Southern Oregon Speedway Racing Discussion
Can Be Heard HERE
R Charles Snyder Salute $5000 To Win IMCA Modified Race Flier September 1-2 HERE
Cascade Wingless 360 Sprint Car Challenge $3,500 To Win Race, Presented By Herz Precision Parts August 25 Flier HERE
Hall Of Fame Night This Saturday Night
At Southern Oregon Speedway
White City, Oregon...It will be another special evening at Southern Oregon Speedway this Saturday. It's Hall of Fame Night, and the track will be inducting five new members into the Southern Oregon Racing Hall of Fame. There will also be six divisions of racing, including IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Late Models, Bobbio's Pizza Mini Stocks, JOAT Labs Hornets and OTRO Hardtops.
Racing has been around the Medford area for many years. The racers currently compete at Southern Oregon Speedway in White City. There is also another White City location that had racing for a few seasons. Medford had racing in multiple locations through the years, including the popular Medford Speedway, which was located at the Posse Grounds. There was even a track in Ashland for over a decade.
Last season, the Southern Oregon Racing Hall of Fame was created to begin to honor the greats of the past. Seven people were inducted last season, which included Harold Hardesty, Ben Neel and Don Harper, among others. This year, Hall of Fame Night at Southern Oregon Speedway will add five new people. Going in this year will be Bruce Rayburn, Dane Smith, Dick Wallace, Dave Duste and Rick Hunsley.
In the late 1970s and early 1980s, Rayburn was a force at the Medford Speedway. He won three Late Model championships in a row. He was also known for building fast race cars. Dane Smith was not only a very athletic man who enjoyed competing in sports, he was one of the top Late Model drivers and a champion in the 1970s and 1980s. Smith and Rayburn both competed at several different tracks and scored wins, including Southern Oregon Speedway.
Dick Wallace was a top Stock Car racer going back to the 1960s at the Medford Speedway and won championships in the 1970s. Rick Hunsley was one of the top Stock Car drivers and a championship contender when the track closed in 1989. He gave the Medford racers another place to go while a new track was being built when he became promoter for several seasons in Yreka. Rayburn was a champion in Yreka in the IMCA Modified division, and Duste won three championships there as well. Duste began racing Street Stocks at Medford Speedway before moving up to Modifieds. He won over 20 Main Events at Southern Oregon Speedway and finished second in three of the first four seasons in which the track operated.
You are likely to see several racers from the past in attendance this Saturday night as the newest class of competitors gets inducted into Southern Oregon's Racing Hall of Fame. There will also be four display boards near the entrance to the grandstands that show clippings and photos of various highlights through the years.
And then there's the racing. Saturday night has a great lineup that will be led by the IMCA Modifieds. Two-time champion Albert Gill holds the lead by 18 points ahead of Zach Fettinger. Gill is still looking for his first win of the season, but Fettinger has won three of them. Gill has gotten the lead as a consistent Top 3 finisher. It's a bit closer behind Fettinger as rookie David Satterfield trails by two points, Nick Trenchard is four points behind and Jantzen Knips is seven points back. Trenchard won the Roger Haudenshild Tribute Race back in June, which paid $2,000. During the absence of the division, he won the prestigious Beads Shipwreck Nationals in Elma, Washington once again.
The IMCA Sport Modified division has been growing by leaps and bounds this year with several new drivers in the field. In his third year in the class, David Marble has finished in the Top 5 for most of the races after winning the season opener. He leads Branden Wilson by 32 points. It's closer in the race for second as Wilson is one point ahead of Willie McFall, two ahead of Tony Duste and three in front of Tony Bartell. Of those drivers, Wilson is the only one to get a Main Event win. 2016 Yreka champion Jimmy Lipke has come close with back-to-back second-place finishes as he has moved into the Top 10 in the standings.
