Thursday, July 20, 2017

Southern Oregon Speedway Returns With Late Models, Sprint Cars Saturday Night

Southern Oregon Speedway Racing Discussion 
Can Be Heard HERE

Southern Oregon Speedway Returns With Late Models, 
Sprint Cars Saturday Night

White City, Oregon...Southern Oregon Speedway returns from a one week break with another double header weekend.  After a Friday night of Outlaw Kart racing on the one-eighth mile clay oval, there's a seven division show scheduled for the big track on Saturday night.  The action packed lineup will feature Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars, Late Models, IMCA Modifieds, SODCA Dwarf Cars, Mini Stocks, OTRO Hardtops and Pro Stocks.  The fastest three divisions are all on the schedule.

There's lots of news in the Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car division.  Outlaw Kart star Tanner Holmes made his first laps recently in a Sprint Car.  If all goes according to plans, he could be making his division debut on Saturday night.  Young Tanner has won on every level in which he's competed in Cage Karts, and now he's set his sights on the big track.  Tanner has the makings of a future Sprint Car champion.

The Sprint Car effort is generating quite a bit of interest, and there's word of a few teams building cars and others looking to get in.  David Hibbard has been working to help build up the class.  "I think the rules keep the cost down and keep the competition pretty close, " said David.  "The fans are seeing a good show.  Nobody is dominating.  I think we're building a good foundation for this class to grow on."

With two Main Event wins, Kyler Barraza remains at the top of the point ladder, while D. Hibbard, rookie Merissa Henson and Bailey Hibbard are battling for second.  Bailey won his second Main Event last time out and would be a close second to Barraza if not for a mistake in the season opener when be bypassed the scales on his way to the pits.  Barraza gave Hibbard all he could handle last time out and spun in the final turn rather than make contact with him in his daring low groove pass attempt. 

Bailey's grandfather, Calvin Hibbard, Enrique Jaime and Camden Robustelli are others to watch for this week.  Word is that reigning champion Jake Wheeler will be making an appearance.  Jake just had an impressive Top 5 Speedweek effort with a series best Main Event finish of second last week.  The Wheeler family has been great supporters of Southern Oregon Sprint Car racing for several years.  There are five cars known to be in the works for this division, and word is the next one may be ready by August 5th.

The Late Models have been getting the attention of the fans as car count has been improving.  Only a point separates Dustin Knight and Nathan Augustine in a close championship battle.  These two were joined by Trent Elliott in the winner's column after Elliott won the most recent race.  Reigning champion Bob Dees looked much faster in his third place finish last time. 

Dees is getting his newer car dialed in and should be a factor in the battle to win some races in the coming weeks.  As somebody who supported the effort to build this class a few years ago, Dees sees the Late Model car count growing now.  "I think all the ingredients are there for this class to really take off, " said Bob.  "When we did this before, you never knew what the purse was going to be.  We have a guaranteed purse now.  The track has been good, and that makes for some good racing for the fans."

Bob's son Garrett Dees is getting better in his rookie season, and son John Dees should be able to make his season debut.  Third ranked Kristy Grout, Mike Linder, Dave Foote and Don Garrett Jr. are others to watch for this week.  Word is that because of a very busy work schedule, Steve Lemley nearly sent his car to the track this week for a veteran racer to give it some shakedown laps.  Steve has an old Richard Papenhausen car, and he also has another car for sale that has been looked at by interested parties.  Rich McCoy is said to be coming out with a car from the shop of Rapp Racing later this year.  Rich, who is racing for the IMCA Sport Modified championship, put fenders on the Modified and won a race at Roseburg last week.  Chris Biggs also has a car in the works for a possible August 12th debut. 

Not to be outdone, the IMCA Modifieds have had four different winners so far this year in Monte Bischoff, Nick Trenchard, Danny Lauer and Derek Nance.  The consistent Albert Gill, who has finished as high as second this year, leads the point race in a bid for his third division championship in four years.  More importantly, Gill is hot on the trail of his first win of the season.  Jesse Bailey is another driver to watch as he's had more Top 3 finishes than anybody since last season.  2016 "Rookie Of The Year" James Welshonse, James Anderson, Jeremy Ohlde, Shane Everson, Duane Orsburn and Preston Jones are others to look for this week.

