Friday, April 1, 2016

Southern Oregon Speedway Retains IMCA Sanctioning For Modifieds

Southern Oregon Speedway Retains 
IMCA Sanctioning For Modifieds

White City, Oregon...When Mike McCann took over as promoter at Southern Oregon Speedway, he looked over all of the divisions to make plans for this season.  In looking at the Modified and Sport Modifieds, he learned one thing early on from the competitors.  They wanted to keep the IMCA sanctioning.  The oldest sanctioning body for auto racing in the United States, IMCA provides these classes with a good set of rules. The drivers know what they are getting when they show up to compete at an IMCA sanctioned race track.

The Modifieds will run a nine race schedule, which also allows the drivers to visit neighboring tracks and vise versa.  It is hoped that car count will continued to grow.  The Sport Mod drivers get 13 races, which also makes the minimum dates required to be a part of Steve Kerstulovich's NW Sport Modified Challenge Series.  The Series was added after two successful years of the NW Modified Cup, which  Southern Oregon Speedway drivers also get the opportunity to be a part of.

There have been some very talented Modified drivers who have passed through the gates of this race track throughout its 20 year history, and it could be that Albert Gill is the lesser known champion of those drivers.  Gill has sort of flown in under the radar, but he's done so as the two time defending champion.  Gill climbed up through the ranks of the track's Pro Stock division, where he was also a Top 5 driver on multiple occasions.

One of the drivers voicing his desire for IMCA sanctioning was the talented Mark Wauge.  Really, it doesn't matter if the class is sanctioned, unsanctioned or even running wings.  Over one-quarter of the times (6 of the 20 seasons), Mark has left the track as the champion.  He's also won the prestigious Lon Skinner Memorial race once among his numerous feature victories, and he's certainly among the favorites to do it again this year.

The Bailey Team, Jesse Bailey and Tim Bailey, should not be counted out this season.  Tim finished a strong third in the standings last year ahead of Jesse, who has had a string of Top 5 point seasons.  In fact, Jesse was second to Gill in the 2014 point battle.  Not to be forgotten in the mix, as if he could be, was last season's fourth place point runner, Brian Poppa.  Like Gill, Poppa came up through the Pro Stocks, but Poppa actually won a championship there before doing it again in Modifieds.  Brian's impressive credentials includes three wins in the Lon Skinner Memorial race.

The fact is, there are several good racers at Southern Oregon Speedway, making this the place to be for IMCA Modified racing on any night this class is on the schedule.  Two other past champions, Travis Peery and Jon DeBenedetti, were among the competitors last season and are factors when they show up.  Add in other names, such as Zach Fettinger, Brett Provost, Eric Mobbs, Jeremy Ohlde and Monte Bischoff, and you have a competitive Modified division.

The IMCA Sport Modifieds are heading into their fifth season, and perhaps the biggest star in the division at any of the tracks in the area is Jorddon Braaten.  Jorddon backed up his 2014 title with another championship romp last year.  He is also a past Street Stock champion, but last year was an amazing season that saw him win many times at both Southern Oregon Speedway and neighboring Yreka.  Braaten may be hard to beat this year in the track championship battle as well as the NW Sport Modified Challenge.

Two names to keep an eye on are Mike Medel and Dwayne Melvin.  Medel finished second in points last year while also winning the Oregon State IMCA championship.  Melvin had a Top 5 season as well, but he also won the first two Sport Mod titles at the track.  Bob Nelson is another driver to watch.  He was sixth last season following his third place effort a year earlier.  Coming off of a strong third place season of his own last year, ahead of Randy Fernandes, Glen Severson could also be a factor in the championship chase.

The Sport Mod division continues to grow and is poised for its best season yet.  The Modified division has the talent to put on a show to rival any of the tracks in the area.  Put them both together, and under the IMCA banner, and you have a recipe for good things to happen on the fast three-tenths mile clay oval.  Who will come out a winner this year?  The best way to find out is to come see a show.  For more information on these divisions and Southern Oregon Speedway in general, check out the official track web page at

Modified Champions

1996  Tom Glover
1997  Dennis Silva
1998  Tom Glover
1999  Don Estermado
2000  Mark Wauge
2001  Jay Hinton Jr.
2002  Jon DeBenedetti
2003  Jeremy Richey
2004  Brad Alfrey
2005  Mark Wauge
2006  Brian Poppa
2007  Mark Wauge
2008  Justin Holt
2009  Mark Wauge
2010  Travis Peery
2011  Mark Wauge
2012  Mark Wauge
2013  Dustin Knight
2014  Albert Gill
2015  Albert Gill

Sport Mod Champions

2012  Dwayne Melvin
2013  Dwayne Melvin
2014  Jorddon Braaten
2015  Jorddon Braaten