Burkett, Johnson and Stringer-Stine.
Race Results
Mini Stocks
Heat 1-Gary Anderson, Andrew Hall, Dillen Lausen, Hunter Magnan, Michael Johnson.  Heat 2-Kristopher Mix, Steve Goetz, Bob Burkett, Patrick Stringer-Stine, David Steele.  Trophy Dash-Andrew Hall, David Steele, Michael Johnson, Dillen Lausen.  Main Event-Gary Anderson, Kristopher Mix, Dillen Lausen, Bob Burkett, Michael Johnson, Patrick Stringer-Stine, Steve Goetz, Hunter Magnan, Andrew Hall, David Steele.


Minter Wins Second Straight OTRO Hardtop Main Event

White City, Oregon...June 17...Mark Minter scored his second straight 20 lap OTRO Hardtop Main Event victory Saturday night at Southern Oregon Speedway.  Mark is driving the same Minter family #33 car that has been driven by all of the Minter men.  He spent the offseason going over the car to get it ready for this season after winning a race last year in a substitute role for Bill Trotter.  Minter took the lead from Jamie Britton on lap ten and never looked back in the non stop event.

Britton won his six lap heat race, and Minter won a competitive second heat after a battle with Bruce Wilkerson.  Jimmy Del Castille won his first four lap Trophy Dash.  Dean Cast led the opening lap of the Main Event before being passed by Britton.  Minter made a high pass in Turn 4 to claim second before lap two was complete.  Wilkerson was in third on lap three.  Britton and Minter ran closely in their battle for the lead.  The two leaders made contact in Turn 2 on lap 11 with Minter hitting the brakes to allow Britton to gather it back up.  Minter recovered quicker and emerged with the lead.  Wilkerson moved up to battle Britton for second before making his pass on lap 17.  However, there was no catching Minter as he won ahead of Wilkerson, Britton, Bill Trotter, Cast, Del Castille and Nathan Augustine.
Race Results
OTRO Hardtops
Heat 1-Jamie Britton, Jimmy Del Castille.  Heat 2-Mark Minter, Bruce Wilkerson, Bill Trotter, Nathan Augustine.  Trophy Dash-Jimmy Del Castille, Jamie Britton, Dean Cast, Ken Lerwell.  Main Event-Mark Minter, Bruce Wilkerson, Jamie Britton, Bill Trotter, Dean Cast, Jimmy Del Castille, Nathan Augustine, Ken Lerwell (DNS).

Sunday, June 18, 2017

Hibbard, Nance, Knight Steal Show At Southern Oregon Speedway


Hibbard, Nance, Knight Steal Show At Southern Oregon Speedway

White City, Oregon...June 17...Bailey Hibbard won the 25 lap Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car Main Event Saturday night at Southern Oregon Speedway. The 16 year old Hibbard also won his eight lap heat race and the four lap Scramble, but previous feature winner Kyler Barraza set the early Main Event pace. A lap 3 yellow flag flew for Bailey's grandfather Calvin Hibbard. Bailey gained the lead from Barraza on the restart and the the rest of the way for the impressive victory. Bailey's father David Hibbard took second late in the race and Barraza settled for third ahead of Patrick Dills and Merissa Henson.

Merced, California visitor Derek Nance won the 25 lap IMCA Modified Main Event. After winning the four lap Trophy Dash, two time track champion Albert Gill raced into the Main Event lead at the start and led the first 17 laps. When Gill came up on two slower cars battling for position on the back stretch, the crafty Stock Car veteran Nance moved by them all to take the lead. Nance led the rest of the way for the win with Gill right behind him in second. Jesse Bailey was a solid third ahead of Ryan Baker and Tim Cecil.

Dustin Knight thrilled the crowd with a last lap pass to win the 20 lap Late Model Main Event. Four lap Trophy Dash winner Nathan Augustine and Knight had a good early batt0le and exchanged the lead on lap eight as Knight had otherwise led through lap ten. Knight stalled in Turn 2 for a lap 11 caution flag, putting Augustine into the lead. Knight had gained second by lap 13 and brushed the front wall racing to the white flag in an effort to take the lead. Racing into the final turn, Knight pulled ahead down low in Turn 3 and emerged with the lead out of Turn 4. The crowd was on their feet as Knight won ahead of Augustine, Mike Linder, Bob Dees and Kristy Grout.

