A New Era Set To Begin At Southern Oregon Speedway
It's essentially the 20th anniversary season for Southern Oregon Speedway. The track opened back in 1996, and this marks the beginning of the 21st season. On Saturday night, four divisions will compete on the fast 3/10th mile clay oval. The track will have a brand new promoter.
As announced back in February, Mike McCann and K.J.E. Enterprises has signed a 10 year lease to run Southern Oregon Speedway. McCann brings with him 30 plus years of promotional experience at tracks throughout Oregon and California.
During the course of the season, the track will host 10 different divisions of race car, including IMCA Modifieds and Sport Modifieds, Open Stock Cars, Super 4's Mini Stocks, Hornets and OTRO Hardtops. On Saturday night, it will be the return of the Pennzoil Winged Sprint Car division, along with Outlaw Pro Stocks, Dwarf Cars and Mini Stocks.
At many of the tracks in which McCann has promoted, Sprint Cars have been an important part of the program. The speedway itself had a regular Sprint Car division for over a decade before the class was relegated to visitor status for the past five seasons.
What is unknown at this point is who will be supporting, but word is that 2010 Champion Chadd Noland will be on the roster along with two young up and coming racers, Camden Robustelli and Jeffrey Hudson. Hudson won the 2015 Pro Stock Championship with his performance on the last night of the season, while Robustelli came within 21 points of winning the Dwarf Car championship last season.
With Hudson out of the picture, it appears as if the Pro Stocks will have a first time champion this year. Leading that charge will be James Flowers and 2015 point runner up Scott flowers. Recent Yreka winner, Steve Borror and Scott Bennett are other drivers who are poised to make a run in the point battle.
In the Dwarf Car ranks, Josh King is the defending two time champion. King can expect some stiff competition from the likes of Calvin Morton, Rob Gdergel Brock Peters, Ryan Smith and Kaycee Sheeler.
The Dwarf Car division has added a special 15 lap, $1,000 to win race, thanks to an anonymous sponsor. The drivers will pay a special entry fee, and all of that money will be donated to injured racer Fred Hay.
Hay suffered a hard flip in a race a month ago in Chico, California. He spent several days in the hospital and has since returned home. The third ranked driver and two time Main Event winner last season faces a lengthy recovery process.
After an impressive championship season in mini stocks, David Marble has already moved up to the Sport Modified division. Having ranked second in the points in four of the previous seven seasons, Bob Burkett would seem poised to finally pick up his first championship. However, he can expect some stiff competition from teammates Mike Cloud, Eric Hanson, Kris Mix and Marissa Henson. Also not to be forgotten is 2014 Champion Gary Anderson.
Saturday night will be the first race of the season that will go all the way through September 24th. Grandstands open at 5p.m. with the first race slated to begin at 7 p.m.. Adult tickets are $12, while kids 6 through 12 and seniors 65 and older are $6. Children 5 and under are free.
The Open Stock Division Is Coming To
Southern Oregon Speedway In 2016
With new promoter Mike McCann comes a few changes at Southern Oregon Speedway. One of those changes is the introduction of a new Open Stock Car class. The idea came about after some drivers from the Street Stocks and Late Models approached McCann about getting dates for their respective divisions this year.
During the seven years prior to last season, the track attempted to run Late Models for three seasons and Street Stocks for four, but it was a struggle to get things going. After the Street Stocks were dropped in 2015, some drivers bolted for the Outlaw Pro Stocks, and others just parked.
McCann is a believer in giving the fans a car count and the racers an opportunity to establish something new. The Open Stock division runs open rules on the cars on everything from tires to motors. The idea is to put a car count on the track and allow drivers to make a case for either division as a separate entity based on support.
The Late Models have nearly a half dozen drivers making inquires about this division, and one competitor already on board is Steve Lemley. Steve has raced various types of Stock Cars through the years as well as Hardtops, and he is building a Late Model for this season.
Among the others who have expressed an interest in racing some of the six dates that have been scheduled are Blaine Taylor, Bob Dees, and Mike Linder. Linder is a name many people already know as a Sprint Car star in the Southern Oregon area, and his son Garen races them now. Mike currently has a Late Model. Dees raced Late Models here in the past and recently got a new car.
