Sunday, August 21, 2016

Hogge, Poppa, Papenhausen Headed To Lon Skinner Memorial At Southern Oregon Speedway

Hogge, Poppa, Papenhausen Headed To 
Lon Skinner Memorial At Southern Oregon Speedway

White City, Oregon...When you talk about the best drivers on the West Coast, names like Bobby Hogge IV, Richard Papenhausen and Brian Poppa come up.  Many people regard Bobby Hogge IV to be the best Stock Car/Modified driver on the West Coast today.  Richard Papenhausen ranks up there as one of the best Late Model drivers in competition. When it comes to the greats of Southern Oregon Speedway, everybody knows Brian Poppa's impressive credentials.  As of August 16th, all three divers are registered for the prestigious Lon Skinner Memorial race on Labor Day Weekend at Southern Oregon Speedway.

The Lon Skinner Memorial race pays tribute to the father of Southern Oregon Speedway founder, John Skinner, and this is the 21st running of the race.  The itinerary shows September 2nd as the pre registration/practice day.  Saturday night is preliminary day, which features a Main Event that will pay a minimum of $100 to start and $600 to win.  The big show on Sunday, September 4th, will pay a minimum of $500 to start and $5000 to win.  This is the biggest IMCA Modified race on the West Coast.  It's known as a season maker for the racers.  The winner's check far exceeds what many racers will earn for a track championship.

Bobby Hogge IV comes from a family of fast competitors.  Both of his grandfathers were racers, and his father, Bobby Hogge III is "Hall Of Fame" worthy in his Late Model accomplishments at tracks like Antioch Speedway and Watosnville Speedway.  It was not a surprise to see the younger Hogge pick up where his father left off.  Bobby won two NASCAR Regional championships in 1996-1997, and he has won many track championships since then.  After a while, the lure of running the big races got the better of Hogge.  The team realized that if they ran select big shows and did well, they could win in the neighborhood of $20,000 in prize money or more for just a handful of races.

At that point, Bobby built a reputation as a driver who could swoop in and take the money at the big shows. Naturally, that meant that he would start competing in the biggest of the big shows, The Lon Skinner Memorial Race.  Bobby hit Southern Oregon Speedway like a tidal wave by winning three straight Lon Skinner Memorial races, from 2008-2010.  Last season, he won it for the fourth time.  The night before, he and another superstar from California, Kellen Chadwick, waged a crowd pleasing duel, won by Chadwick.  Rumor is that Chadwick, who is the 2016 Wild West Speedweek champion, is coming back for a run at the $5000 prize. 

It's hard to overlook Brian Poppa.  Through the years, he has done some impressive things at Southern Oregon Speedway  Poppa started out in Pro Stocks and won the 1999 championship.  His "Rookie Of The Year" and point runnerup season in a Modified in 2000 showed early on that he would be a force in the class, but he pulled of an impressive feat in 2006.  Frank Word III was on a tear in Pro Stocks, winning four consecutive championship leading into the season.  Word actually won eight championships in a nine year span, but Poppa made him settle for second in 2006.  That wasn't enough for Brian.  He also beat IMCA Modified legend Mark Wauge to win the championship in that division as well.

With that kind of talent, you had to know that Poppa was going to beat the best drivers in the biggest race of them all.  In fact, Brian has won three Lon Skinner Memorial Races (2001, 2005, 2011).  He is also the first Wild West Speedweek champion and won the Southern Oregon Speedway race that year after winning the B Main to earn his start.  Poppa's entry into the 2016 Lon Skinner Memorial automatically makes him a favorite to get the win.

We can't forget Richard Papenhausen.  These days, he spends most of the Saturday nights in which he races driving a Late Model, and he just won another feature at Antioch Speedway last week.  However, he is a two time IMCA Modified champion at Chico Silver Dollar Speedway, to go with his 2014 Late Model championship at Antioch Speedway.  He also leads the points at Antioch this year.  When it comes to the Lon Skinner Memorial Race, Papenhausen is the only driver to make all 20 of them, and he's intent on continuing his perfect attendance.  And there's another thing to consider.  Papenhausen doesn't just show up at these races, he wins them.  Richard won his first Lon Skinner Memorial Race in 1999, and he became the race's first repeat winner in 2002.

The IMCA Modified field is sure to be stacked with talent this year for the Lon Skinner Memorial Race.  Hogge, Poppa and Papenhausen will be three of the top competitors to watch this year.  With IMCA Sport Modifieds and SODCA Dwarf Cars racing both nights, this will be an entertaining weekend of racing for the fans as well.  Sign up information for racers can be found on the flier, which is viewable here,