Perhaps the luckiest driver in the Dwarf Cars this year is Brock Peters.  The reigning SODCA champion has won the last three S.O. Speedway races, but two of those wins came at the expense of a spin by son Cody Peters and a mechanical failure for Camden Robustelli.  Both drivers should be there to try to put a halt to Brock's winning streak.  The most recent point list finds Chad Cardoza leading B. Peters and Ryan Smith, and just a few points separate the three.  Smith and Cardoza are looking for their first win of the season, and Fred Hay, Kaycee Sheeler, Steve Walker and Randy Slater are other hard chargers to look for this Saturday.

Only six Mini Stock drivers have won Main Events since 2014.  The odds seemed to be in the favor of a new winner in the last two races as David Steele had major motor problems, but 2013 champion Steve Goetz and 2014 champion Gary Anderson won those two races to put themselves back into a close championship battle.  Young Dillen Lausen won his first Trophy Dash last time out and is barely holding on to the lead with Anderson, Kristopher Mix, Goetz and Michael Johnson within less than 20 points.  In fact, Steele isn't too far behind if he can get his motor problems ironed out.

The OTRO Hardtops and Pro Stocks round out an exciting program on the big track.  Mark Minter and Jamie Britton are the Hardtop winners so far, but Bruce Wilkerson, Bill Trotter, Nathan Augustine and Jimmy Del Castille will be out to add their names to the winner's list.  The track remains committed to bringing the Pro Stocks back under the banner with championship points and a guaranteed purse.  Darron Arnold is anticipated this week along with Tom Hackworth, Josh Kralicek and Miles Deubert.  Will Dr. Scott Lenz make an appearance and go for Win #3?  Will any Association members come for a shot at the $300 to win?

The Outlaw Kart track will showcase Beginners Box Stocks, Box Stocks, 250 Intermediate and 500 Open Karts.  Some of the young stars anticipated this week include Jacob James, Trevor Grimes, Keaton Augustine, Wyatt Pinckney and Isiah Sanders.  The program will also include some lawnmower racers from the Southern Oregon Lawnmower Association. 

Gate Times both nights are 5:00 PM with the first race starting at 7:00 PM.  General Admission on Saturday is $12.00 with Seniors, Juniors (6-12) and Military $6.00.  Children 5 and under are free.  General Admission on Friday is $10.00 with children 6 and under $5.00.  For further information, go to

Pit Stops

This column will be a bit brief, but there are a few things to talk about at Southern Oregon Speedway.  The effort to turn things around at the track is an ongoing process that has had and will have set backs.  However, progress continues.  Whether it's replacing pipes from the aging plumbing system at the facility, replacing various equipment, adding touches like the benches at the concession stand area or general improvements to the big and small track, things are happening that will help the future of Southern Oregon Speedway. 

On the upcoming calendar are three very important events for the future of the track.  Hall Of Fame Night is fast approaching on August 12th, the Cascade Sprint Car Challenge, Presented by Herz Precision Parts, is next on August 26th.  The R. Charles Snyder Salute is coming on September 2-3.  The first and third events mentioned here, along with the Roger Haudenshild Tribute that was held earlier this year, are very important to this race track.  They honor people who helped made racing in Southern Oregon happen.  It's also worth noting the Dwarf Car Nationals on August 4-5 is the biggest Dwarf Car event in the state of Oregon.

When you talk Hall Of Fame, there are varying opinions offered up by long time observers as to who should get in.  In reality, this night should have happened a long time ago, and it's a bit of a puzzle as to why it didn't come up until this year.  This was an event that was very much on Promoter Mike McCan's mind when he began his ten year run at the track last year.  To help in the effort to get this started, brothers Curt and Denny Deatherage have come on board.  The Deatherage's are knowledgeable in Oregon racing history, and they made the Historical Night and Hall Of Fame happen at Cottage Grove Speedway some 15 years ago.  One of the things they will be doing is constructing a display of old photos of Medford racing's past.  This display will see additions in the years to come.

