Thursday, June 21, 2018

Southern Oregon Speedway Hosts Wild West IMCA Modified Speedweek Race Saturday Night

Southern Oregon Speedway Racing Discussion
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Southern Oregon Speedway Hosts Wild West 
IMCA Modified Speedweek Race Saturday Night

White City, Oregon...There is lots of excitement surrounding Southern Oregon Speedway this season. More people are coming to check out the action, and more drivers are competing this season than in recent years. Saturday night will certainly see a big field of IMCA Modifieds for the second round of the IMCA Wild West Speedweek Tour. IMCA Sport Modifieds, Southern Oregon Dwarf Cars and JOAT Labs Hornets will also be part of the program.

Eight years ago, the Speedweek Series was started as an effort to bring some of the best IMCA Modified drivers together for an exciting week of racing. Past Southern Oregon Speedway champion Brian Poppa dominated that first series in winning the title. Since then, the dominant driver has been Jesse Williamson, who won his fourth series championship in a great battle with Californian Ethan Johnson last year. Two other Californians, Alex Stanford and Kellen Chadwick, each have one Speedweek title to their credit.

Southern Oregon Speedway competitors know they have to bring their A Game with drivers such as Williamson, Collen Winebarger, John Campos and Grey Fernando coming to town. It's not just a Speedweek Series point race, it's also a track championship race. There's a good battle happening at Southern Oregon Speedway so far this season.

The consistent Albert Gill finds himself leading the charge ahead of Roger Haudenshild Tribute winner Nick Trenchard and last week's winner Zach Fettinger. Only a few points separate these three drivers. With the competition level rising immensely this week, just making the Main Event will be a challenge. Winning the $1,000 to win race would certainly be a career highlight for many of the local racers. Other local competitors looking to notch the win include Mark Wauge, Jantzen Knips and CJ Putnam.

David Marble is off to a strong start in the IMCA Sport Modified division. With all three Top 5 finishes, Marble leads Willie McFall in the championship chase. Marble finished second last week in a wild last lap scramble. He used slower traffic to move up further at the finish line. Braxton Possinger was the class of the field as he became the third different feature winner. Current Oregon State and Pacific Sport Mod Challenge leader Justin McCreadie will be hoping to get his first local win, and other drivers to watch for include two time reigning champion Mike Medel, Tony Bartell, Tony Duste and Brandon Wilson.

The Southern Oregon Dwarf Car Association has been more competitive than ever so far this season. There are four different winners in five races, and two time reigning champion Brock Peters had to work extra hard to finally get his first win of the season last time out. He faces some stiff competition this week from two-time winner Camden Robustelli, Ryan Smith, Chad Cardoza, Randy Slater, Cody Peters, Kalvin Morton and two-time champion Josh King.

The JOAT Labs Hornets have been very competitive this year, and young Brandon Wonsyld holds a slim one point lead over reigning champion Jason Stoutenburgh after three races. These two, along with Ashtin Hedges, are feature winners so far in the growing field of competitors. Other drivers are lining up to get their first wins of the season, including 2016 champion Tim Hedges, wife Jenna Hedges, Derrel Nelson Jr, Zach Nelson, Dylan Irving and Bree Tritchler.

Saturday's lineup will offer plenty of thrills and spills for the fans to enjoy, but if that's not enough, there is a full program of Outlaw Kart racing on the little Southern Oregon Speedway track on Friday night. Jeremy Brown, Trevor Grimes, Taylor Fuller and Shailene Horn  lead their respective championship point races, and several young drivers have bolstered the roster this season. It's a nice little program with a $10 ticket price that allows the fans an opportunity to roam the pits before grabbing a bleacher seat to watch the show.

