Friday, January 25, 2019

Southern Oregon Speedway Makes More Progress During 2018 Season

Southern Oregon Speedway Racing Discussion
Can Be Heard HERE

Southern Oregon Speedway Makes More Progress 
During 2018 Season

White City, Oregon...There was good news at Southern Oregon Speedway in 2018. In his third year as promoter of the 23 year old speedway, Mike McCann of KJE Enterprises had people talking. By season's end, people were talking about how there hadn't been that many cars seen at the speedway in several years. People were noticing. The turnaround effort of McCann and his staff is still very much a work-in-progress, but you can't help but notice the progress that has been made in three years.

The Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car  division continues to grow as several talented young drivers make their first laps in a Sprint Car. The IMCA Sport Modified division is beginning to deliver the numbers people have been saying they were capable of. The IMCA Modifieds quietly had their best season in three years. The Southern Oregon Dwarf Car Association also had its best year in three seasons. The fact is, there was something to brag about for every division at the track this past season.

The speedway continues to offer up some big races, and the car count seen at the second annual R Charles Snyder Salute was the biggest in a decade at over 130 cars. Earlier in the season, the Roger Haudenshild Tribute Race set the initial high mark with nearly 100 cars. The schedule offered a little something for everybody throughout the course of the season. When the finale was run, there were enough cars in both the Sprint Car and Sport Modified divisions to necessitate a B Main. This was the first time that two divisions needed B Mains at the speedway for a regular show in several years. People are getting excited about coming back to Southern Oregon Speedway again.

David Hibbard set out to win his first local track championship. He put up numbers throughout the season that left little doubt that he would be the champion. He won five of the first seven races of the season and finished second the other two times. By then, there was little doubt that he would win the championship. Despite blowing a motor at the Iron Head Nationals, David secured his championship by merely starting the second to last race of the season. His third place finish in the finale was his eighth Top 3 finish of the year, winning him the championship by a wide margin ahead of Jeffrey Hudson.

Hudson found himself in a good battle with Bailey Hibbard and rookie Blaine Cory for second in the standings. By season's end, only 19 points separated Hudson from fourth place Cory. After missing most of the previous season with a blown motor, Hudson had a solid season with two season-high seconds and two thirds as well as one Scramble win. He proved how versatile he is when he took his wing off and finished second in the Wingless Sprint Car Challenge race, presented by Herz Precision Parts. Though the feature win eluded him, Hudson improved noticeably throughout the year and continues to evolve as one of the rising young stars of Oregon racing.

2018 wasn't the best of seasons for Bailey Hibbard, but he won the second race of the season. His second place finish at the first September race netted him third in the standings. It was the only other Top 3 finish he had for the season. He also picked up a pair of wins in the first two Scrambles of the season. Cory hit his stride midway though the season with two seconds and two thirds. In doing so, he became a threat to Hudson for second in the standings. Unfortunately, a late season flip derailed that effort, but as the fourth ranked driver, he was also this season's top rookie.

The driver who had everybody talking at season's end was rising young star Tanner Holmes. Holmes opted to travel around the state, but he was fast when he ran at his home track. After two second place finishes during the season, Holmes ended things with a pair of feature wins. His season finale win was most impressive as he went from fifth to first in the final seven laps. Tanner also had a win in the Scramble and just managed to pass Aaron Miller and Enrique Jaime at the finale to finish fifth in the standings. Jaime had his two third-place finishes in the first three races, but a blown motor forced him to miss races and settle for seventh in the standings. Miller made every race and kept coming back even when his luck wasn't with him. A heat race win during the year was among his season highlights along with a pair of sevenths and two eighth place finishes in the Main Event.

Summer Series Sprint Car star Garen Linder returned to his home track and teamed up with TJ Winningham to grab the $2,000 prize in the Iron Head Nationals ahead of the impressive Holmes. A week earlier, 2016 champion Jake Wheeler was victorious. Mike Wheeler had a season-best second place in the finale, a race he led up until the last lap. Season best third place finishes were turned in by Washington visitor Eric Turner and Hedge Carter. Linder also had one third place finish. 2017 champion Kyler Barraza, Winningham, Charlie Thompson and Mike Wheeler each had a win in the Scramble.

