Thursday, June 28, 2018

Sprint Cars, Late Models Headline Veteran's Night Program At Southern Oregon Speedway

Attention: The Destruction Derby for Saturday has been canceled due to lack of cars. All Derbies have been removed from the schedule. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Southern Oregon Speedway Racing Discussion
Can Be Heard HERE

Sprint Cars, Late Models Headline Veteran's Night Program 
At Southern Oregon Speedway

White City, Oregon...Saturday night is another special event at Southern Oregon Speedway. It's Veteran's night, meaning all active duty and retired Military personnel with ID get free admission. A packed lineup of racing will include the Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars, Late Models, Bobbio's Pizza Mini Stocks, Southern Oregon Dwarf Cars, JOAT Labs Hornets and OTRO Hardtops. As if that's not enough, the show will conclude with a Silva's Painting Destruction Derby.

The speedway is off to its best start in years as more fans are coming out to watch and more drivers are showing up to compete. The Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars are having a strong start this year as several young drivers have joined up to help grow this division's car count.

Last time out, two of the young guns, Jeffrey Hudson and Enrique Jaime, finished second and third at the checkered flag. It was the second time that Jaime had a third place finish this season. Hudson finds himself 16 points out of the lead, seven ahead of Jaime in a close race up front.

The driver leading the charge is David Hibbard, who carries an experience advantage over the rest of the pack as a past Cottage Grove Speedway champion. Hibbard has won two of the three races held so far and finished second to his son Bailey Hibbard the night he didn't win. He has also worked hard behind the scenes to help grow this division.

Though the Hibbard's could very well be the drivers to beat, Hudson and Jaime are poised to get their first wins on Saturday night. Other drivers to watch include Blaine Cory, Todd Whipple, Theron Smith and Aaron Miller. Miller picked up a win last Saturday night at Coos Bay Speedway.

Nathan Augustine was left searching for another ride after his Late Model Main Event crash destroyed his chassis last time out. It appears as if the reigning champion will be able to borrow a car, but he has another car on the way. Augustine is clinging to a five point lead over rookie Miles Deubert. Both drivers are feature winners.

Dave Foote is third in points and won the most recent race. Word out of California is that Antioch Speedway star David Newquist and teammate Joey Olschowka are coming for a visit this Saturday night. Bob Dees and sons John and Garrett Dees are anticipated along with Mike Linder and rookie Eric Massey.

With three wins in four starts, David Steele is holding a 22 point advantage in his quest to win the Bobbio's Pizza Mini Stock championship. Steele won the most recent race ahead of the much improved Hunter Magnan. Magnan won his first ever Trophy Dash earlier that night, and he is now second in the standings ahead of reigning champion Kristopher Mix. Mix had mechanical issues sideline him early last time, but he'll be back to go for his second win on Saturday night. Other drivers to watch for include Garrett Frederickson, Michael McLeod, Ashtin Hedges and 2013 champion Steve Goetz.

While we still haven't seen a point sheet from the Southern Oregon Dwarf Car Association, it won't be a surprise to see Brock Peters, Chad Cardoza and Kalvin Morton ranking high on the list. Morton made a late pass on Cardoza last time out to finally get his first win at Southern Oregon Speedway. It's been a long time coming.

Brock Peters had won the previous Main Event and finished third behind son Cody Peters on Saturday night. The numbers are up with the Dwarf Cars this season, and other drivers to watch for this week include Ryan Smith, Randy Slater, Fred Hay and Joe Sanders.

It's been a very competitive season so far for the JOAT Labs Hornets. Chris Boynton became the fourth different winner in four races when he beat teammate Bree Tritchler last time out. Point leader Brandon Wonsyld and reigning champion Jason Stoutenburgh struggled further back in the field, but both will be out to try and get their second wins this week. Other drivers to watch for include the rapidly improving Ashtin Hedges, Zach Nelson, Jenna Hedges and Ethan Doty.

