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|Sprint Cars, Late Models Cap Double Header Weekend At Southern Oregon Speedway|| Rate Topic
|Posted: Friday Aug 18th, 2017 07:47 PM||
Don Martin II
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Sprint Cars, Late Models Cap Double Header Weekend
White City, Oregon...Another two night racing weekend is on tap at Southern Oregon Speedway. Following last week's big Hall Of Fame night, this Saturday's night show offers the high powered Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars and Late Models along with Mini Stocks, OTRO Hardtops and Pro Stocks. There is also a full program of Outlaw Karts at the one-eighth mile dirt oval next to the big track on Friday night.
People are talking about the Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car and Late Model divisions. The track has never had a serious Late Model effort of its own. You have to go back to the old Medford Speedway to find that. The Sprint Cars have had over a dozen championship seasons, but the division fell off after 2010. Promoter Mike McCann made a commitment to establish both of these divisions at the track when he took over this year, and the numbers are up for both.
The Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars had a ten car field last time and a dozen cars at the previous race. There have been four different winners in seven races. Reigning champion Jake Wheeler was back to win his first Main Event last time and deny Kyler Barraza his fourth win. Kyler's three wins and two seconds have given him a commanding point lead. In fact, he could actually clinch the championship with a good enough finish this week. Barraza may have taken a couple of seasons off since his back to back Southern Oregon Sprint Tour championships, but he's picked up right where he left off.
The battle is between past Cottage Grove champion David Hibbard, impressive rookie Merissa Henson and two time winner Bailey Hibbard for second, and just seven points separate the three. Though three time feature runnnerup D. Hibbard and his son Bailey have had better finishes than Henson, she has done a slightly better job of getting to the finish line and has finished as high as third. B. Hibbard is coming off of back to back non finishes, and he's looking to turn his luck around this week. Whatever happens in the championship battle, it looks like the race for second will go down to the final checkered flag next month.
The Sprint Cars are gaining more interest every week. Outlaw Kart stars Tanner Holmes and Mike Wheeler have both joined the division in recent weeks. Holmes has taken two checkered flags with a fifth place finish in his first start. Young rookie Enrique Jaime finished fourth last time as he is now fifth in points. The division has several young competitors, which bodes well for the future. We've also seen the return of 1998 Cottage Grove champion Hedge Carter after an eight year absence. People are talking about Southern Oregon Speedway's Sprint Car effort, and indications are that we will keep seeing new additions to the roster in the days ahead.
By far the most exciting driver to watch in Late Models is Dustin Knight. He leads Nathan Augustine in a close championship battle, and he likes to run right on the edge. Knight delighted the crowd last week with a last lap pass from third to first to win the Trophy Dash. He then had the lead, lost it and regained it in traffic to win his second Main Event. Knight now has two wins and three seconds in the Main Event. Augustine has a win and chased Knight twice for second place finishes. He also has three Trophy Dash wins. Both drivers are fast, and you get contrasting driving styles from the more aggressive Knight to the more patient Augustine. This is a battle that could go down to the season finale.
Reigning champion Bob Dees just gained third by a point over Kristy Grout. Dees finished third last week, while Grout ran further back. She was fortunate to be back after her rollover a few weeks ago bent her frame. Tim Grout found a new chassis and spent the off week getting it ready for Kristy to come back. Dave Foote and Mike Linder have both had their moments this year with recent Top 4 finishes. We saw the return of Don Garrett and the debut of Chris Biggs last week. Drivers are watching this class and looking to join the action. In fact, Top 3 Antioch Speedway competitor David Newquist and Mike Hynes are planning to visit the speedway this week. It's looking like Saturday's race could even offer a season high car count on the heels of last week's ten car field.
Mini Stocks were added with a point race this week to make up for an earlier rainout. The point battle is so close that just 11 points separate 16 year old Dillen Lausen, Kristopher Mix, 15 year old Michael Johnson and past champions Steve Goetz and Gary Anderson. Johnson won his first race at his home track last time out, joining Goetz, Anderson and David Steele on the winner's list. Most of the drivers in the field have a legitimate chance to win. Though Andrew Hall has struggled a bit in his Pinto Wagon, he's due for a big night.