With $3,500 on the line in the Herz Precision Parts Cascade Wingless Sprint Car Challenge, Californian Geoff Ensign teamed up with Ted Finkenbinder to defend his race win of the previous season. Hudson was an impressive second ahead of Oregon Wingless Sprint star Lindsay Barney.

In the IMCA Modified championship battle, Nick Trenchard got off to a very strong start, while the steady Albert Gill and the much improved Zach Fettinger also presented a challenge. When Mark Wauge opened the season with a feature win, it looked as if he might be a threat to win his unprecedented eighth Modified championship at his home track. Unfortunately, he blew a motor at the next race, and he seemed to struggle with bad luck throughout the season. Three of Trenchard's five Top 5 finishes happened in the first five races, including a second and his first of two feature wins. However, his absence from a race elevated Gill and Fettinger in this battle.

Fettinger had everybody taking notice when he won three races in a four race span, but his absence from the Speedweek race impacted his championship hopes. Meanwhile, Gill earned three second place finishes and a pair of thirds along with an impressive four Trophy Dash wins. It still came down to the prestigious R Charles Snyder Salute, where the high number of stars from out of town meant just making it into the Main Event would be a chore. Gill made the most of his front row start in his B Main to punch his ticket into the big show.

Fettinger, Meanwhile, found himself stuck at the back of the pack in a B Main that was destined to go non stop. He drove hard and got all the way to the third position in a race that would only transfer two. This put Gill in a position where he merely needed to start the season finale to clinch his third championship in five years. For Fettinger, second was still a career-best ranking for him as many people are calling him the most improved driver of the season.

The steady David Satterfield competed in all of the races and did well enough to drop Trenchard to fourth in the final point run down. Despite totaling a race car during the season in an unfortunate restart situation, Jantzen Knips got another car and managed to finish the season in fifth in the points. Knips had a fourth and a fifth as his season best efforts, while Satterfield had three sixth place finishes.

It was Collen Winebarger winning the Speedweek race while CJ Putnam won a good battle with Bobby Hogge IV to win the invitational feature on the R Charles Snyder Salute weekend. Hogge claimed the $5,000 first prize in the R Charles Snyder Salute ahead of Merced Speedway champion Darrell Hughes II and Oregon State champion Bricen James. The season ended with Preston Jones winning a thrilling battle with Putnam for his first career win. Putnam had a pair of seconds during the course of the year, and Duane Orsburn also had a season-high second. 2017 champion Jesse Bailey, Dave Duste Jr and Willamette champion Grey Ferrando each had a third place finish. Duste and Andy Freeman each won a Trophy Dash. Trenchard's first feature win of the season was notable in that it once again came in the Roger Haudenshild Tribute race.

The third season of The Late Model revival at Southern Oregon Speedway featured a close championship battle between reigning champion Nathan Augustine, the rapidly improving John Dees and rookie Miles Deubert. Augustine had a new car for his title defense, and he kicked off the season with a second and a first. When a lapped car crashed him on the back straightaway of the third event of the season, Augustine was left scrambling for a new ride. Somehow, he managed to hold on to his lead and won his second Main Event of the season. This was followed by a third place finish. The one-time Trophy Dash winner was in a position to play defense at the season finale and cling to the championship, but a blown motor while running in the Top 3 ended those hopes.

It was John Dees who would get the job done in a rather impressive season. Dees scored four second place finishes and two thirds in the first seven events, but his absence from a race to attend a wedding forced him to play catch-up. Dees won his first Main Event at his home track at the sixth event of the season, but it was his division-leading fifth second place finish at the finale that clinched his first career championship. He also led the division with three Trophy Dash wins. His championship margin was just four points ahead of Augustine.

Rookie Miles Deubert surprised everybody by winning the season opener and grabbed his lone Trophy Dash win at the third event before finishing second in the feature that night. However, Miles made different adjustments to his chassis in an effort to get quicker. It seemed to be a step backwards, but his first, second and third place finishes in the final three races guaranteed him third in the final rundown. Perhaps the most improved driver in the group this past season was Coos Bay based competitor Dave Foote. Dave picked up two feature wins during the season and also had a pair of Trophy Dash wins to notch fourth in the final standings.

