Open Stock Class Announced For Southern Oregon Speedway
White City, Oregon...When Mike McCann held the Southern Oregon Speedway driver's meeting in Medford back in February, something interesting happened. He was approached by drivers in two divisions that had no races on the schedule, the Late Models and the Street Stocks. There were said to be at least a half dozen drivers in each class who wanted to come race.
The schedule was already filling up, but McCann proposed an idea that seemed to be accepted by the drivers who were there at the meeting. What if we ran the cars in both divisions together to build a car count and see where we end up at season's end? The drivers were receptive to the idea, and McCann drafted a very simple set of rules, which are available on the track's website. The result was the Open Stock class where there are few restrictions when it comes to motor, chassis, body, suspension, wheels or tires.
In fact, divers can run side boards, hearkening back to the old POSSE Super Stock days. It's about putting on a show and putting cars out on the race track. Fans will see a division in which the cars may take on a more unique personality, the way it was back in the old days. That is to say the cars won't look the same in style the way some other classes do. The drivers will get a chance to put their cars on the track and show what interest remains in Street Socks and Late Models in the area.
When Southern Oregon Speedway opened in 1996, the old Medford Street Stock division was not included, which surprised a few people at the time. Late Models were generally invited a couple times a year as part of the tour going around Oregon. However, there was a time when the track did try to establish its own Late Model and Street Stock divisions .
Flashing back to 2008, there was a close Late Model battle between veteran Roger Lorenzini and Chris Salyer that ended in a tie. Long time California Late Model racer Skipper Klimcheck was a close third ahead of Jeremy Richey and Dane Smith. A year later, current IMCA Modified competitor Andy Freeman topped the field with Trent Elliot and Smith two points back in second. Richey bested Monte Bischoff and Salyer in the third and final year.
So, who is interested in running a Late Model? Stock Car veteran Steve Lemley has already thrown his hat into the ring. Beyond that is just speculation. Rumor has it that Klimcheck still has a car, and we have to wonder who else might dig their cars out of mothballs for an opportunity to compete on the fast three-tenths mile clay oval. Could this be the start of a Late Model division in the future?
The Street Stock division is an enigma. The reality is that this division is still very popular, and yet not much was done to establish a class until the beginning of the decade. The two biggest stars of the class were Dwayne Osburn and Jorddon Braaten. Osburn won the first two championships with Braaten in second both years before winning the 2013 championship. That was a season that saw the class have 12 different cars in the standings.
It seemed like the division almost took hold, but numbers dipped slightly with ten different cars in 2014. Miles Deubert won that championship ahead of Mini Stock graduate Tyler Lockwood. So, who still has a car that they want to race? We do know that Braaten has become the big Sport Mod star in the area as a two tine champion, and Osburn nearly won a Modified championship in Yreka last year. We also know there are drivers waiting for an opportunity to return.
Now is the time for the forgotten Street Stock and Late Model drivers to step forward and show that they want to race at Southern Oregon Speedway now and in the future. Dates lined up include May 21, June 4, June 18, July 30, August 20 and September 17. That's six dates to build something that can continue to grow in the future. Who is ready to step up and help get this started? We'll find out in a little over a month. For more information on this and other things happening at the track, check the official website at www.southernoregonspeedway.com.
Past Late Model Champions
2008 Roger Lorenzini
Chris Salyer tie
2009 Andy Freeman
2010 Jeremy Richey
Street Stocks Champions
2011 Duane Osburn
2012 Duane Osburn
2013 Jorddon Braaten
2014 Miles Dubert