The Late Model division continues to be a close race. Nathan Augustine wrecked the car that he opened the season with after getting a win in that car. Because Don Garrett Jr let him drive his car one week, Augustine maintained until he debuted his new car last time out with another win. The reigning champion leads rookie Miles Deubert by 17 points and John Dees by 26. Deubert surprised the field when he won the season opener, but he has struggled just a bit in recent races. John Dees now has three second place finishes and nearly got the win last time out. Fourth place Dave Foote remains in the championship hunt as a one-time winner and reigning champion Bob Dees is currently fifth in the standings.
In the Bobbio's Pizza Mini Stock division, David Steele has won six of the seven Main Events. Not surprisingly, he holds a commanding 48 point lead over Hunter Magnan in the championship race. Magnan is battling Kristopher Mix for second in the standings, and their race got a little bit too close for comfort as they crashed across the finish line last week with Magnan in second. Mix is a Main Event winner this year and trails Magnum by just 22 points. Steve Goetz, Garrett Fredrickson and Michael McLeod make up the rest of the Top 6 going into Saturday night.
In the JOAT Labs Hornets division, Bree Tritchler seems to be hitting her stride. With four seconds and a win in the last five races, she has moved into a nine point lead over 2016 champion Tim Hedges. Hedges overheated last week and fell out early in the Main Event. Bree's teammate Chris Boynton is third of the standings, but after Brandon Wonsyld won for the second time last Saturday, he only leads by three points. Dylan Irving is 13 points back in fifth. Irving is the only one of the three without a feature win this year, but he won his third Trophy Dash last week.
The Old Time Racers of Oregon Hardtops round out this program and give the fans a glimpse of what headlined tracks throughout the United States in the 1950s and 1960s. These beautiful Coupes and Sedans from the 1940s have V6 Motors and run on slick tires. They don't run for points, but feature wins so far have been recorded by Mark Minter, Bill Trotter and his son Dusty Trotter. Justin Krossman has been competing in Dusty Trotter's old car and lost a very close race to Minter last time out. The Hardtops always entertain when they're in town.
If you want a little bit more racing, Friday night will offer a full program of Outlaw Karts on the little track. Point races are heating up there as well. Carson Henson leads Malachi Johnson and Uriah Sanders in a three-way battle for the Beginners Box Stock championship. Keaton Augustine is leading Ryan Hirschbock and Jacob James in another good battle in the Box Stocks. Vinny DeBenedetti leads another close battle with reigning champion Trevor Grimes in the 250 Karts. Steve Rambo tops the UAS Speedway Kart standings and Reece Slyter leads the 500 Open Karts. Last week saw the biggest turnout of the season for the Outlaw Karts and it was an entertaining show from start to finish.
Gates open on both nights at 5 p.m. with the first race starting at 7 p.m. General Admission for the Friday Kart show is $10 and gets you pit access. On Saturday, General Admission is $12 with Veterans, Seniors and Juniors (7 to 12) $6. Children 6 and under are free. After the heat races have concluded, the new group of Hall of Fame members will be inducted in front of the main grandstands.For further information, go to www.southernoregonspeedway.com.
