Southern Oregon Speedway Racing Discussion
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Modifieds, Sprint Cars Headline Championship Night
At Southern Oregon Speedway
White City, Oregon...Some of the biggest nights of this season have included the IMCA Modifieds. On Saturday night, the racing season at Southern Oregon Speedway comes to a close with a program that will feature the IMCA Modifieds. Also on the card will be the Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Calculated Comfort Outlaw Pro Stocks and OTRO Hardtops.
Just three weeks ago, the track had its biggest weekend car count of the year with nearly 140 cars. The show was the R Charles Snyder Salute, which featured IMCA Modifieds. This also presented a problem for the championship contenders as this was a point race. A year earlier, Albert Gill saw his championship hopes derailed when he failed to make it into the Main Event. This time around, he won a B Main to get into the Main Event and only finished a few positions behind championship contender Nick Trenchard. Therefore, Gill has put himself in a nice position to win his third championship in five seasons.
Gill has been the most consistent driver this season with three second place finishes and two thirds to his credit, and this gives him a 17 point lead over two-time winner Trenchard going into the night. It's possible that Gill could clinch the championship merely by starting Saturday night's Main Event.
Because he was unable to make it into the Main Event at the R Charles Snyder Salute, three-time winner Zach Fettinger is further back in third. He leads rookie David Satterfield by just 11 points. These four drivers are anticipated this week along with Jantzen Knips, seven-time champion Mark Wauge, Duane Orsburn and Dave Duste Jr.
Last time out, David Hibbard had his worst finish of the season in fourth in the Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car division. However, with five wins and two seconds going Into that night, he only needed to start the race to assure himself of his first championship at his home track. Hibbard is the 2014 champion at Cottage Grove Speedway. There is a battle for second in the standings, currently led by Jeffrey Hudson ahead of Bailey Hibbard and Blaine Cory.
Hudson leads Bailey by just 11 points going into the night with Cory trailing the younger Hibbard by just 12. Early in the most recent Main Event, Hudson and Cory got tangled and flipped coming out of Turn 2. When Bailey Hibbard finished second that night, he managed to overtake Cory for third in the standings.
The star of the night was Outlaw Kart phenom Tanner Holmes, who won his first career Main Event. Holmes went to Cottage Grove last week and did it again. The 15 year old leadfoot could very well be the driver to beat this weekend. Other drivers to look for include Enrique Jaime, Aaron Miller, Charlie Thompson, Merissa Henson and TJ Winningham.
The IMCA Sport Modifieds delivered a track record of over 50 cars to the R Charles Snyder Salute three weeks ago. The record will show that in eight point races, there have been eight different winners. David Marble has consistently finished in the Top 5 in most of those races and has one win. Though he didn't make it into the big show, none of his championship rivals did either. Marble leads Branden Wilson by 22 points going into the night and will just need to start the Main Event to assure himself of the championship.
There's a closer battle for second with Wilson leading Tony Duste by 12 points and Tony Bartell by 15. Willie McFall could also move up a position or two from his fifth spot. These five drivers are anticipated this week, and others to watch for include Jesse Merriman, Jimmy Lipke, Danny Rule, Michael Rule and two-time champion Dwayne Melvin.
The Calculated Comfort Outlaw Pro Stocks have been invited back for what will be their season finale. Reigning champion Dr Scott Lenz finds himself leading the standings by 72 points ahead of the consistent Scott Flowers. Lenz has been on a roll this year with seven feature wins on the circuit, including five straight in Yreka. He comes into the night as the driver to beat. 2016 champion Steve Borror is third in the standings and counts himself as a one-time winner this year. He could be the biggest threat to Lenz, but other drivers to keep an eye on include Matt Harlow, John David Duffie, Johnny Cobb, James Flowers and Bryan Hammond.
Rounding out the program will be the beautiful Hardtops of the Old Time Racers of Oregon Association. Mark Minter has won three straight headed into their final race. Bill Trotter finished second last time and is also a one-time winner with the group this season. These beautiful Coupe and Sedan racers from the 1940s put on a good show, and other drivers to watch for this week including Dean Cast, Justin Krossman, Chris Mehrer, Jay Smith and Matt Butler.
This will be your last opportunity to check out a race at Southern Oregon Speedway before the season comes to a close. Gates open at 5 p.m. with Trophy Dashes scheduled to start 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 www.southernoregonspeedway.com.
