Thursday, June 6, 2019

Malicious Monster Trucks Return To Southern Oregon Speedway

Southern Oregon Speedway Racing Discussion
Can Be Heard HERE

Malicious Monster Trucks Return 
To Southern Oregon Speedway

White City, Oregon...Fans have been looking for a little bit more excitement at Southern Oregon Speedway in recent years, and last season the schedule saw a nice addition. It was the first appearance of the Malicious Monster Truck Insanity Tour. Despite rainy weather and a competing Monster Truck event not far from the track, the stands were packed with fans who were eager to see this form of exciting entertainment.

Because the show was a success, the Malicious Monster Trucks were booked for this Saturday and Sunday in events sponsored by Dave's Carpet And Vinyl Liquidators of Medford. These gargantuan trucks run an obstacle course with cars buried up to their roofs. The trucks jump through the air, do wheelies and compete in a few different styles of competition, to the delight of the fans.

Last year, the wet grounds made things more challenging for the Monster Truck competitors to do their thing.  Given their experience and expertise in handling these vehicles, they did a great job of putting on an entertaining show. Conditions will be much better this Saturday and Sunday, and the fans are in for a real treat.

The Malicious Monster Truck Tour is very popular and makes visits to several different venues on the West Coast. They do not disappoint. On Saturday, about a half-dozen of these high-powered beasts will be competing, led by the fan favorite Rock Star, California Kid, Identity Theft, Spitfire and Honda Generators High Voltage. Deogee and Skeletor will also be there to offer fans rides in specially built Monster Trucks.

This year, the two-day Monster Truck show will be joined by Tuff Trucks. Those drivers will be competing for cash payouts in their competition. If that's not enough, the Tee'd Off Jet Car will provide a little fire and a little thunder for the fans. This promises to be two fun, family-friendly events, and the weather is looking good.

The gates open at 5 p.m. on Saturday with a pit party happening at 5:30 p.m. Showtime begins at 7 pm. The Sunday afternoon event sees the gates opening at 1 p.m. with the pit party at 1:30 p.m. Showtime will be at 3 pm. Tickets for each day are Adults for $20 admission, Seniors for $18, Juniors 8 years and under for $8 and VIP Adult Tickets $30.

Pit Stops

Southern Oregon Speedway hosted the Seventh Annual Roger Haudenshild Tribute race. This has become a very important race to the fans of the 24 year old racing facility as Roger meant a lot to so many people. Because car counts swelled to 97 cars last year and the race ran long due to all the activities associated with his event, promoter Mike McCann pulled one division from the schedule this year. The result was an increase in car count to 103 racers.

The IMCA Sport Modifieds are getting noticed in the Medford area. When you bring 33 cars to the show, it's bound gain attention. Only last season's R Charles Snyder Salute had more cars in attendance. The prize of $1,600 to win drew some big names to the track, including 2015 State of California champion Fred Ryland, the following year's State of California champion Brian Cooper, 2016 Roger Haudenshild Tribute winner Todd Cooper and Yreka point later Ethan Killingsworth.

The way things are going these days, you're going to see about 20 IMCA Sport Modifieds for most of these races. This is the fastest growing class at Southern Oregon Speedway, and it seems like everybody wants a piece of the action. Two-time champion Jorddon Braaten hasn't officially stated that he's trying for a third title at the speedway. He enjoys testing his ability against the best drivers Oregon has to offer, so it's possible you might not see him at the next race. That all depends. One thing we know for sure is that he is now a three-time winner of the Roger Haudenshild Tribute race.

Braaten left little doubt about it when he started on the pole for the $1,600 to win race and led every lap, completing a sweep of Trophy Dash and heat. This was also a milestone win for him as it was his 100th career triumph, and he's nearing the big 50th career win at his home track. The competition might be wishing Jorddon takes it on the road for the next race. If he decides to stick around, it might be difficult beating him for the championship.

It wasn't like Braaten didn't have good racers behind him. Tyler Rodgers was the only driver with more than one feature win at the track last season, and he was giving Jorddon all the pressure he could in the waning laps before settling for second ahead of Fred Ryland. The one driver who was giving Jorddon a nice challenge last year is also the driver chasing him in the points this year. After his second place finish in the opener, Justin McCreadie finished fourth in a nice drive. The passing honors would have to go to Braxton Possinger, who transferred from the B Main and charged all the way to fifth at the checkered flag.

Two-time champion Mike Medel didn't quite have the results he had been hoping for. It's been a rough start for him. His first race resulted in a flat tire that put him out of the running. This race wasn't much better as he was involved in a tangle at the start of the race. Though he took a checkered flag, he still didn't make the Top 10. Not the kind of start Mike was hoping for, but you can believe that he will be back trying harder next time.