Southern Oregon Speedway Point Standings
89 Albert Gill 201
88 Zach Fettinger 183
211 David Satterfield 181
54n Nick Trenchard 179
7 Jantzen Knips 176
1m Mark Wauge 148
555 Bo Shields 126
0 Duane Orsburn 124
2g James Welshonse 123
73m Dave Duste Jr. 118
IMCA Sport Modifieds
4m David Marble 226
12w Branden Wilson 194
7m Willie McFall 193
23 Tony Duste 192
27 Tony Bartell 191
14 Billy Richey 141
30 Mike Medel 138
4y Jimmy Lipke 132
11j Jesse Merriman 130
401k Brian Knorr 119
24 Nathan Augustine 163
38 Miles Deubert 146
16 John Dees 137
75 Dave Foote 129
6 Bob Dees 111
05 Don Garrett 83
7 Eric Massey 76
22 Mike Linder 60
66 Garrett Dees 57
46 Darren Coffell 35
JOAT Labs Hornets
17 Bree Tritchler 238
14t Tim Hedges 229
28 Chris Boynton 189
7 Brandon Wonsyld 186
11 Dylan Irving 176
54d Ashtin Hedges 163
27j Jenna Hedges 153
007 Jason Stoutenburgh 139
26 Zach Nelson 135
8g Derrel Nelson Jr. 91
Bobbio’s Pizza Mini Stocks
67 David Steele 263
33m Hunter Magnan 215
89m Kristopher Mix 193
55 Steve Goetz 160
45g Garrett Fredrickson 129
3 Michael McLeod 119
14t Ashtin Hedges 75
0 Gary Anderson 54
4m David Marble 30
007 Cameron Hall 28
The month of August was intended to be a month with great events lined up one right after the other at Southern Oregon Speedway. Last Saturday night's show was the $2,000 to win Iron Head Nationals for the Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars. In addition to that, the Southern Oregon Dwarf Car group and the PHRA group worked together for a big show. It was the first race of the seven day Week Of Speed Series that ran at several Oregon tracks and one track in Washington. The Bobbio's Pizza Mini Stocks and JOAT Labs Hornets completed the card.
$2,000 on the line meant that there would be some surprises in the Sprint Car field. In this case, Winged 360 Sprint Car racers Garen Linder and Seth Nunes came to race. Linder was in the TJ Winningham car, which he drove about a month ago to a third place Main Event finish after winning the Scramble.
We hadn't seen Nunes in a few years. Nunes started out his career at the little track racing Karts before moving up to the Winged 360 Sprint Cars and eventually winning the championship at Cottage Grove. This earned him the attention of California car owners, and he headed south to race for a few seasons. For Saturday's show, he had the Donny Waddell car. Unfortunately, he was out of the Main Event before the checkered flag flew and ended up 13th.
Linder has been having a good season and scored wins at Grays Harbor and Silver Dollar Speedways this year. He figured to have a shot at the money on Saturday, which led to he and Winningham teaming up once again. He faced stiff competition from two of the newer Sprint Car stars on the scene, Jeffrey Hudson and Tanner Holmes. Hudson is currently second in the track's point race, and Holmes has been running some shows while also running his kart. Hudson and Holmes both won heat races, and Holmes surprised the field when he held off reigning track champion Kyler Barraza to win the six lap Scramble.
The Scramble sets the front rows of the Main Event, and incoming point leader David Hibbard figured to be in that race after winning the first heat. However, drivers were instructed at the pit meeting that they needed to go to the scales after their heat races. It just so happened that Hibbard was in the Otto Jorgensen pits during the meeting helping get Jorgensen ready for his race. Jorgensen was also disqualified from a second place heat race finish for not going to the scales. The night went from bad to worse for Hibbard. He started last in the Main Event and got halfway through the pack when his motor gave up on him.
Back out front, Holmes led early before being passed by Hudson. Linder eventually moved into second and made a pass for the lead around lap 12. However, the pass happened at the same time a yellow flag waved, giving Hudson back the lead. Seeing how well Linder did on the outside, Hudson moved back high and led a few more laps before Linder made the inside pass to get by once again. The second generation racer led the rest of the way for the $2,000 victory.
It wasn't too long after Linder got the lead when Holmes raced past Hudson for second. Tanner recently had a second place finish at Cottage Grove Speedway. He went on to get his best Southern Oregon Speedway finish in second, and it seems just a matter of time before the 14 year old phenom gets his first Sprint Car win somewhere. Recently, Tanner competed in the Winged 360 Sprint Car Speedweek and ended up Top 10 in the points. He was one of a half-dozen Southern Oregon competitors planning to run the Limited Sprint Week Of Speed last week.
Hudson still managed a respectable third place finish, and this would have gained him several points on Hibbard in the standings. Unfortunately, management had made the decision leading into the race that this would not be a point event due to the rules being slightly different than normal in an effort to gain a few more cars. One of the cars gained for this show was the #21 car of Jake Wheeler.