Southern Oregon Speedway Point Standings
89 Albert Gill 268
54n Nick Trenchard 251
88 Zach Fettinger 237
211 David Satterfield 226
7 Jantzen Knips 218
1m Mark Wauge 179
0 Duane Orsburn 159
73m Dave Duste Jr. 154
68 Jesse Bailey 149
21 Jeremy Ohlde 130
Kendall Oil Sprint Cars
3 David Hibbard 262
L88 Jeffrey Hudson 204
1 Bailey Hibbard 193
94 Blaine Cory 181
48e Enrique Jaime 122
2m Aaron Miller 119
101 Charlie Thompson 108
17m Merissa Henson 108
18t Tanner Holmes 99
42 Theron Smith 76
IMCA Sport Modifieds
4m David Marble 267
12w Branden Wilson 245
23 Tony Duste 237
27 Tony Bartell 230
7m Willie McFall 226
14 Billy Richey 171
11j Jesse Merriman 170
4y Jimmy Lipke 162
30 Mike Medel 159
25p Braxton Possinger 158
Outlaw Pro Stocks
41l Scott Lenz 545
21 Scott Flowers 473
B40 Steve Borror 433
0m Matt Harlow 412
42 John David Duffie 394
05 Jeff Haudenshild 366
03 Johnny Cobb 340
22 James Flowers 323
55 Bryan Hammond 318
4 Ginny Flowers 312
Saturday night at Southern Oregon Speedway was Championship Night #1. Five championships would be decided that night. Actually, we already knew who the champions were in the Bobbio's Pizza Mini Stocks and Valley Store All Late Model Lites divisions, but the other three divisions were very close. There was plenty of drama to go around throughout the evening.
The Southern Oregon Dwarf Car Association did their best to upstage everybody else. All season long, the 20 year old Dwarf Car organization was putting good numbers on the track. Last week was one of several 20 car fields brought to the speedway by this group. The Dwarf Car point structure is conducive to close championship battles. It allows drivers to throw away two bad nights, or just nights when they might not have made it to the speedway.
Camden Robustelli has been racing Sprint Cars this year and missed two races to compete elsewhere, but the throw away rule helped put him in a tie with Chad Cardoza and Josh King going into the night. King might seem like the driver with the advantage with two championships to his credit, but Robustelli and Cardoza have been in the thick of the battle in the past. Both drivers have finished as high as second in the standings. Plus, Robustelli was probably the hottest driver going into the night. He won the previous race at Southern Oregon Speedway and then competed against some of the best drivers Oregon has to offer and won at Cottage Grove Speedway.
The group gives points for the heat races, but the A and B Dashes help line up the Main Event and are not for points. Robustelli won his heat race and carried a slim point lead into the Main Event. This was going to get interesting. Robustelli led a lap, but two-time champions Brock Peters and Josh King were able to get by him on the second lap. Still, Robustelli kept it close throughout the first 11 laps. Had they stayed in this order, it would have been interesting to see where the points fell, but Robustelli saw his run up front end in a tangle with a slower car.
As the two-time reigning champion, Peters was trying to overcome some bad luck this year. He wasn't far out of the lead, but he needed bad nights for the other three drivers to make his move. However, he did absolutely everything he could do by winning his heat race and the Main Event. That enabled him to move into a tie with Cardoza and Kalvin Morton for second in the standings.
Morton probably wouldn't have made it to the show had it not been for Bud Lorentz allowing him to borrow his car. Kalvin blew a motor in his own car. He made the most of it with a nice drive to a third place finish after winning his heat race and the A Dash
However, the big winner of the night was King. He used his second place finish to notch his third club championship in the last five years. It's been a difficult season for the James family as Markey James passed away earlier this year. The James family has been entrenched in Southern Oregon racing since the 1950s when Cecil James was a racer and promoter at the old Medford Raceway. Markey was Josh's grandfather, and Josh wasn't necessarily going into the season with any thoughts of winning a championship.
It was definitely a team effort. At times he was borrowing cars, including Jerry Hauck's race car. Josh drove the wheels off of it every time he had the opportunity. He is certainly a worthy champion, and the family had plenty of reason for a well deserved celebration. By all accounts, this was a great season for the Southern Oregon Dwarf Cars.
Though he was not in the championship hunt, Joe Sanders had his best finish to date. He started it off by beating the Mod Lite of Jesse Lorentz to win the B Dash. It was his first win with the group this year. He followed that up with a career-best fourth place finish in the Main Event. Sanders has gotten quicker as the season has worn on, and he will certainly be somebody to watch next year in the point battle. He held off Cardoza for that fourth place finish, which is also something to be proud of.