OTRO Hardtops make their final appearance of the season, and Mark Minter and Jamie Britton have divided the wins among each other with two each. Bruce Wilkerson was racing hard to get a win for car owner Vic Bridges last time, but front end damage ended his race early. Staunch OTRO supporter Bill Trotter, who fields two cars, was the fourth different Trophy Dash winner last time. He too will be racing hard for a feature win. OTRO has had fun putting on a show for the fans with their old Coupe and Sedan race cars, and indications are that a few drivers missing in recent visits will be back this week.
The Pro Stocks have struggled to get cars under the track's banner, which is raising speculation about the future of the division that has been a part of the roster since the track opened. Dr. Scott Lenz won the most recent race, which was his third victory of the season. A family commitment will keep him out of the action this week, which opens the door for one time winner Jeffrey Hudson and rookie Dean Hackworth to make a big leap in points. Josh Kralicek and Darron Arnold are both anticipated this week, and there's word of Miles Deubert possibly racing in a different car. We may also see the debut of past Top 5 Mini Stock racer Mike Cloud.
Friday Night Karts bring down the curtain on their season this Friday night. Two of the more interesting battles are for the Beginners Box Stock and Box Stock championships. Following his runaway second Main Event victory last Friday, Malachi Johnson holds a five point lead over Kiley Grimes in the Beginners class. Trevor Grimes has won most of the Box Stock races and he's looking for his third straight championship. He lost last week's race to a late pass by first time winner Keaton Augustine. Augustine trails by 17 points in that battle. Grimes was leading the 250 Kart point race, but he surrendered the lead to three time winner Carley Holmes by 15 points after failing to start the Main Event last week. All three championships are still up for grabs this week.
The gates open for both events at 5:00 PM with the first race at 7:00 PM. Friday's General Admission is $10.00 with Children 6 and under $5.00. This gives you access to the pits. Saturday's prices are $12.00 for General Admission, $6.00 for Children (6-12), Seniors and Veterans and Children 5 and under are free. For further information go to http://www.southernoregonspeedway.com.
Drivers Lining Up To Compete In $3,000 To Win Cascade Wingless Sprint Car Challenge At Southern Oregon Speedway
White City, Oregon...We're less than two weeks away from the Cascade Wingless 360 Sprint Car Challenge, presented by Herz Precision Parts, and there are already some top notch competitors planning to come to Southern Oregon Speedway for a run at the $3,000 top prize being offered. The race happens on August 26th at the fast three-tenth mile clay oval, located in White City, Oregon at the Jackson Sports Park. The track has held some big Winged Sprint Car races through the years, but this is the biggest Wingless Sprint race ever held here. Promoter Mike McCann intends to make this an annual event.
It's just been confirmed that "The Human Highlight Reel" Geoff Ensign will be behind the wheel of the Ted Finkenbinder owned Sprinter. Ted may field a second car, but the #3f car will be driven by the third generation racer Ensign. Geoff has won many Wingless Spec Sprint and 360 Sprint Car races, including USAC wins in Finkenbinder's cars. This year, Geoff has excelled at winged racing as the point leader at both Petaluma and Watsonville and second in points in the Civil War Series. The Cascade Sprint Car Challenge offers Geoff an opportunity to indulge in his love of Wingless Sprint Car racing and make a run at the big prize being offered. He may be the driver to beat.
We're still waiting on word from Kyle Miller, who has won some big Wingless Sprint Car races in Oregon through the years. However, two other big stars from the state are confirmed. Tim Alberding and Lance Hallmark are coming to make a run at the money. Alberding is a multi time Wingless Sprint Car champion and currently second on the NWWT circuit this season. Hallmark is in the midst of his second straight Top 5 point season with the NWWT Sprint Series. He's still looking for his first win of the season, but he won twice last year, including a $2,000 payday at Coos Bay.