Like Linder, Wheeler has been running all over the West Coast. Jake will occasionally put a 410 motor in and race with the King Of The West Series in California and is planning to run at least one World Of Outlaw show when the tour comes back to the West Coast soon. In Chico earlier this year, Jake had a third place finish. The Limited Sprint rule set might have prevented him from racing at all at his home track, which was something that he wanted to do. Jake had his eyes on the Iron Head Nationals race as well as the Cascade Wingless 360 Sprint Car show that's coming up on August 25th.
This is where longtime promoter Chuck Prather comes in. Prather continues to own and rent out a few Sprint Cars at Coos Bay Speedway, and he happened to have another motor that he offered to Wheeler. Wheeler responded by winning the previous Southern Oregon Speedway Main Event in impressive fashion. This time, the bigger money was on the line, and the 2016 champion battled reigning champion Kyler Barraza for a fourth place finish.
Earlier this year, Barraza took a nasty tumble off of Turn 1 while leading the race and attempting to lap a slower car. This left him scrambling to put another car together. He made a start about a month ago at Cottage Grove and decided to return to Southern Oregon Speedway at the recent race. Everything still wasn't quite up to Kyler's standards, but he still managed the fifth place finish. If you know Barraza, this isn't quite good enough either, and the team would be working to make things right during the Week Of Speed Tour. When we see him again, don't be surprised to see Kyler competing for the win.
The Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car Series has several young up-and-coming drivers in its ranks, and four of them finished in the sixth through ninth positions. It's because of all of the teen competitors moving up to run Sprint Cars that the state of Oregon racing has a better outlook for the future. AJ Harbaugh has been competing at Cottage Grove this year after spending last season running Micro Sprints in California. He grabbed a sixth place finish last week, and Bailey Hibbard rebounded from his crash the week before with a seventh. Top Southern Oregon Speedway rookie Blaine Cory brought it home in eighth, followed by Enrique Jaime. Enrique had been missing for a few races after blowing his motor, and he was a welcome sight back in the pits.
The Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars will return for a pair of point races in September to wrap up their season. David Hibbard has been experiencing Motor problems lately, which might make him nervous about maintaining his lead for those final two races. If he slips up a little bit, Hudson has demonstrated that he's ready to make a move. Hudson, however, isn't too comfortable in second with Cory running as strong as he's been running lately.
When the Dwarf Cars first raced at Southern Oregon Speedway back when it opened, the Southern Oregon Dwarf Car Association wasn't around. It was the Pacific Hardtop Racing Association back then making a few trips down south. The PHRA is the oldest Dwarf Car sanctioning body on the West Coast. People may forget that fact as they are a reluctant member, at best, of the Western States Dwarf Car Association. The group based its rule set on the Arizona Dwarf Cars that started the West Coast craze, and they held their first Oregon races back in 1989. This is actually their 30th season in Oregon, and they came in full force on Saturday night.
Whenever you can get full support from the PHRA and local Southern Oregon group, it means your roster has a shot at 40 cars or even more. The Dwarf Cars were coming off of the Nationals event that produced a 60 car field, and the 38 cars that showed up this time were rather impressive. It was time for their own Speed Week that would follow the Limited Sprint Week Of Speed at every track, Southern Oregon Speedway being the lone exception as only Dwarf Cars we're having a Speed Week race on Saturday night.
Home track advantage played into the hands of the Southern Oregon Dwarf Car Association, which was evident early on in preliminaries. Camden Robustelli won his heat race ahead of South Bay Dwarf Car Association champion Cameron Diatte and Sunset Speedway point leader Shane Youngren. Diatte was coming off of a Top 5 finish at the Nationals and decided to stay in Oregon to give this race and Speed Week a shot. He won the Speed Week race at Cottage Grove. Cody Peters won a battle of the Young Guns in the first heat race, followed by two-time feature winner Kalvin Morton. These two drivers ranked high in Southern Oregon Dwarf Car points. In fact, the last we heard, Peters was the point leader. Stockton, California long tow Jonathan Henry prevented the Southern Oregon heat race sweep as he held off recent Sportsman Nationals winner Bret James for a win.
