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Iron Giant Street Stock Series Comes
To Southern Oregon Speedway
White City, Oregon...Southern Oregon Speedway fans rarely get an opportunity to check out some great Street Stock racing, but Saturday night will be the exception. The Iron Giant Street Stock Series rolls into town for the Third Annual Disorder On The Southern Border 50 lap event. The race will pay $1,000 to win. Also on the jam-packed schedule will be the IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Southern Oregon Dwarf Cars, Valley Store All Late Model Lites and OTRO Hardtops.
The Iron Giant Street Stock Series was put together by Chris Sine and James Whitehouse two years ago to offer race fans some of the best Street Stock racing they will find anywhere on the West Coast. The inaugural event of 2017 took place at Southern Oregon Speedway with Donald Schott picking up the win. There was a ten car field that year, but it doubled to over 20 last year in a race that was won by Andrew Langan.
Drivers come from several other Oregon venues to do battle in these long-distance events, and last season saw seven different winners on the competitive tour. Aided by his win at St Helens, David Cronk would win last season's championship. Andrew Langan won the Southern Oregon Speedway race, but a crash not long after that forced him to miss a race and derailed his effort just a little bit. He still ended up second in the standings ahead of Schott, Josh Sheller and Coos Bay winner Brian Cronk.
The one thing about the Iron Giant Street Stock Series is they bring a loaded field of talented racers, and it's no exaggeration to say that most of the drivers have a legitimate shot at winning on any given week. Street Stock racing is something that hasn't been seen very much at Southern Oregon Speedway since it opened in 1996, and this will be a race you won't want to miss.
The IMCA Modifieds always bring the speed and excitement when they are in town. The season-opening race was an exciting battle early on before Jeffrey Hudson gained the lead. Mark Wauge managed to work his way into second, only to run out of time in his quest to reel in Hudson. However, he was gaining on him, and he will be hungry to get his 50th career feature win at his home track this week.
Albert Gill will have his mechanical issues sorted out this week as he tries to get into the win column. The three-time reigning champion was running strong at the season opener, but his mechanical issues sent him to the pits early in the race. There are some talented racers vying for the victory this week, and other drivers to watch for include Preston Jones, Nick Trenchard, Zach Fettinger and Jeremy Ohlde.
The most exciting race at the season opener took place in the IMCA Sport Modified division. It required the computerized scoring to determine that Matt Sanders beat race long leader Justin McCreadie back to the line by mere inches. These two drivers looked very strong at the opener, which was a race that only needed two yellow flags. Another driver looking good was two-time champion Jorddon Braaten, who managed to take third from Rich McCoy late in the race but ran out of time before getting an opportunity to mix it up with the leaders.
A flat tire in the early goings of the race kept two-time champion Mike Medel from mounting a serious challenge. He diagnosed that problem later in the race, but he never had the chance to go get the tire changed and come back at it again. There are some good drivers to keep an eye on this week in their quest for victory, and some of the ones to watch for include two-time champion Dwayne Melvin, last year's top rookie Branden Wilson, Willie McFall and Doug Coffman.
The Southern Oregon Dwarf Cars put on the race of the night two weeks ago, and a battle between eventual winner Camden Robustelli, three-time reigning champion Josh King and two-time title winner Brock Peters took place. All three drivers led the race. Peters led most of the distance, but Robustelli led the all-important final lap. These three top the list of drivers to watch for this week, but others hoping to stake their claim on the victory include ageless veteran Fred Hay, Mason Lewman, Chad Cardoza, Jesse Lorentz and Kalvin Morton.
Charlie Eaton opened the season with a win in the Valley Store All Late Model Lites season opener. His top rival from last season, Greg Arnold, gave it a good run before settling for second. These two drivers will be battling it out at the front of the pack, and others to watch for this week include Pete Bowne, Mike Cloud, Ross Payant and the husband and wife team of Terry and Krista Hadley.
