Southern Oregon Speedway Racing Discussion
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Competitive Field Anticipated For Fifth IMCA Modified Race
The IMCA Modifieds are at the midway point of their season with their fifth of nine races set to run this Saturday night at Southern Oregon Speedway. The winner of two of the races this year is six time track champion Mark Wauge. Wauge has been fast out of the gate, and his drive from 19th starting to win the Roger Haudenshild Memorial Race back in May is considered by many fans to be the drive of the year so far.
Mark took quite a bit of damage to his car in a crash at Cottage Grove two weeks ago, but he has it back together and ready for Saturday's show. When he gets there, he can expect a challenge from the likes of Albert Gill, Jesse Bailey and Monte Bischoff, all of whom plan to be there. Gill is the two time reigning champion, and Bailey has two strong Top 3 feature finishes so far. Any one of these four will be serious threats to win on Saturday.
Ray Kniffen Jr. is making only his second start of the season, following up on his Trophy Dash win and second place finish at Yreka a few weeks ago. Speaking of Trophy Dash wins, rookie James Welshonse already has two of them. He outdueled one time feature winner Duane Orsburn to get both wins. Orsburn is currently second in the standings.
Bo Shields, James Anderson and Matthew Drager are three others who will be there this week. Drager was third in points at Willamette last season and is holding down that position this season as a feature winner. The fans have been waiting for the kind of excitement that only IMCA Modifieds can provide, and they will get it Saturday night.
The five division program will also include SODCA Dwarf Cars, Mini Stocks, OTRO Hardtops and Super 4's. It should be a good night of racing. Gates open at 5:00 p.m. with the first race at 7:00 p.m. Adult tickets are $12.00 with Juniors and Seniors $6.00. Children 5 and under are free. For further information, go to www.southernoregonspeedway.com.
IMCA Modifieds Back At Southern Oregon Speedway
Saturday night racing continues at Southern Oregon Speedway this week with a five division show that will feature the IMCA Modifieds, Mini Stocks, Southern Oregon Dwarf Cars, OTRO Hardtops and Super 4's. It should be another great night of racing on the fast 3/10th mile clay oval.
The IMCA Modifieds have held four races with two of them being marquee events. The most recebt Wild West Speedweek race was won by Colorado's Ryan Scott Gaylord ahead of Speedweek champion Kellen Chadwick. Six time champion Mark Wauge won the opener and made a charge from last starting to win the Roger Haudenshild Tribute in impressive fashion.
The bad news for Wauge is that his most recent start on Fourth Of July weekend at Cottage Grove didn't result in his third win there. Instead, he was left with severe front end damage to repair. "We loaded up and went home to lick our wounds. We've have a really tough go since Banks a few weeks ago. We will be back, " Wauge proclaimed.
The good news is that Wauge will be back this week to go for his third win of the season at his home track. He admits it's the camaraderie that makes it worthwhile. "Ninety percent of the fun in racing is hanging out with good friends. All year long, these people have been great."
Word is that he will be joined by Bo Shields, James Anderson and Monte Bischoff. Bischoff has multiple Top 10 point seasons and ranked third in 2007. Another driver anticipated this week is two time Street Stock champion Duane Orsburn. His last feature start at the speedway was a win that has put him in position to take over the point lead. To get that win, he had to battle two time Trophy Dash winner James Welshonse. Welshonse has risen through the ranks of Mini Stocks and IMCA Sport Modifieds to get to his rookie season in an IMCA Modified.
Hailing from nearby Talent, 2015 Yreka Mini Stock champion David Steele has returned to do battle with Bob Burkett and Gary Anderson for Main Event supremacy. Steele won last week and has two wins and a third in his three starts. "I really enjoy racing with Bob and Gary, " David admitted. "We race each other hard, but we race clean."
David might have had three wins in a row, but his third place finish occurred when he got just a little bit sideways exciting Turn 2 on the last lap and fell behind Burkett and Anderson. "I thought maybe Bob wouldn't push it so hard since he's running for points, " said Steele. "He surprised me just a bit there."