The real star of preliminaries was two-time champion Josh King, who outran Chad Cardoza and PHRA champion Ryan Martinez to win his heat race and followed It up by outrunning Henry and Morton to win the Trophy Dash. The huge field required a pair of B Mains, and Cody's father and two-time reigning champion Brock Peters outran ageless veteran Fred Hay in one of the 15 lap races. The other win went to Roseburg driver Anthony Pope ahead of Arizona competitor Mac Marmon and Jimmy Brinster. Marmon was coming off of a third place finish in the Pro Nationals event the week before, while Saint Helens competitor Brinster would win the Main Event at Coos Bay on Monday.
Home track advantage worked in the favor of Robustelli and Cardoza, who spent the Main Event running in the first two positions. Robustelli had a pair of victories in Yreka before the season even started at Southern Oregon Speedway, but he'd been shut out of the Winner's Circle at his home track until Saturday night. Not only was Camden planning to race the Dwarf Car Speed Week, but he would be bringing his Sprint Car there as well. Marmon, meanwhile, continued to enjoy his time at Southern Oregon Speedway with a third place feature finish once again. Pope and Brandon Ross wrapped up respectable performances in fourth and fifth. In fact, Pope won the Speed Week race at Willamette.
The Dwarf Car drivers were chomping at the bit to be a part of Speed Week, which is something they don't get a chance to do. When the Oregon Dwarf Car groups work together and flex their muscles, they can produce as big a field as any other division in the state, and it's nice to see the cooperation happening between the groups. Brinster managed a sixth place finish ahead of Hay and Doug McVae. Southern Oregon Dwarf Car President Randy Slater and Justin DeMars rounded out the Top 10. It's interesting to note that this roster was made up of drivers from Oregon, California, Arizona, Washington and Canada.
The JOAT Labs Hornets championship has dwindled down to two drivers who seem like the most likely candidates to win the title. They are rookie Bree Tritchler and 2016 champion Tim Hedges. Tim's son Ashtin Hedges, Jason Stoutenburgh and Brandon Wonsyld at one time were also in this race. Ashtin's car has been parked after two wins, Stoutenburg blew a motor and hasn't been seen since and Wonsyld missed a pair of races.
By far, the hottest driver in the field has been Tritchler. She's been finishing no worse than second in recent races and was coming off of her first career win. When the Main Event rolled around on Saturday night, Hedges knew he was in trouble. He had a hole in his radiator, and he figured he might get a dozen or maybe 15 laps out of it before the car would need to be pitted. With eight cars in the field, he was hoping it would be a 15 lap race. He was running in the Top 5 at that point, but unfortunately, it was a 20 lap race. He went as far as he could, but he ended up retiring before the checkered flag.
Tritchler, meanwhile, did much better as she ran second for the fourth time in five races. The results put her into the lead by nine ahead of Hedges. Wonsyld might be thinking about what could have been had he not missed the two races. He was impressive all night, and that started with his heat race win ahead of Tritchler. Brandon led all the way in the Main Event for his second win of the season, which moved him back into the Top 5 in the standings. Teammate Dylan Irving followed him into the Top 5 in the standings after winning the Trophy Dash and finishing fourth in the Main Event. It seems just a matter of time before Irving gets his first win, but Roseburg competitor Jeremy Mayfield was also looking good.
The pavement of Roseburg isn't good enough for Mayfield. In fact, he has found that he enjoys running on the dirt. After racing at Southern Oregon Speedway a week earlier, Jeremy went to Coos Bay Speedway and got a third place finish. He was back on Saturday night, but this time he brought newcomer Chris McCracken with him. Jeremy won a heat race battle that got a little bit too close for comfort with Dylan Irving. He followed that up by finishing third in the Main Event. With Roseburg still not running, Mayfield could be tempted to come back again this week. Tritchler's teammate Chris Boynton managed a fifth place finish, and that kept him holding on to third in the standings. However, the one-time feature winner will have his hands full keeping Wonsyld and Irving at bay in the point battle.