It was just a little bit confusing keeping track of all of the #7s at the speedway. There were seven of them with various letters after the number. The Main Event had all seven of them taking a green flag. One of the rookies this year is the #7w of Wyatt Westfall, who is off to a strong start. He picked up his second Top 10 finish in sixth with Jantzen Knips and Ethan Killingsworth right behind him in two of the other #7 cars.

Knips was a Top 5 Modified driver last year who has decided to move into this class this year. Killingsworth is going for the championship in Yreka. Quietly having a strong start this year is two-time Late Model Lites champion Brian Johnsen, who ended up ninth. Johnsen has done well in both Late Model Lites and Pro Stocks, so it won't be a surprise to see him win at some point this season.

June is a very important month for both Modified classes. Though they get this week off, they are back the following week as well as the IMCA Wild West Speedweek night on June 22nd. The IMCA Modifieds will have some of the best drivers Oregon and even California has to offer, which means that this particular race could throw a monkey wrench into the track championship battle. The locals will be fighting just to earn feature starting spots on this occasion.

Bobby Hogge IV is well known as somebody who comes up money in the big shows. His visit to Southern Oregon Speedway was possibly a surprise to some. It was made possible when Late Model car owner Paul Guglielmani let Bobby drive one of his race cars. Bobby had earlier won a feature in that car in Placerville, California. Since he was coming up to run the Late Model, Bobby brought his Modified. The $2,000 to win prize money was enticing enough to make that happen.

All it took was Bobby's mother drawing the #1 pill in the redraw to make it clear that the drivers were going to have their work cut out for them. With this talented third-generation racer on the front row, getting him out of the lead was going to be easier said than done. As it turned out, Bobby never relinquished the lead and earned most of his big payday with the victory in there Roger Haudenshild Tribute IMCA Modified race.

Behind him, however, positions were still up for grabs. Driving the Biehn Racing Modified, Nick Trenchard has won three of the past four Haudenshild Tribute races. However, the crew has been working to get the car dialed in. His effort at the season opener was less than hoped, but Trenchard took it all the way up to second after winning $200 in the Crack The Whip Challenge. It looked like he might have that spot, but he didn't count on the black #88 of Zach Fettinger making a late move. Fettinger had to battle from the sixth row. He had won the Trophy Dash earlier, and he made a charge from fourth to second in the last few laps, taking second in the final turn from Trenchard.

The points will be close after two races. Season opening winner Jeffrey Hudson also started deep in the pack before finishing fifth, enabling him to cling to a one point advantage over Fettinger and Justin Foux. Foux may not be so much of a surprise in second, though he's a rookie in the class this year. He's done very well in IMCA Sport Modifieds during the past couple of years, and he's also earned a pair of Top 5 finishes in the first two races. We haven't heard if Justin's intent is to race for points in Medford, but if he is going for it, this battle just got more interesting. Likewise, Preston Jones brought it home for a sixth place finish after his fourth place finish in the opener. He's only three points out.

Again, the pressure is on to do well in June. The real pressure comes on Speedweek when so many top stars come to town for the big week-long series. The locals find themselves scrambling just to maintain their point effort by making the feature, and some good racers end up on the outside looking in. June 22nd will be important not just because it's going to be Speedweek but because the locals know they need to make the show.

Roger loved Pro Stock racing as well, so the Calculated Comfort Outlaw Pro Stocks were included for the fourth year in a row. It almost seems automatic that two-time reigning champion and two-time reigning race champion Dr Scott Lenz is going to leave with the $1,200 prize and the winner's trophy. Lenz won the Billy Geyer Memorial race in Yreka a month earlier and has been nearly unbeatable with this group for the past two years.

However, Lenz wasn't quite pulling away from the pack once he took the lead from Jeff Haudenshild.  In fact, John David Duffie and second-ranked Scott Flowers weren't far behind him. When a flat tire sent Duffie to the pits, Flowers stepped up his game. Lenz might not have seen him coming, but he ended up getting a good view of the #21 car as it passed him on the back straightaway. Flowers hasn't won in over four years, and he's long overdue to get a victory. He led for about a half-dozen laps before Lenz came racing by, but the doctor knew he had to work for this one.

Scott Flowers did well enough in finishing second to reclaim second in the standings from his son James, who finished fourth behind a nice drive for Jeff Haudenshild. The Pro Stocks also delivered a 17 car field, which included three cars from the Hackworth racing team. In fact, Ryan Smith drove the Tom Hackworth #34 car to the $200 Crack The Whip Challenge win, while Chris Ellis earned a seventh place feature finish. The Pro Stocks still remain a favorite to many fans at the speedway, who are looking forward to the July 13th event where the group will be headlining.