Mike Medel scored wins in both the four lap Trophy Dash and 20 lap IMCA Sport Modified Main Event. A lap 11 yellow flag for a David Marble spin in the Main Event erased a straightaway lead for Jesse Merriman. Merriman led the restart, but Medel made a inside pass in Turn 4 to take the lead on lap 13. Rich McCoy had spun earlier, but he quickly moved back to second. McCoy pressured Medel hard for a few laps in a thrilling side by side battle, but Medel held him off for the impressive win. Merriman settled for third ahead of Dwayne Melvin and Willie McFall.
Gary Anderson broke free from his early season slump with a 20 lap Mini Stock Main Event win. The 2014 champion raced past early leader Kristopher Mix on the back stretch to gain the lead on lap six. A pair of mid race yellow flags did not stop Anderson from his much needed triumph. Mix survived a serious threat from Michael Johnson to finish second. Johnson spun in Turn 2 as Dillen Lausen, Bob Burkett and Johnson rounded out the Top 5

Mark Minter won his second straight 20 lap OTRO Hardtop Main Event. Minter and early leader Jamie Britton made contact in Turn 2 on lap 10, and Minter slowed to allow Britton to gather it back up. Minter recovered quicker on the back stretch to take the lead. Minter pulled away from there to win by a wide margin. Bruce Wilkerson made a late pass on Britton to finish second as Bill Trotter and Dean Cast completed the Top 5 at the checkered flag.

Racing resumes this week with a big event. Next Saturday/ night is Round #2 of IMCA Modified Wild West Speedway. IMCA Sport Modifieds and SODCA Dwarf Cars are also on the card. Friday night will be a night of racing on the Outlaw Kart track. For further information, go to www.southernoregonspeedway.com.

Unofficial Race Results
Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars
Heat Winners (8 laps)-Kyler Barraza, Bailey Hibbard. Trophy Dash (4 Laps)-Kyler Barraza. Scramble (4 Laps)-Bailey Hibbard. Main Event (20 Laps)-Bailey Hibbard, David Hibbard, Kyler Barraza, Patrick Dills, Merissa Henson.

IMCA Modifieds
Heat Winners (8 laps)-Jesse Bailey, Albert Gill. Trophy Dash (4 Laps)-Albert Gill. Main Event (20 Laps)-Derek Nance, Albert Gill, Jesse Bailey, Ryan Baker, Tim Cecil.

IMCA Sport Modifieds
Heat Winners (8 laps)-Willie McFall, Rich McCoy. Trophy Dash (4 Laps)-Mike Medel. Main Event (20 Laps)-Mike Medel, Rich McCoy, Jesse Merriman, Dwayne Melvin, Willie McFall.

Late Models
Heat Winners (8 laps)-Dustin Knight, Nathan Augustine. Trophy Dash (4 Laps)-Nathan Augustine. Main Event (20 Laps)-Dustin Knight, Nathan Augustine, Mike Linder, Bob Dees, Kristy Grout.

Mini Stocks
Heat Winners (8 laps)-Gary Anderson, Kristopher Mix. Trophy Dash (4 Laps)-Andrew Hall. Main Event (20 Laps)-Gary Anderson, Kristopher Mix, Dillon Lausen, Bob Burkett, Michael Johnson.

OTRO Hardtops
Heat Winners (8 laps)-Jamie Britton, Mark Minter. Trophy Dash (4 Laps)-Jimmy Del Castille. Main Event (20 Laps)-Mark Minter, Bruce Wilkerson, Jamie Britton, Bill Trotter, Dean Cast.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Southern Oregon Speedway Weekend Preview And More

Southern Oregon Speedway Racing Discussion 
Can Be Heard HERE


Henson, Jaime Part Of The Sprint Car Show At Southern Oregon Speedway

Merissa Henson #17m after her second Mini Stock Trophy Dash win last year.

White City, Oregon...It starts on the Outlaw Kart track for the young racers who dream of one day racing on the bigger track at Southern Oreon Speedway.  They learn how to drive, they learn basic racing procedures, they learn how to work on their Karts and some of them even learn about getting sponsorship and making appearances at local business.  Through the years, racers like Chadd Noland, Seth Nunes and C.J. Puttnam raced on the smaller track.  All three have gone on to win championships on the bigger tracks. 