Barring any missteps, David Steele is headed for the Bobbio's Pizza Mini Stock championship. With a lead of over 40 points now, Steele could miss a race and still be leading. However, the division is in the midst of a crucial three race stretch, and David knows he can't make any mistakes. There is no slowing down for the longtime Mini Stock competitor. David had a date with destiny on Saturday night. He turned in a rather dominant performance. After winning the Trophy Dash, Steele won the Main Event by three-quarters of a lap. It was not only his sixth win of the season, it was the 26th of his Southern Oregon Speedway career. Combining his wins at Yreka, he's won over 60 times. 26 wins is good enough for a share of the all time Southern Oregon Speedway Mini Stock win record. It seems likely that he'll grab sole possession of that record before the season ends.
Early on in the evening, the division saw a rare surprise. Rookie Ashtin Hedges drove his father's car to a heat race win. This is the former Randy Simmons car and Tim Hedges commented that the team will still field multiple Hornets next season, but there could be a new addition to the racing team. Tim has his eyes on another Mini Stock. After getting the heat race win, Ashtin drove it to a fourth place feature finish, putting him into the next Trophy Dash.
Two of the drivers determined to get a feature win are also locked in a battle for second in the standings. Last season's top rookie, Hunter Magnan, and reigning champion Kristopher Mix had a race long battle for a second that got very close on the last lap. So close that the two drivers traded paint from Turn 4 to the checkered flag with Magnan coming out ahead. Hunter had been struggling in recent weeks, and this finish was definitely needed. Mix settled for third. He was still all smiles at the end of the night. Kristopher has been very busy this year with work, but he received a surprise when past Mini Stock competitor Curt Ballard did the graphics on his car earlier in the afternoon.
2013 champion Steve Goetz wasn't running too badly, but he wasn't running as well as he would have liked. He was right behind the battle for second, but he was forced to settle for fifth right behind Hedges. Considering what happened to his car earlier this year with his crash with Cameron Hall, Steve was still happy to get his car back to the checkered flag in one piece. He'll be out to try and get his first feature win of the season next time.
Outlaw Kart Pit Stops
The Outlaw Kart program was having their sixth event of the season last Friday. The track again held a Novice Beginners Box Stock class for the kids just getting started. Some of these kids in this class are 5 years old. As a parent, sometimes you may not be sure how well your kid is going to do. IMCA Modified point leader Albert Gill okayed his son Albert Jr being in the Novice class this last week. It was only Albert's second time behind the wheel, and the youngster's father wasn't quite sure how well he would do. However, the kid handled his kart well and won both heat races and the Main Event. It was pretty much a foregone conclusion that he had graduated to the Beginners class for the next race, but prior to the Main Event, Albert Sr confirmed that, saying he wasn't sure how well his son was going to do and probably should have put him in the Beginners class from the start. That division will have another fast competitor in it's rankings when this kid comes out next time.
What the Novice Beginners Box Stock Class was created for was to give these drivers some confidence behind the wheel with other drivers in their speed bracket. With Malachi Johnson and Mike Wheeler Jr setting such a rapid pace earlier this season, there was concern over the other kids getting run over. Isaac Grimes continues to improve and finished second last time while previous winner Bhaltair Edwards finished third. Caleb Ranney ran a heat race, but the youngster opted not to run the Main Event.
Johnson missed the last race in the Beginners class, but he had good reason. He was testing the waters in the Box Stock division, and he abandoned the point lead after having won the previous three Main Events. When he came back, he picked up right where he left off and was having a good battle with Mike Wheeler Jr and Carson Henson. This will be the last Beginners Box Stock season for Malachi, who had quite a bit of confidence from the moment he started racing in 2016. Malachi caught a slower kart at just the right place on the backstretch on lap 10, and that gave him a little bit more distance in his battle with Wheeler, who settled for another second place finish.