Blaine Thomas is a name familiar up north for racing Sprint Cars, IMCA Modifieds and Late Models, where he had a strong second place season as a Main Event winner at Cottage Grove back in 2014. There are others watching the class closely with an eye toward supporting. If the Late Model support can consistently reach 8-10 cars, it's not out of the realm of possibility that they will become their own division.
The Street Stocks were popular at the old Medford race track, but for whatever reason were not included as part of Southern Oregon Speedway's launch back in 1996. It wasn't until 2011 when the division was added. It seemed poised to go somewhere, but after the 2014 season, it was dropped. Ten different cars had competed that year. The division is responsible for bringing in two top area stars in Jorddon Braaten and Duane Osburn. Both of them won championships in the class, before moving up.
The 2014 season championship went to Miles Deubert. Deubert, third ranked Daron Arnold, fifth place Garrett Dees, Chris Howard and Daniel Herrera fielded cars that season and haven't raced much since. It is known that there are Street Stocks sitting in the area, and this is the drivers' chance to dig their cars out of mothballs and go racing again.
The Open Stocks will allow Late Models, Pro Stocks, Sportsman cars and Street Stocks to race together under an open rules set. It will also give the fans a unique class to watch with varying styles of appearance. The idea is to get something started now and see where it can go next year.
At most of the tracks at which McCann has promoted, he's had one variety of Stock Car at least, and it's something he wants to continue to do at Southern Oregon Speedway. This is the chance for the area racers to build something that can grow and become an attraction in the coming years.
The first race is set for May 21th, and the following dates are June 4th June 18th, July 30th, August 20th and September 17th. It's the beginning of a new era in Stock Car racing at the speedway. For further information and rules, visit the official website at, www.southernoregonspeedway.com
2016 Schedule Signals A New Beginning For Southern Oregon Speedway
White City, OR...February 17...The 2016 schedule for Southern Oregon Speedway ushers in a new begging for the 20 year old racing facility. New promoter Mike McCann released the schedule for the three-eighth mile dirt oval track last Wednesday as he held a meeting with over 150 racers and racing enthusiasts in attendance. At the meeting, McCann introduced himself, discussed some of his plans for this season and the future and then fielded questions. McCann's reputation as a racer's promoter is well known. He has over 30 years of experience and is a winner of the RPM Monthly "Promoter Of The Year" award.
The new schedule will continue to offer all of the things that the fans have come to expect from Southern Oregon Speedway and even more. The prestigious Lon Skinner Memorial Race, won by Californian Bobby Hogge IV last season, will be back with a $5000 first prize, and this big IMCA Modified event will take place on September 2-3. IMCA Sport Mods and SODCA Dwarf Cars are also part of that weekend's action.
The IMCA Modifieds have nine dates this season, and the Roger Haudenschild Tribute race on May 28th. Furthermore, the track will continue to take part in the IMCA Wild West Shoot Out with a date scheduled on June 11.
There was concern among the competitors that there would be no IMCA sanctioning in 2016, but McCann put those rumors to rest by signing with IMCA for another year for Modifieds and Sport Mods as well. This will assure that racers from other area tracks will be legal to compete at Southern Oregon Speedway and vise versa. It also keeps both divisions involved in the Oregon State IMCA point race.
Furthermore, Southern Oregon Speedway will also have a 13 race schedule for Sport Mods that will ensure that the track regulars can be competitive in the new series created by Steve Kerstulovich that pits the drivers at various Oregon tracks and Yreka against each other.
The SODCA Dwarf Cars will remain a part of the speedway with 11 race dates scheduled. This includes the prestigious SODCA Dwarf Car Nationals Event that attracts some of the best drivers from Oregon and out of the state. This event is scheduled from August 4-6.
Of course, the track will have the popular Mini Stock division on the schedule with 13 dates booked. Also back will be the entry level Hornet division with six dates and the quicker Super 4 division with eight dates. The Super 4's were a regular part of the show a few years ago, and the racers are excited to be back this year.
The always exciting Outlaw Pro Stock Association will make eight appearances this year, and that's not all. Sprint Cars are back at Southern Oregon Speedway! McCann has made a commitment to establishing the crowd pleasing division as part of the program with ten races, which will give the fans a healthy dose of high horse power open wheel racing. This includes a race during the prestigious Sprint Car Speedweek Series on July 9.
For fans of the cars of yesterday, the OTRO Hardtops will be doing some dirt track racing this season with five dates being booked. Look for a few more surprises to be thrown in during the 23 race season.