2016 champion Bob Dees notched three season best third place finishes along with one Trophy Dash win to lay claim to fifth in the standings. Making lone appearances, Darren Coffel and Trent Elliott each won Main Events. Other season highlights included Mike Linder with one second place finish and Brian Bowman and Josh Sim each with one third place effort. Car count continues to progress as the Late Models are established as one of the featured divisions in Medford.

Speaking of establishing divisions, the best car counts of any of the track's regular divisions were had by the IMCA Sport Modifieds. Drivers flocked to this division, and the competition was tougher than ever. To illustrate just how tough it was, the only driver to get more than one Main Event win during the year was Chico, California star Tyler Rodgers. With two-time champion Mike Medel following two-time champion Jorddon Braaten up the road on several occasions, it was time for somebody else to step up and claim the track title. Past Mini Stock champion David Marble, rookie Branden Wilson, relative newcomer Tony Duste and Willie McFall were among the stars vying for supremacy.

Marble entered the season with the goal of earning Top 5 Main Event finishes and winning the championship. Throughout the first half of the season, he accomplished the first goal. He made his biggest statement at the opener with an impressive feature win and had earned his three Top 3 finishes in the first five events. This gave him a good lead in the championship race as they entered the stretch run. David essentially had the championship clinched just by just starting the season finale. Perhaps the surprise of the field was rookie Branden Wilson. Wilson surprised past Yreka champion Jimmy Lipke at the fifth event by making his move into the lead late and claiming the victory. This also helped move him into second in the championship chase.

Wilson still had to contend with the trio of Duste, McFall and Tony Bartell nipping at his heels. McFall entered the year hoping to contend for the championship, but his luck took a nosedive after his season-best second place finish in the season opener. He did pick up two Trophy Dash wins, but his Main Event luck seemed to go from bad to worse. Duste was fast, but as this was still his rookie season, he made mistakes along the way. Duste beat McFall by just eight points in the race for third as Bartell was five points behind McFall. Duste had a season high third place finish at the opener. Though Bartell didn't get any Top 3 finishes, he managed a season best fifth.

The Sport Modified battle was so wide open that you really never knew who was going to win on any given week. With big money on the line at the Roger Haudenshild Tribute race, past California State champion Fred Ryland swept in and claimed the prize ahead of Jimmy Ford and the first of two season-best third place finishes for two-time champion Mike Medel. It was another Californian, Guy Ahlwardt, impressively claiming the $2,000 prize in the R Charles Snyder Salute ahead of Cottage Grove and Willamette champion Jorddon Braaten and Daniel Ray. Tyler Rodgers won the R Charles Snyder Invitational Race and another feature two months earlier to be the only two-time winner of the group.

Other feature winners for the year were teammates Braxton Possinger and Justin McCreadie, Matt Sanders and Doug Coffman. Rich McCoy, Lipke and Ford each had a pair of second place finishes for their season best efforts while Californian Brent Curran also had one second place finish. Marble's one second and one third place finish came during the first five races. Interestingly enough, Medel was the only driver with two third place finishes as Duste, McCoy, Coffman, Rodgers, Sanders, Ray and McCreadie each had a third place finish. Joining McFall on the Trophy Dash winner's list were Duste, Marble, Rodgers and McCoy.

The Bobbio's Pizza Mini Stock division didn't have much of a championship battle at all. David Steele carried a big advantage over the rest of the pack going into the season. He was the most experienced competitor in the field, and he had enough bad luck the year before for two seasons. It seemed that when something went wrong with his car last season, it usually happened at a time when he could deal with it and make it right for the next race. Steele won an impressive nine Main Events with two second place finishes in his 11 starts. He also won five Trophy Dashes. He clinched his championship with two races left to go. Along the way, he took his spot atop the track's all time Mini Stock Main Event win leader's list. As one of the most respected and liked competitors at the speedway, Steele's long deserved championship was well-received.

