Thursday, July 19, 2018

Modifieds, Dwarf Cars And Karts At Southern Oregon Speedway This Weekend

Southern Oregon Speedway Racing Discussion
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Modifieds, Dwarf Cars And Karts 
At Southern Oregon Speedway This Weekend

White City, Oregon...Southern Oregon Speedway heads into its final race of July with an exciting five division show on the big track this Saturday night, featuring IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Southern Oregon Dwarf Cars, Valley Store-All Late Model Lites and OTRO Hardtops. On Friday night, little Southern Oregon Speedway will offer a full program of Outlaw Kart racing. It's a great opportunity for the fans to satisfy their need for speed before the one week break.

The Southern Oregon Dwarf Car Association will be taking center Stage for the next couple of races. This weekend offers one final tune-up at the home track before the big Dwarf Car Nationals event on the first weekend of August. The Dwarf Cars have seen a resurgence of driver support, and it's led to a wide-open battle on the race track.

Last time out, Cody Peters scored his first feature win of the season. He now joins his father, Brock Peters, on the winner's list along with Kalvin Morton, Camden Robustelli, Josh King and Guy Tow. Robustelli and Morton are the only two-time winners on the circuit so far. While these drivers have claimed victories, Chad Cardoza, Ryan Smith and Fred Hay have been knocking on the door to victory. Hay has scored back-to-back Top 3 finishes, and Cardoza was shown as the point leader going into the most recent race.

The Dwarf Cars aren't the only division that has had a wide-open battle on the race track every week. IMCA Sport Modified competitors have been battling hard all season long for Main Event glory, and there have been no repeat winners to date. Wins have been earned by Justin McCreadie, Braxton Possinger, Branden Wilson, Fred Ryland and point leader David Marble. Marble has been very consistent this season. Following his third place finish last time out, he emerged with a 28 point lead over Willie McFall in the championship chase.

As Marble has begun to pull away, McFall has Tony Bartell, Wilson and Tony Duste all within five points of him in a close battle for second. Wilson won the most recent race by surprising race long leader Jimmy Lipke as he beat him back to the finish line with a last-lap pass. Lipke is rumored to be coming back to make another run at the win. Another driver planning to be there this week is two-time reigning champion Mike Medel, who had anything but a good race last time out. Both drivers are hoping for their first wins at the track this year, and others to watch for include Jesse Merriman, Danny Rule and rookie Brian Knorr.

In the IMCA Modified division, it's rumored that the point race will get a shake up as Nick Trenchard heads up north to make a run at a big payday. Trenchard has been known in recent years as somewhat of a bounty hunter with a knack for winning big races. In his absence, two-time champion Albert Gill is poised to take over the lead. However, Gill is hoping for a feature win. He has finished second twice this year, but second place isn't what he came to do. Another driver who has struggled a bit in recent weeks is seven time champion Mark Wauge. Wauge led early last time out before pitting. It turned out that he had a blown motor. This leaves the team going back to the drawing board once again. Zach Fettinger has been on a roll with two wins, and this has him just five points behind Wauge in the battle for third as David Satterfield is a surprising fourth. These two drivers are anticipated this week along with Jansen Knips, Bo Shields, Jeremy Ohlde and Andy Freeman.

Last time, Charlie Eaton became the first repeat winner of the Valley Store-All Late Model Lites division. It really looked like reigning champion Bob Burkett was going to get the win until contact between he and 2016 champion Lee Doty gave Eaton his opportunity to take the lead. In winning the race, Eaton increased his slim lead to just eight points over one-time winner Greg Arnold in the standings. Arnold will be hoping to rebound from bad luck last time out, and other drivers to watch for include Eric Aos, Dusty Aos, Terry Hadley and Krista Hadley.