Another Californian coming up for the big show will be Rowdy McClennon. McClennon was one of the stars on the Wingless Spec Sprint circuit during the the past seven years and is the 2012-2013 Chico champion. He's been running winged races recently. He had a Trophy Dash win at Southern Oregon Speedway last year and won a 410 Sprint Car race at Marysville a couple seasons ago. McClennon is coming to make a run at what could potentially be his biggest wingless win, and he would have to be considered a serious contender.
2014 NWWT point runnerup Mike Romig is on the list of about a dozen racers who has said they are planning to come race so far. The Vancouver, WA resident, who hasn't been running the NWWT series regularly since 2014, finished sixth at Willamette behind past top 5 ranked NWWT racer Mark Herz last week. Herz is a staunch supporter of Wingless Sprint Car racing in Oregon and has sponsored several races, including the Cascade Sprint Car Challenge. Steve Hix is a regular with the USAC West Coast 360 Sprint Car Tour. He's currently contending for a Top 10 point position there. He has family near Southern Oregon Speedway and is looking forward to a visit.
Kyler Barraza could clinch the track's Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car Series championship with a good finish on August 19th. He's already a two time Southern Oregon Sprint Tour champion with multiple Coos Bay championships, and he's won wingless races in the past. Kyler was at Willamette for a wingless show last week. He hasn't run without a wing in a few years, but he won the Trophy Dash. He's a bit more familiar with Southern Oregon Speedway. Whether with wings or without, Barraza will be tough to beat at his home track.
The Cascade Sprint Car Challenge is offering a nice payday. No Main Event starter makes less than $250. After $3,000 to win, the $1,500 prize for second and $1,000 for third are still pretty nice. There are some good racers already committed to the show, and whoever wins will have to bring their A game. It's all happening on August 26th at Southern Oregon Speedway. Race information can be found, http://www.southernoregonspeedway.com/cascade.pdf, and the track web page is http://www.southernoregonspeedway.com.
Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars Back
White City, Oregon...People are talking about the Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car division at Southern Oregon Speedway. The Sprint Cars have had over a dozen championship seasons, but the division fell off after 2010. The track didn't crown its own champion until Promoter Mike McCann brought Sprint Cars back in 2016. McCann's reputation as a Sprint Car guy is well documented. He started Sprint Car divisions at Cottage Grove and Marysville that continue to this day.
David Hibbard has been wanting to come back to his home track, where he has won his share of Main Events through the years. Hibbard won the Limited Sprint championship at Cottage Grove in 2014 as well as ten Main Events there from 2013-2016. He is an advocate for the more affordable rules set that is being used at Cottage Grove as it allows him to field a second car for his son Bailey. This year, they added a car for his father Calvin to the team. David has worked with McCann behind the scenes to help spark a renewed interest in the Sprint Car effort at Southern Oregon Speedway, and the numbers are up from last year after seven races.
The Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars had a ten car field last time and a dozen cars at the previous race. There have been four different winners in seven races. Reigning champion Jake Wheeler was back to win his first Main Event of the season last time. The Wheeler family has been supporters of the Medford Sprint Car effort through the years, and both Jake and his father Vern Wheeler Jr. were winners last season. Jake's first start this year was a mixed bag. He beat Barraza to win the scramble on his first night back, but he flipped in the Main Event. His win last time out reminded everybody that he is the reigning champion. Wheeler was also a Top 5 competitor in this year's Speedweek Series.
Kyler Barraza's three wins and two seconds have given him a commanding point lead. In fact, he could actually clinch the championship with a good enough finish this week. Barraza may have taken a couple of seasons off since his back to back Southern Oregon Sprint Tour championships, but he's picked up right where he left off this season. His only non Top 3 finish came the night he spun going for the lead in the final turn rather than spinning out the leader. He enters this week as the driver to beat.