One of the drivers who has made it known that he will be running at Medford in his Pro Stock whenever possible is two-time association champion Ken Irving. Like the Hackworth team and Dan Randall, he seems to be there when the races are scheduled. Otherwise, he's busy with his son Dylan's Mini Stock effort. Parked next to Irving was Chuck Hipps, who hadn't been seen at the speedway since 2015. There is definitely a stronger movement going to get the class back more often next season. As far as the race was concerned, Irving didn't quite get it up to the speed he had hoped, but he was the first car a lap down in fifth, finishing ahead of newcomer Kenneth LaPlant.

Southern Oregon racing fans are talking about the Late Model division. For many years, Late Models were featured at the Medford Raceway, but they were only an occasional attraction at Southern Oregon Speedway. Mike McCann stepped in here to do something about that with the addition of the class in 2016. It's been growing steadily, but this year it seems like everybody is wanting to get a race car. You know it's serious when seven-time IMCA Modified champion Mark Wauge gets a car and joins the fun. Wauge made his division debut on Saturday.

Your getting some top notch drivers coming down from up north with Trent Elliot and Darren Coffell among the field. Elliott had finished second in the season opener, but at times Turn 2 proved to be a bit tricky for him on Saturday. He spun from the lead in his heat race and also spun in the Main Event before making a charge back to finish fourth. This was good enough to keep him leading the standings ahead of 2013 Pro Stock champion Dave Everson, who got it to the finish line in fifth in his best run yet in this class.

Up at the front of the pack, the fans were treated to a classic duel between Coffell and Bobby Hogge IV. Hogge always comes prepared, and he's won some of the biggest races at the speedway through the years. He held the lead, only two surrender it to Coffell. But Hogge kept searching the track for the right line. He saw something on the outside that Coffell wasn't looking at, and he used an outside pass in the fourth turn of the 20th lap to take the lead and bring it home to the $1,000 victory. Coffell finished second.

Normally, a third place finish isn't something that Wauge will go around bragging about. He comes to win, and he's won over 50 Main Events at Southern Oregon Speedway in his illustrious career, including 49 in the IMCA Modifieds. Not knowing how well he was going to do in this class in his first race, he actually had a legitimate shot to score the victory. That has Mark feeling more confident as he looks ahead to the next event. Despite having a late start, Wauge has a chance to make some moves in the standings in the weeks ahead if he keeps racing the way he did here.

All of the racers know they need to step up their game. It's a whole different Late Model division than it's been for the past three years, but Miles Deubert and Dave Foote are two racers giving it a heck of a run. Deubert finished seventh ahead of Foote. We are approaching 20 different drivers who have already competed, and we're just two races in. Furthermore, there are several drivers who haven't made their season debuts just yet. Late Model racing is alive and well at Southern Oregon Speedway, and it promises to only get bigger.

The Southern Oregon Dwarf Cars were a nice way to round out this exciting program. Much like the IMCA Sport Modifieds, they bring a huge field of competitors every time they are on the schedule. Cameron Robustelli seems to be the fastest driver in the group in the early goings of the season, but mechanical issues dropped him from the lead and sent him to the pits at the Yreka race and last Saturday night. It has to be frustrating for Robustelli, who has finished as high as second in the standings and would love to notch his first career championship. Three-time reigning champion Josh King skipped this event to win a pair of features in Winnemucca, Nevada this past weekend.

This opened the door for Brock Peters, who has been looking good so far this year. Brock led several laps of the season opener before finishing second. He had been having a thrilling side-by-side battle with ageless veteran Fred Hay for second behind Robustelli. Once Robustelli departed, Peters took over. Neither Hay nor eventual second place finisher Chad Cardoza was going to keep him from the winner's circle on this occasion.

You won't hear Cardoza complaining as he stays in the championship hunt once again with a strong second place finish, and seeing Hay on the podium had several fans smiling. One has to wonder if a feature win for Hay may be just around the corner. It would certainly make for a very popular win. Cardoza also won both his heat race and the A Dash, while Steve Walker collected the B Dash victory. Walker also did quite well in the Main Event as he finished fourth ahead of the Mod Lite of Jesse Lorentz. Lorentz had been struggling for much of last year to get his #96 car up to speed, but it looks like he's just about got it there now.

It seems like Ryan Smith did about everything a racer could do short of winning the Main Event. He led some early laps, rolled spectacularly in the first turn and still managed to finish sixth in the feature. Maybe it's not the way he wanted to get it to the checkered flag, but at least he got it there.

Meanwhile, Michael Johnson had his best effort of the year as the second-generation racer placed seventh ahead of newcomer Shane Hines. It was nice to see a couple of drivers get Top 10 finishes who haven't had that much success as Mark Nielsen placed ninth and Dane Halbert was tenth.