Southern Oregon Speedway Racing Discussion
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Bobbio's Pizza Mini Stocks Begin 25th Season
At Southern Oregon Speedway
At Southern Oregon Speedway
White City, Oregon...The Bobbio's Pizza Mini Stocks return as one of the featured divisions at Southern Oregon Speedway this season. Along with the IMCA Modifieds, they are the only division to crown a champion every season since the track opened in 1996. The division has served as an entry point into the racing scene, launching several racing careers through the years.
The four cylinder division has included cars from several different manufacturers through the years, including Toyotas, Nissans and Fords. Currently, the most popular model is the Ford Mustang, and it's not often you see a racer break that trend and score a feature win these days. Back in the early days, drivers like Brian Barns, Tracy Bradley, David Bishop, Rich McCoy and Mike Johnson counted themselves as champions at the speedway. Both McCoy and Johnson went on to compete in other classes, and Barns was the first Late Model Lites champion when that division was introduced.
They didn't get much better then Jim Pope and John Derby. Both drivers had a knack for scoring feature wins and were track champions. In fact, Derby won four-consecutive titles before stepping away. It was around that time that two top notch competitors, Bob Burkett and David Steele, entered the scene. Burkett has won championships in both Mini Stocks and Late Model Lites before stepping away, and Steele has been on a major roll for the past few seasons.
You might as well put a big target on the fast #67 Mustang of Steele. Everybody is gunning for him. During the past two seasons, he's only failed to win the Main Event four times on his way to back-to-back championships. Along the way, Steele has written his name in the books as the all-time Main Event win leader in division history. In fact, he's also known to head down to Yreka on occasion and leave with the Main Event winner's hardware there as well. Simply put, Steele is the driver to beat anytime he's there.
It's the new stars who have joined this class in recent seasons who have gained valuable experience and become threats to Steele. The two Main Events he didn't win last year were won by 2018 championship runner-up Hunter Magnan and last season's point runner-up Ashtin Hedges. Hedges was a feature winner in the Hornet division prior to moving up to the Mini Stock class, and he topped the competitors with six runner-up finishes last season as the biggest threat to Steele on any given race night. Both drivers should be fast this year.
2013 champion Steve Goetz had a horrendous start to his season last year, which took him out of contention, but he'll be a threat to get back into the winner's column this year. Likewise, 2017 champion Kristopher Mix is hoping to grab another feature win this year. Though the third-generation racer Mix also had a rough start last year, he still climbed his way up the point ladder and held off Magnan to rank third in the standings. He plans to compete in both the Mini Stock and IMCA Sport Modified classes this year.
Teammates Dylan Irving and Brandyn Wonsyld were both top competitors in the Hornet division in the past, and both won Main Events in that class. Last season, Irving drove the former David Marble car to a fifth place season, which was good enough to earn him top rookie honors. He'll be out to get his first win in this class, while Wonsyld will be hoping to be a bigger threat to win races as well.
The division will gain the Hedges Racing Team in full force this year. 2016 Hornets champion Tim Hedges has a four-car team again this year. He will be behind the wheel of the 2014 division championship car of Gary Anderson. Wife Jenna Hedges has a car, although she's tentative as far as how much racing she will do. As a two-time Hornet point runner up and feature winner in that class, it stands to reason that she would get comfortable behind the wheel of a Mini Stock in short order. There's no word on who will drive the other Hedges car, and one of the cars is a championship winning machine from a little over a decade ago.
Andrew Hall, who was a Top 5 competitor a few years ago, is hoping he will have his Ford Pinto dialed in just right this year. There are several other cars available, and there has been some speculation that we'll be seeing a few new or returning drivers in the field. Competitors such Garrett Fredrickson, Greg McDaniels and Scott Yergis could see some action this year. We might also see a visit or two from drivers in the Yreka area when scheduling allows.
The Mini Stock division serves an important role in getting new drivers on the track who eventually move up to other classes. Car count is expected to increase slightly this season during the 13 race schedule. The first race for the class will happen on May 2nd. Other races to look forward to include May 16th, May 30th as part of the Roger Haudenshild Tribute, June 13th, June 20th, June 27th, July 11th, July 25th, August 8th, August 22nd, August 29th and Championship Night on September 12th. For further information on this and other topics, go to www.southernoregonspeedway.com.
Late Model Lites Return For 16th Season
At Southern Oregon Speedway
At Southern Oregon Speedway
White City, Oregon...Southern Oregon Speedway continues to offer the pinnacle of four cylinder racing. This is the Late Model Lites division, and it returns for its 16th championship season on the 3/10 mile clay oval. The division first launched in 2003, and Mini Stock graduate Brian Barns won the first two titles. As this class has evolved, it's become one of the fastest race cars at the speedway.
Following the 2013 season with a bit of controversy behind the scenes, the division was discontinued. However, a few racers wouldn't give up on the dream, led by Lee Doty . Doty lobbied for a race in 2015, which he won. He then persuaded new Promoter Mike McCann to add the class in 2016, coming on board as the title sponsor for the class in 2017. Valley Store All Self Storage in Medford sponsored three seasons for the class, but 2016 champion Doty has since retired to Arizona after selling his car to Ross Payant.
If the Payant name sounds familiar, it's because Ross was a Late Model competitor at the old Medford Raceway. He was a multi-time Late Model Lites feature winner last year on his way to third in the standings behind new champion Greg Arnold and 2018 title winner Charlie Eaton. Arnold, who also won the 2002 Super Truck championship, has moved up to full Late Models this season, putting Payant and Eaton into the position of "drivers to beat".
