Thursday, May 17, 2018

Busy Weekend Planned At Southern Oregon Speedway

Southern Oregon Speedway Racing Discussion
Can Be Heard HERE NEW Weekend Preview

Southern Oregon Speedway Racing Discussion
Can Be Heard HERE

Busy Weekend Planned At Southern Oregon Speedway

White City, Oregon...On the heels of last week's Four Cylinder Frenzy event, Southern Oregon Speedway has an amazing lineup of racing on tap for this weekend. In addition to a big Outlaw Kart program on the little track on Friday night and Saturday afternoon, the Iron Giant Street Stocks are coming to town for the first round of their big eight race tour of various Oregon tracks. Joining the Street Stocks on the big speedway will be the Late Models, Southern Oregon Dwarf Cars, Valley Stor-All Late Model Lites and Mini Stocks.

The Iron Giant Street Stock Series, which is the brainchild of James Whitehouse and Chris Sine, brings together some of the best Street Stock racers from Oregon to run eight races at eight different tracks. Southern Oregon Speedway gets the season opener once again. Last season, it was Donald Schott winning the 50 lap race for the $1,000 first prize. Once again, the drivers will be running for $1,000 and a nice $500 runner-up prize.

Kyle Yaeck comes into this event as the driver to beat. He has won some of the biggest Street Stock races in the state over the past few seasons and is the reigning tour champion. Kyle finished second in last season's race and was perhaps the most interesting driver to watch on the track. Eric Jarnport won a good battle for second in the final standings ahead of Whitehouse last season as Sine and James Yankee rounded out the Top 5. Reports are that a field of 15-20 competitors are anticipated as drivers are itching to get a chance to race on the Jim Rodgers prepared 3/10 mile clay oval.

Not to be ignored in the mix is the exciting Late Model division. When 2014 Street Stock champion Miles Deubert had an opportunity to acquire the 2017 Madras Late Model championship car from Kyle Coen, he jumped at the chance. Running a little bit late on Saturday night, he made it in time to run his heat race. That race didn't go very well, but adjustments made leading up to the feature resulted in Deubert earning an impressive win ahead of reigning champion Nathan Augustine. John Dees and Mike Linder were looking good as well, and both drivers will be looking to win the Trophy Dash when the program starts this week. Other competitors to watch for include Bob Dees, Garrett Dees, Dave Foote and Don Garrett Jr.

David Steele has won the last eight Mini Stock Main Events in which he has started. This includes a five race win streak at Southern Oregon Speedway. Steele swept the event last week. Reigning champion Kristopher Mix had to settle for second, and he'll be looking to knock Steele out of the Winner's Circle this week. The rapidly improving Hunter Magnan, Michael McCloud, Garrett Fredrickson and 2013 champion Steve Goetz will be among the others to watch this week.

Eric Aos looked impressive in winning the Valley Stor-All Late Model Lites Main Event last week. He had smooth sailing ahead in winning by a wide margin. Championship hopeful Charlie Eaton struggled with motor problems early on, but he rebounded with a second place finish by making a last lap pass on Dusty Aos. Other drivers to watch for this week include Greg Arnold, Danny Prewitt and 2016 champion Lee Doty. Arnold is running #39 this year in memory of his friend and former Pro Stock racer Tim Law, who lost his battle with Cancer during the off-season.

The Southern Oregon Dwarf Car competitors have run a pair of races this season. It was Camden Robustelli getting it done with back-to-back Yreka wins. He is the early point leader, but he knows the competition will be tough. Some of the best Oregon racers converged on Cottage Grove last week, and SODCA championship hopeful Kalvin Morton held off two-time club champion Brock Peters to get the win. These two will be out to snap the Robustelli two race win streak, and other drivers to watch for this week include two-time champion Josh King, Ryan Smith, Chad Cardoza, Fred Hay, Randy Slater and Joe Sanders.