It's very likely that Mike Wheeler Jr would be leading the standings right now had points been in the plans for the team. His father, kart legend Mike Wheeler Sr, just wanted his boy to get some time behind the wheel and have fun this year. Though they have won three Main Events in Yreka, they're still looking for the youngster's first win at his home track.
The third place finish for Henson, meanwhile, was enough to give him the point lead, but it's not a big margin for him over Johnson or Uriah Sanders, who struggled for a fifth place finish last week. In the middle of Sanders and Henson in last Friday's feature race was Jayme DeBenedetti in fourth. Jayme has done a good job of handling her kart this year and is a solid Top 5 point competitor in what has been a good year in kart count for the class this season.
Keaton Augustine has done exceptionally well in the Box Stock class. He's been battling Ryan Hirschbock and Jacob James, and the points are still reasonably close despite the fact that Augustine won three Main Event in a row going into this race. Both Augustine and fourth generation racer Jacob James were heat race winners, and James had a front row Main Event start. This time, James charged into the lead over Augustine at the start. The lead three or four karts in this class tend to run nose-to-tail as these kids are all pretty fast and very respectful of each other. There's not a lot of bumping going on.
James led all the way, and Augustine was a race long second. In this case, Keaton had his hands full with Ryan Hirschbock trying high and low to get around him. Hirschbock is second in the standings, but it remains close between these three drivers.
It's always interesting to watch these young drivers learn new things. Reigning 250 Kart champion Trevor Grimes is undeniably fast, but he hasn't shown much willingness to go to the outside. In his heat races, that changed. He had to come from the back of the pack to finish second to Brenden Bartlett in the first heat race, and then he had a nice side-by-side battle with Bartlett in which Trevor ran on the outside before winning the second heat race. That was the good news. The bad news was Grimes suffered a mechanical problem and sat out the Main Event along with Cadyn Smith.
the door was open for Vinnie DeBenedetti to not only get his third win of the season but take the point lead in the process. Vinny has shown much confidence as he and his dad have been traveling to different tracks and gaining more experience. He led eight laps in the Main Event before looping it in Turn 4, but it turned out that he had problems with his kart and retired. He still gained enough points to take a slim lead over Grimes going into Friday night's race. But the win belonged to Bartlett, who was subbing for Brionna Fuller. Bartlett led the rest of the race to win ahead of a season-best second place finish for Taylor Fuller.
Bartlett also had the opportunity to make his 500 Open Kart division debut, and there were enough karts to have a race. We hadn't seen Johnny Burke since the season opener. Burke had won a heat race that night and was leading the Bragging Rights Dash when motor problems sent him to the pits. This time, Johnny won both heat races and led all the way for a Main Event win. Bartlett did well in finishing second with Merissa Henson in close pursuit at the end. There are points in the 500 Open class, and Henson has moved into second behind Reece Slyter. Slyter ended up fourth in the Main Event, and it was just nice to see him back after his hard flip on the front straightaway at the previous race. Hopefully, the count will continue to produce enough cars to race. Like the 250 Kart class, these drivers compete for a purse.
The UAS Speedway Karts are fast, but sometimes there are mechanical issues with these karts. Plus, the older drivers are not overly excited about running long Main Events. Steve Rambo has been running very well lately and picked up a heat race win earlier in the evening by holding off Brionna Fuller. This talented young lady was driving her Kart with a broken arm, and she won the first heat race. Unfortunately, she was out of the Main Event early, but Rambo continued his momentum by winning that race ahead of 2016 Yreka champion Ed Grubb. Rambo will continue to lead the standings as his closest rival, Larry Fuller, didn't finish.
Lori Fuller was not in her for 4 Cycle Kart this time as it had problems. She drove a UAS Speedway Kart and finished third to maintain her third place point status. It was nice to see Ron Bolles back in the field going for his second win, but unfortunately his run ended as he spun into the infield with mechanical problems just past the midway point of the Main Event.
Kart count was at a season high for the most recent event. So far, the teams who have been supporting the Outlaw Kart program have been showing up regularly. This Friday's event is the seventh of the season with two other races left to go in September.