With the Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars now a part of the racing lineup at Southern Oregon Speedway, these young drivers have another goal to shoot for.  One day, they could be racing Sprint Cars on the three-tenths mile clay oval.  There are several young drivers preparing Sprint Cars, and three of them have already started competing.  Third generation racer Bailey Hibbard recently finished second in a Main Event.  Last year, the past 250 Kart champion won his first Main Event at his home track.


Enrique Jaime #48e was third in 250 Kart points last season.

Two young drivers now competing for "Rookie Of The Year" honors and maybe even a track championship are Merissa Henson and Enrique Jaime.  Both have competed on the Kart track in recent seasons.  Jaime just had a third place season in his 250 Kart last year.  This young hard charger has been burning up the circuit both on dirt and on pavement.  Last year, seven time IMCA Modified champion Mark Wauge let Enrique take the wheel of his car for some hot laps.  He was hooked.  The Jaime family knew that their son was ready for another move up, and they have put him in a Sprint Car this season.

Merissa Henson #17m won the 500 Open Kart dash and feature in last year's season finale.

Merissa Henson has had a love of racing basically since she was old enough to stand.  She started in the Box Stocks and worked her way up from there to 250's and then the faster 500 Open class.  On each level this talened teen racer demonstrated her ability as a Top 3 point competitor and race winner.  Last year, she notched her first 500 Open Kart Trophy Dash and Main Event wins.  In 2015, Shannon and Mitch Henson put their daughter into a Mini Stock, and she finished tenth in points.  She was only 14 years old.

Last year was a breakthrough year for Merissa.  She finished fifth in points.  In a very competitive field, she notched a pair of third place finishes and also won two Trophy Dashes.  Her parents presented her with an opportunity in August of last year.  She could continue racing Mini Stocks, or she could move up to Sprint Cars.  It just so happened that the former Phil Del Rosa car was available.  Henson didn't hesitate.  She wanted to move up.  The Mini Stock went up for sale, she finished out a strong season and the car went to Michael Johnson.  Work began on the Sprint Car during the offseason.


Merissa Henson #17 had a Top 5 finish in her first Sprint Car start.

Henson has a champion in her corner.  2009 Sprint Car titlist Charlie Thompson is working as crew chief and providing his knowledge on car setup and driving technique.  Armed with that and her already proven ability, Merissa opened the season with a Top 5 Main Event finish.  She also finished second in her heat race.  Her most recent start didn't go so well as she broke her steering and didn't finish.  However, it was a learning experience, and she's ready to get back behind the wheel again.

Enrique Jaime #48e looked good in his third place finish last time.

Enrique's first start ended with him taking a checkered flag and gaining valuable seat time.  Though he had a spin, he restarted at the back and got smoother as the race went on.  Last time out, he finished second in his heat race.  He followed that up with a third place Main Event finish.  Since track rules take the Top 4 finishers from the previous Main Event, that put them into the Trophy Dash, that means Jaime will be starting on the outside pole.

Merissa Henson and Enrique Jaime are two of the young guns of the Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars, and both are ready for racing to resume this Saturday night.  It's because of drivers like these two that the Sprint Car effort at Southern Oregon Speedway has a bright future ahead.  Saturday's program will also include Late Models, IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Mini Stocks and OTRO Hardtops.  Gates open at 5 PM with the first race at 7 PM.  General Admission is $12, Seniors and Juniors are $6 and Children 5 and under are free.  For more information, go to www.southernoregonspeedway.com.



Stacked Six Division Show At Southern Oregon Speedway

White City, Oregon...The June storm that passed through Oregon didn't spare any of the racing programs as the tracks all canceled one by one.  So far, Southern Oregon Speedway has managed to hold four of the seven races this year.  Forecasts are calling for a nice day on Saturday as IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars, Late Models, Mini Stocks and OTRO Hardtops are all on the schedule.

The IMCA Modifieds and Sport Modifieds will be running two weeks in a row, and this is a tuneup race for the big Wild West Speedweek race on June 24th.  The locals know that the best the state of Oregon has to offer will be there on the 24th, as well of stars from California and Washington, so getting their cars dialed in will be important.  It's also a crucial time in the IMCA Modified point battle.  After this week's race, the regulars have the pressure of just making the Main Event the following week.  That in itself will be a challenge. 


 
Point leader Monte Bischoff #F1 won the IMCA Modified Season Opener.