The Old Time Racers of Oregon get to make their third appearance this week with their beautiful old style Coupe and Sedan race cars. The Trotter family has parked their cars in the Winner's Circle so far with son Dusty winning the opener and Bill winning the most recent race. Bill's old pickup truck, driven by Jay Smith, has finished second both times and won a pair of Trophy Dashes. These three should be out there this week along with Mark Minter, Jeff Krossman and Dean Cast.

The Silva's Painting Destruction Derby will bring the show to an exciting conclusion. It all adds up to a great night of entertainment from start to finish. All retired and active duty Military get in free with a valid ID. Gates open at 5 p.m. with the first race at 7 pm. General Admission is $12, Seniors and Juniors (6 to 12) are $6 and children 5 and under are free. For further information, go to

Pit Stops

It really is a remarkable sight. You show up in the pits at Southern Oregon Speedway even at noon on the morning of the IMCA Modified Wild West Speedweek Tour, and there are already cars in the pits. They've been unloaded and are on jack stands with body panels missing and tires removed. The drivers are working on getting everything ready for another night of racing.

Speedweek is a busy time for the drivers who make the commitment. You get eight races in a nine day span this year. Southern Oregon Speedway, as pointed out by Speedweek announcer Ben Deatheridge, has consistently had a Saturday night race for every Speedweek Tour visit. Sometimes it has come at the end of the tour but most of the time it has been at the beginning.

The reason is pretty simple. Drivers come in from California and work their way all the way up through Oregon. There have been seasons when the Speedweek Tour has gone into Washington, though that didn't happen last year and isn't happening this year either. You go to Yreka for the opening round and then head to Southern Oregon Speedway. It's the second race of Speedweek, and there's already lots of work to be done on the cars. This will be the process all the way to the end of the series at Willamette. Get to the pits early, unload your cars and start working on things to make it ready for the night's race.

The man with the target on his car is Jesse Williamson. Who knows how he does it, but he has won four of the seven preceding Speedweek Tour championships. You may watch him not necessarily burst out of the gate. That's fine, because Jesse doesn't start hitting his stride untill they get a few races in. If you don't get off to a really good start and maintain your momentum, he's going to get you. Only three times has he not won the Speedweek Tour championship prior to this year.

Southern Oregon Speedway's Brian Poppa, who is currently not active in racing, kicked off the tour seven years ago by winning four races and the championship. Two Californians, Alex Stanford and Kellen Chadwick, were both able to etch their names into the record books as champions. Interestingly enough, both of those drivers also didn't compete in Speedweek this year.

However, it was another Californian stepping up to the plate to make the challenge. That would be Ethan Dotson, who came within a whisker of the championship last season, before Williamson made him settle for second. Again, Jesse didn't have the best start. When the checkered flag waved, he finished back in ninth. Doesn't sound like a great start for Jesse, does it? However, after Cottage Grove, he left that facility with a win and a second. Who will stop him? It could fall on Dotson again this year.

You half expect to see Collen Winebarger step out of his car after a night of racing wearing a cape. His car doesn't have a number, just a big S. It's the Superman car, and there's a reason for it. The man is flying around the speedway, it seems. Intent on winning the championship, Dotson was the driver putting on the pressure, but Winebarger was the driver leading all 35 laps for the $1,000 win at Southern Oregon Speedway.

You almost don't even need anything else in support of the IMCA Modifieds for a Speedweek program. However, the IMCA Sport Modified drivers are starting to lobby to be added as the support class for all dates. Really, who couldn't disagree with that? It's a natural fit, Modifieds and Sport Modifieds. However, there are some tracks on the tour who are a little bit slow to get involved with the Sport Modifieds for their particular Speedweek event.

When the Modified drivers show up, they're drawing numbers to determine their heat race lineups. It's a draw, redraw line up, and it makes perfect sense. IMCA does a point average, but doing that for this race would leave all of the visiting drivers at a bit of a disadvantage. After all, the locals will be the ones who have earned points. A similar thing happened to the Sport Modified division that did do the point average on Saturday night. There are several drivers coming up and taking a look at the speedway for the first time this year, and they started behind the drivers who have been there. Hence, another reason the Sport Modified competitors are lobbying to be included in Speedweek in the future.