Back in sixth at the checkered flag was Robustelli. He spent the last 14 laps driving his heart out trying to get a shot at the leaders one more time. He did it all without a yellow flag, but it was just not to be. He can certainly be proud of the effort he put forth. Ageless veteran Fred Hay certainly had his moments during the season with a pair of podium finishes. He maintained his Top 10 point status with a seventh place feature finish. Dwarf Car fans consider it a blessing that Fred is even out there in light of the hard crash at Chico two years ago that could have ended his career. Even when he was recovering, he kept his spirits up and had a good sense of humor. It's hard to imagine a Dwarf Car event at Southern Oregon Speedway that doesn't include the yellow #10 car of Fast Freddie, who has been racing in Medford for over 50 years.
There's something big on the horizon with the Late Model division. We'll just leave that little teaser out there, but it's something that could not only entice racers to build cars to join the effort, it could also be responsible for bringing more visitation to the fast, Jim Rodgers prepared 3/10th mile clay oval. This is the third year of the Late Model movement at Southern Oregon Speedway, and there is much to be proud of heading into the fourth season.
Nathan Augustine and John Dees have been battling fiercely for the Late Model point lead. The two drivers have respect for each other and endeavor to race each other clean. If not for his absence for a family gathering, John Dees might have entered the final race as the point leader. As it was, his impressive numbers, including four second place finishes and one feature triumph, had him just eight points behind the reigning champion Augustine.
For Augustine, the season took a decidedly disappointing turn when he was taken out by a lapped car in the third event of the season. Nathan had finished second in the opener and won the next race, but the two races that followed were anything but enjoyable. He had to borrow the Don Garrett Jr car just to maintain his point lead at the fourth event before winning the fifth race in his new car. As the incoming point leader, Nathan could play defense. He only lost two points from his lead after preliminaries, meaning he led Dees by six points going into the feature.
That might have been the good news, but the bad news was his motor wasn't sounding very good after the heat race. Nathan pulled into second early on, but it was only three laps into the race when his motor went up in a cloud of smoke. His night was over. Unless something disastrous happened to John Dees, Nathan would have to settle for second in the standings. Dees continued to lead, but he soon got a challenge from Trent Elliott.
We haven't seen Elliott since last season, when he made a rare appearance and won the Main Event that night. Trent looked like a serious threat in his heat race as he flew around the track, but contact with an infield tire left him with front end damage. The crew endeavored to get that fixed and that allowed him to start at the back of the Main Event. Elliott methodically worked his way to the front and took the lead from Dees before going on to an impressive victory. He remarked afterward that he enjoys racing at Southern Oregon Speedway and would like to make more appearances in the future.
Meanwhile, Dees was using his fifth second place finish of the season to wrap up the championship. He now joins his father, 2016 champion Bob Dees, on the list of past Southern Oregon Speedway champions. The driver finishing third in the Main Event can certainly be proud as well. He's Miles Deubert.
Miles didn't know what his racing plans might be this year when the opportunity presented itself for him to drive the 2017 Madras Speedway Late Model championship car. The question was answered about how he would do when he surprised the field in the season opener for the victory. However, Miles adjusted the setup and had a few disappointing efforts in the weeks that followed with only one second place finish shown as a podium finish in his next five starts. It was at the seventh event when he won the Main Event for the second time. He won his heat race and finished third in the last Main Event to secure "Rookie Of The Year" honors and third in the final standings.
Dave Foote settled for fourth, but his numbers improved greatly from the previous season. Dave happily makes the trip from Coos Bay to come race at Southern Oregon Speedway and picked up two Main Event wins and two Trophy Dash victories this year. He can certainly be proud of his effort.
David Steele put on one of the more dominant performances in Bobbio's Pizza Mini Stock history. He came into the night with nine wins and a second place finish and already knew he was the champion. The question was, who could beat David Steele? The answer came from 2015 champion David Marble. I can.
Marble ended up with his old championship car when he bought it back from Mike Weiser prior to the season. He's only made a few limited appearances on the circuit as he focused on his IMCA Sport Modified championship effort. With nowhere else to race last Saturday, David was happy to come to Southern Oregon Speedway. A heat race win put him on the front row with Hunter Magnan. David got the lead rather quickly, and other than a threat from a car that wasn't running to Southern Oregon Speedway rules, he was never threatened in the later stages as he picked up the victory.