The Old Time Racers of Oregon Hardtops return for their fourth appearance of the season. Mark Minter, Bill Trotter and Dusty Trotter count themselves as the feature winners so far. Lest anybody thinks these old time V6 powered cars that run on slick tires aren't being raced hard, Dusty Trotter's night ended early last time when he and Jay Smith crashed on the back stretch in a close battle for a Trophy Dash win. Smith has a pair of second place finishes and will be looking to get a win this week along with Justin Krossman.

The Friday night Outlaw Kart program has been ruled this season by the youngest of the kids. Malachi Johnson has rattled off three Beginners Box Stock wins in a row to take the lead in the championship battle ahead of Carson Henson. Last time out, Johnson and Mike Wheeler Jr had a spirited dual for the feature win. The Beginners class features kids from 5 to 8 years old. Keaton Augustine continues to lead the Box Stock race after back-to-back wins, and Vinny DeBenedetti is closing in fast on point leader Trevor Grimes after his second straight win. Add the UAS Speedway Karts and 500 Open Karts, and it should be a fun night at the little track on Friday. Racing starts at 7 p.m., and the $10 admission gets you pit access as well as seats in the bleachers.

On Saturday night at the big track, gates open at 5 p.m. with the first race firing off at 7 p.m. General Admission is $12, Seniors, Veterans and Juniors (7 to 12) are $6 and children 6 and under are free. For further information, go to

Southern Oregon Speedway
Point Standings
IMCA Modifieds
54n    Nick Trenchard    179
89    Albert Gill    163
1m    Mark Wauge    148
211    David Satterfield 146
88    Zach Fettinger    143
7    Jantzen Knips    139
555    Bo Shields    126
21    Jeremy Ohlde    109
30    Andy Freeman    101
5    Preston Jones    91

IMCA Sport Modifieds
4m    David Marble    190
7m    Willie McFall    162
27    Tony Bartell    158
12w    Branden Wilson    157
23    Tony Duste    157
11j    Jesse Merriman    130
401k    Brian Knorr    119
14    Billy Richey    112
15jt    Justin McCreadie 109
30    Mike Medel    100

Valley Store-All Late Model Lites
5    Charlie Eaton    136
39    Greg Arnold    128
99    Dusty Aos    105
66    Eric Aos    91
43    Bob Burkett    68

Pit Stops

Last week was Kids Night at Southern Oregon Speedway, which meant a lot of cool things for the kids. Free Admission, for starters. Drawings for nine bike giveaways and 125 free Hot Wheels for the first kids to enter the grandstands. Making things a bit of a challenge was the fact that the weather was over 100 degrees. However, the show went on as scheduled.

Nathan Augustine saw his championship hopes get dealt a severe blow two races ago when he was taken out by a lapped car on the back straightaway. It was bad enough that his race ended at that point, but his chassis received too much damage for him to keep using that car. Fortunately, while his team was making arrangements to get a Late Model from Michigan, they were able to borrow the Don Garrett Jr ride for a race to maintain their points.

On Saturday night, Augustine returned with a new car, sporting a pink paint job. At the moment, Nathan's chief rival in the championship battle is John Dees, and Dees could possibly have the fastest car on the track right now. To illustrate that, Dees picked up wins in both the Trophy Dash and his heat race. He was coming in on a high note having won the July 4th race at Sunset Speedway as well as the Trophy Dash earlier that evening. But John wants to get a win at his home track.

With the Main Event destined to run at a rapid pace, the driver who got the best start would be set up as the driver to beat. Augustine got the jump, and Dees followed closely behind him. For 25 laps, both drivers ran the bottom groove and hit all of their marks. Dees kept taking looks down low, but he was unable to find his spot to make the move. He settled for his third second-place finish of the season as he gained more ground on Miles Deubert for second in the standings.

Augustine scored his second win of the season, but he knows the battle is far from over. He knows that John Dees still presents a big challenge for the championship. He also knows he's lucky to still be in the lead given the crash he had two races earlier. For these final races, Nathan knows he still needs to be on his A Game, or it could all slip away very easily.

