Friday, April 1, 2016

Hornets To Swarm Southern Oregon Speedway In 2016

Hornets To Swarm Southern Oregon Speedway In 2016

White City, Oregon...In auto racing, you have to start some place, and the easiest place to start at Southern Oregon Speedway is the Hornet division.  This season, it will be the third classification of Four Cylinder Stock Car racing at the speedway.  The Hornets, sometimes referred to as Four Bangers at other race tracks, began at the three-tenth mile clay oval track in 2014.

The concept of the entry level division is nothing new.  Decades ago, many tracks only ran one class of race car and could pack the pits with cars.  Hardtops, Midgets and Super Modifieds ruled the speedways.  Eventually, the early Model Stock Car was born as a second, entry level division at many tracks, and it evolved into the Late Model through the years as Street Stocks and then Hobby Stocks became the favorite entry level class of speedways everywhere.

Over the past decade or two, more race tracks started to see what others saw in Mini Stock racing.  Southern Oregon Speedway opened its gates in 1996 and included a Mini Stock division as part of the program.  They continue to be a part of the program 21 years later.  Heading into the 2014 season, it was decided that an even cheaper, "bare bones" Mini Stock class was needed, and that was the Hornet class.

A line in the original rule book that sums up the philosophy of the Hornet division reads, "Cars must remain Factory Stock. These are intended to be cars that we race, not race cars."

These are Four Cylinder vehicles.  Cars are to be no more than 104 wheel base.  Trucks to be no bigger than 108 wheel base.  They must be stock frame, body, engine and suspension to the make and model of the vehicle.  No alterations, modifications or additions allowed.  This is a class designed for the novice to get into racing and learn a little without breaking the bank to do it.  

During that first season, about a half dozen cars were built and competed at various times.  Robert Jones, Dale Tarp and Tyler Womack divided the wins amongst themselves.  Womack was a winner late in the season.  Tarp grabbed three wins, and the dominant Jones had six victories.  Not surprisingly, Jones left with the championship hardware.

It seemed like last season saw the division sort of fly in under the radar, but there were actually ten different cars to compete and six car fields were reached on multiple occasion after a slow start.  Drew Fielder won three times, but the points were at least a little closer as second place Mikey Johnson came on strong at the end.  There were more winners as Lon Fox, Jason Peeble and Brian Dickens each got a win of their own.

Promoter Mike McCann is hoping to see this division have a breakout year with more drivers joining the competition.  To meet that end, a more relaxed schedule of six race dates was created to make it easier for more racers to support the races.  It also allows the track to rotate other Mini Stock classes to give all of the racers a chance to recover and prepare for the next race.

The first race is scheduled for May 14 with other dates booked on June 4, June 18, July 30, August 20 and September 17. Optimism is high for a good season for this division and more new cars on the race track.  For further information on this division and other happenings at Southern Oregon Speedway, check the official website at

Hornets 2015
Drew Fielder    281 (3)
Mikey Johnson    202
Neal Coaty    159
Jason Peeble    113 (1)
Garrett Fredrickson 94
Lon Fox        66 (1)
Brian Dickens    59 (1)
Bob Burkett    56
Heathen Menze1    53
Devin Weiser    52

Hornets 2014
Robbie Jones 418 (6)
Dale Tarp 294 (3)
Tyler Womack 267 (1)
Dale Tarp 114
Elizabeth Shaylor 58
Tanton Swaim 58
Arien Heath 54
Robbie Jones 53
Alan Danielson 52

Hornet Schedule 
May 14
June 4
June 18
July  30
August 20
September 17