Two drivers you know are up to the challenge are Monte Bischoff and Mark Wauge.  Bischoff earned Top 5 finishes in both the Roger Haudenshild Tribute and the John Arnberg Memorial this year in Yreka.  It's no secret to the success of racers like these two.  You'll find their cars up on jacks between races as their crews make adjustments.  "The track can change during the night, " said Monte.  "You have to make adjustments to loosen or tighten the setup.  It can make the difference between having a chance to win or being an also ran that night."

Bischoff leads Jesse Bailey and past champions Wauge and Albert Gill in a close four car battle at the top of the standings.  This Saturday will still be an important night of racing for the division, but the 24th will be the big test.  The drop in points from making the Main Event to not getting out of the B Main can be pretty steep, so these drivers are hoping to end June on a positive note.


Reigning champion Mike Medel #30 is looking for his first win of the season.

The Sport Modifieds will get to race at most of the tracks during Speedweek after this week's race.  Jorddon Braaten and Mike Medel are doing what you'd expect these two champions to do so far.  They are running at the head of the pack.  They've had 1-2 finishes in the first two races, but Medel is hoping to take a step up to a feature victory.  "The new car is running pretty well, " Medel admitted.  "I've had some good finishes. but I've also been caught up in a few crashes.  I think we're pretty close on things, and I feel that win will be coming soon."

With Willie McFall and Rich McCoy running as well as they are now, and other tough competitors like A.J. Parker, Tony Bartell, David Marble and Jason Zimmerman in the field, it should be another good night of racing this week.

The Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars are doing better this year.  It is a work in progress establishing this class at the speedway.  Prior to last season, 2010 was the last time a champion was crowned, and car count had been going down during the previous two years.  However, Promoter Mike McCann is committed to building this class, and car count is up from last year.  


Bailey Hibbard #1 finished a strong second in the recent race.

One positive factor in that is past Cottage Grove Limited Sprint Car champion David Hibbard.  Behind the scenes, David is working hard to get new drivers on board, and he also fields cars for his father Calvin and his son Bailey.  There's a reason for what he's doing.  "I want to see a strong Sprint Car presence here, " said David, who has won his share of races at Southern Oregon Speedway.  "The track has had some good races and good drivers through the years.  Fans like seeing Sprint Car racing, and what we're doing here is bringing in a whole new generation of drivers to the roster.  It's just what is needed for the continued success of the division."

When Hibbard speaks of young drivers, he's not only talking about his son Bailey, who finished a strong second last time.  He's also talking about teen leadfoots like Merissa Henson, Enrique Jaime, Jeffrey Hudson and the soon to be season debut of Outlaw Kart star Tanner Holmes.  Because of the sensible rules the class offers, word out of California is that David Johnson and Jeff Crossman will be racing this week as well.  They all will have their work cut out for the when it comes to battling the most recent winner, Kyler Barraza.  Kyler is a two time Southern Oregon Sprint Car Tour champion.


 
 Nathan Augustine #24 has won his two Late Model Starts at the track.

If you aren't getting enough speed with these three divisions, there's also the Late Model division.  With three races getting rained out, the competitors are chomping at the bit to get some more seat time.  Last week's rainout was actually a make up race for one of the other rainouts.  Word is that our most recent two winners, Nathan Augustine  and Dustin Knight, will be back to renew their battle.  Krity Grout and Dave Foot plan on being there, and Dees Racing, Mike Linder and Steve Lemley are others to watch for this week.


 David Steele #67 is the early Mini Stock point leader.

With the experience advantage that he carries, David Steele leads the way in the Mini Stock class.  He's already won both races here and three in Yreka.  Not surprisingly, he leads the standings.  He knows the young talent in the division will present a challenge for him as the season moves along.  "A lot of these drivers have only been racing for a few years, " said David.  "They just need a bit more seat time.  I don't take it for granted that I'm going to win, because I know one of these drivers could win on any give week."

Dillen Lausen is the driver taking up pursuit of Steele at the moment.  Last year's top rookie is second in the standings following his career best second place finish last time.  Add in the Pinto Wagon of Andrew Hall, Kristopher Mix, Michael Johnson, Patrick Stringer-Stine and Eric Hanson, and you can expect a first time winner soon.  Plus, past champions Gary Anderson and Steve Goetz will be at the front of the pack once they get their motor issues sorted out.