Rounding out the field are the nostalgic OTRO Hardtops. They bring a fun style of racing with their vintage Coup and Sedan race cars. Last season, Mark Minter led the win column in the Minter family entry. This car has its origins dating back to the founding of OTRO back in the 1980s and was built by Mark's grandfather, Harold Minter. Other drivers to watch for this week include Bill Trotter, Dusty Trotter, Chris Mehrer, Jay Smith and Matt Butler.
Just For The Iron Giant Street Stocks and IMCA Modifieds alone, Saturday night will be an exciting program. It will be nonstop action. Gates open at 5 pm with the first race starting at 7 pm. General Admission prices are $15 for adults and $10 for Seniors, Veterans and Juniors 7 to 12. Children 6 and under are free. For further information, go to www.southernoregonspeedway.com.
Not much can be done when the rain comes down. The state of Oregon saw every race except for the events in Hermiston and Madras rained out this past weekend, and several venues in California were awash as well. Sadly, this included the Friday night Kart and Flat Track Motorcycle program at Little Southern Oregon Speedway and the five division program that was to happen at the big track on Saturday.
This Saturday night will be a special six division offering that will be headlined by The Iron Giant Street Stock Series. Street Stocks are something that Southern Oregon racing fans aren't used to seeing these days. At the old Medford Raceway, fans watched stars such as Jimmy Walker Jr, Jay McCleary Dave Duste Sr and Ben Neel battle it out for supremacy.
In the final years of the old track, the Street Stocks had evolved to create a Sportsman class as sort of the in-between division from Street Stocks to the Late Model class. What's interesting was that only the Sportsman division, now called Pro Stocks, made it to Southern Oregon Speedway when it first opened. The Late Models and Street Stocks were both left behind. Other than a brief run from 2010 through 2014, Street Stocks never got much of a chance at Southern Oregon Speedway.
The budding Street Stock effort on rare occasions had as many as 12 competitors on the track, and stars in the division's brief run included two-time champion Duane Orsburn, one-time champions Jorddon Braaten and Miles Deubert, Brett Provost, Garrett Dees, Tyler Lockwood and Darren Arnold. Several racers from Klamath Falls were a part of the early effort, including Scott Flowers, Scott Bennett, Jeff Hudson and Jeff Haudenshild, all of whom are Pro Stock competitors these days.
While Southern Oregon Speedway may have been left out of the Street Stock loop, Oregon had a thriving effort at every other track in the state. In Willamette, they created a huge event called The Iron Giant race. When there were 55 competitors competing for $5,000 to win in 2016, Chris Sine and James Whitehouse knew that there was great potential to launch a big series for the Street Stocks.
The plan was very simple. There are nine outdoor racing venues in Oregon, and eight of them were included in 2016. There was one race at each track, culminating in The Iron Giant race in Willamette on Labor Day Weekend. The series would start at Southern Oregon Speedway, and Donald Schott wrote his name into the record books in 2017 by winning the first Disorder On The Southern Border race. This was a 50 lap event paying $1,000 to win. Ten drivers competed in that race.
There might have been some question as to who was willing to come to Southern Oregon Speedway from up north, but over 20 racers came to town last season for the second annual event. Andrew Langan picked up the win that night and won another race at Madras. If not for some bad luck that forced him to miss a race, Langan might have been the series champion last year. As it was, David Cronk succeeded Kyle Yaeck as The Iron Giant Series champion last season, aided by his win in St Helens.
The Street Stock division is a nice mixture of Camaros and Firebirds, Monte Carlos, Novas and other makes. The metric cars are starting to grow in popularity as a couple of tracks in Oregon have started the IMCA Stock Car division. Unfortunately for the drivers who choose to run Camaros and Firebirds, their cars are not legal for that effort. Since the Street Stocks are still alive and well in Oregon, that hasn't become an issue yet.