If you're looking for more racing, the little track will roar into action on Friday night with a two-day event that concludes on Saturday morning. The KT100s are coming in from Northern Oregon and Washington with a field of 20-plus competitors anticipated. The 206 Karts are also coming down. There will be big money on the line. The track will also run its various Cage Kart classes, and word is that we will be seeing several of the youngest drivers competing in the Beginners class. The Saturday portion of the show will also include the UAS Speedway Karts. The Main Events will run on Saturday based on the finishes from the preliminary races on Friday night. KT100s will also run a preliminary feature on Friday.

On the big track, gates open on Saturday at 5 p.m. with the Trophy Dashes scheduled to fire off at 7 p.m. General Admission is $12 with Seniors, Veterans and Juniors (6-12) $6. Children 5 and under are free. For the Kart program on Friday night and Saturday morning, General Admission is $10 and includes pit access. For further information, go to

Pit Stops

Southern Oregon Speedway will be saying goodbye to perhaps the most charismatic race car at the track. The blue #007 Pinto Wagon is being retired. For the past couple of seasons, Andrew Hall has done a heck of a job wheeling that car around the race track. He's won heat races and a Trophy Dash with it and came within one position of winning the Main Event on multiple occasions. He was third in the standings in 2016.

This season, Cameron Hall was making his racing debut in that car. It can be challenging being a rookie and racing as it is, but driving that car makes it even more challenging. It is fast, but it can get away from you in the turns quite easily. Cameron found that out the hard way in a heat race last Saturday night. It was going well enough when he passed David Steele for the second position.

However, Cameron got a bit sideways coming out of Turn 2, and the car came around on him. A little bit further back, Steve Goetz with coming up on him and didn't see him in time. With no place else to go, Goetz T-boned Hall, ending the night for both drivers. The driver's side door caved in on Hall, but fortunately he was okay. Andrew Hall is already looking for a replacement car to get back out to the track, though there is no ETA on when that might happen.

For Goetz, he went into the night feeling pretty good about the way the car was running. He's had two starts this season, a second in Yreka and the second at Southern Oregon Speedway. He had hopes of beating teammate David Steele in the Main Event, but sadly, it was not to be. While Steve loaded up and headed home, Steele was doing what he does best, winning races. He won the Trophy Dash, heat race and Main Event as he continues to work on building up his point lead. All told, Steele has won the last eight Main Events in which he has started, including the last five races at Southern Oregon Speedway.

Hunter Magnan, meanwhile, is getting used to the power of the car that he bought late last season. He knew he needed something better if he wanted to have a chance to win, and this purchase has turned out to be a good one. With a fourth place finish in the opener, Hunter was aiming higher in the latest Main Event. However, he's still learning the handle on the car and spun on multiple occasions. After his last spin in the Main Event, Hunter decided to get going rather than wait for the yellow flag that might have been followed by a black flag. He reeled in Michael McCloud and made the pass for third.

It was another second place finish for Kristopher Mix. This was the second time in the last 2 years for Mix to get a second, but he's hungry for the win. With Steele looking as fast as he is, Mix knows that he's going to have to start winning some races if he hopes to keep up in the championship chase. He may also be the driver with the best hope of beating Steele for the championship. From the looks of things, it may be easier said than done.

About 15 years ago there was a driver in the #39 car named Tim Law. Law competed in the Pro Stock division for a few seasons. Though he wasn't one of the front-runners in the Main Event, he was a regular competitor and a friend to 2002 Super Truck champion Greg Arnold. Sadly, Law lost his battle with Cancer during the offseason, and Arnold has decided to pay tribute to him by changing his number and running a similar color to Law on his Late Model Lite. Though Greg started his night off with a second in the heat race, mechanical issues dropped him out of the Valley Stor-All Late Model Litres Main Event early.

One of the drivers hoping that this will be his year for the championship is Charlie Eaton. He has been one of the more consistent racers over the past two seasons, but a Main Event victory has thus far eluded him. His night didn't start off very well as he was having motor issues in hot laps and into the heat race. Come Main Event time, he was having a nice little battle for second with Arnold and second-year racer Dusty Aos. As Arnold fell out, Aos was still hanging on to second until Eaton made a last lap pass to grab the spot.