The solution is simple. The IMCA Modified drivers use a system similar to The Outlaw Kart program. You get two sets of heats, and your points determine the lineup for the Main Event. This is where it gets a little bit different than the kart program. You run two heat races with your group. Straight up line up and then you invert the lineup in your second heat later on. You earn passing points and finishing points, and the Top 2 point earners out of each group then go to the redraw for the Main Event. From there, you determine the first four rows of the Main Event.

It can't be emphasized enough how important doing well in your heat races really is for Speedweek. While a racer can come from the back of the pack to get a win, you'll usually find that the winner of the big show did well enough in the heat races to get a start somewhere in the first four rows. That was certainly the case for Winebarger. He was one of nine different drivers to get a heat race win and he also finished second in his other heat.

The track went dry early on. There's a theory behind that. Many racers in the Modified ranks prefer to see a drier track that is smooth and has two grooves. Southern Oregon Speedway had that, and the racing was good once it got going. However, the new clay delivered to the speedway during the offseason has presented somewhat of a challenge to track guru Jim Rodgers. He's still finding the right combination. The season started off with tracks that were a little too heavy, and we've also had tracks that dry off just a little bit.

The Modified drivers generally prefer such a track. Winebarger was one of those racers singing the praises in the Winner's Circle. A night earlier, he finished second in the Main Event in Yreka. The winner that night shouldn't be too much of a surprise to anybody. It was two times Yreka champion and reigning Yreka Speedweek race champion Nick Trenchard. Trenchard grabbed the lead, and even Winebarger's threats that night weren't going to stop him from grabbing the victory. Nick finished eighth in the Southern Oregon Speedway race.

There's another story playing out on Speedweek. Because it is an IMCA race, the drivers are competing for IMCA points. This means, the championship for the speedway is still at stake, and it's huge. So many top drivers that come to town are going to grab those Main Event starting spots that the locals need to earn their way in. Good drivers that you'll see doing well on any given Saturday night are forced to run the B Main. This included reigning champion Jesse Bailey and incoming point leader Albert Gill. Both drivers failed to make the show. Trenchard made it in as did seven time champion Mark Wauge, CJ Putnam and Preston Jones.

Speedweek and the upcoming R Charles Snyder Salute throw that little monkey wrench into the track championship. A driver can make up a lot of ground on nights like that. In fact, that's pretty much how Wauge won the 2016 championship. He's had an interesting start this year. He won the season opener, but he's also blown a motor and been eliminated in an early crash. An early crash happened once again, and Wauge didn't last long. Still, he did well enough to move up a little higher in the standings as Trenchard regained the lead and Gill maintain second.

Cottage Grove Speedway champion Grey Ferrando had an excellent showing in the Main Event as he grabbed the third position. The driver finishing in fourth was Darrell Hughes II. Darrell only makes occasional visits from California. When we saw him for the Roger Haudenshild Tribute race in 2016, he led most of the way and still got a Top 3 finish. This time, he found himself having to win a B Main to get into the show. In fact, he won the B Main a night earlier to get into the race in Yreka as well.

Speedweek has a Passing Masters program set up for the driver who makes the most passes during the whole Speedweek Tour. After Southern Oregon Speedway, Darrell was the one leading that. However, he had to get back down to California to go to work, not to mention the fact that he has a point lead to maintain at Merced Speedway, which will be running next Saturday night. Still, the third generation racer gave a great accounting of himself at Southern Oregon Speedway.

What you'll get in any Speedweek lineup are some of the best drivers around. Bricen James managed to grab the fifth position. James seemed poised to pick up both the Super Late Model and IMCA Modified championships last season at Willamette, but an injury suffered the week following his win during Iron Giant Weekend took him out of the competition for the final two races. It was John Campos winning the championship honors last year, but James had such a lead that Campos couldn't make the pass until the finale. Campos would finish sixth behind James in the Southern Oregon Speedway Main Event as multi time Santa Maria Speedway champion Danny Lauer placed seventh.