The battle in points is between David Hibbard, impressive rookie Merissa Henson and two time winner Bailey Hibbard for second, and just seven points separate the three. Though three time feature runnerup D. Hibbard and his son Bailey have had better finishes than Henson, she has done a slightly better job of getting to the finish line and has finished as high as third. B. Hibbard is coming off of back to back non finishes, and he's looking to turn his luck around this week. Whatever happens in the championship battle, it looks like the race for second will go down to the final checkered flag next month.
The Sprint Cars are gaining more interest every week. Outlaw Kart stars Tanner Holmes and Mike Wheeler have both joined the division in recent weeks. Holmes has taken two checkered flags with a fifth place finish in his first start and a lead lap seventh his last time out. Young rookie Enrique Jaime finished fourth last time as he is now fifth in points. The division has several young competitors, which bodes well for the future. With the new rules package, this division is becoming an intriguing option for the Outlaw Kart racers looking to make a move up.
We've also seen the return of 1998 Cottage Grove champion Hedge Carter after an eight year absence. Carter has a third place finish and a fourth in his two starts. It might have been two thirds if not for a late pass two races ago by rising young star Camden Robustelli. Carter will be there this Saturday night, and word is that Cottage Grove point leader Ricky Ashley and Tyler Thompson are planning to make their first visits to Southern Oregon Speedway. The division has gotten the attention of two locally based 360 Sprint Car champions, Seth Nunes and Charlie Thompson. Thompson recently borrowed Merissa Henson's motor to make a start at Cottage Grove. Nunes just got a motor legal for this division.
People are talking about Southern Oregon Speedway's Sprint Car effort, and indications are that we will keep seeing new additions to the roster in the days ahead. Saturday night's show looks like it should be another good one headed into the August 26th Cascade Wingless 360 Sprint Car Challenge, presented by Herz Precision Parts. That race will pay $3,000 to win. The final race for the Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Car Series will be September 9th. For further information, go to http://www.southernoregonspeedway.com. For further information on the Cascade Wingless Sprint Car Challenge, you can find the flier at http://www.southernoregonspeedway.com/cascade.pdf.
Kendall Oil Sprint Cars
Kyler Barraza 238
David Hibbard 181
Merissa Henson 176
Bailey Hibbard 174
Enrique Jaime 137
Calvin Hibbard 99
Camden Robustelli 80
Hedge Carter 59
Jake Wheeler 54
Tanner Holmes 45
August 26 Cascade Wingless Sprint Challenge
Sprint Car Champions
1996 Dan Menne
1997 Bill Nutter
1998 Dan Menne
2001 Chad Bauer
2002 Todd Zeitler
2003 Dan Menne
2004 T.J. Winningham
2005 Dan Menne
2006 Bill Nutter
2007 Randy Rodgers
2008 Randy Rodgers
2009 Charlie Thompson
2010 Chadd Noland
2013 Kyler Barraza *
2014 Kyler Barraza *
2016 Jake Wheeler
Hall Of Fame Night produced one of the better car counts of the season last week at Southern Oregon Speedway. The IMCA Modifieds were back in action without their point leader. Just a race after declaring his intent to win his third championship in the last four seasons, Albert Gill saw a family commitment keep him out of the field. Jesse Bailey had missed a race earlier this year, but he was back last week to try to take advantage of the absence of Gill. He would leave the night with a slim point lead.
Bailey was part of a four car battle at the front of the pack last week when he spun to avoid a crash with a lapped car that nearly got leader Zach Fettinger. When the yellow flag flew, track officials assigned the blame to the slower car and put Bailey back to third. He made a late pass to take second from Mark Wauge. It was his best finish since winning the 2015 season opener. Bailey now leads Gill by just three points with just the R. Charles Snyder Salute on September 2-3 and the September 16th finale remaining in the schedule.
