Friday, June 9, 2017

June An Exciting Month At Southern Oregon Speedway

Southern Oregon Speedway Racing Discussion 
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June An Exciting Month At Southern Oregon Speedway

We can now make it official, this Friday and Saturday races have been rained out.  June 17th is the next race.

White City, Oregon...June 7th...On the heels of the successful Fifth Annual Roger Haudenshild Tribute race, a double header is scheduled for June 9th and 10th. Friday night is the eagerly anticipated season opener for the Outkaw Kart track. Saturday night is a six division show that features Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars, Late Models, Mini Stocks, OTRO Hardtops, Valley Stor-All Late Model Lites and JOAT Labs Hornets. They say in Oregon you can experience the weather from all four seasons in one day. The weather forecast shows rain from Thursday through Saturday, meaning it doesn't look good for this weekend.

If the rain does indeed claim the races this week, the next race on the big track on June 17th will see IMCA Modifieds and IMCA Sport Modifieds instead of the Late Model Lites and Hornets, along with the other four classes. The Outlaw Kart track would see it's next opportunity for racing on June 23rd. The good news about June 17th is that it is a loaded racing program of the faster classes on the Jim Rodgers prepared 3/10th mile clay oval.

For the IMCA Modified racers, it will be one final tuneup before the big June 24th Wild West Speedweek race. Nick Trenchard has come up big when the money is on the line. His win last Saturday paid $1,700 after another bonus was offered by the Haudenshild family for the top three finishers. Trenchard was also the winner of the John Arnberg Memorial in Yreka a week earlier. As fast as he was last week, the battle was for second place. That wasn't a battle either as two time track champion Albert Gill finished there with a bit of an advantage over Jesse Bailey and Monte Bischoff.

It's these three drivers who find themselves in the championship battle, and it's very close. Having won the season opener Bischoff is just one point ahead of Jesse Bailey and two ahead of the tied Gill and seven time champion Mark Wauge. Wauge didn't have a great starting spot last week, so he was fortunate to get a fifth place finish in the non stop 25 lap Main Event. The race on the 17th is an important one for the point racers, but Speedweek will be even tougher. It's a challenge to even make the Main Event that night. If you don't make it, your championship hopes will be impacted.

IMCA Sport Modifieds will also be a part of things on June 17th and 24th. Jorddon Braaten and Mike Medel both entered the season with new cars, and they've been 1-2 in the first two races. This leaves Braaten with a two point advantage over his friend and championship rival. Braaten's win last week paid $1,300 with the increase in purse from the Haudenshild family, and he won the big Bo Hittson Memorial in Yreka a week earlier. Jorddon leads the Pacific Sport Mod Challenge, which he won last year for another nice payday. Willie McFall and Rich McCoy remain in the hunt after their Top 5 finishes last week, and the division has seen newcomers such as Jason Zimmerman, Dave Rule, Brandon Geyer and Jesse Merriman join the roster. We also saw David Marble make his first start in a new car last week, but a crash in preliminaries ended his evening early.

Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars have been off to a better start this year than last. Additional sponsorship from Dave's Carpet & Vinyl Liquidators has increased the payout to $1,000 to win. Local Sprint Car star David Hibbard has come on board to help establish the class. We have three generations of the Hibbard family competing this year as David is joined by son Bailey and father Calvin. The money has drawn two time Southern Oregon Sprint Tour champion Kyler Barraza back to the speedway again, and Kyler swept all of his races last time out to take the early point lead. Two rookies, Enrique Jaime and Merissa Henson, are doing a good job of learning their new cars and battling for second in points. A field of 8-10 cars is anticipated this week, and there's word that past Cottage Grove 360 Sprint Car champion Seth Nunes may be in the field this week. We also anticipate the debut of multi time Outlaw Kart champion Tanner Holmes very soon.

Late Models are another division trying to establish a presence at the speedway. The date on the 10th was a rain makeup. Dustin Knight was going to attempt to run his Pro 4 Wedge car that night in Roseberg and then head to Medford in time to start the Late Model Main Event. While weather may put a damper on that, Dustin can still come back on the 17th and continue his battle with 2016 Coos Bay Late Model champion Nathan Augustine. The last two races for this class have been won by these two. Reigning champion Bob Dees is anticipated for this race along with son John Dees, who recently had his best division effort in third at Cottage Grove. The steady Kristy Grout, Dave Foot, Don Garrett Jr. and Steve Lemley are also anticipated to be among the 6-10 car field.