Back in tenth at the checkered flag was Curtis Towns. Much like Winebarger, James and a few others on the tour, Towns enjoys driving Late Models and Modifieds. In his case, he's a regular at Cottage Grove Speedway and a champion in both divisions. That's the thing about Speedweek. You're not just getting lots of drivers in the IMCA Modifieds. You're getting championship winning drivers. With that sort of quality, it's a win just making it into the show. To finish in the Top 5, you're really doing something, and to win is a career highlight for some. If you can keep up the pace and run the entire Speedweek, you can be proud.

And there's another interesting statistic with Speedweek. Williamson may be the decorated champion of the series, but Southern Oregon Speedway can boast the driver who has made the most starts. That would be Mark Wauge, the Ironman of Speedweek. It's not enough for Mark to have won nearly 50 IMCA Modified Main Events at Southern Oregon Speedway along with seven championships. He enjoys challenging himself at the other race tracks when he can. And even a hard crash that he suffered at Willamette last season during Speedweek didn't dampen his competitive spirit.

Speaking of champions, a decorated Late Model and Modified champion named Richard Papenhausen came to town. Richard has won some big races up here, though it has been a few years since we've seen him. Papenhausen is driving one of the Walberg Racing Team cars. It turns out that Bud Walberg, a driver Southern Oregon Speedway fans may remember as a past feature winner there, is more comfortable in the #4p car that you would normally see Papenhausen driving. Therefore, Richard was driving Bud's #55 car and Bud was in Richard's car. Papenhausen finished 12th after making this show with a second place B Main finish. Walberg, unfortunately, didn't quite make it into the Main Event.

Since winning his second championship at Antioch Speedway back in 2015, Carl Berendsen II has endeavored to challenge himself by going to different race tracks. He didn't make it to Southern Oregon Speedway last year as he crashed in Yreka. This time, he won one of his heat races and did get the pole for the Main Event. The results weren't exactly what he was looking for as he finished out of the running, but he gave a good accounting of himself for the night. Past Chowchilla Speedway champion Tim Balding also made it into the show as did young DJ Shannon. DJ is the son of Late Model racer Chris Shannon. Both drivers compete at Merced Speedway, and DJ won his first career Main Event recently during the Merced County Fair Race. He made the show at Southern Oregon Speedway and was planning on running the entire Speedweek Tour. Its efforts like this that are going to pay off and make the younger Shannon a champion at his home track one day.

There were several new and even surprise visitors for the IMCA Sport Modified race. Really, the buzz has been about the drivers of this division wanting to be included in Speedweek in the future. It seems that Sport Modifieds as a support class with the Modifieds is a natural fit for Speedweek, and the fact that the division has been added at Willamette Speedway as a regular class makes it that much more enticing. For now, the drivers have to be content to run races in Yreka and Southern Oregon Speedway. A few drivers even joined the Sportsman Late Model class for a race at Coos Bay on Sunday.

Four surprise visitors on the roster all came from the Antioch, California area. Keith Brown Jr is part of a family of racers that goes back to Antioch in the late 60s. His grandfather Bill Brown is a legend and Sportsman division champion. His father Keith won the Antioch-Chowchilla Modified Series one season. Keith Jr doesn't run anywhere regularly as he enjoys traveling up and down California. This season, he got a ride driving for Keith Steinmetz, who is learning from Brown and plans to start racing next season

Teammate Brent Curran also made the trip. Curran has risen through the ranks at Antioch Speedway as a 4 Banger champion and then the Hobby Stock Rookie of the Year last season. He has already won a Sport Modified Main Event at Antioch, but he too has enjoyed testing his ability against drivers at other race tracks. He announced earlier in the week that he was planning to come up to do battle with the Medford regulars.

Also making the trip were Ryan DeForest and Kenny Neu. DeForest is the son of Late Model veteran Shawn DeForest, and Shawn was there in the pits getting the car ready to go. Neu has a background in Outlaw Mini Stock racing and won a championship there before winning championships in the IMCA Modified ranks. He has been gone for a few years but returned to the Sport Modifieds this season. Both Brown and Neu crossed the line with Top 5 finishes only to be disqualified in post-race tech. Curran, on the other hand, had taken second from Brown just before the checkered flag waved.

