Southern Oregon Speedway Racing Discussion
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Sixth Annual Roger Haudenshild Tribute On Tap Saturday Night At Southern Oregon Speedway
White City, Oregon...Saturday night is one of the biggest races of the season at Southern Oregon Speedway and a very important one at that. It is the 6th Annual Roger Haudenshild Tribute Race. Thanks to the support of the Haudenshild family and Dusty's Transmissions of Central Point, there will be increased purse money in the IMCA Modified, IMCA Sport Modified and Calculated Comfort Outlaw Pro Stock divisions. But the program doesn't stop there as Late Models, Southern Oregon Dwarf Cars and JOAT Labs Hornets will also be competing.
The night is important for another reason. The race remembers a longtime Southern Oregon Stock Car and Destruction Derby competitor named Roger Haudenshild. Roger passed away in 2013, leaving the legacy behind of a great competitor, sponsor and friend to motorsports racing in the area. Roger was a big car enthusiast and had a collection of classic cars. He was also known to not only sponsor racers, but sometimes do it anonymously as his main concern was getting them to the track rather than any sort of recognition.
The night's activity will include several giveaways for the kids. There will be raffle drawings for bike giveaways, Family Fun Center passes and other goodies the kids will enjoy. There will also be Crack The Whip races, which are events that Roger was rather fond of. IMCA Modified, IMCA Sport Modified and Pro Stock racers will each compete for $200 winner take all prizes in the special races. Crack The Whip races run a lap count equal to how many starters take the green flag. Each lap, the final car in the lineup is black flagged until you have the last car on the track winning the prize.
The IMCA Modifieds will be competing for a $2,000 first prize. Coming off of his big win in the John Arnberg Memorial race in Yreka last week and his win in the season opener at Southern Oregon Speedway, seven-time champion Mark Wauge might seem to be the favorite to win this race. However, he will have his work cut out for him as an increased field of competitors is anticipated with the big money on the line. Two-time race winner Nick Trenchard will be out to add a third win to his totals. Other drivers to keep an eye on this week include Albert Gill, James Welshonse, Dave Duste Jr, Duane Orsburn and reigning champion Jesse Bailey. Word it is that past champion Jon DeBenedetti may be in the field as well, driving for Brian Bowman.
The IMCA Sport Modified division is competing for a $1,600 first prize, and there's been indication that 2016 California State champion Brian Cooper will be there along with Jimmy Ford. After winning the season opener in convincing fashion, David Marble will be going for the biggest win of his career. Reigning champion Mike Medel didn't have the kind of night he wanted last time, but he was a recent winner in Willamette and will be a driver to reckon with. Other drivers to watch for this week include Willie McFall, Tony Duste, Danny Rule, Steve Lysinger and two time race winner Jorddon Braaten.
The Haudenshild family has been strong supporters of Pro Stock racing through the years, and Jeff Haudenshild is one of the members of the Calculated Comfort Pro Stock group. Two drivers who will be vying for the $1,200 first prize are 2017 race winner and series champion Scott Lenz and 2016 race winner and series champion Steve Borror. John David Duffie was seen at the speedway making laps last week, and he has won many races here. He is hoping to stake his claim on the prize. Other drivers to watch include two time series champion Ken Irving, Scott Flowers, Brian Johnsen, James Flowers and Matt Harlow.
The Late Models have been putting on some good races so far, and rookie Miles Delbert and Nathan Augustine count themselves among the winners so far this season. After winning the Trophy Dash and finishing second last time out, John Dees is hoping to add his name to the Winner's List this week. Other drivers to look for include Bob Dees, Dave Foote, Mike Linder and Eric Massey.
The Southern Oregon Dwarf Car season is in full swing. With four point races in the books so far, there are three different winners. Camden Robustelli won the first two races in Yreka, and the most recent two races at Southern Oregon Speedway have gone to Josh King and Guy Tow. Chad Cardoza is running very strong lately with two Top 5 finishes so far. Likewise, Ryan Smith now has a pair of third place finishes at Southern Oregon Speedway. Both drivers are looking to win, and others to watch for include two time series champion Brock Peters, son Cody Peters, Fred Hay and Randy Slater.
The JOAT Labs Hornets division has been very competitive so far. Reigning champion Jason Stoutenburgh has a pair of Top 3 finishes, but he is still looking for his first win. Brandon Wonsyld seems to have Stoutenburgh's number so far as he has finished ahead of him with a win and a second and is the point leader by a slim margin. Recent winner Ashtin Hedges will be looking for his second straight win, but mother Jenna Hedges and father Tim Hedges may have something to say about that. Other drivers to look for this week include Dylan Irving, Derrel Nelson Jr, Zach Nelson and Bree Tritchler.
Southern Oregon Speedway is anticipating a huge turnout of cars for the Sixth Annual Roger Haudenshield Tribute Race. Gates open at 5 p.m. with the first race at 7 p.m. General Admission is $15 with Seniors, Veterans and Juniors 6 to 12 $10. Children 5 and under are free. For further information, go to www.southernoregonspeedway.com.