Mark Minter #33 won the OTRO Hardtop season opener.

OTRO Hardtops round out an exciting program with their old Coupe and Sedan bodied race cars.  These drivers tow in mostly from Roseburg and enjoy the opportunity to race on the dirt.  The Trotter family is fielding three cars with Bill owning two of them and son Dusty owning one car.  Both drivers were heat race winners last time, but it was Mark Minter driving the family car to a feature win last time.  That particular car was an OTRO original from when the group was founded in 1988.  Brian Crouch, Jamie Britton, Jimmy Del Castille and the Sedan owned by Vic & Louise Bridges are among the other competitors to watch for this week.

The gates open for this six division show at 5 PM with the first race starting at 7 PM.  General Admission prices are $12 with Seniors and Juniors $6 and Children 5 and under free.  For further information, go to www.southernoregonspeedway.c//om.
Stacked Six Division Show At Southern Oregon Speedway

White City, Oregon...The June storm that passed through Oregon didn't spare any of the racing programs as the tracks all canceled one by one.  So far, Southern Oregon Speedway has managed to hold four of the seven races this year.  Forecasts are calling for a nice day on Saturday as IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars, Late Models, Mini Stocks and OTRO Hardtops are all on the schedule.

The IMCA Modifieds and Sport Modifieds will be running two weeks in a row, and this is a tuneup race for the big Wild West Speedweek race on June 24th.  The locals know that the best the state of Oregon has to offer will be there on the 24th, as well of stars from California and Washington, so getting their cars dialed in will be important.  It's also a crucial time in the IMCA Modified point battle.  After this week's race, the regulars have the pressure of just making the Main Event the following week.  That in itself will be a challenge. 


 
Point leader Monte Bischoff #F1 won the IMCA Modified Season Opener.

Two drivers you know are up to the challenge are Monte Bischoff and Mark Wauge.  Bischoff earned Top 5 finishes in both the Roger Haudenshild Tribute and the John Arnberg Memorial this year in Yreka.  It's no secret to the success of racers like these two.  You'll find their cars up on jacks between races as their crews make adjustments.  "The track can change during the night, " said Monte.  "You have to make adjustments to loosen or tighten the setup.  It can make the difference between having a chance to win or being an also ran that night."

Bischoff leads Jesse Bailey and past champions Wauge and Albert Gill in a close four car battle at the top of the standings.  This Saturday will still be an important night of racing for the division, but the 24th will be the big test.  The drop in points from making the Main Event to not getting out of the B Main can be pretty steep, so these drivers are hoping to end June on a positive note.


Reigning champion Mike Medel #30 is looking for his first win of the season.

The Sport Modifieds will get to race at most of the tracks during Speedweek after this week's race.  Jorddon Braaten and Mike Medel are doing what you'd expect these two champions to do so far.  They are running at the head of the pack.  They've had 1-2 finishes in the first two races, but Medel is hoping to take a step up to a feature victory.  "The new car is running pretty well, " Medel admitted.  "I've had some good finishes. but I've also been caught up in a few crashes.  I think we're pretty close on things, and I feel that win will be coming soon."

With Willie McFall and Rich McCoy running as well as they are now, and other tough competitors like A.J. Parker, Tony Bartell, David Marble and Jason Zimmerman in the field, it should be another good night of racing this week.

The Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars are doing better this year.  It is a work in progress establishing this class at the speedway.  Prior to last season, 2010 was the last time a champion was crowned, and car count had been going down during the previous two years.  However, Promoter Mike McCann is committed to building this class, and car count is up from last year.  


Bailey Hibbard #1 finished a strong second in the recent race.

One positive factor in that is past Cottage Grove Limited Sprint Car champion David Hibbard.  Behind the scenes, David is working hard to get new drivers on board, and he also fields cars for his father Calvin and his son Bailey.  There's a reason for what he's doing.  "I want to see a strong Sprint Car presence here, " said David, who has won his share of races at Southern Oregon Speedway.  "The track has had some good races and good drivers through the years.  Fans like seeing Sprint Car racing, and what we're doing here is bringing in a whole new generation of drivers to the roster.  It's just what is needed for the continued success of the division."