Saturday's Speedweek event kicks off with the first race at 7 p.m. Gates will open at 5 p.m. General Admission is $15 with Seniors, Veterans and Juniors (6 to 12) $10. Children 5 and under are free. For further information, go to

2018 IMCA Wild West Modified Shootout Schedule
Friday, June 22nd-Siskiyou Motor Speedway-Yreka, California
Saturday, June 23rd-Southern Oregon Speedway-White City, Oregon
Sunday, June 24th-Coos Bay Speedway-Coos Bay, Oregon
Monday, June 25th-Cottage Grove Speedway-Cottage Grove, Oregon
Tuesday, June 26th-Cottage Grove Speedway-Cottage Grove, Oregon
Wednesday, June 27th-Sunset Speedway Park-Banks, Oregon
Thursday, June 28th-Travel Date/Driver Appreciation Part presented by FinishLine Graphics at Willamette Speedway-Lebanon, Oregon
Friday, June 29th-Willamette Speedway-Lebanon, Oregon
Saturday, June 30th-Willamette Speedway-Lebanon, Oregon

Former IMCA Wild West Modified Shootout Champions
2011- Brian Poppa
2012- Jesse Williamson
2013- Jesse Williamson
2014- Alex Stanford
2015- Jesse Williamson
2016- Kellen Chadwick
2017- Jesse Williamson

All-Time IMCA Wild West Modified Shootout Win List

Jesse Williamson- 10
Alex Stanford- 6
Kellen Chadwick- 4
Brian Poppa
Ethan Dotson- 2
Travis Peery
Ken Schrader
Nick Trenchard
Mark Wauge
John Campos- 1
Mark Carrell
Ryan Gaylord
Braedon Hand
Danny Lauer
Scott Lenz
Brad Martin
Anthony Restad
Wade Taylor
Collen Winebarger

Pit Stops

It was a busy night of racing at Southern Oregon Speedway Saturday night. Things continue to look up at the speedway in the third season of KJE Enterprises promoting the 22 year old racing facility. The night's offering included Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars, IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Bobbio's Pizza Mini Stocks, Valley Stor-All Late Model Lites and Old Time Racers of Oregon Hardtops.

In the IMCA Modified division, there might have been a bit of a question as to who was showing up after the big Roger Haudenshild Tribute Race of two weeks earlier. The records show that there has been quite a drop-off in previous seasons, but a great group of racers came out to compete for this race. This included, among other racers, seven time champion Mark Wauge, two-time champion Albert Gill and incoming point leader Nick Trenchard. Let's not forget such notables as Zack Fettinger, CJ Putnam and Bo Shields.

Wauge was coming off of major motor issues at the previous race. He was all set to go for a heat race win when the green flag waved that night, but the motor had other ideas. Mark ended up watching the Main Event from the sidelines as rival Trenchard claimed the winner's prize that night. He had hopes of turning things around, and he certainly looked like he had the car to do it.

Wauge and Zach Fettinger were on their way to the front and had just moved into second and third when it happened. Andy Freeman, who is a welcome return to the lineup after being away for a couple of years, was leading the race and lapped a slower car. Unfortunately for Wauge and Trenchard, the slower car veered right into their path as they went down the front straightaway. This resulted in a crash that eliminated Wauge and sent Fettinger spinning and getting hit by another car on the front straightaway.

It looked like the race would be left up to Freeman, second year competitor and Jantzen Knips and past Dwarf Car champion CJ Putnam to contend for the win, but Fettinger wasn't done. After his team made repairs, Zach restarted at the back of the pack and was on a mission that would not end until he took the checkered flag. Once Fettinger got the lead, Putnam shadowed his every move. The Putnam team has a new car this year and is looking better than ever. Fettinger firmly establishes himself as one of the championship contenders with this win.

Wauge's early departure wasn't the only thing shaking up the point battle. Trenchard got caught in a jam up at the start of the Main Event and brushed the front wall, doing enough damage to his car to end his race prematurely. This opened the door for Albert Gill, and he walked on through for a third place finish that enabled him to take over the track point lead.

You won't find a better supporter of the track's IMCA Modified program during the past five seasons than Gill. He has two championship to show for it and probably would have won a third last season if not for family commitments that forced him to miss a pair of races. Gill has been competing at the speedway for some 20 years and is a true sportsman and a welcome member of the roster on any given night he's there.

