Southern Oregon Speedway: A Field Of Dreams For The Racers For Over 20 Years

Southern Oregon Speedway: A Field Of Dreams For The Racers For Over 20 Years

The Medford area has a long and storied history of racing going back many years to the famed Medford Speedway.  When the last track closed, the search was on for a new location.  It was found at the Jackson County Sports Park in neighboring White City.  John Skinner built the 3/10th mile banked clay oval track and opened it in April of 1996.

The divisions featured that first season included the Dirt Modifieds, Pro Stocks, Mini Stocks and Winged Sprint Cars.  The track also hosted visits from the Late Models, SODCA Dwarf Cars and other groups.  Through the years, big Late Model and Sprint Car events have taken place at the speedway, and two of the biggest events at the track are the Dwarf Car Nationals and the R. Charles Snyder Salute.

Here's a look at the Southern Oregon Speedway Wall Of Champions:

R. Charles Snyder Salute

For many years, dating back to the old Medford Speedway, long time Radio DJ R. Charles Snyder was the voice of Southern Oregon racing.  Snyder did many things to help people in the community at large.  At Southern Oregon Speedway, he announced, wrote articles and maintained the track's web page.  Winning a race earned the drivers the further honor of being interview by Snyder at the end of the night.  When he died in 2015, the track failed to recognize his contributions, but current managemet changed that. 

The R. Charles Snyder Salute was established in 2017, and the Race Tower was renamed as the R. Charles Snyder Memorial Race Tower in his honor.  The big event paid $5,000 to win, and Troy Foulger became the first winner.

Past R. Charles Snyder Salute Winners

2017  Troy Foulger
2018  Bobby Hogge IV

Lon Skinner Memorial

The Lon Skinner Memorial Race bore the distinction of being the track's signiature event for years.  When the track opened in 1996, John Skinner wanted to have a special race in honor of his father.  This race has became perhaps the biggest event on the West Coast, and drivers flocked to Southern Oregon Speedway from throughout Oregon, California, Washington and other states to compete.  With winner's prize money at times reaching as high as $10,000, this race is the one they all wanted to win.

It's a Californian by the name of Bobby Hogge IV who is a five time champion, incliudin the final race in 2016.  Fellow Californian Richard Papenhausen has two wins and has entered every race since this event began.  Brian Poppa tops the local driver's winners list with three victorires, while Mark Wauge, Don Esramado and Matt Duste are among the other winners.  It wasn't until the seventh event that we had our first repeat winner, Richard Papenhausen.  Bobby Hogge IV bears the distinction of being the only driver to win three of these races in a row.

Past Lon Skinner Memorial Winners

1996  Ron Haggard
1997  Scott Lenz
1998  Tom Glover
1999  Richard Papenhausen
2000  Don Estramado
2001  Brian Poppa
2002  Richard Papenhausen
2003  Dennis Silva
2004  Scott Weldon
2005  Brian Poppa
2006  Mark Wauge
2007  Jon DeBenedetti
2008  Bobby Hogge IV
2009  Bobby Hogge IV
2010  Bobby Hogge IV
2011  Brian Poppa
2012  Matt Duste
2013  Jesse Williamson
2014  Nick Trenchard
2015  Bobby Hogge IV
2016  Bobby Hogge IV

Up Next
April 13
Playday All Classes

April 27
Playday All Classes

May 4 - "Spring Buster"
Kendall Oil Winged Sprint Cars, IMCA Modifieds, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Bobbio's Pizza Mini Stocks, JOAT Labs Hornets

May 11
Late Models, Valley Store All Late Model Lites, Bobbio's Pizza Mini Stocks, JOAT Labs Hornets, SODCA Dwarf Cars

Pit Gate Opens        4:00 PM
Grandstands Open   5:00 PM
Practice Starts         5:30 PM
Racing Starts           7:00 PM

Admission Fees September 22
General Admission $13
Seniors 62+         $7
Veterans              $7
Juniors 7-12         $7
6 And Under          Free

Regular Weekly Shows Gate Fees
Pit Passes           $30
Hornets                $30
Mini Stocks          $30
Dwarfs                  $35
Late Model Lites    $35
Late Models            $45
Pro Stocks              $45
IMCA Sport Mods   $45
IMCA Modifieds      $50
Sprint Cars              $50
Destruction Derby    $50

IMCA Modifieds

In the early years of Modified racing, the track ran the Modifieds with wings on the cars.  In more recent years, Southern Oregon Speedway has run the division under IMCA sanctioning and added an IMCA Sport Mod division as a way to help breathe new life into some of the older cars in the area.