The incoming reigning champion, Kristopher Mix was hoping to step up his game. As a proud new father, however, he also found himself working on race day and showing up during hot laps most of the time. He didn't miss a race, but he struggled at times to get to the finish line. Mix had one second and four third place finishes, but his season highlight came when he passed Steele to win his first career Main Event. Unfortunately, bad luck in the final three races dropped Mix back to fourth in the final standings. Second-year competitor Hunter Magnan was much improved with four season-high second place finishes and three thirds. He also had two Trophy Dash wins, meaning he had second place in the standings clinched going into the finale.

Past champion Steve Goetz had a mixed bag of results during the season. After a hard crash that left him with severe front end damage early in the year and destroyed the Pinto Wagon owned by Andrew Hall, Goetz regrouped and came back. He had three second place finishes and three third place finishes to go with two Trophy Dash wins. Goetz was able to overtake Mix for third at the final race. Garrett Fredrickson had his breakout season with two fourths and one fifth place finish, which enabled him to hold off rookie Michael McLeod by just 13 points in the race for fifth. After a late start, Ashtin Hedges did everything he could to catch McLeod, but he fell 12 points short. Hedges scored four fourth place finishes and three fifths, while McLeod had one fourth and three fifths.

Past champion Gary Anderson had one season-high second place finish and was also a Trophy Dash winner once, but his season nearly ended after a hard crash into the wall exiting Turn 4 during his heat race. Past champion David Marble also made a couple of surprise visits, getting a third place finish and outrunning Steele to win the season finale.

The JOAT Labs Hornets division was a wide-open battle throughout the season. Reigning champion Jason Stoutenburgh and second-year competitor Brandyn Wonsyld led the charge early on. Stoutenburgh had second and third place finishes before getting his feature and Trophy Dash wins at the third event. Unfortunately, motor issues derailed his effort. Wonsyld, meanwhile, was the dominant force in the division and the surprise early point leader. Another surprise was the strong start for second-year racer Ashtin Hedges. However, after two wins and a third to go with his one Trophy Dash win, Ashtin parked to focus on his Mini Stock effort. Wonsyld also skipped a pair of races to fall from the lead. 

This opened the door for unlikely championship contender and top rookie Bree Tritchler to do battle with 2016 champion Tim Hedges. Hedges remained perhaps the staunchest supporter of this division as his team fielded as many has four cars sometimes. He had one feature win during the season and a pair of seconds. He also won a pair of Trophy Dashes. Despite some bad luck, he managed to lead the point standings for a few weeks. Consistency was on Tritchler's side. She picked up one feature win and an impressive five second place finishes. She also had a third. She needed her fifth second place finish in the finale to lay claim to the championship. Tim Hedges merely limped around the track that night to secure second in the standings by just one point.

Without a doubt, the championship was Wonsyld's to win. The four-time feature winner and five-time feature runner-up won the final two races in dominant fashion to secure third in the standings. He also had a pair of Trophy Dash wins. Rookie Chris Boynton managed to hold off Dylan Irving by just three points for fourth in the standings. Boynton won a pair of Main Events and had one third place finish. Irving recovered from a horrendous start and notched three third-place finishes before finally getting his first career feature win. He also led the division with five Trophy Dash wins.

Dylan Sauer got off to a late start, but his second and third place finishes in the final two races secured him a Top 10 point position. Other season best efforts included season-high third place finishes for both Jenna Hedges and Jeremy Mayfield.

With previous champion Lee Doty and Bob Burkett not making a run at the points, the Valley Store All Late Model Lites championship battle had a different look to it. Charlie Eaton was poised to make a title run, but he could expect some stiff competition from past truck champion Greg Arnold.
However, Eaton remained as consistent as ever. Having shown his knack for getting The 3 finishes over these past two seasons, Eaton took it up a notch by scoring his three feature wins during the first five races. He was particularly impressive in the July race that saw him win a close battle between himself, Doty and Burkett. With an additional three seconds and two thirds to go with his two Dash wins, Charlie never failed to finish inside the Top 3. He had built a nice lead when Arnold missed a race due to work obligations. Eaton wasn't threatened after that as he rolled to the championship.