The man giving John Dees his inspiration to go racing was his father, Bob Dees. Bob Dees won the 2016 championship, which is when John got to start racing with him after watching his father race very competitively in Late Models and Pro Stock through the years. Bob currently holds down the fifth position in the standings. Bob was a two-time feature winner last season, but he is still searching for his first win. On Saturday night, Bob enjoyed a spirited duel with Dave Foote for third, but Dees was just a little bit quicker in the end. Foote is still very much in the championship battle in fourth in the standings.

All was not well with the #38 car of Miles Deubert. Sometimes all you can do on a night like that is get your car to the checkered flag, which is what he did. Since winning the season opener, Miles has experienced some of the trials and tribulations that rookies face, but he continues to come out and give it his best with great enthusiasm. In the races ahead, he shouldn't be counted out in the quest for victory. He could still make a play for the championship as well.

The Mini Stock division has taken a bit of a beating this year. Two races into the season, there was a crash exiting Turn 2 in a heat race that destroyed the #007 car of Cameron Hall and forced 2013 champion Steve Goetz to miss a few races while his car was being reclipped. On Saturday night, we may have seen the last of the #0 car of Gary Anderson. The good news in all of this is the 2014 champion was uninjured. As the drivers were exiting Turn 4 during their heat race, there was some contact and Anderson veered into the front wall. Though he did hit the brakes, it wasn't quite enough to slow him down. The impact left the car with severe front-end damage.

Car count has been down in the Mini Stock division, but this is a trend that goes as far south as Yreka as well. Drivers sometimes hear the calling of other things in life, and their cars get parked for a while. Sometimes they return, and sometimes we don't see them again. Fortunately, there are a few drivers still willing to come out and go racing. Life has been calling Kristopher Mix. Having experienced the joys of fatherhood during the past year as well as a championship season, Mix finds himself working pretty hard these days to pay the bills and shows up late to go racing.

After back-to-back disappointing outings that saw him experience various mechanical issues, Mix finally put a decent night together with a third place finish. He was given a jump start infraction earlier in the race, but a yellow flag allowed him to serve his penalty. It didn't stop him from getting back to third. With Steve Goetz coming on strong lately, Mix needs to be at his best. Not to mention the fact that he's still in the hunt for second, which is currently held by Hunter Magnan.

Magnan got off to a good start this year, but the last couple of races have given him less than desired results. A spin late in the race last week saw him trying to make a charge back into a Trophy Dash qualifying position, only to be beat to the line by Garrett Fredrickson for fourth. Hunter knows he'll need to keep getting the good results. It's not only Mix that is in the sights of Steve Goetz. Hunter isn't that much further ahead of the two champions in second. For Goetz, the night was a solid effort as he won his heat race and finished second in both the Main Event and Trophy Dash. When it comes to who might be able to get the next feature win, it could be Goetz.

The star of the night was point leader David Steele. David has been hitting all of his marks so far this year, and he scored a clean sweep of heat, Trophy Dash and Main Event. This was his fifth win of the season, and there's still some debate about how many career wins David has at Southern Oregon Speedway. The mark is either 25 or 26, and 26 would put him at the top of the All Time win list with Jim Hill. David has won some 60 Main Events on the circuit, and his cars have won well over 100. He takes a lot of pride in the work he's done to help others be more competitive just as much as his own success.

The JOAT Labs Hornets division championship battle was shaken up just a little bit last week when Jason Stoutenburgh missed the races. He is still fixing his motor after the fire from the previous race, but he hopes to be back for the first race in August. With Stoutenburgh gone, the question was whether Ashtin Hedges could hold the lead or would he be overtaken by his father, Tim Hedges, or Bree Tritchler?