The winner was Justin McCreadie. A week after McCreadie's teammate, Braxton Possinger, impressed with the victory, Justin was happy to get his first win at his home track. A check of the current standings finds McCreadie is leading the State of Oregon and Pacific Sport Mod Series points, but he knows the pressure is on to continue winning. The guy he's trying to defeat is none other than two time Southern Oregon Speedway champion Jorddon Braaten, who has racked up several wins on the circuit already. Though he got off to a late start, Justin shouldn't be counted out in the track championship battle either.

The point average situation worked to McCreadie's advantage as there were only four drivers with points who made it into the Top 12 from heat races. This gave he and Possinger front row starts. Possinger finished further back in fifth. Taking a podium finish in third was Doug Coffman. Coffman is a regular at Cottage Grove Speedway and is part of a close championship battle that has the Top 8 drivers separated by just 11 points. Doug checks in at seventh.

The championship battle at Southern Oregon Speedway has been between David Marble and Willie McFall. McFall had a night he'd rather forget and finished out of the running in 15th. Marble had the solid type of night that a champion needs to have. He finished fourth and added some points to his advantage over McFall. McFall is still looking for his first Main Event win, and he may need it as Marble is starting to pull away just a little bit. In fact, McFall is being chased closely by Tony Bartell and Tony Duste, who are tied for third and 10 points behind him. Neither of those drivers had the best of nights either as both failed to make it into the Top 15.

The competition level in the Sport Modified division has risen. Car counts have been up to a point where even when there are some drivers missing from the roster, the numbers haven't suffered too badly. In fact, many of the drivers on the roster have a legitimate chance of winning a Main Event. Four races have yielded four different winners as McCreadie, Possinger, Marble and Fred Ryland have all taken their turns at the top of the podium. Will there be another new winner when the Sport Modifieds return to action on July 7th?

It can be a fine line between victory and defeat in auto racing. Back in 2016 at about this time of the year, Kalvin Morton was on top of the Southern Oregon Dwarf Car scene. He was setting a blistering pace at Southern Oregon Speedway as he rounded the final turn to take the checkered flag. Unfortunately, he tangled with a slower car and flipped. Not only did he lose the race that night, his point effort suffered as well. Morton has won just about everywhere else that he's raced, but the win in Medford has eluded him. However, that changed on Saturday night.

From the start of the season, Kalvin has been fast. He won a big gathering of the three different Dwarf Car groups of Oregon at Cottage Grove Speedway earlier this season. On Saturday night, he made a move into the lead with four laps to go and saw a sight that many racers see in the group. Both Brock Peters and son Cody Peters were hot on his tail. However, Morton wasn't letting this race slip away as he brought it home to a well-deserved and hard-earned victory.

It was Cody Peters making a late move around his father Brock to get the second place finish. Second is the best finish for Cody so far this year. He had the B Dash in hand until a last turn pass gave it to two-time Dwarf Car champion Josh King. As for his father Brock, he won both his heat race and the A Dash and thought he might get the feature victory when he passed early leader Chad Cardoza with five laps to go. However, he ended up settling for third. Cardoza ended up fourth. The point sheet hasn't been released publicly yet for the group, but you're likely to see Brock up there near the top along with Morton, Cardoza and Ryan Smith.

The Dwarf Cars, much like the Sport Modifieds and the Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars, are seeing bigger numbers this season. There were 18 competitors last Saturday night, and at least half of them have a legitimate shot at victory. One of those drivers due for a win is Randy Slater. Randy made a couple of late passes to grab the fifth place finish ahead of Fred Hay. This was one of his better finishes of the season.

The Lorenz family was three cars strong last week. We've seen the Mod Lite of Jesse Lorenz a couple of times this year as he continues to work out the bugs. That wasn't the only Mod Lite in the field as Chad Lorenz made his season debut. Though he took a checkered flag, he was laps down. Jesse's father, Bud Lorenz also made his first start of the season. It was Jesse having the best run of the family with a lead lap eighth place finish behind Kaycee Sheeler.