Wauge returned with his old car. He and his crew had lots of work to do to get it fixed after a hard crash in Willamette during Speedweek. Mark does have a new car coming, but he decided to get the other one fixed so he could get back out there and race. His decision to change numbers might have been inspired in part as a way to change his luck. This hasn't been the best season for the seven time reigning champion, but he was all over the back bumper of Zach Fettinger for most of the race last week before finishing third. It's a clear indication that the car is running fine, and Mark will be out to get another win before the season ends.
The last time out, Fettinger had a third place finish, and there had been a little bit of talk before the last race that it might be his turn to win this week. There have been 14 different winners in the last 15 races. The only repeat winner in that time is Wauge. Zach took the lead from Preston Jones, who is another driver who could score a win at any time. Once Fettinger got the lead, he had Wauge, Bailey and Matt Duste chasing him closely the rest of the way. However, he wasn't letting this one get away. He drove one of his best races for an impressive win.
Ray Kniffen Jr. didn't have his best Main Event of the year, but the second generation racer did have something to smile about. Ray kicked off the night with his first Trophy Dash victory. He's also working on his best point effort in the division as he ranks fourth, followed closely by rookie Shane Everson. He's still within 19 points of Wauge for third. "Cowboy" Duane Orsburn had some nice graphics on his black #0 car. It's a new car for Duane, who is hoping to be a bit more competitive. Duane was third in points last season and is a two time Street Stock champion at the speedway. He drove to a respectable fifth place finish last week, followed by rookie Jantzen Knips. This is the second lead lap checkered flag finish for the 500 Open Kart graduate Knips, who seems to be handling the move up in divisions well.
The IMCA Sport Modified championship battle is just as close. Rich McCoy is giving it everything he has in an effort to reel in Mike Medel and Willie McFall. McCoy started out the season with a hot laps crash that ended his night prematurely. Since then, he's been working his way back into contention. Rich scored a clean sweep victory last week, which was also his second straight feature win and fourth straight Top 3 finish. He still finds himself 17 points back, but the R. Charles Snyder Salute is coming September 2-3. With an increased car count anticipated, those points could be made up in one race. All McCoy can do now is just try to win and let the points fall where they will. He's looked impressive lately.
Willie McFall knew he needed to step up and have a big night last week, and that's exactly what he did. McFall couldn't catch McCoy, but he still drove a great race to finish second ahead of the resurgent David Marble. McFall has been quietly having the best season of his career, and he's keeping the pressure on Medel. However, Willie knows a win right now might be just what it takes to get his first division championship. Don't count him out. McFall did notch his third career Trophy Dash win at the previous race. Medel certainly knows McFall is there now.
Medel was actually lucky to be there last week. The reigning champion's start this year was impressive. He had back to back second place finishes, followed by a Main Event victory. Medel had to battle at the previous race just to hold off McFall for third. Then, it got worse. Getting ready to come out last week, Mike found that he had a blown motor. It was fortunate for him that Don Braaten still had the Street Stock motor that Jorddon ran a few years ago. Mike worked hard to get the motor in the car, and then he started having transmission issues. By the time he got that fixed and made it to the track, he didn't care where he started. He was just grateful to be there. Mike had a battle with Braaten for fifth. He settled for sixth, but that still kept him in the point lead. Like McFall, Mike has to be concerned with that "Lightning McQueen" #95 car of McCoy and keeping him out of the winner's circle at the R. Charles Snyder Salute. It should be good racing on Labor Day Weekend.
Last week saw an incredible 18 Sport Modified racers signed in to go racing. This included Cottage Grove Speedway competitor Jayson Nelson. Nelson is the Oregon State point leader, and he's not about to let that championship get away from him. Nelson is racing hard to win the Cottage Grove championship. He trails Buddy McHargue by just three points, and there are only five points separating the Top 4 drivers in the standings. Rookie Dave Rule was also back last week, and he got it to the checkered flag in eighth, followed by fellow rookie Tony Duste. The team cars of Matt Sanders and Isaac Sanders were both there. Matt purchased the #18 car from Kalvin Morton and changed the number to 8. Unfortunately, the teammates crashed on the first lap and did not finish. It is nice to see these new drivers getting out there to help build the class.