Burkett is finally making his first legitimate run at a track championship and has every intention of running the full schedule. His resume in Mini Stocks is impressive as he's racked up numerous Main Event wins through the years and four runner up point seasons. Drivers are lining up to break the strangle hold of point leader Burkett, Anderson and Steele when it comes to winning. Eric Hanson, Kris Mix, 14 year old Marissa Henson and Andrew Hall are four drivers to keep an eye on.
In the SODCA Dwarf Car division, Kalvin Morton entered last week as the point leader. He was still feeling the sting from his last turn flip after contact with a slower car a week earlier. He just barely made it in time to attempt to race. "That was just a bad deal, " said the three time Yreka feature winner. "This is our worse track, and the car was hooked up last week. It was our race. To lose it that way is just very disappointing."
Morton and his championship rival Brock Peters are teammates, and they all worked to get his car back together. The car still wasn't quite right, and Morton will likely lose the point lead to Peters after missing the Main Event. Peters has been on a bit of a roll lately, but can relate to the bad luck. "It comes in cycles, " said last week's Main Event winner. "We had a terrible start this year, but we're starting to get it dialed in now. He's having his bad luck now, but he'll be back. There's still lots of racing left to do."
Morton, Peters, two time reigning champion Josh King and Camden Robustelli are winners so far this year, and Rob Gergel hopes to add his name to the list. Gergel drove a great race to finish second last week. Ryan Smith, Chad Cardoza and young Cody Peters are three other drivers to watch this week.
The OTRO Hardtop's will be making their third appearance of the season on Saturday night. The cars are replicas of the old Hardtop race cars that were seen at race tracks all across the country in the 1950's and 1960's. These cars have normally raced on the pavement, but OTRO President Vic Bridges secured the dates with Promoter Mike McCann. The OTRO philosophy is simple. "We're a bunch of old open wheel racers who are having too much fun to stop racing now, " Bridges admitted. "We're just out there having fun and putting on a show for the fans."
The first two Hardtop wins have been earned by Trevor Thomason in the Vic & Louise Bridges owned entry. Last time out, Bridges went so far as to force his own car to start last in the interest of making a better show. Thomason will be out to make it three in row, but he can expect some stiff competition from Bill Trotter, Gary Barber and Rhett Lange.
The Super 4's have been missing from the speedway for a couple of seasons, but they saw their car count nearly double from the first race to the second. Lee Doty came into the night with a rebuilt motor after he couldn't get his other motor to start at the season opener. "This one actually caught fire about eight years ago at a Late Model open show we were at, " Doty explained. "They had to put out the fire, threw dirt on it and everything. We had to tear it down completely and get the parts needed to fix it up. It's a better motor."
Doty was definitely a bit faster, but his collision with the front wall in his heat race very nearly ended his night. Thanks to some hard work and help from others, he started the Main Event that night and came from the back to beat point leader John Barger for a well earned victory. He will be back to try for two in a row, but he can expect tough competition from the likes of Terry Hadley, Krista Hadley, Steve Thompson, Bill Spencer and Barger.
The five division show should be a good one. Gates will open at 5:00 p.m., with the first race to fire off at 7:00 p.m. Adult tickets are $12.00, Juniors and Seniors are $6.00 and kids five and under are free. For further information, check out www.southernoregonspeedway.com.
Mark Wauge 107
Duane Orsburn 95
Jesse Bailey 91
James Welschonse 91
Nick Trenchard 90
Bob Burkett 217
Gary Anderson 166
Marissa Henson 157
Andrew Hall 152
Kristopher Mix 147
John Barger 70
Bill Spencer 50
Steve Thompson 40
Lee Doty 36
Krista Hadley 30
Trevor Thomason 74
Bill Trotter 61
Gary Barber 55
Jimmy DelCastille 52
Brian Crouch 49