The event itself should grow in the future.  The goal is to get it up and running now and build on that foundation.  In Hall Of Fame discussions at other tracks, a comment that comes up is why isn't there an actual building?  It's not that this can't happen, but you start getting into the cost of it all and that bogs down the entire effort.  What many places have settled on is a Hall Of Fame gathering, and honorees are presented with Hall Of Fame plaques.  An actual pre race get together, either earlier in the day or the night before, could be in the cards for the future.  This year, the inductions will take place on race night.

The discussion that is sure to have many opinions is who belongs in the Hall Of Fame?  Southern Oregon racing has a history that stretches back many decades.  There were a few different tracks in Medford and White City, not to mention Ashland Speedway.  Many drivers deserve this honor as well as car owners and people who worked hard behind the scenes to make it happen.  Rest assured that 2017 is the first of an annual event, and the greats will all be honored.  Announcements on who will be getting inducted will be forthcoming, but August 12th will be a night on which you will want to be at Southern Oregon Speedway.

The August 12th race will be a Stock Car night, headlined by Late Models, IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Pro Stocks, JOAT Labs Hornets and SODCA Dwarf Cars.  The Outlaw Pro Stock group will be supporting this race and have announced that they will be honoring the late Rocky Nash, who died from complications resulting from his crash in Yreka earlier this year.  Nash was a two time feature winner last season and a long time racer.  The lineup of divisions on the schedule that night will make for some great racing.

On August 26th, lots of things will be happening.  The main attraction is the Cascade Sprint Car Challenge, presented by Herz Precision Parts.  Longtime Wingless 360 Sprint Car supporter Mark Herz has come on board to sponsor this event, which pays $3,000 to win.  Some of the best Wingless 360 Sprint Car racers from Oregon and California will be in action.  Our own Kyler Barraza has said he's racing, and word out of California is that respected car owner Ted "Would You Believe It" Finkenbinder will be fielding his two race cars.  Ted always brings his A Game, which will make for some great action on the track.  We'll have more news on who is coming in the days ahead.  The Sprint Cars will be joined by the Valley Stor-All Late Models Lites, Mini Stocks and JOAT Labs Hornets that night.

An announce met on format and purse should be made in the next few days, but the night just gets better.  The good people at Hays Oil ( will be there as this is Hays Oil Night At The Races.  This means giveaways for the fans.  We have just received word that there will be a grudge match between two local DJ's driving Hornets.  It's all about creating excitement around Southern Oregon Speedway.

The R. Charles Snyder Salute is already generating interest from fans.  IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds and SODCA Dwarf Cars are listed on the schedule, and there will be purse details and information on any additional divisions competing that weekend very soon.  However, the event is about honoring legendary Southern Oregon Speedway/Medford Speedway announcer R. Charles Snyder.  The Race Tower, which has the announcer, scorer and VIP sections and the soon to be upgraded rooftop, will be dedicated to Snyder in a special ceremony that weekend.  There will be more details in the days ahead.

The challenge has been issued to the IMCA Modified racers to show the fans what you've got.  The drivers have asked for and gotten the IMCA sanctioning, a guaranteed purse and smooth and consistent racing conditions.  The division has been a cornerstone class at the speedway for years, but the numbers have declined during the past 7-8 seasons.  Neighboring Yreka is struggling even more.  Some good racers have continued to support the class, including Albert Gill, Jesse Bailey, Zach Fettinger and Jeremy Ohlde.  At the recent Speedweek race, only eight area racers were there to challenge the Tour racers.  A race before that, only five locals showed, while five visitors were there to keep the car count in double digits.

The division is being give a fair shake.  The Speedweek and Roger Haudenshild Tribute races featured increased purses, and the R. Charles Snyder Salute will do the same.  The area is known to have a car count base approaching or even surpassing the 30's, and there are some very talented stars that the fans have enjoyed watching through the years who are included in those numbers.  There can still be some great days ahead for IMCA Modified racing.  They've had their challenges in recent years.  Racing is more expensive and the Sport Modifieds are there for racers to compete and have therefore effected Modified car count, but the division has had a longer run than most other forms of racing that you'll find at different race tracks.