Joe Sanders got a second place finish in his heat race to earn a trip to the A Dash. He too got to lead lap feature finish in ninth, followed by Bud Lorenz. Sanders was the only driver of the Southern Oregon group to take a trip down to Merced Speedway for the Dwarf Car Nationals. He ran the Sportsman classification and brought it home to a respectable second place finish that night. Joe showed noticeable Improvement last week, and the second year competitor could become more of a contender in the weeks ahead.

Good things are happening in a JOAT Labs Hornets division. Car count is up and the competition level has risen right along with it. With four races in the books, there have been four different winners. Last week saw two unlikely drivers battling it out for the win. And actually, you shouldn't be surprised to see Bree Tritchler at the front of the Main Event. The rookie already had two Top 5 finishes and is battling for the Top 5 in the standings. She won her heat race to get things started and then proceeded to lead the first 10 laps of the Main Event.

However, it was Chris Boynton making the pass on lap 11 and leading the rest of the way. Tritchler tried to make a run at him again, but she settled for a very close second. The consolation for this finish was the fact that she lost to her teammate. However, she gained a lot of confidence and she will be in the hunt for a feature win this week and going forward.

The Main Event winners list also includes second year racer Ashtin Hedges, surprising point leader Brandon Wonsyld and reigning champion Jason Stoutenburgh. Wonsyld and Stoutenburgh didn't have the best of Main Events as they struggled at the back of the pack. However, Wonsyld did get a bit of a run later in the race and brought it home in seventh, adding a few points to his lead over Stoutenburgh.

The Hedges family keeps right on moving and occupies two of the Top 5 spots in the standings. Running third is Tim Hedges. Tim is the 2016 champion, and he picked up another heat race win to start his night. However, Tim found himself chasing son Ashtin and wife Jenna, who finished third and fourth in the Main Event. Though Tim managed to gain a little bit of ground on the lead two in the standings, Ashtin gained some ground on him.

Derrell Nelson Jr has had his share of struggles this season, so just getting it to the checkered flag was an accomplishment. He finished just outside the Top 5 and sixth. Motor issues and tire issues have plagued the team so far, and there was a chance that Derrell might not get his car ready in time for this race. However, as he gets the #8G car dialed in, he's certain to be a contender for feature victories. Derrell was a two-time winner who finished second in the standings back in 2016.

He might have finished fifth in the standings last year if not for young Dylan Irving. Irving had an impressive rookie season and battled Nelson and teammate Wonsyld to grab the fifth spot in points. When he won the first Trophy Dash of the season this year, it seemed to give an indication that Dylan was going to be even tougher to beat in the race for feature victories. However, after a crash at the second race, Irving has struggled just a little bit. After finishing second in his heat race Saturday, he again finished out of the running in the Main Event. However, as the son of two-time Pro Stock champion Ken Irving gets things dialed in, you know he'll be back and making a challenge for his first feature win.

New Talent Growing Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car Class 
At Southern Oregon Speedway

White City, Oregon...Sprint Car racing has been a part of Southern Oregon Speedway since the gates opened back in 1996. There has been at least one race for one Sprint Car Series or another in each season while the track has also had several championship seasons of its own through the years. However, there's never really been a big commitment to build up a local Sprint Car presence.

That changed in 2016 when Mike McCann became promoter. McCann carries a reputation with him of establishing Sprint Car programs wherever he goes, including Marysville Raceway and Cottage Grove Speedway. Hays Oil has been a staunch supporter of the Sprint Car program for years and got on board with McCann from the outset.

The missing ingredient might have been the adjustment of the rules package to a more limited rule set, designed to keep cost down. David Hibbard was the leader of this movement and has also sponsored an increase in purse money to make it $1,000 to win and $200 minimum to start for each race. Last year was the first year for this new rules package, and there was an increase in car count from the first year.

This year, it's growing even bigger. A key factor in the car count growth is all of the new drivers who have moved up from the Outlaw Kart track at the adjoining 1/8 mile dirt oval. Though Hibbard carries an experience advantage as a past Cottage Grove champion, two-time winner this year and current point leader, he knows these younger drivers will get tougher to beat as they get more seat time.