Eaton would love to join Joe Guider, Brian Johnsen and Barns as a two-time champion, but he knows the competition will still be tough. In addition to Payant, the Hadley Racing team is anticipated with three cars this season. Nobody in the history of the division has more feature wins than past division championship runner-up Terry Hadley. Wife Krista Hadley had multiple Top 3 feature finishes last season, and she ranked fourth in the standings. Both drivers will be threats to win.
The Aos Racing Team should again be represented. Both Eric Aos and Dusty Aos have been Top 5 ranked in recent seasons, and Dusty was fifth last year. Last year was not the kindest to either one of them, but as feature winners in the past, they should both be considered threats to win again this season.
Following a season with horrendous luck, Jim Cunningham is hoping to dial out the bugs and become a factor in the battle for wins this season. One driver who has won Main Events in the past, Danny Prewitt, is expected to return this season. The 2018 championship car of Bob Burkett has been purchased by the Naramore Racing Team and is expected to return this season. The Naramore family competed in the old Thrill Car division and were champions. We're also hoping to see 2013 champion John Barger make an appearance or two this year as well.
For the Mini Stock racer looking to continue in four cylinder competition, these fast race cars are an attractive option. They will make their first 2020 appearance on May 9th, followed by visits on May 23rd, June 20th, July 4th, July 25th, August 1st, August 15th and Championship Night on September 17th. It's hoped that the car count will be assisted by the more relaxed eight race season. For further information on this and other topics, go to www.southernoregonspeedway.com.
Pro Stocks, Hardtops Make Three Appearances Each
In 2020 At Southern Oregon Speedway
In 2020 At Southern Oregon Speedway
Medford, Oregon...There's quite the variety on the 2020 schedule once again at Southern Oregon Speedway. Every year since the track opened in 1996, the Pro Stocks have held at least one race, and that will continue again this year with three visits on three special occasions. The Old Time Racers of Oregon Hardtops will also be back with their vintage style of racing three times.
When the speedway opened in 1996, the Pro Stocks were instrumental in helping establish a solid foundation. Frequently during those early years, the Pro Stocks delivered the biggest car counts at the track. There would be over 30 competitors at times, and the field included some of the best drivers, including Jimmy Walker Jr, Scott Lenz, Brian Poppa, Frank Word III, Tony Walker and John David Duffie. The first four drivers count themselves as champions. Walker won three of the first championships at the speedway, and Word won an incredible eight titles in nine seasons, interrupted by Poppa after his first four-consecutive titles.
When the speedway went a different route with the introduction of the IMCA Sport Modifieds in 2012, a few drivers joined the class. However, others formed the Outlaw Pro Stock Association. The group enters their ninth season. They have had an impressive roster of their own, and this includes two-time champions Ken Irving and Scott Lenz, one-time champions Steve Borror and Dave Everson. The reigning champion will be Scott Flowers. Flowers like several drivers on the roster, hails from the Klamath Falls area. He broke a five-year winner's drought with his October win in Yreka last year. After second and third place finishes in Medford last year, he's hoping to grab a victory here this time around.
Jeff Haudenshild managed to score the surprise win in the R Charles Snyder Salute last season. In an effort to help the Pro Stocks get more of an opportunity to shine, Promoter Mike McCann has booked them as the third division for the Sunday portion of the Snyder race on September 6th. There will be no fourth division this time, meaning the Pro Stocks should have a great opportunity to shine. Haudenshild and Flowers will lead an impressive line-up of competitors which should include such stars as Irving, James Flowers, Matt Harlow, Kenneth LaPlant, Rick Lukens, Colby Hammond and Dean Hackworth. We could also see 2016 champion Steve Borror among the field as well.
The Pro Stocks have become an important part of the Roger Haudenshild Tribute race, which happens again on May 30th. With two-time series champion Scott Lenz winning the last three big shows and moving up to Late Models this year, it opens the door for somebody else to get a winner's opportunity. Borror won the race in 2016. However, there is still one other Pro Stock race on the schedule that the association will be a part of.
On July 11th, Southern Oregon Speedway offers a $1,000 to win race with a special meaning behind it. This will be the Rocky Nash Memorial race. Nash was not only one of the top Pro Stock competitors and a longtime Medford area racer, he was also a winner on the prestigious NASCAR West Series circuit on multiple occasions. Nash passed away in 2017 following complications suffered from a crash in Yreka. This event will be promoted by the new Tri State Pro Stock Series.
Series organizer Roy Bain was excited to announce the event after negotiations fell through in the attempt to book a race in 2018. The Pro Stocks will be the headliner that night, and drivers from Oregon, California and Nevada are anticipated. Jesse Gonzalez has won the first two races held in Stockton, California this year. He figures to be a tough competitor, along with such crafty veterans as Bill Pearson, reigning series champion Mike Learn, Jerry Bartlett, Ryan Cherezian, Donny Richardson and some of the best drivers from the Oregon Outlaw Pro Stock Association.
The Vintage Coup and Sedan race cars from the Old Time Racers of Oregon will be back three times this year as well. The drivers compete in old 1930s and 1940s Ford, Chevy and Dodge bodied race cars. They have had several races each season since Promoter Mike McCann took over the track in 2016. Mark Minter counts himself as the only driver to win a feature in each of the four previous seasons. Bill Trotter has been the biggest supporter of the effort during that time, and both drivers are anticipated when the group comes to town on May 9th, May 23rd and June 13th.
Among the drivers on the roster are Dan Fouts in the Dusty Trotter owned entry, Brian Weberg II, Matt Butler, Jay Smith, Chris Mehrer and Dean Cast. Cast was a feature winner last season, and Butler and Weberg were both preliminary race winners last year. The Hardtops are always fun to watch and are a throwback to a time when this division ruled the race tracks throughout the United States in the 1950s and 1960s.