Friday, April 1, 2016

Outlaw Pro Stocks, SODCA Dwarf Cars A Part Of Southern Oregon Speedway In 2016

Outlaw Pro Stocks, SODCA Dwarf Cars A Part Of 
Southern Oregon Speedway In 2016

White City, Oregon...Since the gates opened for racing at Southern Oregon Speedway back in 1996, Pro Stocks and Dwarf Cars have been a part of the racing program on the fast three-tenths mile clay oval.  As the track enters the 2016 season, the Valley Boys Auto Sales Outlaw Pro Stocks and the SODCA Dwarf Cars will remain an important part of the schedule at the speedway.

When it comes to past super stars of the Pro Stock division, it doesn't get any better than Medford racing legend Jim Walker Jr. and Frank Word III  Word won an incredible eight championships in a nine year span.  In fact, he was so dominant that past division champion Brian Poppa, who had also won a Modified title at the speedway, had to come back to the Pro Stocks to snap Word's title winning streak at four.  Word went on to win four more after that to reach his total of eight.

In the modern area, the Valley Boys Auto Sales Outlaw Pro Stocks Association is in their fifth season, and they are coming off of a season that featured an incredible three car battle between Scott Flowers and second generation sensation Jeffrey Hudson.  Flowers seemed to have it within his grasp, but it slipped away on the final night as the talented teen Hudson claimed the championship hardware.  Scott Flowers settled for second while James Flowers grabbed the final podium position in third.

Two hard chargers of the division that we hope to be seeing out on the track this year along with 2015's top trio are veterans Dave Everson and Ken Irving.  Everson wrapped up the 2015 campaign last year with an impressive win at Southern Oregon Speedway, and he was also the champion in 2013.  Irving hasn't been outside the Top 5 since the association was founded.  He was fourth last year and second to Everson in 2013.  However, the highlight for the crafty veteran was his 2012 and 2014 championships.

Sometimes referred to as Limited Late Models at other tracks, the Pro Stocks feature some close Stock Car racing on a budget more reasonable than the Late Models that have met on rough times due to the cost of the cars.  Generally, the class brings no less than 12 cars to the track, and they hit the 20's at times last year.  The car count and the quality of racer within the ranks makes the Outlaw Pro Stocks very popular with the fans.

John Cobb is anticipated this season.  In his initial campaign with the group last season, he finished in a tie with Irving for fourth.  Steve Borror was another racer who tasted victory last season, and the Top 10 ranked competitor should be competing this year along with other notables, such as Scott Bennett, Matt Harlow, Rocky Nash and Dave Quick.

As with the Pro Stocks, the SODCA Dwarf Cars do make occasional visits to Yreka and other places, but they call Southern Oregon Speedway their home track.  The Dwarf Cars have had some amazing competitors through the years, and it's hard to get much better than past champions like Jon DeBeneditti and Gary Fitzsimmons.  DeBeneditti has gone on to be a star of IMCA Modified racing, but there are some incredible racers within the Dwarf Car ranks.

And one reason for these competitors to want to be there is because of the Annual West Coast Dwarf Car Nationals event that SODCA hosts at Southern Oregon Speedway on August 4-6.  The very best drivers on the West Coast flock to White City to be a part of this gathering.  The locals have to be on their game as the already high talent level gets taken up another notch.

In 2014, Josh King won a grueling battle with Ryan Smith for the SODCA championship. It came down to the final week with King winning by just 17 points.  In his bid to repeat, he found the competition just as tough when young Camden Robustelli shadowed him all through the season.  King did repeat.  Robustelli was a close second on the heels of his fourth place season of 2014.  One of Camden's bug moments came two years earlier with a big win in the National event at Santa Maria.  This year, he'll also be racing a Sprint Car.

Smith had third for a while last year before falling back to sixth.  Third ended up in the hands of  another talented racer named Fred Hay.  Hay was a feature winner on the circuit last year and ranked fifth a year earlier.  He could be the driver to make a bid to thwart King's effort for three in a row, which hasn't been done since DeBenedetti did it in the late 1990's. Calvin Morton is another driver coming off of back to back Top 5 seasons, and he could step it up a notch this year.

Brock Peters was fifth last season and should be another driver to watch in the hunt.  There's another rising young star in the group named Kaycee Sheeler.  Sheeler improved from tenth to eighth last season and was a threat to win a feature on a few occasions.  She just may do it this season.  Others to watch for include Rob Gergle, Travis Gergle and Jesse Merriman.

Dwarf Car and Pro Stock racing is alive and well in Southern Oregon, and both classes continue to produce great car counts.  Often times, the SODCA Dwarf Cars had the high count at the track last year.  It all comes out on the race track where the racing in both divisions is exciting.  That should continue to be the case.  For further information on the goings on at Southern Oregon Speedway, check the website.

Pro Stock Champions

1996  Scott Lenz
1997  Jim Walker Jr.
1998  Jim Walker Jr.
1999  Brian Poppa
2000  Brad Alfrey
2001  Jim Walker Jr.
2002  Frank Word III
2003  Frank Word III
2004  Frank Word III
2005  Frank Word III
2006  Brian Poppa
2007  Frank Word III
2008  Frank Word III
2009  Frank Word III
2010  Frank Word III
2011  Dustin Knight
2013  Dave Everson
2012  Ken Irving
2013  Dave Everson
2014  Ken Irving
2015  Jeffrey Hudson

Dwarf Car Champions

1998  Jon DeBenedetti
1999  Jon DeBenedetti
2000  Jon DeBenedetti
2001  Gary Fitzsimmons
2002  Gary Fitzsimmons
2003  Dan Van Acker
2004  Crash Jackson
2005  Jerry Apland
2006  Tom Palazollo
2007  Jim Harsha
2008  Kelly Gutches
2009  Greg Denton
2010  Kelly Gutches
2011  R.J. McGahuey
2012  R.J. McGahuey
2013  C.J. Puttnam
2014  John King
2015  Josh King