The battle now is between Gill, Trenchard and Fettinger, but we're coming up on a race that generally throws a monkey wrench into the battle. The IMCA Wild West Speedweek race is not just a point race for the week. The track competitors accumulate IMCA points, and it's a challenge just to make the Main Event with the loaded field on hand. The first mission of all of the contenders is to just make it into the $1,000 to win race. Then comes the effort to get the best finish or even win.

In the IMCA Sport Modified ranks, David Marble continues to lead the way as he is off to a strong start. Last Saturday's Main Event got a little bit rough for him as it did for several others in the early goings, but the 2015 Mini Stock champion and 2016 Sport Modified "Rookie Of The Year" made a nice charge to the front of the pack late in the race. Traffic enabled Marble to make the last lap pass on Rich McCoy and steel the second place finish.

Getting back to Saturday's race, Knips still managed to get it to the checkered flag in fifth behind Freeman. This keeps Jantzen within range of the championship. Also still hanging tough in this battle is David Satterfield, who finished sixth at the checkered flag. Satterfield is new to the IMCA Modified ranks, but he competed and won races with the Pro Stock division at the speedway in the past.

Also not to be forgotten in the battle to be in the Top 5 is longtime racer Bo Shields, who finished a respectable eighth behind Brett Provost. Provost, who is a past Street Stock racer at the speedway, was making his second start of the year. Prior to that, we haven't seen him since 2015, and he is certainly a welcome return to the roster.

That finish was good enough to add a few more points to Marble's lead, but Willie McFall is hanging tough in second. McFall grabbed another Trophy Dash win to start his night and also found himself at the back of the pack early in the Main Event. He still salvaged a respectable Top 5 finish at the checkered flag. Still on Willie's radar is a Main Event victory, but you have to believe it's coming soon the way he's been driving this season.

The team of Braxton Possinger and Justin McCreadie established something very important over these past two weekends. McCreadie currently leads the state of Oregon IMCA point battle as well as the lucrative Pacific Sport Modified Challenge Series, which pays $1,250 to the champion. He's done well in winning several Main Events already on the circuit, though he's still looking for a win at his home track. He's also celebrating the fact that he recently graduated college.

However, Possinger isn't merely the other driver on the team. In Yreka a week earlier, he drove a brilliant race and did everything he could short of making any contact with the leader in a great battle for the win. Though he settled for second behind Matt Sanders that night, it was as close to a win as he could get. However, he had the pole position on Saturday night and wasn't going to let this opportunity slip away. Braxton led every lap for his first win at his home track. McCreadie finished a bit further back in ninth, though he should still maintain his leads in the other two battles. There's some good competition out there, so Justin knows he'll need to get back to the Winner's Circle to keep those leads.

Back in the third spot, Rich McCoy was a welcome sight in the pits. His Lightning McQueen themed Sport Modified is popular with the kids, and it's as fast as it is good looking. Though he had a spin early in the race while trying to get the lead, he nonetheless came back for a respectable third place finish after earlier winning his heat race. McCoy isn't chasing points this year, but he's certainly a threat to win any time he's on the race track. Likewise can be said for Jesse Merriman, who enjoyed some good laps battling with McCoy before finishing fourth.

Tony Bartell is quietly hanging in the battle in the Top 5 in the standings. Bartell seemed to have more than his share of bad luck last season that kept him from being a serious contender, but things are looking up for him this year. Though the sixth place finish he got wasn't what he was hoping for, it was still a solid point night for him as he sets his sights on the race coming up this weekend.

The Valley Stor-All Late Model Lites saw three welcome returns to the roster with the husband and wife team of Terry and Krista Hadley and reigning champion Bob Burkett. The Hadley's have been a part of this division for many years, and a look at the record books finds that Terry has won more Main Events in this class than anybody in the history of this division at Southern Oregon Speedway. It looked as if he and Krista still had some things to sort out, but they enjoyed a good battle for fourth, won by Terry with a last lap pass.