The SODCA Dwarf Car point sheet is still only updated to July on their official website, but you can almost set your watch to the fact that reigning champion Brock Peters is the point leader. Brock has mastered Southern Oregon Speedway with four wins this year, but the talk was all about his son Cody. Cody is behind the wheel of Brock's old M&M Chassis as Brock got a new M&M Chassis this year. It's helped them as they can set them up similarly and run the same parts. Brock was more proud of Cody's accomplishment in winning the Pro Dwarf Car feature at the Nationals than his most recent win. He also knows that Cody may be a future SODCA champion. With Ryan Smith, Chad Cardoza and Cody lurking in contention, Brock isn't taking anything for granted. He knows he has to finish this season off.
Camden Robustelli has pretty much dropped his bid for a Dwarf Car championship and has ran his Sprint Car a little bit more, earning a Top 3 finish recently at Southern Oregon Speedway. Last week, Camden was working on a clean sweep performance with wins in his heat race and the A Dash, but his bid for his first local Main Event win since the opener was thwarted by B. Peters. Camden settled for a strong second. Camden has won Main Events with SODCA at Coos Bay and Yreka this year in addition to his home track. There will be more money on the line for the Dwarf Cars on Labor Day Weekend, and you shouldn't count out Robustelli as a threat to grab the big $1,000 prize. Word is that there will be visitors from the North West Dwarf Car group and the PHRA, which will make this a true Oregon State Shoot Out event.
The WSDCA Nationals is the biggest event on the SODCA calendar, and SODCA is the proud host of the Southern Oregon Speedway event. Of course, it takes lots of effort to put on one of these events, and club president Randy Slater works hard from the planning all the way to the race itself. His wife and family are there with him helping make it all happen. Randy is a man who puts his own ego on the back burner to do what he can to make this a success, so his own racing suffers just a bit that weekend. However, you can see the improvement in Slater's performance at the regular shows. Last week, Randy raced past Cody Peters for a season best third place finish. Looking like this, you have to believe that a Main Event win is in the future for Slater.
Kalvin Morton has returned to the Dwarf Cars after selling his Sport Modified. The multi time Top 5 competitor had an amazing season last year that saw him come within a few points of the championship. He won several times at other venues, but the home track win continued to elude him. He's hoping to change that in the remaining races this season. Kalvin had a solid fifth place showing last week, followed by Ryan Smith and Rob Gergel. There were 14 cars in action last week, and SODCA put on another good show for the fans.
Late Models are generating lots of buzz among the racers and fans. New cars are in the works, and some really nice cars have been there so far this season. We're also seeing some good battles taking shape in the point standings. At the moment, Dustin Knight and Nathan Augustine are racing hard for the championship, while reigning champion Bob Dees is battling Kristy Grout for third. Knight had the crowd on the edge of their seats all night last week. His move from third to first on the last lap of the Trophy Dash may have been the best pass of the season so far. In the feature, Knight was flirting with the 12 second bracket with laps in the 13.2's. He's definitely getting everything he can out of the white #77 car, and the new shocks he just got helped with the handle of the race car last week.
Nathan Augustine is not just cruising around the track. The third generation racer is out there focusing on hitting his marks and trying to get the car to the front. When Knight raced into the lead last week, Augustine might have appeared to be racing for second, but he was working on his fastest line. Gradually, he reeled in Knight and surprised him by making the pass for the lead. Knight actually fell back a bit trying to get past Augustine. It was traffic that was Augustine's undoing. Ironically, traffic is what helped Augustine beat Knight in the season opener, but Knight went by Augustine and the slower cars and sped to his second win of the season last week. Augustine settled for second. Their battle continues this week.
Meanwhile, Kristy Grout was all smiles before the races. She was back after her rollover crash into the front wall bent her frame. Husband Tim Grout put the car together with a chassis they got from Collen Winebarger, and Kristy was able to keep her point effort going. Bob Dees was coming off of his impressive first win and trying to keep the momentum going. He won his heat race and finished a solid third in the Main Event. Grout ended up ninth in the feature, and Dees now holds a one point lead over her in the third place battle. Mike Linder had the Pro Stock of Scott Lenz chasing him down the stretch, but he wasn't about to let go of his fourth place finish.