Mini Stocks have been perhaps the most reliable regular class at the speedway over the last year or so. They all have a target in their sights. It's the fast #67 car of David Steele. David already has two wins here and three in Yreka, and he shows no signs of slowing down. However, a few drivers are speeding up, led by current second place point runner Dillen Lausen. Dillen's second place finish last time was his best finish yet. Some eager drivers are lining up with Lausen for a shot at a first carer win, including Andrew Hall, proud new father Kristopher Mix, Michael Johnson and Patrick Stringer-Stine. They will also have to deal with two past champions, Gary Anderson and Steve Goetz. Both have been battling motor issues, but you know they well get them situated.

OTRO Hardtops round out an exciting six division program. The competition has gotten much closer for the class this year. The Minter family had their original OTRO Hardtop from 1988 at the track last time, and Mark Minter put it in the winner's circle with an impressive performance. It was even more special with grandmother Rene Minter there to cheer him on. The glory was divided among first time dash winner Brian Crouch and first time heat winner Dusty Trotter. All of the drivers do a good job of entertaining the fans with their old Coupe and Sedan bodied race cars. It's a glimpse of what used to race at the old Medford Speedway back in the 1950's and 1960's.

There is a big difference in speed between the 4-cylinder motor Late Models Lites and stock 4-cylinder Hornets.  The Late Model Lites are getting around the track in some cases as swiftly as the IMCA Modifieds.  Wins this year have been earned by reigning champion Lee Doty and Bob Westcott, while Charlie Eaton has a pair of thirds.  In the entry level Hornets class, Joby Shields and David Coggins have the wins, while Jenna Hedges beat her son Ashton for second last time out.  It's hard to tell who might win the next Hornets race.  If the weather cooperates, we'll see both classes this Saturday.  Otherwise, they return in July.

So, if rain does claim the June 9-10 races, the race track will roar with the sound of motors on the 17th with six divisions competing. Gates will open at 5 PM as always with the first race at 7 PM sharp. General Admission tickets are $12, Seniors and Juniors are $6 and Children 5 and under are free. Don't forget the big Wild West IMCA Modified Speedweek race on the 24th. For further information on scheduling and other things, go to

Pit Stops

The SODCA Dwarf Cars were back for their second appearance at Southern Oregon Speedway.  We haven't seen a point list from SODCA yet, but it's pretty safe to say that reigning champion Brock Peters, son Cody Peters, Camden Robustelli and Chad Cardoza are players in the championship battle.  It's early yet, and even hard chargers like Fred Hay, Kaycee Sheeler, Ryan Smith and Randy Slater are in the hunt.  Two time champion Josh King isn't pursuing points this year, though he skipped a $1,000 to win race in Nevada to compete at his favorite track.  Josh had preliminary success with his win in the Haudenshild family's Crack The Whip race.  His win paid $200.

Robustelli has a Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car, but there's something else motivating the recent high school grad.  He wants to win the Dwarf Car championship.  For the past two seasons, Camden has settled for a very close second.  He entered this race with hack to back wins in Medford and Coos Bay, but his night didn't go so well.  He was caught up in an early tangle to end his race.  You can bet he'll come back strong as the club is supporting a couple of big events in the next two weeks.

Cody Peters led the first Medford race of the season for quite some time, but he was having some problems as Robustelli and his father Brock Peters caught him.  His battery connection wasn't good, and it effected his power steering.  Cody was steering the car with help from his brakes.  He didn't realize until afterwards that he didn't have front brakes.  It might have been a good thing he didn't know.  Cody kept going and salvaged a third place finish that night.  Brock, meanwhile, is happy with his new M&M chassis, but he's still getting things dialed in.  He said prior to the most recent race that Cody's car is there right now, but his own car is still a work in progress.

After Cody won yet another B Dash, he was part of the incident that ended the race for Robustelli.  While Cody came back through the pack, Brock had the lead.  One thing we've noticed about Cody since last year is his willingness to work the outside groove to pass people.  It served him well this time until he caught his father.  Cody searched high and low, but that #2 car in front of him was pretty wide at times.  It ended up being a father and son 1-2 finish as Brock beat Cody.  You have to believe that Cody's win is coming.