Arnold had an impressive season as well with a win, two seconds and a third to go with his one Dash win. He ended up a solid second in the standings. Father Eric Aos outran his son Dusty Aos by nine points to claim third in the standings. Eric also matched Eaton with three feature wins. Dusty Aos had a challenging season with his two third place finishes happening during the first two races. We did see Doty turn in a dominant performance in winning the sixth race of the season. Doty also had a second and a third and three Dash wins. Burkett showed up to pick up a pair of second place finishes and a Dash win. When the points were tallied, Doty managed to claim fifth in the standings ahead of Burkett. Danny Prewitt had a pair of third place finishes in the former Bill Spencer car.

The Southern Oregon Dwarf Car Association ran most of their races in Medford, and car count was strong. The competition level was also very strong as there were about a half-dozen drivers with a shot at the championship going into the finale. Once again, two-time champions Brock Peters and Josh King were in the hunt as was Camden Robustelli, Chad Cardoza and Kalvin Morton. There were seven different winners in the 11 races held at Southern Oregon Speedway.

The excitement was at the season finale. With two wins, a second and two thirds, Robustelli was in a position to win the championship, but misfortune struck him in the final race. After a tangle while running well enough to win it all, Robustelli found himself having to charge through the pack. Some bad luck during the year hurt Brock Peters. His second win came in the finale as he also had one second place finish and one third. However, his strong season ending performance wasn't good enough. With his second place finish, King claimed his third championship. King picked up two wins and a second as well.

King's championship came just three points ahead of the tied Cardoza, Peters and Robustelli. Cardoza had one win, two seconds and one third. Robustelli's highlights also included two wins in Yreka. This was the closest championship battle in club history. Even fifth-ranked Morton was only four points out of the lead. He had two wins, one second and a third in the finale. To make the final race, he had to borrow the Bud Lorentz car. The great championship battle and strong car counts made the Dwarf Cars a highlight of the season.

Other impressive numbers included visitor Guy Tow winning the second race of the season ahead of a season-high second place finish for Mason Lewman. Cody Peters also scored a win and a second. Ageless veteran Fred Hay had a season-high second and a pair of thirds. Nevada visitor Tim Fitzpatrick came late in the season for a second place finish. The ever-present Ryan Smith had a pair of third place finishes with Mac Marmon and Jesse Lorentz also finishing third once each. A Dash winners included Brock Peters three times, Morton and King twice and Smith and Cody Peters once.

The other highlight for the Dwarf Cars was the annual Dwarf Car Nationals event. Ryan Diatte won both of the Pro features during the weekend, beating NorCal champion Danny Wagner on both occasions. Marmon was third in the feature, while Darren Brown was third in the preliminary. For the Veterans division, Fitzpatrick won both nights, beating Kevin Bender and Fred Hay in the preliminary and Mike Reeder and Bender in the feature. In the Sportsman division, local star Bret James won the feature ahead of Michael Johnson and Joe Sanders for a local sweep. Shawn Whitney won the preliminary ahead of Sanders and Johnson. The Fast Dash wins went to Mark Hanson in the Pros, Reeder in the Veterans and Whitney in the Sportsmans.

The speedway also hosted the OTRO Hardtops on six different occasions. The old time racers run for fun and trophies, but not points. Group president Mark Minter won three Main Events and finished third once. Bill Trotter, who fields two cars, won a pair of features and finished second and third once each. Bill's son Dusty Trotter won the opener. Driving Trotter's truck, Jay Smith scored a pair of season-high second place finishes and won two Trophy Dashes. Dean Cast had a pair of seconds and one third for his best efforts, while Justin Krossman had one second and a pair of Dash wins. Roseburg 2016 champion Greg Hickman made an appearance for a third place finish and Dilllon Rourke also had a third. Chris Mehrer won the Trophy Dash at the final event.

The Calculated Comfort Outlaw Pro Stocks were included at the Roger Haudenshild Tribute and the R Charles Snyder Salute. Dr Scott Lenz won the Haudenshild race ahead of Jeffrey Hudson and Steve Borror. The R Charles Salute turned out to be a disastrous, crash shortened event, won by Dave Quick ahead of Dan Randall and Chico competitor Gary Newman. The group was added to the season finale, and a much better race was won by Lenz ahead of Borror and Scott Flowers. Lenz was the association champion and also won the Dash at the finale.