Dave Foote finished sixth last week to keep his fifth spot in the standings. However, Linder is staying in the hunt as he trails by 14 points. This is pretty much the rookie season for Garrett Dees, and that means there will be ups and downs. Garrett's race ended early last week in last, but he'll be back going for another good effort this week. Chris Biggs made his division debut as scheduled and grabbed a checkered flag in seventh. He didn't have a number on the car as the team had been working to make sure it was ready to go. Chris is excited about Late Model racing and has indicated that the team has another chassis that could end up being a car next season. The driver could end up being Justin McCreadie, who has done a great job in the Sport Modifieds and finished fourth in that division's Main Event last week.
There's a battle going on for the JOAT Labs Hornets point lead, and the leaders have had their drama. Three races ago, Jason Stoutenburg fell back to second in points when he couldn't seem to keep the air in his right front tire all night. Reigning champion Tim Hedges won his second straight Main Event that night and seemed like he was hitting his stride. However, the tables have turned in the last two races. Stoutenburgh has won the last two races and clean swept last week. Hedges has been shut out of the Top 3. Stoutenburgh is feeling enough confidence that he's headed for Willamette this week for a shot at the big $700 prize being offered to the Hornet Main Event winner. It will feature some of the best racers in the state.
T. Hedges is going back to the drawing board. He's had his work cut out for him trying to maintain four cars and found a problem with his championship car that kept it out of the field last week. They also had to fix the steering issues on his son Ashton's car. Tim has felt like the white #14t that he's been driving was down on horsepower and suspected the motor might have been ready to blow. It hasn't yet, but it needs work. Tim has decided after last week's disappointing fifth place finish that he will be going back to the #4t car and working on the other car during the offseason. He's now trailing Stoutenburgh by eight points. Wife Jenna Hedges seems to be having her best luck lately. She won her first heat race and Trophy Dash two races ago, and she won her heat race again last week. Jenna is still in title contention, 21 points behind Stoutenburgh.
Meanwhile, Derrel Nelson Jr. earned his third Top 3 finish last week. This keeps him within 11 points of fifth place Dylan Irving and six points behind Brandon Wonsyld. Derrel has been sharing the driving duties with son Zach, so we'll see if fifth in points is something he will pursue. The Nelson team is working on more cars to debut in the future. Irving is doing a good job after a late start to his season, and it won't be a big surprise to see the second generation racer pick up a win before season's end.
Dr. Scott Lenz is on fire. It's almost as if when you see the #51l car show up, you know you are racing for second. Lenz has been racing going back to the old Medford Speedway, where he was a Street Stock champion. He's also a Pro Stock champion at Southern Oregon Speedway and winner of some big races as a multi time Top 5 IMCA Modified racer. Lenz is leading both the Southern Oregon Speedway and Outlaw Pro Stock Association points, and his clean sweep last week did nothing to change any of that. After his performance in the Pro Stock feature, Lenz started back in last in the Late Model Main Event and finished fifth. He was closing in on fourth place Mike Linder before he ran out of time. The points could be shaken up this week as Lenz will miss the show due to a family commitment.
This would open the door for 2015 Outlaw Pro Stock champion Jeffrey Hudson to gain the lead. Hudson has a feature win this year and finished fourth after coming from the back twice last week. He moved four points ahead of rookie Dean Hackworth in the battle for second. Josh Kralicek is 15 points behind Hackworth. Hackworth and Kralicek may be there this week, and there's rumors of Miles Deubert coming back this week in another ride. Darron Arnold was absent last week, but we may see him this week. There's rumors of the possible division debut of past Top 5 Mini Stock racer Mike Cloud. Beyond that is just speculation that we won't make. Southern Oregon Speedway is offering the only Pro Stock race in the area this week.