The Open Wheel Showcase at Southern Oregon Speedway is a special event. It's a night for the open-wheel divisions to truly shine. The speedway has a growing Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car class that is encouraging for a lot of reasons. However, one thing people don't get to see very often is the Northwest Focus Midgets.
When USAC started doing the Focus Midget class years back, a group began in Washington. When USAC started making changes with the rules, the racers decided they needed to go in a different direction to preserve what they had. Since then, it has become nothing short of one of the best promoted and run Open Wheel organizations that you'll find anywhere on the West Coast.
With Carla and Galen Stewart at the helm of the ship, the Focus Midgets have a bright future indeed. One of the things that's nice about the group is that when they visit a race track, they let you know right down to the last race car who is coming. They had a roster during the week of 30 cars, and 30 cars showed up to Southern Oregon Speedway on Saturday night. That's also impressive when you consider that these drivers are towing from Washington or in a few cases Canada.
It was also a night for the group to show the Medford area fans what they are all about. They were running their Salute To Indy. The Stewart's had put all the touches on this race, including a nice trophy for the winner and the jug of milk, which is customary at the Indianapolis 500. The winner gets to drink the milk.
This race is special for another reason. The Focus Midgets have regular championship seasons at Grays Harbor, Skagit and Deming, which are all race tracks in Washington. They also run a six race track, ten race series that encompasses all three West Coast states. In addition to the three Washington tracks, they make visits to Southern Oregon Speedway, Sunset Speedway and the season-ender at Silver Dollar Speedway in Chico, California.
This was the third scheduled event of the season. The previous winner was Tristin Thomas in both this season opener and the last visit to Southern Oregon Speedway. Thomas is also the reigning Series champion, an honor that he's held once before. He came into the night as the driver to beat and had his turn at the lead for several early laps before surrendering to Jonathan Jorgenson.
When the group came out last season, they rattled off most of their race without a yellow flag. After a roll over on the attempted first lap and another yellow flag after that, they ran 25 laps without a yellow flag. Unfortunately for 2016 champion Nick Evans, he was eliminated in the tangle that saw Shane Biles roll in Turns 1 and 2. A poor heat race finish forced Evans to win the B Main to get his feature start. When the race got going, the racing was fast and intense throughout the pack. The leaders were setting such a rapid pace that traffic became a regular part of their battle during the second half of the race.
For Jorgenson, that was no problem. After earlier winning the B Dash, he was making all the right moves at the front of the pack. He was the one who got to enjoy the milk of victory and all the other rewards in the event, which was sponsored by All About Metals and Winningham Racing. Thomas managed to finish second ahead of another Thomas, Garrett Thomas, who settled for third. Eric Turner and Evan Margeson completed the Top 5, and half of the field managed to finish on the lead lap.
Eric Turner and Ryan Cully were very busy. The two drivers also brought their Sportsman Sprints to the speedway. The Sportsman Sprint division is similar to the class that Southern Oregon Speedway runs, and it was a good opportunity to see how competitive the two divisions were with each other. While Turner ran strong all night and finished a respectable third in the Main Event, Cully was a lead lap sixth. He finished a bit further back in the Focus Midget Main Event, scored in 13th.
Further up in the pack in sixth was Hannah Lindquist. Hannah has done a great job of driving these cars in her short time in the division. She finished in the Top 10 in the standings last season, and if she keeps driving the way she did on Saturday night, that will be the case again this season.
One of the drivers in the pack for this event was rising young star Ariel Biggs. We last saw Ariel in the Cascade Wingless Sprint Car Challenge race, presented by Herz Precision Parts, in August of last year. She revealed that she plans to return for that race again this year. Ariel was down at Kern Raceway a week earlier picking up the win in the USAC Speed2 Midget Main Event.
The Focus Midgets don't have an opportunity to rest as they will be running a double-header this weekend up in Washington. However, they left the fans at Southern Oregon Speedway talking about what a great show they put on and looking forward to next season.
The Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car division seemed to be an opportunity for the Hibbard family to showcase their abilities. It started in the preliminaries in an unlikely way. Family patriarch Calvin Hibbard only started racing a Sprint Car last season at the age of 61. It was a chance for him to help the car count and get to race with his son and his grandson. On Saturday, the three shared a heat race together.
What perhaps nobody was expecting was Calvin would bolt ahead at the start of the race with son David In second. Grandson Bailey quickly settled into third. A Hibbard was going to win this race, but people might not have expected it to be Calvin. It was his first win ever in a Sprint Car.
Grandson Bailey took over by winning the Scramble to put himself on the pole. It gave him the advantage as he raced into the lead early on. However, his father David was in pursuit after making a move into second a lap later. Bailey made all the right moves and was rewarded with his fifth career win at Southern Oregon Speedway. It's an amazing thing watching this young man go from almost wanting to give up two years ago to becoming one of the stars of Sprint Car racing at Southern Oregon Speedway.
With his first and second place finishes so far, David Hibbard has taken the lead in the point standings. However, there is a close battle happening behind him. If he slips up even a little bit, his son Bailey might get him. But Bailey is not the only driver with a shot.