For Steele, he ended up with a season-worst second place finish. When you say season-worst and it's a second place finish, you know you've done well. It was a rare night when David didn't win any of the events, but he still carried himself with his trademark class as one of the more respected racers in the field.
Hunter Magnan is on the verge of some good things in the future. Last season, he struggled at times while still winning the top rookie honors. This season, he made his presence known and won an early-season battle with reigning champion Kristopher Mix to end up second in the standings. He also won his second Trophy Dash of the season at the finale. Hunter led the field in second place finishes in a tie with 2013 champion Steve Goetz at four. He picked up his third third place finish in the finale to end his second place point season on a positive note. Keep an eye on that #33m car next season.
Steve Goetz had just managed to take over third in the standings after the previous race. His original intent was not to race on Saturday as his grandmother was having her birthday celebration. At her urging, he came out to race and would head up to visit her the next day. He finished sixth in the Main Event to keep third in the standings. The bad luck for Kristopher Mix continued as mechanical issues in his heat race forced him to scratch from the Main Event. He will end up fourth in the standings.
if not for a late start, Ashtin Hedges might have won the top rookie award this year. As it was, he did everything he could to reel in Michael McCloud. His fifth place finish in the finale wasn't quite good enough to pass McLeod. Garrett Fredrickson was happy to get his car to the finish line in eighth and therefore hold off McCloud for fifth in the final standings. It was the first time Garrett had raced for points.
In the JOAT Labs Hornets division, Tim Hedges knew he was in a bad position. His car was underpowered and his motor was about ready to give up on him. He had the car at the track that his son and Ashtin drove to two victories, but that would be for his wife Jenna to drive. Tim didn't even consider taking over the driving duties and instead decided that he would make the best of what he had. The only question would be, could he start the Main Event and would it be enough to hold on to second in the standings.
Rookie Bree Tritchler wasn't buying into any of this. She had heard in the past that the Hedges car wasn't running well, like the night he got his car up on two wheels and still finished third in the Main Event. Tritchler was nervous going into the night. As it turns out, she had nothing to worry about. Hedges struggled though he was able to get the Main Event start he needed. He still took a checkered flag, but he passed nobody in last. Because of his preliminary efforts, he withstood the late threat of Brandyn Wonsyld for second in the standings.
Tritchler would move into second in a battle with Jenna Hedges, but by then Wonsyld was a straightaway in the lead. She knew that she had what she needed, and she earned her fifth second place finish of the season to wrap up what some might consider a surprising championship. She was smooth and consistent all season long and deserved this honor.
For Wonsyld, he's left to wonder what might have happened had he not missed two races. He was the early-season point leader, and the record shows that among his accomplishments were five second place finishes and four wins, including his win in the final race. He lost to Tim Hedges by one point in the race for second.
Dylan Sauer continued to end his season on a strong note. His late-season charge that included second and third place finishes in the final two races moved him comfortably into the Top 10 in the final standings. Dylan Irving, meanwhile, could be considered the Trophy Dash king of the division. Saturday night was his fifth Dash win of the season. He went through quite a bit of bad luck during the first five races before things started to click for him. He won a Main Event down the stretch as well as finishing third twice, and this enabled him to finish fifth behind another impressive rookie, Chris Boynton.
When you watch the brother and sister team of Boynton and Tritchler, you have to wonder about some of the paint trading they do on the track. But it's a sibling rivalry thing. They're both having fun out there. Boynton knew that he could lose fourth in the standings to Irving, but he was able to hold on to the position with his sixth place feature finish right behind Irving. Chris counts two feature wins as his best efforts of the season.
The Valley Store All Late Model Lites championship was won by Charlie Eaton. Eaton was the most consistent driver in the group this season as he never finished outside the Top 3. He was also a three-time winner this year and kicked off the final night with Trophy Dash and heat race victories. The question was, who was going to win the final race of the season?
Eric Aos has certainly had some bad luck this year, but his season ended on an optimistic note. The record shows that he won the season opener, and he won the race leading into the finale as well. He got the lead early on in the final race, but Eaton was there to make his presence known. When there was a little bit of contact between the two drivers, Eaton backed off rather than take out Aos. He settled for his third second place finish behind three-time winner Aos. Aos would finish third in the final standings while one-time feature winner Greg Arnold was second.