There was a hint of things to come when Ashtin's father set him up for the pass in the Trophy Dash and stole the win away. Tritchler also got by for second. Both Hedges finished second in their respective heat races, though the race for Ashtin against Dylan Irving was particularly close. Ashtin was very much in the hunt in the Main Event, but more mechanical problems reared their ugly head and dropped him from the lineup. The one consolation he could take from the bad night was that car count was low enough that the points damage wasn't as severe as it could have been.

For Tim Hedges, it seemed like smooth sailing at the front of the Main Event pack. He led a good portion of the race, but Tritchler put a move on him for the lead on lap 16. It was right at that moment when Zach Nelson had mechanical issues and stalled for a yellow flag. With no passing to the yellow flag, it reverted back to the lap when Tim Hedges was leading. Back in front, Tim led the rest of the way with Tritchler chasing him for her third consecutive second place finish. Tim Hedges emerged with the point lead, but Tritchler and Ashtin are still very close behind him. We've seen five different winners in six races, and it seems like Tritchler is poised to become the sixth.

Another driver we may need to keep an eye on is second generation racer Dylan Irving. Irving has had miserable luck during the past couple of weeks as he's finished last in both Main Events. His heat race win was a much needed confidence boost, but he wasn't done. His Main Event didn't start as well as he'd have liked, but he rallied and came back for a season-best third place finish. Another driver smiling after getting a good finish in fourth was Dylan Sauer. This was his best finish so far, and it also qualified him for the Trophy Dash at the next race on August 3rd.

Zach Nelson has been battling little problems here and there with his car, but he keeps coming back and giving it his best. He was optimistic coming into the night, and his heat race win made him a little bit nervous as he started on the front row of the Main Event. Unfortunately for Zach, there were more mechanical problems ahead as he didn't finish, but he still gained a little bit of ground in the standings and has a legitimate shot to move into the Top 5 in points. Saundra Hattrick got to do the driving in the #7 car that Brandon Wonsyld has been driving this year. She took it all the way to the checkered flag and ended up fifth.

The Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car division has been an interesting story. David Hibbard has been dominating the Main Event action. He's not even the driver who usually wins the Scramble to get the pole for the Main Event, but that doesn't stop him. Last week, it was Jeffrey Hudson picking up the win in the Scramble as well as his heat race. Hudson has been providing the competition in the standings back in second, and he had a second place feature finish earlier in the season. On this occasion, he led the race for nine laps before watching that familiar blue and white blur of Hibbard go racing by. David went on to post win #5 of the season as he added another point to his lead over Hudson, who settled for second.

Meanwhile, Blaine Cory continued his recent string of good runs. The top rookie in the field was coming off of back-to-back second place finishes. He made a move during the second half of the race around 2009 champion Charlie Thompson and brought it home to a third place finish. This gave him sole possession of third in the standings, and he has his sights set on second place Hudson. When it comes to who to bet on to beat Hibbard during his current streak, smart money might go on either Cory or Hudson.

You also shouldn't count out Charlie Thompson. Though he got off to a late start this year, his fourth place finish moved him much closer to fifth in the standings, which is currently held by Enrique Jaime. Jaime discovered a motor issue prior to the race two weeks ago, which forced him to miss that show. Unfortunately, the team still didn't have a motor and missed the most recent race as well. The team wants to make things just right and not rush back. The goal is Enrique's first career feature win, and when he comes back, you shouldn't count him out.

Bailey Hibbard has racked up five career feature wins at Southern Oregon Speedway, but this season has been a bit of a struggle. He's the only person keeping his father from six feature wins in a row, but his win at the second event is his only podium finish of the season so far. He also won the first two Scrambles. Bailey still got it back to the line in fifth last week, followed by Camden Robustelli. The younger Hibbard is still in contention for third in points, but he needs to step it up in the weeks ahead. We haven't seen Robustelli in his Sprint Car since his distributor issues earlier this season, but he opened the night by holding off David Hibbard to win his heat race. All in all, it wasn't a bad showing for the Dwarf Car star.