A man who will certainly be in the discussion of "greatest ever" at Southern Oregon Speedway is Mark Wauge.  Wauge has won seven IMCA Modified championships at the speedway. Tom Glover opened the track with a championship and won another one two years later.  Hard chargers like Don Estramado, Brian Poppa, Jon DeBenedetti and Travis Perry are others who have written their names on the Southern Oregon Speedway Wall Of Champions in the Modified division.  Poppa got his start by winning a Pro Stock championship before moving up, and another Pro Stock graduate, Albert Gill, entered 2016 as a two time defending IMCA Modified champion, but it was Wauge winning that chapionship.
Modified Champions

1996  Tom Glover
1997  Dennis Silva
1998  Tom Glover
1999  Don Estramado
2000  Mark Wauge
2001  Jay Hinton Jr.
2002  Jon DeBenedetti
2003  Jeremy Richey
2004  Brad Alfrey
2005  Mark Wauge
2006  Brian Poppa
2007  Mark Wauge
2008  Justin Holt
2009  Mark Wauge
2010  Travis Peery
2011  Mark Wauge
2012  Mark Wauge
2013  Dustin Knight
2014  Albert Gill
2015  Albert Gill
2016  Mark Wauge
2017  Jesse Bailey
2018  Albert Gill
IMCA Sport Modifieds

The IMCA Sport Modifieds enter their fifth season at the track with two different champions.  Dwayne Melvin got it started with back to back championships, but the hot driver at Southern Oregon Speedway is past Street Stock champion Jorddon Braaten, who is a two time champion. Long time Southern Oreggon  Speedway competor continued the two in a row trend of champions by winning the 2016 and 2017 track titles.
IMCA Sport Mod Champions

2012  Dwayne Melvin
2013  Dwayne Melvin
2014  Jorddon Braaten
2015  Jorddon Braaten
2016  Mike Medel
2017 Mike Medel
2018  David Marble

Winged Sprint Cars

The Sprint Cars have had at least a race at Southern Oregon Speedway each season since the track opened.  The track has hosted some big Sprint Car events through the years, including visits from the the World of Outlaws, the King Of The West Series and races during Northwest Speedweek. 

There were 13 years point seasons for the division as of 2010, but the class fell to visitor status for the past five seasons that followed.  Veren Wheeler Jr. was point leader when the class was dropped in 2011, and Kyler Barraza won back to back Coos Bay/Southern Oregon Speedway combined championships in 2013-2014.

Notable championship winning drivers of the past include four time track champion Dan Menne and two time champions Randy Rodgers and Bill Nutter.  The division was brought back for championship points in 2016, and the next two championships were won by Jake Wheeler (2016) and Kyler Barraza (2017).
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
2011  Vern Wheeler Jr. *
2013 Kyler Barraza **
2014 Kyler Barraza **
2016  Jake Wheeler
2017  Kyler Barraza
2018  David Hibbard

*  Point leader, never officially crowned
* Southern Oregon Sprint Tour
Pro Stocks

The Pro Stocks are another division that was on the track's roster when it opened for business back in 1996.  There are two big names that seem to rise above the others on the Champion's List.  Jimmy Walker Jr. was a force on the Pro Stock scene even before Southern Oregon Speedway opened, and his three championships at the speedway happened during the first six seasons.  The other mega star in the class was Frank Word III.  Frank has won an amazing eight championships, and he did it all within a nine year span.

Two champions who have sprung up from Pro Stocks to win IMCA Modified titles are Brian Poppa and Brad Alfrey.  Not to be outdone,  Scott Lenz won the track's first Pro stock championship before winning the prestigious Lon Skinner Memorial race a year later.  Poppa was the driver who kept Word from winning nine championships in a row when he returned to the class for a second championship.  The division races at multiple tracks these days, and hard chargers like Ken Irving, Dave Everson and Jeffrey Hudson count themselves as champions in the Pro Stock Association.  Irving is a two time champion.  Scott Lenz won the track's first championship in six years in 2017, while also winning the Association tile.
Pro Stock Champions

1996  Scott Lenz
1997  Jim Walker Jr.
1998  Jim Walker Jr.
1999  Brian Poppa
2000  Brad Alfrey
2001  Jim Walker Jr.
2002  Frank Word III
2003  Frank Word III
2004  Frank Word III
2005  Frank Word III
2006  Brian Poppa
2007  Frank Word III
2008  Frank Word III
2009  Frank Word III
2010  Frank Word III
2011  Dustin Knight
2012  Ken Irving *
2013  Dave Everson *
2014  Ken Irving *
2015  Jeffrey Hudson *
2016  Steve Borror *
2017  Scott Lenz
2018  Scott Lenz +

* Pro Stock Association
Mini Stocks

Mini Stocks were there at the beginning of Southern Oregon Speedway to give the track a nice entry level division for the racers to get their feet wet.  These are almoost the Street Stocks of the program as the track didn't even atempt to run that class for over a decade.  Through the years, the track has tried a few different 4 Cylinder classes, and the regular Mini Stocks are the class with the most staying power.

Three notable multi time champions on the list are John Derby, David Bishop and Tracy Bradley.  Derby is a four time champion, doing it four years in a row.  Bishop and Bradley both won back to back championships.  Two stars of recent seasons are Gary Anderson and David Marble, are champions.  Marble has since moved up, and long time division supporter Bob Burkett was the 2016 champion.

The close competition was on display in 2017 as Kristopher Mix won one of the closest championship batttles in track history.