The race for third was a good one as A Dash winner Cardoza led Rob Gergel and King for a while.  A late restart opened the door for Gergel to claim that finish with King forcing Cardoza to settle for fifth.  While Cardoza and King are on the Medford winner's list, Gergel is still looking for his first victory.  Driving the way he did, you have to believe Rob's win is coming.  Kaycee Sheeler and Fred Hay were among the Top 10 finishers.  Bud Lorentz also finished in the Top 10.  Saturday night was an opportunity for Bud to race with his son Jesse, who competed in a Mod Lite.  Jesse put his father in his #3 car last year, making him the oldest rookie in the field.  This was the first opportunity for the two to compete against each other.  Jesse didn't do as well, but he was happy to see his father get another checkered flag.

Nick Trenchard is playing the role of Bounty Hunter lately.  The second generation competitor has won some big IMCA Modified races in his career, and the 2015 Yreka champion recently went back to that track and pocketed $1,038 for a dominant victory in the John Arnberg Memorial.  Last week, he proceeded to dominate the field again for his second Roger Haudenshild Tribute race victory.  The win was set to pay $1,200, but the Haudenshild family upped the ante by giving him another $500 in the winner's circle.  The Wild West Speedweek will make a stop in Medford on June 24th, and Nick may be one of the drivers to beat.

Monte Bischoff is the early point leader, and his win in the season opener helped his effort.  You can usually find Monte and his crew making adjustments on the car between races as it is up on jacks.  Monte admitted that he loosened the setup a couple times that night, and the adjustments paid off with his impressive victory over Mark Wauge.  He came into the recent race prepared for a hooked up racing surface and won the Trophy Dash in a battle with Jesse Bailey.  These two were battling all night.  In the Main Event, Bischoff made contact with Bailey in his bid for third, and then he lifted to allow Bailey to recover.  The two had body damage, but they both made it to the finish line in third and fourth. 

That Main Event went non stop. Two time champion Albert Gill won his heat race and was a race long second in the feature.  Gill started to catch Trenchard as the flying leader used caution in heavy traffic, but he was never able to make a challenge.  However, Gill was never really threatened for second either.  With a bad starting spot, seven time defending champion Mark Wauge had to battle just to get a fifth place finish.  He was not thrilled by the finish, but it was still a good point night.  The race that will shake things up between Bischoff, Gill, Bailey and Wauge is the Speedweek event on June 24th.  With the increased car count, it's going to be a challenge for the regulars just to make the Main Event.  This was the night that put Wauge back into the point battle last season.

James Welshonse ended up a close second in his "Rookie Of The Year" season last year, and he was somebody people looked at as a title contender this year.  Unfortunately, his point effort took a hit last week in the Crack The Whip race.  James broke a rear end in that race and scratched from the Main Event.  Just staying on the lead lap with Trenchard setting such a rapid pace was a challenge.  Jeremy Ohlde rebounded from a rough season opener with a respectable sixth place finish.  Past Late Model Lites racer Preston Jones was in danger of going a lap down as he battled for position in the final half-dozen laps.  We haven't even seen Preston in a few seasons, and he drove like he hadn't been gone at all.  Not only did he make some passes to earn seventh, he also kept Trenchard from putting him a lap down.  Jones led most of the Crack the Whip race, but Bailey made a last lap pass for the $200 victory.

Speaking of Crack The Whip, the IMCA Sport Modified version of the race ended up being Crash The Car after a botched start.  Rookie Justin McCreadie has been burning up the scene at Yreka with a pair of feature wins already, but he wanted to race in front of the home crowd.  David Marble skipped the Medford opener thinking things would go smoother in Cottage Grove.  Unfortunately, he was involved in a crash that left his car too damaged to affordably repair.  It was easier to get a new car, and David had that car ready for a run at a big Medford win.  After a strong second to reigning champion Mike Medel in their heat race, David lined up for the Crack The Whip race.  The drivers were rolling to what they thought would be a green flag.   It never waved, and Marble crashed with McCreadie in Turn 1.  Both drivers found the unhappy end of the tow truck hook to end their night.