Since Dusty didn't have his car ready in time, he was able to drive the #99 car that has been driven by Bill Spencer during the past couple of seasons. The #3 car should be ready shortly. It was the #66 car of Eric Aos who was the class of the field. Eric turned in a dominant performance in winning the Main Event by a wide margin after winning the heat race earlier.

There were some drivers missing that we will hopefully see soon. Arnold reports that this is a new car that he bought from the Willamette area and that his older car should be out with a new driver this season. Likewise, 2014 champion John Barger plans to return, and we should be seeing 2016 champion Lee Doty as well. Hopefully, we'll see a few more cars in the pits this Saturday night.

The Ferrando family has been the driving force in keeping the Pro 4 West Modified division going for many years. The division has its roots running at several outdoor venues throughout Oregon, and they even competed at Southern Oregon Speedway back in its first season in 1996. Not surprisingly, a Ferrando won that race. In this case, it was Co Ferrando.

Last season, the group made one appearance, but a tow vehicle breakdown kept family patriarch Papa Tom Ferrando out of the action. The 80 year old competitor did make it this time, but all was not right with his car. He spent several laps in the Main Event trying to diagnose the problem before pitting. Papa Tom is the 2017 Salem indoors champion.

Salem indoors is where this division has raced mainly in recent years, and the Ferrando family has won the last four championships. The year, it was Thomas Ferrando laying claim to the title, and he drove to a third place finish on Saturday night. Tobey Ferrando, who won the Southern Oregon Speedway appearance last season, won the championship in 2016. However, it wasn't a Ferrrando getting any of the glory on Saturday night.

Rick Wagner was debuting a new Pinto for this race, allowing Chris Tofte to drive the #03 car that Rick had been racing indoors this season. Barry Lampert was driving a fast Pinto as well. Prior to the races, Barry remarked that he had been running with another group when he was invited to come run with the Pro West Modifieds during the most recent Salem Indoor season. He jumped at the chance, and he has enjoyed every minute of it. Barry did win the heat race and led several laps of the Main Event.

The Main Event was a bit of an adventure for Wagner, who spun a couple of times early in the race before gathering momentum. Wagner ran with Lampert for several lap before making the winning pass and bringing it home to the victory. These Pro 4 West Modifieds run bigger tires and are running laps quicker than the track's regular Mini Stock division. Though this is their lone appearance at Southern Oregon Speedway this year, they are hoping to get more outdoor races in the future and will likely be back for a visit again next season.

Chances are, if you were talking about a member of the Hedges family winning a JOAT Labs Hornets Main Event in the early goings of the season, you were talking about 2016 champion Tim Hedges or his 2017 "Rookie Of The Year" award winning wife Jenna Hedges. However, son Ashtin Hedges had a bold proclamation prior to the season opener. He said he was going to win. He held off his father to win his heat race that night, but he wasn't done just yet.

Last week, Ashtin was at it again. This time, he held off reigning champion Jason Stoutenburgh to win his second heat race. This put Ashtin on the front row of the Main Event next to his mother Jenna, who was also a heat race winner. When the green flag waved, Ashtin wasn't waiting to see his mother pull up next to him. He charged into the lead. Soon, Stoutenburgh was there making the challenge, and season-opening winner Brandon Wonsyld wasn't far behind. However, Ashton was not phased in the least. He has a new car this season, and he led every lap to pick up his first career victory.

Wonsyld, who is teammates with second generation competitor Dylan Irving, is off to a strong start. After beating Stoutenburgh in the opener, Wonsyld made a late move around him to stake his claim on second in the Main Event. Brandon is now the point leader, but Stoutenburgh is a very close second. Though you have to believe Jason is due for a win, there are some fast drivers in this field. Most of the 14 competitors on hand in the most recent race are capable of winning on any given week.