Jeffrey Hudson made great strides last time out in what was the biggest local point series car count for this division in years. With 20 cars in action, it was Hudson battling fellow young gun Enrique Jaime to finish second. In doing so, Hudson has established himself in second in the standings, just 16 points behind Hibbard. The second generation racer has built up quite a pedigree as a past kart champion, the Outlaw Pro Stock Association champion at 15 years old back in 2015 and a Sprint Car feature winner and "Rookie Of The Year" in 2016.

Jaime, meanwhile, has raced karts on both dirt and pavement and won championships along the way. His first Sprint Car season last year resulted in fifth in the standings, and the team has stepped up their program a little bit this year. So far, Enrique has two heat race wins and two third place feature finishes, putting him seven points behind Hudson and 23 points out of the lead.

The Top 5 in the standings is further filled by two other young drivers. David's son Bailey Hibbard sits fourth in the standings, 11 points behind Jaime. Bailey won the season-opening feature this year, which was the fifth time he'd won at Southern Oregon Speedway. 14 points behind him is another Little Southern Oregon Speedway Kart champion, Blaine Cory. Cory is the top rookie in the field.

It's not just new drivers in the field. The excitement surrounding the Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars has resulted in getting 2009 champion Charlie Thompson back out to the speedway again. Thompson made his season debut last time out with a Top 10 finish. Two other drivers battling for Top 10 finishes at the most recent race were Todd Whipple and Aaron Miller. Whipple is only 11 points out of the Top 5 in the standings at the moment.

The Miller family has been racing for several years as Aaron's father raced Super Stocks. Aaron has been running Sprint Cars in California in recent seasons and was Top 10 ranked at Antioch Speedway last year. He got his first Sprint Car win at Southern Oregon Speedway in 2016, and he recently went to Coos Bay Speedway and notched another victory by beating the track's two top stars of recent seasons, Lawrence Van Hoof and Dave May.

A field of anywhere from 10 to 14 cars is anticipated for this Saturday night's fourth round of Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car racing. It should be a good show. For further information, go to

Point Standings
Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars

3    David Hibbard    100
L88    Jeffrey Hudson    84
48e    Enrique Jaime    77
1    Bailey Hibbard    66
94    Blaine Cory    52
17m    Merissa Henson    45
04    Todd Whipple    41
31    Calvin Hibbard    40
42    Theron Smith    38
18t    Tanner Holmes    37

Outlaw Kart Pit Stops

Friday night at little Southern Oregon Speedway is a night for the young racers to shine. Taking center stage on the night and stealing the show was The Beginner's Box Stock division. This is the youngest of the young drivers. You can get your start in this class at 5 years old. Some drivers are a little intimidated and may take a race or two before they jump into their karts for the first time. Other drivers might go slow at first as they get used to things.

Then you have the case of Malachi Johnson. This youngster came on the scene at the end of 2016 with quite a bit of confidence. Last season, he won the final three races to win the championship. On Friday night, he seemed to be very willing to put his car up on the outside, which can be intimidating as you get closer to the wall. It was a good battle as he ran the outside, but Carson Henson had the inside. Behind Johnson on the inside was Mike Wheeler Jr, who won both of his heat races to get things started.

Henson was debuting a new kart. During the offseason, he used his other kart to win the Yreka Indoor championship. Wheeler, meanwhile, had won the first three races at Yreka this year. When Hanson got the lead, he stayed on the bottom of the track and did a great job of holding his line. Only briefly during the race did Johnson get by, but Henson stayed cool and passed him back. It was when they caught traffic in the final turn when Johnson was able to make it work again on the outside as he took over the lead for good. Wheeler also got by for second with Henson third.

All three drivers did a great job of running up front and entertaining the crowd. It's a perfect illustration of why Friday night at the Little Southern Oregon Speedway can be so much fun. You see some great racing from these kids as they learn how to drive these karts and get better every week. Back in forth, Uriah Sanders was still adding points to his totals and staying up in the championship battle. The same can be said for incoming point leader Shailene Horn, who took the checkered flag in fifth and earlier won one of her heat races. Though Johnson has taken over the lead in the standings, it's still very close between he, Horn, Sanders and Henson.