The Outlaw Karts held their fourth event of the season last week as the strength of the Cage Kart show remains the Box Stock and Beginners Box Stock classes while count struggles in the other two divisions. On Thursday night, word got out through the Fuller Racing Team that the Speedway Kart racers wanted to race. They brought 12 Karts last Friday, which included six each for the 4 Cycle and UAS divisions. The Fuller's were offering up this race in support of the track and asked for nothing in return. They just wanted to have a chance to show what they could do. The Fuller's run Speed City, the QRC dealer in Medford.
One of the names in the UAS Speedway Kart class may be a familiar one to longtime Petaluma Speedway IMCA Modified fans. He's Ron Bolles, and he was one of the first drivers to build a car when Promoter John P. Soares brought the division to California in 1987. Bolles handled his Speedway Kart pretty well with a heat race win to start his night, and he finished third in the Main Event. It was Kenny Boardman looking impressive in winning the Main Event ahead of heat race winner Larry Fuller. Boardman has raced 500 Open Karts for several years, and he did a great job in the Speedway Kart last Friday night. Young Brionna Fuller did a good job of holding off 2016 Yreka champion Ed Grubb for a fourth place finish.
Steve Rambo is a name familiar to people at Southern Oregon Speedway. He's an avid Kart supporter, and he's helped out the track with photography and even using the RaceCeiver to communicate to the Dwarf Car drivers during the races. Steve is in a 4 Cycle Speedway Kart. He fields multiple Karts, but unfortunately his teammate Johnny Hoult didn't have much luck last week. Rambo, however, had a great night as he won both the Main Event and one of his heat races. Rambo beat the guy he beat in his heat race, Michael Vickers, while Lori Fuller finished a strong third. This group of open cockpit Kart racers is very enthusiastic and did a great job of putting on a show for the fans.
Young Malachi Johnson is knocking on the door to the Beginners Box Stock championship. He has won the last two Main Events, but he knows he shouldn't assume it's over just yet. Malachi blew a motor in the season opener, so he knows he has to get out there and finish the job. Young Kiley Grimes is just five points behind Johnson in the closest championship battle at the track. She was part of the "nose to tail" battle for second last week involving Mason King and Uriah Sanders. The kids are still learning, and nobody wanted to risk a wreck trying to make the pass. The important thing is they all got laps as King finished second ahead of Sanders and Grimes. Young Carson Henson wanted to get some time by himself in his beautiful red #11 kart, so he got his first seat time after the races were done.
Ryan Hirschbock returned for the first time this season and looked very impressive in winning his heat race ahead of fellow heat winner Trevor Grimes in the Box Stock division. Grimes appears to be headed for his third straight championship, and he led the Main Event from the start. Hisrshbock was glued to his rear nerf until he flipped in Turn 2, handing second to Keaton Augustine, who still has hopes of winning the championship. Keaton noticed that Grimes had been pushing a bit exiting Turn 4, so he moved by underneath him when the race resumed. Augustine scored a popular victory ahead of Grimes and Yreka point leader Taylor Fuller. Going into the finale, Grimes has a nice 17 point lead over Augustine.
Grimes had the 250 Kart point lead, but the unthinkable happened as he strapped into his 250 Kart last week. It wouldn't start. Carley Holmes went out and won her third Main Event ahead of Reece Slyter. It was a clean sweep performance for Holmes, who now leads Grimes by 16 points. Grimes was hoping to go into point lead protection mode, and had he just started the race, it would have been difficult for Holmes to overtake him without an increase in car count this week.
Meanwhile, Jeffrey Hudson looked like he might have had the fastest 500 Open Kart at the track, but mechanical issues ended his bid to win the first heat race, which was won by Tanner Holmes. Hudson won the next heat, but he had problems that forced him to scratch from the Main Event. Point leader Holmes and reigning champion Johnny Burke had a duel for the lead where they passed each other every lap all the way to the finish, and Burke picked up the victory.
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