Bob Burkett has been handling other things during the beginning of this season, but he commented prior to the races that he felt it was time he got back out there and did some racing. He didn't seem to have much rust as he ran second in the Main Event after an early battle with incoming point leader Charlie Eaton for the position. However, Bob was unable to make a move on the flying Greg Arnold.

Arnold was hoping that he could be more competitive this year when he bought his newer chassis from the Willamette area. He had further incentive to be competitive this year as he changed his number to #39 in honor of his friend, Tim Law, who passed away of cancer during the offseason. Greg gave indication that this was going to be his night when he made a thrilling last lap pass to take the Trophy Dash win away from Eaton. After winning the heat race, he left little doubt who was going to win the Main Event as he set a rapid pace and won by a respectable margin in front of Burkett. With Eaton finishing third, the lead is still in his hands, but it got closer after the impressive performance from 2002 Super Truck champion Arnold.

The Bobbio's Pizza Mini Stock championship is firmly in the sights of David Steele. Track championships haven't really been something he has pursued through the years, though he is the 2015 Siskiyou Motor Speedway champion. David had time to take a vacation last week, which even kept him from making a visit to Siskiyou Speedway as he will often do. But, it wasn't a total vacation. He found some serious problems on his car that could have sidelined him before the checkered flag, one of which was starting to develop in his second place finish at the previous race. Fortunately, he resolved that electrical issue, and the car ran just fine.

Steele also took some of his vacation time as an opportunity to help his friend, Steve Goetz, get his #55 car clipped and ready for action. All of the work paid off for the man who is closing in fast on the track's All Time Main Event win record. David didn't quite pull off a Trophy Dash victory, but the Main Event and the heat races were his. He continued to increase his championship point lead with his strong night.

Hunter Magnan had high hopes of being more competitive this season when he got his current car from the Fettinger Racing Team late last year. On Saturday night, he got an indication that the team is very close to their first feature victory. The 2017 "Rookie Of The Year" kicked things off by holding off Garrett Fredrickson for a Trophy Dash victory. Not only was that big for Hunter, but for Fredrickson it was his best preliminary effort yet. Hunter is still very much in championship contention and also strengthened his hold on second in the standings by finishing second in the Main Event and his heat race. The Main Event was by no means a gimme for Steele as Hunter was a very close second.

Steve Goetz was just happy to take a third place finish on the podium after the crash two races ago that could have ended his season. He admitted that coming out of Turn 2 in that race, the glare of the sun was so bad that he didn't even realize Cameron Hall had spun until it was too late to take evasive action. The third place finish shows that the 2013 champion is still very much in contention to get a Main Event win at some point this season.

Tim Hedges brought the former Randy Simmons car back, but this time he put his son Ashtin behind the wheel. He was hoping that all of the adjustments and replacements they made would at least keep the car on the track, and that mission was accomplished. Not only did Ashtin keep it out there, but he won a battle with Top 5 point runner Michael McLeod for fourth, putting the younger Hedges into the next Trophy Dash.

The news was not as good for Kristopher Mix. The reigning champion seemed to stumble out of the gate and didn't have the best of nights. He took the green flag in the Main Event to get his points and come back to fight another day. He remains third in the standings.

Points are not a part of what the Old Time Racers of Oregon Hardtop group does. They're out there having fun and trying to put on a show for the fans. They all race for position, but their goal is to do it respectively and without doing damage to each other's race cars. It's a tight-knit group that has been around for over 30 years.

The show turned out to be quite entertaining. Bill Trotter has one of the nicer looking cars on a track. His old #46 Coupe, sporting an orange paint job, also has orange lights underneath that becomes very apparent as the sun goes down. Bill has won a Trophy Dash here in the past, but a Main Event win has eluded him. His car got driven to a victory in 2016 with Mark Minter behind the wheel. After his son Dusty Trotter got the win in their first visit this year, Bill knew he had to step up his game.