At the end of May, the Northwest Focus Midgets brought 30 cars for their Salute To Indy, and Jonathan Jorgenson won that race ahead of Tristan Thomas and Garrett Thomas. Matt Loving won the A Dash. The Pro 4 Modifieds made a visit as well, and Rick Wagner won that race ahead of Barry Lampert and Thomas Ferrando. The Iron Giant Street Stocks returned for Disorder On The Southern Border 2. They brought over 20 cars, and Andrew Langan won the race ahead of Shannon Horn and Brian Cronk. Jesse Yankee won the Scramble.

2018 was the most exciting season at the speedway in recent years. There were many great moments to be had which simply can't be included in this limited column, including the return of the Malicious Monster Truck Tour. Thanks to the support of Dave's Carpet and Vinyl, that show went on under less-than-ideal conditions to a packed grandstand. The Monster Trucks, most of the great things featured this past season and some new surprises are on tap for the coming season. It's certainly a work in progress, but things continue to get better at Southern Oregon Speedway.

2018 Southern Oregon Speedway Point Standings

2018 IMCA Modifieds
1 Albert Gill        299
2 Zach Fettinger    275
3 David Satterfield    256
4 Nick Trenchard    251
5 Jantzen Knips        248
6 Mark Wauge        215
7 Duane Orsburn        193
8 Dave Duste Jr.    187
9 Jesse Bailey        181
10 Jeremy Ohlde        165

Rookie Of The Year - David Satterfield

2018 IMCA Sport Modifieds
1 David Marble        295
2 Branden Wilson    280
3 Tony Duste        269
4 Willie McFall        261
5 Tony Bartell        256
6 Jimmy Lipke        199
7 Mike Medel        193
8 Danny Rule        186
9 Billy Richey        184
10 Braxton Possinger    182

Rookie Of The Year - Branden Wilson

2018 Kendall Oil Sprint Cars
1 David Hibbard        285
2 Jeffrey Hudson    228
3 Bailey Hibbard    222
4 Blaine Cory        209
5 Tanner Holmes        134
6 Aaron Miller        129
7 Enrique Jaime        128
8 Merissa Henson    120
9 Charlie Thompson    108
10 Todd Whipple        80

Rookie Of The Year - Blaine Cory

2018 Late Models
1 John Dees        274
2` Nathan Augustine    270
3 Miles Deubert        263
4 Dave Foote        250
5 Bob Dees        226
6 Mike Linder        132
7 Don Garrett        99
8 Garrett Dees        83
9 Eric Massey        76
10 Dave Everson        47

Rookie Of The Year - Miles Deubert

2018 Valley Store All Late Model Lites
1 Charlie Eaton        273
2 Greg Arnold        216
3 Eric Aos        190
4 Dusty Aos        181
5 Lee Doty        132
6 Bob Burkett        93
7 Danny Prewitt        63
8 Jim Cunningham    25
9 Terry Hadley        24
10 Krista Hadley    24

2018 Bobbio’s Pizza Mini Stocks
1 David Steele        412
2 Hunter Magnan        337
3 Steve Goetz        283
4 Kristopher Mix    263
5 Garrett Fredrickson    204
6 Michael McLeod    191
7 Ashtin Hedges        179
8 Gary Anderson        171
9 David Marble        65
10 Marilyn Yawnick    39

Rookie Of The Year - Michael McLeod

2018 JOAT Labs Hornets
1 Bree Tritchler    352
2 Tim Hedges        330
3 Brandyn Wonsyld    329
4 Chris Boynton        298
5 Dylan Irving        295
6 Jenna Hedges        231
7 Dylan Sauer        170
8 Ashtin Hedges        160
9 Zach Nelson        150
10 Jason Stoutenburgh    139

Rookie Of The Year - Bree Tritchler

SODCA Dwarf Cars
Josh King    878
Chad Cadoza    875
Brock Peters    875
Camden Robustelli 875
Kalvin Morton    874
Cody Peters    860
Ryan Smith    844
Fred Hay    830
Joe Sanders    800
Randy Slater    792

Rookie Of The Year - Michael Johnson