It's worth giving a note of appreciation to guys like Gill, Bailey (Jesse and Tim), Ohlde, Fettinger, Nick Trenchard, Mark Wauge, Scott Crumm, Duane Orsburn, Shane Everson, James Anderson, James Welshonse, Preston Jones and Monte Bischoff.  The division still lives on because these drivers (among others) won't give up on it.  With a bit more support, the division could be seen much more at the track in the future.  It's in the hands of the drivers.

Four Cylinder racing is alive and well at Southern Oregon Speedway, and it's an important part of the racing program.  Mini Stocks have been there since the track opened in 1996.  Late Model Lites have been there as well.  It appeared to be gone, but racers like Lee Doty, Danny Prewitt, Charlie Eaton and Eric Aos wouldn't let it go away.  The cars have evolved to become one of the fastest divsions at the track, and they've been putting on a good show this year.  There have been three different winners so far in Doty, Bob Burkett and Bob Westcott.  Eaton and Prewitt are certainly knocking on the door to victory.

Hornets were such an afterthought at the track that they were booked in 2013 and nobody came.  The division was sort of just there over the next two years until McCann came in to promote the track.  With a paying purse for the first time and JOAT Labs building cages, car count is finally growing for this class.  Why does that matter?  You have to find ways to bring new stars into the sport.  Even with the half-hearted effort to build the class before, we've seen young guns Michael Johnson, Dillen Lausen and Garrett Fredrickson move up from the Hornets class and into Mini Stocks.  Hornets matter to the program, and racers like Tim Hedges and his four cars, Derrel Nelson Jr. and his family, Jason Stoutenburgh and Dillon Irving are emerging as new stars at the speedway.

Mini Stocks are a bit down this year as drivers have moved on or are taking a year off.  The racers who are participating this season, however, are doing a great job of putting on a show for the fans.  Lausen and Johnson are emerging as Mini Stock stars in a field that includes champions like David Steele, Steve Goetz, Gary Anderson and Bob Burkett.  Kristopher Mix, Andrew Hall and Hunter Magnan are also putting on a show for the fans.  From the days of Rich McCoy, to Mike Johnson, to John Derby, to today, Mini Stocks continue to make great memories as the "Street Stocks" of Southern Oregon Speedway.

Barraza Coming To Cascade Sprint Car Challenge 
At Southern Oregon Speedway

White City, Oregon...Southern Oregon Speedway is hosting a big $3,000 to win Wingless 360 Sprint Car race on August 26th.  It's the Cascade Sprint Car Challenge, presented by Herz Precision Parts, and it's offering the biggest winner's prize for a wingless race in Oregon this year.  That kind of prize money is sure to attract some top notch talent, and it's already gotten the attention of Kyler Barraza.

In more recent years, Kyler has made a name for himself as one of the top Winged Sprint Car drivers in the state.  Currently, he leads the Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car point race at Southern Oregon Speedway.  He hasn't been as active in the two years prior to this season, but when Kyler won a race at Coos Bay Speedway earlier this year, he showed that he hadn't lost a step.  He's won twice in the first five races at Southern Oregon Speedway, and that has put him into the point lead.

Barraza's credentials are impressive.  He's a two time Southern Oregon Sprint Tour champion, and he has three championships at Coos Bay Speedway.  One of his more famous wins was the night he took his 360 Sprint Car to a big Super Modified race on the pavement of Roseburg and won in 2007.  He's had plenty of success on the Oregon Winged Sprint Car circuit through the years, but he's no stranger to success in Wingless Sprint Cars either.  Kyler won the first two North West Wingless Tour Main Events in 2009.

The lure of a big payday has gotten the attention of Barraza.  He's won his share of races with the wing at Southern Oregon Speedway.  He knows the track pretty well, and he brings lots of confidence with him every time he straps into the race car.  Some of the best drivers on the West Coast will be coming to town for a shot at the money and the right to call themselves the winner of the first ever Cascade Sprint Car Challenge Race.  Perhaps that winner will be Kyler Barraza.  For further information, go to or write to