You're still going to find members of the Hedges and Nelson family right in the middle of things. Jenna Hedges recovered from a disappointing season opener for a fourth place finish, while Tim Hedges ended up fifth. Tim kept the Mini Stock at home as he makes repairs for his second start in that class, and he's also preparing a new Hornet. He speaks of retiring the #4t car when his new Hornet is ready. However, last season, Gabe Nelson finally made his first start in that car. One has to wonder if the #4t car might have a little bit more life left in it with the young teen behind the wheel.

We got word that one of Gabe's older brothers, Ryan Nelson, should be ready for his debut when the division returns on June 2nd. Meanwhile, Zach Nelson is still looking good out there as he drove to a seventh place finish last week. This follows up the fourth place finish he had in the opener despite a brush with the front wall as he battled third place finisher Dylan Irving to the end. That's still much better than their father, Derrel Nelson Jr. Derrel figures to be a factor in the race for wins, but he needs to keep the air in his tires. While running along in the Top 5 yet again, he had to make a pit stop with another flat tire. He ended up a lead lap 11th.

Ashland High was represented by two cars once again. The popular PT Cruiser was back again, this time piloted by John Ferreira. John was making his first start and brought it home to a tenth place finish. Meanwhile, Ethan Doty finished further up in the eighth spot. It's great to see that we have a high school auto shop class wanting to be involved in the wonderful sport of racing. It's also great to see that we have at least a few teens who want to be involved in racing. Chris Boynton looked a little bit better in his second start as he took a checkered flag in sixth, while teammate Bree Tritchler took a checkered flag in ninth.

There was plenty of excitement in the air with the Late Model division. When 2014 Street Stock champion Miles Deubert showed up late, it's likely that nobody was expecting much from him so soon. Miles, who won a pair of Pro Stock Main Events at the track in 2016, jumped at the chance to buy the 2017 Madras Late Model championship car of Kyle Coen. After a disappointing heat race, he started back in the fourth row in the Main Event. Again, nobody was expecting much from Miles at that point.

However, the second generation racer has a few tricks up his sleeve when it comes to setting up a race car. He had already figured things out well enough and was creeping his way through the pack when early leader John Dees looped it in Turn 3. Miles was 3rd at that point and quickly moved into second. The thing was, reigning champion Nathan Augustine was in the lead. One might have expected that Augustine had the race won at that point. That's a false assumption. Deubert was reeling him in until he finally caught him and passed him on lap 20. In only his first start in a full Late Model, Deubert is a Main Event winner.

Heat races were won by longtime competitor Mike Linder and John Dees. Linder ran in the Top 3 for most of the race, but Dees was making up for his early spin as he worked his way up to Linder. A late pass resulted in Dees grabbing the third place finish. However, fourth is good enough to put Linder in the Trophy Dash this week.

The Main Event didn't end so well for Bob Dees, who pitted from a Top 5 spot late in the race, handing the fifth position to Garrett Dees. Eric Massey was making his first start in the class and unfortunately fell out very early and was soon joined in the pits by Don Garrett Jr.

Lots of rumors are flying around about racers in this class. Chris Biggs sold his car prior to the season, but he has another car he should be debuting real soon. We're also hearing of two past champions coming out in Late Models, though at this point we'll keep mum on the names until we hearmore information. In either case, Late Models will be part of the show this weekend.

Of course, the big news that's been reported elsewhere here is that the Street Stocks are coming back to Southern Oregon Speedway this Saturday night. It's Disorder On The Southern Border II for The Iron Giant Street Stock Series. Chris Sine and James Winehouse have put together a rather impressive tour of eight events at as many race tracks. Southern Oregon Speedway once again kicks this thing off with a 50 lap race that will pay $1,000 to win. The series culminates at Willamette Speedway in September with the Big Iron Giant Race.