Another bit of excitement developed late in the UAS Speedway Kart Main Event. Previous winner Larry Fuller was set to drive his #4l kart, but he wasn't feeling well and turned the wheel over to Sean Fuller. Sean grabbed a pair of heat race wins and then set about winning the Main Event. Ron Bolles was making his first start of the season. His motor seemed to be giving up on him in the heat race, but everything was situated for the Main Event. Bolles ran closely behind Fuller throughout the race with Steve Rambo a solid third.

It was when the leaders caught up to the two 4 Cycle Karts when things got interesting. Fuller passed Michael Owens and came up on Lori Fuller next. He hesitated to make his move, and Bolles seized on the opportunity to make a last-lap pass in the second turn to gain the lead and victory. It was another exciting race by these open cockpit karts, which are turning laps comparable with 500 Open Class. Sean Fuller settled for second with Rambo bringing it home in third.

Lori Fuller, meanwhile, is hoping to see more 4 Cycle Karts show up and possibly get the class its own race, but in the meantime, she's happy to be out there running with the other drivers. Owens was making his first start in a 4 Clycle Kart owned by Rambo Motorsports.

Another bit of drama developed in the 250 Kart class. Reigning champion Trevor Grimes has picked up two Main Events so far this year as the early leader. He has established himself as the driver to beat, but young Vinny DeBenedetti was determined to get the job done. When he won the second heat race, Vinny served notice to Grimes that he came to do battle.

At the start of the Main Event, Vinny got a good run and settled into the lead on the bottom groove. Here's where things got interesting. Grimes seems more comfortable running the bottom groove and is less inclined to put it up on the outside. Vinny was clinging tenaciously to the bottom line and running smooth and consistent laps. Grimes kept looking, but there was no opening. In his quest to get the lead, Grimes spun three times. With the rule being three yellow flags and you get black flagged, the race ended at that point, and DeBenedetti secured his first career win. Grimes settled for second.

Taylor Fuller is still getting used to things in his 250 Kart. Already in his young career, he won the Beginners Box Stock championship at Yreka in 2016, while coming to little Southern Oregon Speedway for a pair of victories. Last season, he won the Yreka Box Stock championship. This year, he's running for the Box Stock championship while learning the 250 Kart. He was also getting the opportunity to race against his sister Brionna Fuller, but Brionna had to miss the races as she broke her arm during the week. Taylor didn't finish the 250 Main Event, but he did better in the Box Stocks.

The Box Stocks saw a four-kart battle at the front, led by Keaton Augustine. Augustine had picked up a heat race win earlier in the evening as did Jacob James. He settled into the early lead in the Main Event, but James was in close pursuit, followed by previous feature winner Ryan Hirschbock and incoming point leader Taylor Fuller. Only one yellow flag slow down occurred in this race, and Augustine maintained his pace on the restart and to the checkered flag for his first victory of the season. The nose to tail finish went in order with James a close second, followed by Hirschbock and Fuller. The kids all did a great job.

Brandon Steinhoff wasn't too far behind the lead pack in fifth place. The Steinhoff's made their first visit at the previous race, and Tyler Steinhoff was the one getting the Top 5 finish that night. This time, the team brought a pair of 500 Open Karts as well.

It was Josh Steinoff winning the two heat races and the Main Event. Teammate Kyle Romociotti ended up second in the feature, though his race ended three laps from the finish with mechanical issues. The same can be said for Reece Slyter, who started the Main Event and was credited with third. It was hoped that there would be a few other locals in the field, but these three were the only ones coming out to run for the full purse money that was paid regardless of the fact that the minimum four kart turnout wasn't achieved.

This year has been a bit different at the little track. First of all, all of the races scheduled have happened so far, and the track even ran on a night when it was threatening to rain. The drivers have their old pit area back this season and Bob Fredrickson has been the Race Director. There have been more karts coming this year, but it's hoped that even more will show up in the weeks ahead. The drivers who have been there have put on a great show every week.