After opening the season with a fourth place finish, 2015 Pro Stock champion Jeffrey Hudson battled Marissa Henson to finish fourth again last week. Jeffrey has established himself as a contender for the championship, but what he's hoping for now is his first Sprint Car feature win since the 2016 season finale. Henson, meanwhile, was running smooth all night and finished third in her heat race and the Scramble. She looked good in her fifth place finish and is steadily gaining on her first career feature win.
Aaron Miller last competed at Southern Oregon Speedway in 2016, when he scored an emotional first career future win. Everything didn't go as smoothly as hoped, and he lost a couple of laps in the pits before a yellow flag gave him the opportunity to rejoin the field and take the checkered flag in ninth behind Todd Whipple. Todd was unable to start the season opener due to mechanical issues, and he worked out a few more bugs in his race car this time.
The driver leading the rookies so far this year is Blaine Cory. Cory had a Top 5 finish to open his season, and he did well in fishing 7th in the latest feature. The news wasn't as good for Enrique Jaime. After winning his second straight heat race, his Main Event ended early with mechanical issues. All in all, it was a solid showing for the Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars, and they return to the speedway on June 16th for their third event.
The Southern Oregon Dwarf Cars returned for their second straight week. The division has landed dates at many of the key events at Southern Oregon Speedway this year, and they brought a 21 car filled this time around. It's an encouraging sign for the division as they have gained a few newcomers, including Michael Johnson, Andrew Hall, Ashleigh Strain and Dan Halbert. It could be that the division will need a B Main due to the increased car count at some point this season.
One of the drivers in the pack came from up North. It was Guy Tow, who bypassed a race closer to home to come compete since his father was racing in a Focus Midget. Guy had a front row start for the Main Event and wasted no time getting into the lead. Once he got it, nobody was going to take it away from him. Tow brought it home to an impressive victory.
There was a good battle going on to fill up the Top 5, and Mason Lewman ran a determined race to secure second at the checkered flag. You may recall Lewman picking up his first win at the end of last season. If he keeps running this way, you'll probably see him in the Winner's Circle soon. Likewise, Ryan Smith has run strong so far with a pair of thirds at Southern Oregon Speedway. We have yet to see a point list for the group, but it wouldn't be surprising to see him ranking high.
Josh King still didn't have his car ready to go and was in the Jerry Hauck car once again. He picked up a heat race win and managed to hustle his way to fifth behind Chad Cardoza at the checkered flag. With the competition level rising in the Southern Oregon Dwarf Cars, even getting a Top 5 finish is quite an accomplishment.
Two drivers on the outside looking in at the Top 5 were two-time reigning champion Brock Peters in sixth and Camden Robustelli in seventh. Camden was unable to bring his Sprint Car to the track due to some motor problems he found prior to the night. In Dwarf Car competition he already has a pair of victories in Yreka. For Peters, being shut out of the Top 5 is not something he's likely to just accept. He did win the A Dash earlier in the evening, but he'll go back to the drawing board and see if he can get a feature win.
The Old Time Racers of Oregon Hardtops were back in action, and Southern Oregon Speedway was happy to have them. There's been a change in the group. We were saddened to hear that during the offseason the club president, Vic Bridges, had passed away. Vic was instrumental in negotiating their race dates at Southern Oregon Speedway in 2016 and 2017. The group has enjoyed racing at the track, and Mark Mintor went about negotiating the return for six dates this year.
A conversation with Dusty Trotter prior to the event revealed that the group thinks that they could have as many as 11 or 12 cars at some point this year. Dusty has another car this year as his old car is now being driven by 2017 Coos Bay Speedway Street Stock champion Justin Krossman. However, Trotter seems to be even faster in his new car.
They had three different drivers take turns winning the races as Krossman picked up the heat victory and Jay Smith drove Bill Trotter's pickup truck to the trophy Dash victory. It's an interesting thing to note that the very first time the group was at Southern Oregon Speedway two years ago, Chris Mehrer drove that truck to a Trophy Dash win and then drove that truck into the wall coming out of Turn 4 in the heat race. Mehrer is back this year in the green #17 Sedan.
Krossman looked like he was going to win the Main Event as he led 14 laps before doing a solo spin in Turn 3. It was at that point when Trotter took the lead and Smith settled into second. Smith couldn't quite make the move, but it was the fastest that truck has ever looked. As Cottage Grove season opener winner Jamie Britton was having difficulties with the handling of his new car, it was Mark Minter who drove the Minter family Coupe to the third place finish over Briton and Bill Trotter. The Minter car was originally built by Mark's grandfather, Harold Minter, and driven by all of the Minter men before him. Mark's grandmother, Rene Minter, was at the track cheering him on once again.
Mark has also gotten his hands on another Hardtop that will be seeing action at some point this year. A few cars have moved around to different owners, but the OTRO Hardtop group is determined to build up their presence and grow their ranks. Southern Oregon Speedway will have the pleasure of another Hardtop visit on June 16th, and Dean Cast, Jimmy DelCastille and 2016 Roseburg champion Greg Hickman are three other drivers who could show up for that race\