Every so often, you'll hear people in the Medford area ask why there isn't a Street Stock division at the speedway. You would have to ask the track's founder, John Skinner, why he never thought it was important enough to be a part of his roster from the start. These days, the speedway rotates nine different divisions on any given week, so finding a spot for the Street Stocks in the lineup might be a challenge. As there hasn't been sufficient enough interest shown by potential racers, this hasn't become a topic that management has chosen to entertain.
The Iron Giant Street Stock Series visit begins a string of big events coming to Southern Oregon Speedway through the month of June. IMCA Modifieds and IMCA Sport Modifieds have been included this weekend, and the two divisions will take center stage in the Seventh Annual Roger Haudenshild Tribute race on June 1st. Among the other divisions included will be the Calculated Comfort Outlaw Pro Stocks for their first of three visits to the speedway.
The next two weeks will be important in setting the stage for this year's Sport Modified and Modified championship battles. Not only will there be more money on the line for the Haudenshild race, but these two events will go a long way towards putting the racers in a position to really contend for the track title.
Mark Wauge was making some waves during the offseason. With all of the talk centering around the Late Model division and drivers getting involved in that class, he hinted that he was taking a look at getting a car himself in the event that he sold both his trailer and his race car. As he still had his Modified when the season started, Wauge clarified that he was going for an unprecedented eighth IMCA Modified championship. He was also hoping to score his milestone 50th career Modified win at his home track.
Some very late breaking news reports that he has in fact finally gotten a Late Model and is hoping to make some practice laps with it this Saturday night. This is one of the cars previously owned by Trent Elliott. Wauge's departure from the Modified division will break the championship race wide open.
Albert Gill is back to see if he can successfully defend his championship, and conflicting reports tell us that perennial title contender Nick Trenchard plans to give it a go this year. Trenchard has always been a factor when the big money has been on the line, but he has never really pursued a championship in Medford. Should he be doing so this year, the Gill, Trenchard, Zach Fettinger, Preston Jones battle could be epic.
What's interesting is that Jeffrey Hudson has forced the competition to take notice with his impressive drive to victory at the season opener. Driving the Don Romer owned Modified, Hudson turned in a superb performance in winning the season opener. Romer has generally had his car where the money is for the past couple of years, but should a championship in Medford catch his attention, Hudson has proven he's got the ability to hang with the leaders. Thie 2015 Pro Stock champion has only just begun to show what he can do behind the wheel.
These drivers will likely be in town for the IMCA Wild West Speedweek race on June 22nd. That event brings some of the best racers Oregon and even California have to offer for a week-long series that crowns a champion. To this day, only Brian Poppa has managed to win a Speedweek crown from the Medford Area.
The Malicious Monster Truck Tour will come to town to entertain the fans on June 8th and 9th. Last year, despite a conflicting Monster Truck show at the drag strip and rain on the day of the event, the stands were still packed at Southern Oregon Speedway to watch these drivers in their gargantuan machines as they flew through the air and crushed the cars beneath them. This year, fans get two days of entertainment, thanks to the sponsorship of Dave's Carpet and Vinyl Liquidators.
There's just too much excitement happening at Southern Oregon Speedway, and fans will have something good on the schedule almost every week through the scheduled season finale on September 14th.
People have been saying for a couple of years that the IMCA Sport Modifieds were going to get to the level where they would deliver the biggest car counts at the track, and they have finally been proven right. Last season, the division started putting car counts into the twenties on the track, and they opened this year with an impressive 21 car field. Everybody is getting one of these race cars, and it's also opened the door for a few racers on the lower levels who didn't think they could move up.
One of the interesting entrants in the season opener was two-time champion Jorddon Braaten. It wasn't known what the reigning IMCA State Sport Modified champion would do, and we're still not taking anything for granted where the #84 car is concerned. However, if he chooses to compete in every event, he would certainly be a factor in the championship hunt.
Braaten had to come from mid pack to battle the #95 car of Rich McCoy in a good race for third. Ahead of him, Justin McCreadie seemed to have things in hand until being challenged on the final lap by Matt Sanders. Dwayne Melvin had a piece of that action early on until lapped traffic got him. It was one of the best runs we've seen from Melvin in quite some time and an indication that the #69 car could be a threat to win this year.
