Thursday, July 14, 2016

So Cal Enduros Have Generated A Lot Of Excitement

By Dave Grayson

A field of 19 cars takes the green flag at Speedway Willow Springs, a very challenging one quarter mile paved oval located in Rosamond-California. The field exits turn two and then makes a sudden hard left turn around a large tractor tire strategically placed at the bottom of the back stretch. This move, in turn, sets up a rather tricky entrance into turn three. Next, the field roars off of turn four only to perform another meet and greet with another tractor tire located at the bottom of the front stretch. That tight left hand turn sets up a tricky approach to the start-finish line to complete the lap. So, exactly what is this unique form of racing? In this particular case it's the So Cal Enduros led by Promoter Danny Quinn. In less than two racing seasons Quinn's promotional efforts has turned his series into pure excitement that brings the Speedway Springs' fans to their feet. It has become a major staple to Saturday night racing at Speedway Willow Springs that sells a lot of tickets.

A native of Ridgecrest-California, Quinn's entry level into the world of racing came at the age of seven when he won a kart race at the former Pearsonville Speedway. With the support of his father, Ed Quinn, he made his stock car debut in the hobby stock class at Pearsonville in a 1974 Chevrolet Nova. Recalling his early racing years, Quinn said "in 1991 we began to get serious and ran the second half of the season in a street stock at Pearsonville. We won the final main event of the year while earning the Rookie of the Year title. The next six years began an adventure of epic proportion. My Dad and I traveled to more than 15 different race tracks, sometimes racing at two different tracks during the same weekend. racing against the best hobby and street stock talent on the west coast. There were many times that we felt we were out of our league but I was always learning while holding my own and winning quite a few races." In addition to success at Pearsonville, where he won the 1999 hobby stock championship, Quinn tasted success at the dirt tracks at Bakersfield and Victorville where he won the sport mod championship by a narrow one point margin.

In 2011 the Quinns took on the blessed role of parenthood when their beautiful daughter was born. Five years later a son joined the family. With a smile on his face, Quinn said "of course that put the brakes on the racing a bit."

Anyone who has had the privilege of getting to know Danny Quinn is well aware of the fact that he's a very good driver and race car fabricator. Much to our surprise we would later discover that he's also a very good promoter. This was a case of that old saying "the acorn didn't fall far from the tree." His Dad, Ed Quinn, is regarded as being a successful businessman whose intense love of auto racing led him to participate in all aspects of the sport from driving to fabrication and promoting events. When it came to promoting racing, Danny Quinn was there to help his Dad and it was at this point in time when he honed his own promotional skills leading to the creation of the So Cal Enduro Series.

Recalling those days he said "my Dad spent over 20 years promoting racing, working at race tracks and just being involved in every aspect of motorsports at tracks all over southern California. I guess his interest in all of this rubbed off on me. I have promoted many types of events over the years and finally had an opportunity to promote full scale auto racing". Regarding the popularity and success of the So Cal Enduro series, he said "I find it very satisfying to know that people enjoy what I'm presenting to them. If the crowd is cheering I'm happy. I'm very proud of what the racing class has done so far and I can't wait to see what's to come in the future" he said adding "ultimately none of this would have been possible without the Speedway Willow Springs promoters and staff who took a chance on a hair brained idea that I presented."

Quinn also made quick work in signing sponsors for every race on his schedule this year. "We have enormous support from a bunch of great sponsors. Our sponsors are responsible for us being able to guarantee our winners portion of the purse. I think the fact that the racers can be certain that the $300 to win money is guaranteed regardless of our car count count, brings them to the racing class with some confidence," he said.

Quinn pointed out that a major part of his design for this racing series was based on good economics. "The So Cal Enduro Series is an economical low cost class," he said adding "the cars are limited to front wheel drive, 3 to 6 cylinder non performance stock vehicles. We have seen everything from Geo Metros to mini vans. But what we see most is affordable fun racing."

The economics associated with this series also makes a perfect entry level for newcomers to try their hand at racing. When asked how much someone could expect to spend to build and race an enduro car, Quinn said "someone with a little fabrication and welding skills can be pretty thrifty and do much of the fab work themselves. Realistically, I would say the average cost to build the car should be easily under $1,000 if the vehicle is purchased at the right price. I have seen cars purchased and built for less than $400. But that's buying a $150 running car and scrounging used parts and safety equipment. That's getting harder for sure. But it's still much easier and cheaper than finding a 1970 to 1980 V 8 car these days."

Regarding the mandatory safety equipment the cars are required to have a rollover cage, racing seat belts, a window net and a fire extinguisher. Drivers must wear a full faced helmet, fireproof driver uniform and gloves. Quinn is extremely safety minded when it comes to his racing series and said "as we go, the cars are getting faster and we can foresee more roll cage and other safety equipment in the future."

Whether he schedules twin main events or double heat races running in opposite directions at the same time, Quinn is always considering new ideas to make the enduro series a little more unique and fun for the fans. A case in point will be displayed this Saturday night, July 16th, when the series will get down and dirty by making their debut at the Bakersfield Speedway, a one-third mile, high banked, dirt track. Commenting on Saturday night's dirt debut, Quinn said "running on the wet clay should change things up a bit. The cars slipping and sliding around should keep the racing tight and keep it exciting. In addition, we are allowing the Bakersfield Speedway mini stock class to run with us as well. The big change there is they run rear wheel drive cars as well as front wheel drive. This will be the first time that we've allowed rear wheel drive cars and it's going to be experimental for the July 16th race. It should be interesting."

The schedule for the remainder of the 2016 season will have the series returning to their home base at Speedway Willow Springs on August 13th followed by a return visit to the Bakersfield Speedway on September 10th. The series will close out the season at the Speedway Willow Springs with double dates on October 1st and 22nd.

If you're looking for something unique at a race track then you need to check out the So Cal Enduro Series. When you combine unique race formats with a healthy car count fortified by Danny Quinn's promotional skills then you've got a sum total that is well worth the price of a ticket.

The So Cal Enduro Racers are supported by a highly potent, and much appreciated, group of sponsors that includes: DRC Pump Systems, Swift NAPA Auto Parts, A To Z Graphics, Snap On Tools of Ridgecrest, Motion Tire Motorsports, Sierra Auto Recycling, Casey's Steak House and Sauces, Rain Man Hobbies and Raceway and Team BBRL, Mienert's Industrial Supply, So Cal Racers Swap Meet on Facebook and Raw Motorsports, the Speedway Willow Springs and the Bakersfield Speedway.