Reports are that we will see a bigger car count than last season as a field of 15 to 20 competitors is anticipated. Kyle Yaeck will head the field as the reigning champion. He's won several big events during the past two seasons and was an entertaining second in last year's Southern Oregon visit behind winner Donald Schott. Though the field wasn't big last year, most of the drivers ran closely at the front of the pack.

They left Southern Oregon Speedway with high marks for the track, which is causing other drivers who were in "wait-and-see mode" to talk about racing this time. Eric Jarnport managed to hold off Whitehouse by just six points to finish second last season as Sine and Jessie Yankee were also in the Top 5 in the standings.

We've heard rumors that both David Cronk and Brian Cronk will be coming. Brian Cronk actually confirmed that he has a ride in Jody Tanner's #36 car as his car isn't quite ready yet. Brian won the Street Stock portion of the Clair Cup at Willamette last season. David Cronk won the Battle At The Beach Iron Giant Series race at Coos Bay last season.

One of the last drivers to go down with the ship when Southern Oregon Speedway last had a regular Street Stock division is Garrett Dees. He ran the class during the last two seasons at his home track and then competed at some of the other tracks up north after that. In fact, Garrett was practicing earlier this year with his Street Stock at Sunset Speedway.

As was the case last year around this time, local Street Stock enthusiasts are speculating about what could be at their home track. The question is, who still has cars sitting around waiting to be driven? If you're looking to make a statement, Saturday night is the night to do it.

Meanwhile, little Southern Oregon Speedway will get its opportunity to shine this weekend as well. It's been a few years since a 2 day program was held on the smaller track, but thanks to sponsorship from Speed City in Medford, this is exactly what will happen. The KT100 class from up north will be competing for a big money race, and the 206s are coming down with them. The track's regular Outlaw Kart program as well as UAS Speedway Karts are also part of this program that will run preliminaries for most divisions on Friday night and Main Events on Saturday morning. The KT100s will get a preliminary feature on Friday.

Once again, the biggest buzz for the Cage Kart program is being generated by the Beginners Box Stock class. Several youngsters are just getting started, including the son of one of the biggest names In Kart racing in the area in recent years, Mike Wheeler Jr. Little Mike has won the last two Main Events in Yreka. Another driver anticipated this week is reigning Yreka Indoor champion Carson Henson. Of course, the reigning champion in the class is Malachi Johnson, who won the final three Main Events last season. Among the names we are hearing are Jamie DeBenedetti, Jacob James and 2016 champion Kiley Grimes. There is reportedly another Grimes sibling making a debut this season.

In the Box stock class, Three-time champion Trevor Grimes is expected to be moving up completely to the 250 class, leaving a new battle for championship glory. Keaton Augustine was a one-time winner last season who might be considered the driver to beat. However, reigning Yreka champion Tayler Fuller may have something to say about that. Sophia Bauer is among the other racers anticipated for the opener.

Mike Weiser reports that his boys, 2016 champion Bodee Weiser and Braden Weiser, will be there for the opener to do battle with Grimes and Vinny DeBenedetti. Another driver to watch will be reigning Yreka Indoor champion Cadyn Smith. We're unsure of the status of there-time 2017 feature winner Carley Holmes, but we know she'll be fast if she's there. Carley won the most recent race at Yreka

There is much uncertainty regarding the 500 Open class. It's known that there are 12 to 16 Karts in the area, but getting them to come race is another matter. If Tanner Holmes doesn't have a big race somewhere else, it's possible we'll see him. Kenny Boardman Is another possibility as is Mike Wheeler. Others who could be there include Jeffrey Hudson, Wyatt Pinckney and 2016 champion Johnny Burke. All will be answered on race day.

The Fuller family brings several Speedway Karts to the race track, and three of them are usually driven by Lori Fuller, Larry Fuller and Brionna Fuller. Brionna also drives a 250 Kart. Steve Rambo enthusiastically supports the Speedway Kart effort, often times with a second Kart driven by Johnny Hoult. These are some of the drivers to watch for this weekend.