When Hibbard speaks of young drivers, he's not only talking about his son Bailey, who finished a strong second last time.  He's also talking about teen leadfoots like Merissa Henson, Enrique Jaime, Jeffrey Hudson and the soon to be season debut of Outlaw Kart star Tanner Holmes.  Because of the sensible rules the class offers, word out of California is that David Johnson and Jeff Crossman will be racing this week as well.  They all will have their work cut out for the when it comes to battling the most recent winner, Kyler Barraza.  Kyler is a two time Southern Oregon Sprint Car Tour champion.


 
 Nathan Augustine #24 has won his two Late Model Starts at the track.

If you aren't getting enough speed with these three divisions, there's also the Late Model division.  With three races getting rained out, the competitors are chomping at the bit to get some more seat time.  Last week's rainout was actually a make up race for one of the other rainouts.  Word is that our most recent two winners, Nathan Augustine  and Dustin Knight, will be back to renew their battle.  Krity Grout and Dave Foot plan on being there, and Dees Racing, Mike Linder and Steve Lemley are others to watch for this week.


 David Steele #67 is the early Mini Stock point leader.

With the experience advantage that he carries, David Steele leads the way in the Mini Stock class.  He's already won both races here and three in Yreka.  Not surprisingly, he leads the standings.  He knows the young talent in the division will present a challenge for him as the season moves along.  "A lot of these drivers have only been racing for a few years, " said David.  "They just need a bit more seat time.  I don't take it for granted that I'm going to win, because I know one of these drivers could win on any give week."

Dillen Lausen is the driver taking up pursuit of Steele at the moment.  Last year's top rookie is second in the standings following his career best second place finish last time.  Add in the Pinto Wagon of Andrew Hall, Kristopher Mix, Michael Johnson, Patrick Stringer-Stine and Eric Hanson, and you can expect a first time winner soon.  Plus, past champions Gary Anderson and Steve Goetz will be at the front of the pack once they get their motor issues sorted out.


Mark Minter #33 won the OTRO Hardtop season opener.

OTRO Hardtops round out an exciting program with their old Coupe and Sedan bodied race cars.  These drivers tow in mostly from Roseburg and enjoy the opportunity to race on the dirt.  The Trotter family is fielding three cars with Bill owning two of them and son Dusty owning one car.  Both drivers were heat race winners last time, but it was Mark Minter driving the family car to a feature win last time.  That particular car was an OTRO original from when the group was founded in 1988.  Brian Crouch, Jamie Britton, Jimmy Del Castille and the Sedan owned by Vic & Louise Bridges are among the other competitors to watch for this week.

The gates open for this six division show at 5 PM with the first race starting at 7 PM.  General Admission prices are $12 with Seniors and Juniors $6 and Children 5 and under free.  For further information, go to www.southernoregonspeedway.com.


Pit Stops

The SODCA Dwarf Cars were back for their second appearance at Southern Oregon Speedway.  We haven't seen a point list from SODCA yet, but it's pretty safe to say that reigning champion Brock Peters, son Cody Peters, Camden Robustelli and Chad Cardoza are players in the championship battle.  It's early yet, and even hard chargers like Fred Hay, Kaycee Sheeler, Ryan Smith and Randy Slater are in the hunt.  Two time champion Josh King isn't pursuing points this year, though he skipped a $1,000 to win race in Nevada to compete at his favorite track.  Josh had preliminary success with his win in the Haudenshild family's Crack The Whip race.  His win paid $200.

Robustelli has a Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car, but there's something else motivating the recent high school grad.  He wants to win the Dwarf Car championship.  For the past two seasons, Camden has settled for a very close second.  He entered this race with hack to back wins in Medford and Coos Bay, but his night didn't go so well.  He was caught up in an early tangle to end his race.  You can bet he'll come back strong as the club is supporting a couple of big events in the next two weeks.

Cody Peters led the first Medford race of the season for quite some time, but he was having some problems as Robustelli and his father Brock Peters caught him.  His battery connection wasn't good, and it effected his power steering.  Cody was steering the car with help from his brakes.  He didn't realize until afterwards that he didn't have front brakes.  It might have been a good thing he didn't know.  Cody kept going and salvaged a third place finish that night.  Brock, meanwhile, is happy with his new M&M chassis, but he's still getting things dialed in.  He said prior to the most recent race that Cody's car is there right now, but his own car is still a work in progress.