The elder Trotter jumped into the lead at the start, but there was a surprise waiting for him down the stretch. For these past two seasons, the #16 pickup truck, also owned by Bill Trotter, has somewhat been an afterthought. It's there to provide another vehicle, but it's not generally contending for wins. However, Jay Smith has changed that this year. He won the Trophy Dash earlier in the evening. After running fifth early in the race, he gradually worked his way into second. He managed to close in on Bill in the waning laps before driving that truck to a strong second place finish.

Dusty Trotter settled for third ahead of Mark Minter, and all four vehicles ran close up front. We are hearing that more new cars coming. We saw Dean Cast make his first appearance of the season, and we're told another Minter car should be ready to debut for the next race. These old time race cars are a joy to watch. Keeping things affordable is a goal, and there are some very nice looking machines out on the track when they visit.

The big news last weekend was the Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars, presented by Hays Oil. With Dave's Carpet And Vinyl helping increase the purse, the division has seen some growth during the past year. It was Hibbard who suggested the track go in the rules direction that has been taken since last year, and all indications are that it's working. Saturday night saw the best regular point event car count at Southern Oregon Speedway for the track's Sprint Car division in several years. There were 20 cars.

One of those cars was driven by Kyler Barraza. You know anytime the reigning champion and two-time Southern Oregon Sprint Car Tour champion is on the track, you're going to get a show. Unfortunately, the last time Kyler was in town, the show he gave the crowd was not one he was happy about. He slipped off the back straightaway, landed on his lid and the car caught fire. It was a scary situation that left him with second and third degree burns. Kyler has regrouped this year and already had a win earlier this season at Coos Bay Speedway.

It looked like business as usual when he won both his heat race and the Scramble. Though David Hibbard jumped into the lead at the start, Barraza moved by him around lap eight. Once he got the lead, it seemed that it would be his victory. But the one thing about a race with this many cars is you will see lapped traffic. A fan watching this race would see cars everywhere on the race track, and Barraza knew that with Hibbard behind him, he had to make split-second decisions to keep moving ahead. When a slower car got in his path coming down the front straight away, he made the move to get by on the outside, only to be taken out the exit when that car pitted. Barraza flipped out of the event.

This put the lead into the hands of David Hibbard, and he led the remaining tours for his second win of the season. He also added a couple points to his lead, but he didn't gain huge. This is because 2016 "Rookie Of The Year" Jeffrey Hudson had a strong second place finish after some good laps battling Enrique Jaime. Hudson has clearly established himself as a contender for the championship, and he's done it with a smooth and patient driving style. Earlier in the evening, Jeffrey picked up more good points by winning his heat race.

For Jaime, the third place finish was his second of the year, which goes along with a pair of heat race victories. Enrique was doing a great job last season just learning the race car and making his laps in his fifth place point season. This year, the team has taken it up a notch. Enrique is a fast learner and knows how to handle one of these race cars. A feature win seems inevitable for him at some point during the season.

Feature wins have come through the years for both Kinzer Cox and Hedge Carter. Both drivers have won at Cottage Grove Speedway and Carter is a past champion. They were among a group of a racers who came to town as their home track was dark to their division for the night. Hedge was actually a Top 10 point racer last season at Southern Oregon Speedway. At the checkered flag, Cox would finish fourth, followed closely by Carter.

We finally saw the return of 2009 Southern Oregon Speedway champion Charlie Thompson. When Charlie made his lone appearance back in 2016, he was riding along in second when his motor gave up on him. This time, he had a spirited duel with Top 10 point runner Aaron Miller for the seventh place finish before claiming the spot. Miller settled for eighth, followed by Todd Whipple. Whipple is within range of the Top 5 in the standings.

We are three races into the season, and there have been many positive indications that the Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car Class is on the right track at Southern Oregon Speedway. Their next racing opportunity will be on Veterans night, June 30th. They also have some big events on the horizon this year, including the $2,000 to win Ironhead Nationals on August 11th. Things are looking up for Sprint Car racing at Southern Oregon Speedway.