Southern Oregon Speedway is bracing for a big month in August that has marquee events lined up in succession. It starts off on August 3rd and 4th with the Western States Dwarf Car Nationals, continues the following week with the $2,000 to win Ironhead Winged 360 Sprint Car Nationals, follows that with the big Stock Car based Hall of Fame Night and ends the month with the Herz Precision Parts Cascade Wingless Sprint Car Challenge Race, paying $3,500 to win. If that's not enough, September kicks off with the R Charles Snyder Salute for IMCA Modifieds and Sport Modifieds on September 1st and 2nd. The Modifieds will be paying $5,000 to win.

Outlaw Kart Pit Stops

The Outlaw Kart program at Little Southern Oregon Speedway is four races into the season, and count is up slightly from last season. The drivers who are showing up seem to be showing up regularly, and the biggest boost has come in the Beginners Box Stock division. Malachi Johnson has won the last three races as he attempts to defend his championship. He is currently shown as the point leader, not too far ahead of reigning Yreka Indoor champion Carson Henson and Uriah Sanders. Henson has enjoyed back-to-back third place finishes.

The battle at the front of the pack has been intense in recent races. Last time out, Johnson and Mike Wheeler Jr enjoyed a spirited race through slower traffic, and Johnson had to make a four wide move down the front stretch to secure his win over the persistent Wheeler, who settled for his second straight runner-up finish.

This has also caused track officials to consider the possibility of having a Novice Beginners Box Stock race. There are a few competitors who are going at their own pace as they learn, but a few drivers have enough experience and confidence that they are getting after it pretty good. The thought process is pretty simple. It would make it safer for the drivers with more experience, and it would make the newer drivers a bit more comfortable as they learn. This is a possibility for Friday night's race.

The Box Stock division has four drivers who have run nose-to-tail for the past two Main Events in a good battle up front. On both occasions, point leader Keaton Augustine has left with the victory, but one little mistake was all it would have taken for Jacob James to make his move. James has finished second these past two races as he looks for his first Box Stock win. Ryan Hirschbock and Taylor Fuller, who finished a close third and fourth last time out, are both feature winners this year. Not to be forgotten in the mix, 2016 Beginners champion Kiley Grimes was a lead lap fifth last time.

The 250 Kart program has been interesting despite the lower than hoped for count. Reigning champion Trevor Grimes is finding it anything but easy these days. Second generation racer Vinny DeBenedetti appears to have his number. Vinny has been willing to put his Kart anywhere he needs to in his quest for victory, and he's left the last two races with the winners $100 bill and trophy to show for his efforts. He's second in the standings and keeping the pressure on Grimes.

Another driver looking good with a pair of heat race wins is Cadyn Smith. Smith won the Yreka Indoor championship during the off-season, but he's hoping to get a feature win at his home track. Division rookie Taylor Fuller has been challenged with this move up, but he's currently third in the points and learning every race. Older sister Brionna Fuller is still recovering from a broken arm, but we hope to see her back as soon as she is able.

We're not sure who might show up to run 500 Open Karts. On any given week, you never know who will race, but it's known that there are over a dozen karts in the area. A conversation with the Holmes Racing Team let us know that we could see Tanner Holmes at some point this season. This also means his sister Carley could see some action in the 250 Karts, which would certainly make that division more interesting. The 500 Open class puts on a good show when the drivers choose to come out, but we'll just have to see if somebody will come out and add their name alongside Mike Wheeler and Josh Steinhoff as feature winners this year.

The Fuller family is keeping the UAS Speedway Kart effort going. Lori Fuller was the unlikely winner in her 4 Cycle Kart last time out. In a matter of a lap, double heat race winner Larry Fuller, Johnny Hoult and race leader Steve Rambo all retired from the race, leaving Lori to pick up the winner's trophy. The Fuller family brings a great deal of enthusiasm to the speedway and has helped give the program a nice boost this year.