When the checkered flag falls on the field and the finish is so close that electronic scoring is needed to determine the winner, you know it's been one heck of a battle. The scoring showed that Sanders beat McCreadie back to the line by mere inches in one of the closest finishes in Speedway history.
The aforementioned addition of Wauge to the Late Model roster is sure to get people talking. The division's season debut included 12 competitors, but there were several local stars who weren't quite ready for the show. Three who were on hand and expected to be title contenders were Trent Elliott, Nathan Augustine and Miles Deubert. All three drivers scored Top 5 finishes that night with Elliot finishing second, Augustine fourth and Deubert fifth.
Just when we thought we might not see Dave Foote, he made the announcement at the opener that he will continue to race at Southern Oregon Speedway, and we were also happy to see the Dees family represented by 2016 champion Bob Dees. Even 2013 Pro Stock title winner Dave Everson was making good laps and finishing sixth in the feature.
However, there are some racers we hope to see in action in the weeks ahead, including reigning champion John Dees. John was with his father Bob for the opener. We anticipate the return of past champion Jeremy Richey along with teammate Chris Biggs, James Welshonse, Don Garrett Jr, Brian Bowman, Jason Schultz, John David Duffie and new cars for both Eric Massey and Dustin Knight. People have been saying that this could be a breakout season for the class, and they may be right. The Late Models will be part of the big show on June 1st.
The JOAT Labs Hornets division has seen the competition level rise this year. 2016 champion Tim Hedges knew that was going to be the case, which led him to put new cars together for both himself and wife Jenna Hedges. Basically, the white #14 car ended up giving up the on Tim at last season's finale, and he nearly could have gotten out and ran faster than his car was going on the 3/10 mile clay will that night. Somehow, he managed to cling to second in the standings behind champion Bree Tritchler.
Tritchler stepped up her game with a new car this year, and Dylan Sauer planned to hit the ground running this year after he ended last season with back-to-back Top 3 finishes. Though Hedges has been very fast this season, Sauer has been just a little bit faster with a pair of wins. Because Tim has had just a little bit better luck in the preliminaries, he is clinging to a slim lead, but he knows he'll have to start winning some Main Events to keep his lead.
Tritchler is forced to play catch up with everybody after she blew a motor in hot laps at the opener and was done for the night. It looked like her motor was going to give up on her again at the most recent race, but things worked out and she managed a fourth place feature finish. All of the drivers are watching Sauer, knowing that he is certainly going to be tough to beat.
The Nelson family, meanwhile, has had mixed results so far. Derrel Nelson Jr did get a Top 5 finish in the first race, though he didn't do as well in the most recent show. Son Zach Nelson was nursing a sick motor to the finish line in that race, while Ryan Nelson missed the race making repairs after hitting the front wall in the season opener. He hopes to be back for the next event. The Hornets have certainly been exciting to watch so far.
Car count has been an issue in both the Valley Store All Late Model Lites and Bobbio's Pizza Mini Stocks as some drivers aren't ready to go. The Late Model Lites were without last season's third and fourth place competitors, Eric and Dusty Aos, who are still getting their cars ready. Likewise, Lee Doty's car wasn't quite ready for Ross Payant to make his return last time. It's hopeful that they'll have another car or two in the field this week to do battle with reigning champion Charlie Eaton, Greg Arnold and Pete Bowne.
The Mini Stock division has been without 2014 champion Gary Anderson, who has decided to take a break. Rookie Scott Yergis and Garrett Fredrickson still aren't quite ready to go, and 2013 title winner Steve Goetz blew a motor in Yreka and has missed two races. Had last weekend's race went on a scheduled, reigning champion David Steele was intending to race in Yreka at the annual Mike Caveye Memorial race. Steele has attempted to help a few of his fellow racers get their cars ready and is hoping that there will be another car or two in the field for the next race.