Mini Stock Champions

1996  Brian Barns
1997  Scott Holt
1998  Rich McCoy
1999  Tracy Bradley
2000  Tracy Bradley
2001  Tom Lanigan
2002  Mike Johnson
2003  David Bishop
2004  David Bishop
2005  Tony Christopher
2006  Milton Carter
2007  Jim Pope
2008  John Derby
2009  John Derby
2010  John Derby
2011  John Derby
2012  Toby Judd
2013  Steve Goetz
2014  Gary Anderson
2015  David Marble
2016  Bob Burkett
2017  Kristopher Mix
2018  David Steele
Late Models Lites/Super 4's

Two years into the track's existance, a Super Truck division was added to the roster.  This division had a five year run in which there were no repeat champions. Roger Lee won that first championship in 1998, and Greg Arnold won the final title in 2002.  Arnold was among the drivers to move to the new Super 4's division when it began in 2003.

Brian Barns counts himself among the Mini Stock champions, and he ushered the Super 4's division into the speedway by winning the first two championships.  The Super 4's would have an 11 year run that saw such notable two time champions as Joe Guider and Brian Johnsen.  The division faded away in 2013 with John Barger wining that champinship.  It returned in 2016 as Lee Doty was champion.  The new renamed Late Model Lites championship was won by Bob Burkett in 2017.
Super 4 Mini Stock Champions

2003  Brian Barns
2004  Brian Barns
2005  Reggie DeVore
2006  Joe Guider
2007  Jacob Cole
2008  Brian Johnsen
2009  Parker  Jones
2010  Brian Johnsen
2011  Joe Guider
2012  Jamie Guider Newberg
2013  John Barger
2016  Lee Doty
2017  Bob Burkett
2018  Charlie Eaton
Super Truck Champions

1998  Roger Lee
1999  John Cahill
2000  Patrick Lanigan
2001  Steve Pierce
2002  Greg Arnold


A recent addition to the roster is the bone stock Hornet class.  The rulebook for these Mini Stocks allows no modifications to the cars.  These are cars that the drivers race, not race cars, as was written in the original rulebook.  It's a great opportunity for new racers to come out and see what racing at Southern Oregon Speedway is all about. 

The division was first sceduled to race in 2013, and Robbie Jones was the first champion in 2014.  Drew Fielder was champion in 2015.  The class was sort of an after thought during the first three years, but the current management has made a effort to promote the division better.  Tim Hedges won the 2016 title, and with the best car counts the class had seen to that point, Jason Soutenburg was the 2017 champion.
Hornet Champions

2014  Robert Jones
2015  Drew Fielder
2016  Tim Hedges
2017  Jason Stoutenburgh
2018  Bree Tritchler
Dwarf Cars

In the 20 plus years that the Southern Oregon Dwarf Car Association has been around, Dwarf Cars have been a part of the action at Southern Oregon Speedway.  These fast, motorcycle-engined race cars put on a great show and never fails to entertain the fans. SODCA is a member of the Western States Dwarf Car Association, and as such, they have booked a big Nationals Event that attract several of the top drivers on the West Coast.  Southern Oregon Speedway has served as the host track for several years.

Two of the biggest stars of the early days were three time champion Jon DeBenedetti and two time champion Gary Fitzsimmons.  Both drivers have since moved up, and DeBeneditti is both an IMCA Modified champion and winner of the prestigious Lon Skinner Memorial race.  Three other drivers have notched a pair of championships through the years, Kelly Gutches, R.J. McGahuey and Josh King.  Brock Peters became the fourth member of that group when he won his second championship in 2017.
Dwarf Car Champions

1998  Jon DeBenedetti
1999  Jon DeBenedetti
2000  Jon DeBenedetti
2001  Gary Fitzsimmons
2002  Gary Fitzsimmons
2003  Dan Van Acker
2004  Crash Jackson
2005  Jerry Apland
2006  Tom Palazollo
2007  Jeff Harsha
2008  Kelly Gutches
2009  Greg Denton
2010  Kelly Gutches
2011  R.J. McGahuey
2012  R.J. McGahuey
2013  C.J. Puttnam
2014  Josh King
2015  Josh King
2016  Brock Peters
2017  Brock Peters
2018  Josh King
Late Models/Street Stocks

When Southern Oregon Speedway opened seven years after Medford Speedway closed, two of the old track's divisions, Late Models and Sreet Socks, were not included on the main roster.  Late Models were booked for special races, including the big "Battle At The Border" season ending event.

In 2008, the track made a minor attempt to add a Lae Model program, but it faded within a couple years.  The track also started running Street Stock Enduro races and regular races in 2010.  Duane Orsburn won back to back championships in 2011 and 2012, and the roster reached into double digits before rule changes killed that momentum.  Jorddon Braaten and Miles Deubert won the last two championships.

In 2016, and Open Stock class was added to see what Street Stock and Late Model drivers were interested.  Bob Dees won that championship, and it was obvious that Late Model drivers were interested.  Car count continued to grow in 2017 as Nathan Augustine won the Late Model championship.

Lae Model Champions

2008  Joe Salyer/
Roger Lorenzini
2010  Jeremy Richey
2016  Bob Dees
2017  Nathan Augusine
2018  John Dees

Street Stocks Champions

2011  Duane Osburn
2012  Duane Osburn
2013  Jorddon Braaten
2014  Miles Dubert