After Cody won yet another B Dash, he was part of the incident that ended the race for Robustelli.  While Cody came back through the pack, Brock had the lead.  One thing we've noticed about Cody since last year is his willingness to work the outside groove to pass people.  It served him well this time until he caught his father.  Cody searched high and low, but that #2 car in front of him was pretty wide at times.  It ended up being a father and son 1-2 finish as Brock beat Cody.  You have to believe that Cody's win is coming.

The race for third was a good one as A Dash winner Cardoza led Rob Gergel and King for a while.  A late restart opened the door for Gergel to claim that finish with King forcing Cardoza to settle for fifth.  While Cardoza and King are on the Medford winner's list, Gergel is still looking for his first victory.  Driving the way he did, you have to believe Rob's win is coming.  Kaycee Sheeler and Fred Hay were among the Top 10 finishers.  Bud Lorentz also finished in the Top 10.  Saturday night was an opportunity for Bud to race with his son Jesse, who competed in a Mod Lite.  Jesse put his father in his #3 car last year, making him the oldest rookie in the field.  This was the first opportunity for the two to compete against each other.  Jesse didn't do as well, but he was happy to see his father get another checkered flag.

Nick Trenchard is playing the role of Bounty Hunter lately.  The second generation competitor has won some big IMCA Modified races in his career, and the 2015 Yreka champion recently went back to that track and pocketed $1,038 for a dominant victory in the John Arnberg Memorial.  Last week, he proceeded to dominate the field again for his second Roger Haudenshild Tribute race victory.  The win was set to pay $1,200, but the Haudenshild family upped the ante by giving him another $500 in the winner's circle.  The Wild West Speedweek will make a stop in Medford on June 24th, and Nick may be one of the drivers to beat.

Monte Bischoff is the early point leader, and his win in the season opener helped his effort.  You can usually find Monte and his crew making adjustments on the car between races as it is up on jacks.  Monte admitted that he loosened the setup a couple times that night, and the adjustments paid off with his impressive victory over Mark Wauge.  He came into the recent race prepared for a hooked up racing surface and won the Trophy Dash in a battle with Jesse Bailey.  These two were battling all night.  In the Main Event, Bischoff made contact with Bailey in his bid for third, and then he lifted to allow Bailey to recover.  The two had body damage, but they both made it to the finish line in third and fourth. 

That Main Event went non stop. Two time champion Albert Gill won his heat race and was a race long second in the feature.  Gill started to catch Trenchard as the flying leader used caution in heavy traffic, but he was never able to make a challenge.  However, Gill was never really threatened for second either.  With a bad starting spot, seven time defending champion Mark Wauge had to battle just to get a fifth place finish.  He was not thrilled by the finish, but it was still a good point night.  The race that will shake things up between Bischoff, Gill, Bailey and Wauge is the Speedweek event on June 24th.  With the increased car count, it's going to be a challenge for the regulars just to make the Main Event.  This was the night that put Wauge back into the point battle last season.

James Welshonse ended up a close second in his "Rookie Of The Year" season last year, and he was somebody people looked at as a title contender this year.  Unfortunately, his point effort took a hit last week in the Crack The Whip race.  James broke a rear end in that race and scratched from the Main Event.  Just staying on the lead lap with Trenchard setting such a rapid pace was a challenge.  Jeremy Ohlde rebounded from a rough season opener with a respectable sixth place finish.  Past Late Model Lites racer Preston Jones was in danger of going a lap down as he battled for position in the final half-dozen laps.  We haven't even seen Preston in a few seasons, and he drove like he hadn't been gone at all.  Not only did he make some passes to earn seventh, he also kept Trenchard from putting him a lap down.  Jones led most of the Crack the Whip race, but Bailey made a last lap pass for the $200 victory.

Speaking of Crack The Whip, the IMCA Sport Modified version of the race ended up being Crash The Car after a botched start.  Rookie Justin McCreadie has been burning up the scene at Yreka with a pair of feature wins already, but he wanted to race in front of the home crowd.  David Marble skipped the Medford opener thinking things would go smoother in Cottage Grove.  Unfortunately, he was involved in a crash that left his car too damaged to affordably repair.  It was easier to get a new car, and David had that car ready for a run at a big Medford win.  After a strong second to reigning champion Mike Medel in their heat race, David lined up for the Crack The Whip race.  The drivers were rolling to what they thought would be a green flag.   It never waved, and Marble crashed with McCreadie in Turn 1.  Both drivers found the unhappy end of the tow truck hook to end their night.