A.J. Parker gave it a pretty good run in the opener when you consider the car wasn't set up right and the ball joint wasn't installed properly.  He managed a fourth place finish that night.  He's still working on a new car for next year, but he is running his Top 5 car from last season in the meantime.  Saturday saw A.J. lead a couple of laps of the Trophy Dash before Jorddon Braaten took over.  A.J. had a bit of a rough night as he ended up eighth in the Main Event. 

Braaten was practically unstoppable all night, which was the case on the previous Sunday when he won the Bo Hittson Memorial at Yreka for an $812 victory.  Only a second to Rich McCoy in their heat race marred Braaten's night as he won the $200 in the Crack the Whip race.  He was never seriously threatened as he won the $800 prize in the Roger Haudenshild Tribute.  The Haudenshild family upped that total by $500 in the winner's circle, meaning it was a $1,500 night for the two time track champion and current point leader.  Jorddon now has 26 career feature wins, just in the Sport Modified class in Medford.

Reigning champion Mike Medel has been running strong in his new car this year and is one of the Top 5 drivers in the Sport Mod Challenge Series, led at the moment by Braaten.  In Yreka the previous Saturday, Mike's car took heavy damage in a late race crash, but he still got it to the finish line in the Top 6.  On Sunday, he finished third, losing second on a late restart.  Mike looked good back at Medford as he won his heat race and finished a solid second in the Main Event ahead of 2016 Yreka champion Jimmy Lipke and heat winner Rich McCoy.  McCoy was at the center of the Saturday crash in Yreka and wasn't exactly proud of his effort that night.  After his non start in the Medford opener, the past Mini Stock champion did a great job of getting a fourth place finish.

Two time champion Dwayne Melvin was proudly displaying the Roger Haudenshild Racing logo on the rear quarter panel of his car.  Melvin also runs the same #69 that Roger did.  He gave it a valiant effort before finishing second to Braaten in the Crack The Whip race.  In the Main Event, Dwayne battled Willie McFall fiercely for fifth, but he settled for a respectable lead lap sixth.  Rookie Jason Zimmerman put on an entertaining show, though his car got put through its paces.  In only his second start, he did a complete 360 in Turn 4 and kept going.  Later, he rode the front wall on two wheels.  He spun in Turn 2 on the final lap and missed the checkered flag, but he still finished seventh.  At the moment, he leads all rookies in the division.

The Pro Stocks delivered a solid 16 car field for the latest race, which included the return of two time champion Ken Irving, Dan Randall and Tom Hackworth as well as support from the OPSA.  There was no question that Dr. Scott Lenz was the star of the evening.  Lenz dominated the Roger Haudenshild Tribute for the $800 payday and won the $200 in the Crack The Whip race.  He also won his heat race.  Scott is a past Pro Stock champion at the track and a Street Stock champion at the old Medford Speedway.  This win was his 102nd career victory, and it helped him maintain the OPSA point lead over Scott Flowers.  S. Flowers was riding along in third, but he lost the position to Irving on the last lap.

The Flowers family was out in full force with four cars thanks to the support of car owner Arlen Garrison with the #00 car that Scott's son James was driving.  James picked up a heat race win and a second in the Main Event.  Scott's wife Ginny and daughter Julia didn't finish the Main Event, but young Julia, who recently graduated high school, finished a strong second in the Trophy Dash and followed Jeffrey Hudson in second in her heat race after leading early.  Hudson may be the only driver on the circuit who can keep up with Lenz, but the 2015 OPSA champion had a rough Main Event.  He did win the Billy Geyer Memorial race a few weeks ago in Yreka.

The early Medford point battle is being led by Coos Bay's Josh Kralicek.  Josh had an eighth place finish in the Main Event, but his highlight came earlier as he won his first Trophy Dash.  He may not have considered the possibility of a championship when he made the decision to race in Medford this year, but right now he leads Derrel Nelson Jr.  We'll be waiting for the next race to see what the plans are for Lenz and Irving in regards to racing for points, but there are no more conflicts in race dates between Medford and the OPSA.  Another driver looking good out there was the #03 of Johnny Cobb.  Johnny trails Lenz and S. Flowers in the OPSA point battle.  He did well in finishing fifth in the Main Event ahead of Brian Hammond.