It all adds up to plenty of great racing at Southern Oregon Speedway on Saturday nights. After the April 23 playday, the season kicks off with an April 30 event, which will be headlined by Sprint Cars, Pro Stocks, Mini Stocks and Dwarf Cars. Further details can be found on the track's official web site, www.sospeedway.com.
A Brief Recap Of The 2015 Season
When last we left Southern Oregon Speedway, Albert Gill successfully defended his 2014 IMCA Modified track championship. Gill won one Main Event along with four seconds and two thirds last season, but he claimed the championship by a wide margin over past champion Mark Wauge. Wauge led the Main Event winner's list with three victories in the competitive field that saw 11 different winners during the season.
Wauge held off Tim Bailey by just four points to claim second in the standings, while one time winners Jesse Bailey and Brian Poppa rounded out the Top 5 in points. The big feature wins of 2015 went to Wauge (Firecraker 50), Bobby Hogge IV ($5000 to win Lon Skinner Memorial) and Jesse Williamson (Speedweek race). Kellen Chadwick won the preliminary feature at the Lon Skinner Memorial event. Yreka and past Southern Oregon Speedway champion Nick Trenchard won two times, while other feature winners last season included Scott Lenz, Jon DeBenedetti and Andy Freeman.
In recent years, Jorddon Braaten has established himself as one of the stars of the speedway. The defending IMCA Sport Mod champion racked up eight feature wins and one second, and yet he only beat Oregon IMCA State champion Mike Medel by ten points in a close battle. Two of Braaten's wins occurred on the biggest stage of the season, the Lon Skinner Memorial.
Bob Nelson, Glenn Severensen and Matt Duste each managed to pick up a feature win. Severensen would rank third in the final standings ahead of Randy Fernandes and Dwayne Melvin. Nelson led the division in second place finishes with four, but he fell just short of Melvin for fifth in the standings as Melvin had two seconds and one third.
Three drivers really shined the brightest in Mini Stock competition last season, led by the champion David Marble. Marble scored four feature wins, three seconds and two thirds. His closest point rival, Bob Burkett, also had four feature wins as well as three seconds and three thirds.
Meanwhile, third ranked Gary Anderson impressed with his three wins, three seconds and four thirds. Eric Hanson's high finish was a second, which helped him hold off Mike Cloud for fourth in the standings. Yreka champion David Steele made two visits and brought home a second and a third.
The SODCA Dwarf Cars held ten of their events at the speedway, and Josh King made the most of it with six wins and two seconds to hold off young up and comer Camden Robustelli to win the club's championship. Robustelli had two seconds and two thirds.
Ryan Smith, Chad Cardoza and Brock Peters rounded out the Top 5 in points. Smith and Cardoza both had feature wins. Smith also had a pair of thirds, while Cardoza had two seconds and a third. C.J. Puttnam and Fred Hay had feature wins. Hay also won the veteran's feature in the Dwarf Car Nationals event, whiled Matt Sargent won the Pro feature and Joey Dale won the Sportsman feature at the big event.
The Outlaw Pro Stock Association ran a few different tracks, and eight of their races were at Southern Oregon Speedway. Young Jeffrey Hudson only had one win in eight visits, but he had five seconds, including the second place finish he had in the finale that moved him past Scott Flowers into the championship. S. Flowers had a second and a third at the speedway to hold onto second ahead of James Flowers in the point race. Steve Borror had three feature wins, while Dave Everson was a two time winner and Dave Quick and Rocky Nash each had one win.
The Sprint Cars will have a championship season this year. Last year, there were four races. Colby Copeland won the June Northwest Speedweek race ahead of Roger Crockett and Kyle Hirst. Hirst came back later in the season and won that race ahead of Jared Peterson and Trey Starks. Seth Nunes won the first Sprint Car race of the season ahead of Vern Wheeler Jr. and Kyhler Barazza, and Crockett won the next race ahead of Peterson and Starks, meaning there were four different winners in four races.
Racing against competitors such as Mikey Johnson, Neal Coaty, Brian Dickens and Lon Fox, Drew Fielder won the Hornets championship. The Super 4's made their lone appearance late last season with Lee Doty winning ahead of John Barger and Charlie Eaton.
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
Late Models, Valley Store All Late Model Lites, Bobbio's Pizza Mini Stocks, JOAT Labs Hornets, SODCA Dwarf Cars