A.J. Parker gave it a pretty good run in the opener when you consider the car wasn't set up right and the ball joint wasn't installed properly.  He managed a fourth place finish that night.  He's still working on a new car for next year, but he is running his Top 5 car from last season in the meantime.  Saturday saw A.J. lead a couple of laps of the Trophy Dash before Jorddon Braaten took over.  A.J. had a bit of a rough night as he ended up eighth in the Main Event. 

Braaten was practically unstoppable all night, which was the case on the previous Sunday when he won the Bo Hittson Memorial at Yreka for an $812 victory.  Only a second to Rich McCoy in their heat race marred Braaten's night as he won the $200 in the Crack the Whip race.  He was never seriously threatened as he won the $800 prize in the Roger Haudenshild Tribute.  The Haudenshild family upped that total by $500 in the winner's circle, meaning it was a $1,500 night for the two time track champion and current point leader.  Jorddon now has 26 career feature wins, just in the Sport Modified class in Medford.

Reigning champion Mike Medel has been running strong in his new car this year and is one of the Top 5 drivers in the Sport Mod Challenge Series, led at the moment by Braaten.  In Yreka the previous Saturday, Mike's car took heavy damage in a late race crash, but he still got it to the finish line in the Top 6.  On Sunday, he finished third, losing second on a late restart.  Mike looked good back at Medford as he won his heat race and finished a solid second in the Main Event ahead of 2016 Yreka champion Jimmy Lipke and heat winner Rich McCoy.  McCoy was at the center of the Saturday crash in Yreka and wasn't exactly proud of his effort that night.  After his non start in the Medford opener, the past Mini Stock champion did a great job of getting a fourth place finish.

Two time champion Dwayne Melvin was proudly displaying the Roger Haudenshild Racing logo on the rear quarter panel of his car.  Melvin also runs the same #69 that Roger did.  He gave it a valiant effort before finishing second to Braaten in the Crack The Whip race.  In the Main Event, Dwayne battled Willie McFall fiercely for fifth, but he settled for a respectable lead lap sixth.  Rookie Jason Zimmerman put on an entertaining show, though his car got put through its paces.  In only his second start, he did a complete 360 in Turn 4 and kept going.  Later, he rode the front wall on two wheels.  He spun in Turn 2 on the final lap and missed the checkered flag, but he still finished seventh.  At the moment, he leads all rookies in the division.

The Pro Stocks delivered a solid 16 car field for the latest race, which included the return of two time champion Ken Irving, Dan Randall and Tom Hackworth as well as support from the OPSA.  There was no question that Dr. Scott Lenz was the star of the evening.  Lenz dominated the Roger Haudenshild Tribute for the $800 payday and won the $200 in the Crack The Whip race.  He also won his heat race.  Scott is a past Pro Stock champion at the track and a Street Stock champion at the old Medford Speedway.  This win was his 102nd career victory, and it helped him maintain the OPSA point lead over Scott Flowers.  S. Flowers was riding along in third, but he lost the position to Irving on the last lap.

The Flowers family was out in full force with four cars thanks to the support of car owner Arlen Garrison with the #00 car that Scott's son James was driving.  James picked up a heat race win and a second in the Main Event.  Scott's wife Ginny and daughter Julia didn't finish the Main Event, but young Julia, who recently graduated high school, finished a strong second in the Trophy Dash and followed Jeffrey Hudson in second in her heat race after leading early.  Hudson may be the only driver on the circuit who can keep up with Lenz, but the 2015 OPSA champion had a rough Main Event.  He did win the Billy Geyer Memorial race a few weeks ago in Yreka.

The early Medford point battle is being led by Coos Bay's Josh Kralicek.  Josh had an eighth place finish in the Main Event, but his highlight came earlier as he won his first Trophy Dash.  He may not have considered the possibility of a championship when he made the decision to race in Medford this year, but right now he leads Derrel Nelson Jr.  We'll be waiting for the next race to see what the plans are for Lenz and Irving in regards to racing for points, but there are no more conflicts in race dates between Medford and the OPSA.  Another driver looking good out there was the #03 of Johnny Cobb.  Johnny trails Lenz and S. Flowers in the OPSA point battle.  He did well in finishing fifth in the Main Event ahead of Brian Hammond.