Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Speedway Willow Springs To Wrap Up 2016 With A Fully Loaded Season Finale

By Dave Grayson

The Speedway Willow Springs will wrap up their 2016 racing season this Saturday night with a special show they're calling "Night Of Champions and Destruction In The Desert." The evening will feature high energy racing from eight different racing divisions along with special racing and fan interactive events during the course of a show that can only be described as being "fully loaded." This very special evening is being presented by the Pinnacle Peak Steak House, with locations in Colton and San Dimas, as well as the Lancaster based Platinum Jewelry and Loan. This always challenging one quarter mile paved oval is located within the 600 plus acre Willow Springs International Raceway complex in the beautiful community of Rosamond, California.

The racing divisions providing the action entertainment will include street stocks, mini stocks, hobby stocks, the elite division, So-Cal enduros, skid plates, bandoleros and figure eights. Because this season finale is so fully loaded, the start time will be a little earlier than usual. The day begins with an open practice session at 1030 am, followed by qualifying at 130 pm, heat races at 3 pm, an on track driver meet and greet at 5pm followed by the main events of the evening.

First and foremost, the evening is going to be about resolving division championships. The one racing division that literally leaps off of the Speedway Willow Springs championship page is, without question, the Lucas Oil Products Mini Stocks. Going into Saturday night, driver Greg Didoha leads the standings, with 85 points, based on a highly consistent season of top five finishes.

However, he only holds a two point advantage over Bobby Dezarov who has more than proved that he's capable of winning a main event while behind the wheel of John Dunlap's Ford Mustang. Had it not been for a October 1st schedule conflict, that forced Dezarov to miss a race, he might have been the points leader going into Saturday night.

Also very much a factor, in the mini stock title profile, is the presence of Ryan Bragdon who is only four points away from first. Bragdon made his first appearance at Speedway Willow Springs for the third race in the season back in May. He made quick work in scoring three feature wins to become a major player for the series' championship. However, Bragdon also had a schedule conflict and had to miss the October 1st race. He was busy that night wrapping up a championship at the Irwindale Speedway, his home track.

Yet another factor, in this too close to call championship run, is the Speedway Willow Spring's unique bonus point program. In addition to main event championship points, drivers can also earn bonus points for qualifying, heat race finishes and even passing points during a main event. This unique system could become a major factor in the Lucas Oil Products Mini Stock championship.

The Hoopers Rear End Service Elite is a special racing group that allows super late models, late models, modifieds and trucks to race together under the auspices of a single rule book. The division has been the lynch pin of the Speedway Willow Spring's 2016 season and will treat the fans to a 40 lap main event Saturday night. The series' has been dominated by the presence of driver David Brandon whose four feature wins has him on top of the standings with 176 points. Feature winner John Penning holds down second in the standings with 132 points followed by multi track champion Chris Peedan with 113 points.

The Platinum Jewelry and Loan Street Stocks will be running a 30 lap main event Saturday night to resolve their championship run. A highly consistent, feature winning, Tony Forfa goes into Saturday night with 120 points. However, still active in this title run is Justin Good who is 14 points away from Forfa. A combination of good and bad racing luck, combined with the aforementioned bonus points, could impact the final result.

Also running a 30 lap main event will be the Wayne & Dave's Automotive Hobby Stocks. Johnny Troesch has been the hot shoe in this division with multiple feature wins that allowed him accumulate 131 championship points. However, during the second half of the season, driver Michael Williams hit a hot streak and elevated his points status to second place only eight points behind the leader. This is going to be another championship run to watch that could go either way by the end of the series' main event.

It simply wouldn't seem like Saturday night at Speedway Willow Springs without the So-Cal Enduro Series. This extremely popular series will be running twin main events. The first main, 25 laps in length, will be early in day, approximately 425 pm, and will have the starting line up running their traditional counter clockwise direction while negotiating their way around the large tractor tires placed on the two straightaways. However later in the evening, the enduro teams will be running a second 25 lap main under drastically different circumstances. First, there's going to be a change in direction. The drivers will be racing clock wise meaning turn four will become turn one. Making the event even more interesting will be the presence of large barrels of water the drivers will have to avoid. These double main events are being sponsored by the So-Cal Racers Swap Meet on Facebook along with Raw Motorsports and DRC Pump Systems.

Jake Basham leads the series' standings going into Saturday night and holds a 16 point advantage over Randy Hannah. However between twin main events and extreme obstacles on the track, a 16 point lead is not exactly a guaranteed championship. Yet another factor here is the series' healthy car counts. There were 19 cars at their October 1st race and there has been word that some new teams will be on hand Saturday night. This series alone is worth the price of admission.

Also popular with Speedway Willow Springs fans is the Tire Store Skid Plates. The teams remove the rear tires on the cars and replaces them with rims welded to quarter inch metal plates. Quite often, if a car comes off of a turn a little too hot, the results is multiple 360 spin outs. Jon Carter leads the series' standings with 71 points followed by Mike Howard-60 points and Daniel Chadwick-54 points. This is another series where literally anything can happen in a second's notice and that factor could possibly change the outcome of the championship run.

There will be a special guest appearance from the youngsters in their small, but very swift, Bandolero cars. These cars are occupied by the young future racing stars of tomorrow. Many prominent drivers, currently driving in regional late model series, got their start as early as six years old in this series. To see these young drivers crawl out of the top of these tiny cars for a victory lane interview is a major ooh and aah factor.

With main events and championships resolved it will be time for the Destruction In the Desert portion of the show. The line up includes a figure eight race, a mechanics race, a demo cross event with the track loaded with obstacles and a trailer race of destruction.

Being well known for family entertainment, the Speedway Willow Springs has plenty activities planned for their younger fans featuring trick or treat goodie bags for kids age 13 and under. There will also be a Halloween costume contest. the kids candy toss, kids big wheel racing and the speedway's annual pumpkin smash.

Put in all together and the fans of Speedway Willow Springs are going to be treated to a fully loaded, spectacular, show this Saturday night all for the bargain price of $10 with kids age eight and under admitted free. The $10, payable at the front gate of the complex, is good for all activities at all of the Willow Springs tracks on both Saturday and Sunday. For example, your spectator's wrist band will allow you to take in Saturday sports car racing, during Speed Ventures' Auto Track Day, on the Big Willow, the massive 2.5 mile, nine turn, road course. For you drag racing fans, there will be street legal drags on Big Willow's 1,000 foot front stretch on Saturday. On Sunday, you can take in motorcycle racing on Big Willow provided by the Let's Ride Motorcycle Track Day. That's a lot of racing for a $10 wrist band. It's also the reason why the Willow Springs complex is so fan friendly.

Saturday night is also an opportunity to say a huge thank you to the management and staff of Speedway Willows who volunteered their time and talent to create an outstanding 2016 racing season that was genuine fun for us, the fans.

Racing at Speedway Willow Springs is supported by a highly potent, and much appreciated, group of sponsors that includes: A To Z Signs, ABADAK, Adams Metalizing and Grinding, Angel's Touch Towing, Benz Sanitation, Deist Safety, Dezarov's Mobile Auto Service, Dominguez Mexican Restaurant, 51 Fifty Energy Drink, Frank's Radios, High Desert Cellars, Hooper's Rear End Service, KGG Electric, K&N Performance Filters, Linny White's Race Shop, Lucas Oil Products Inc, Misfit Motorsports, Pinnacle Peak Steak House San Dimas and Colton, Platinum Jewelry and Loan of Lancaster, Scramblez, Street Customs, Studio Equipment Rentals, 10,000 RPM, The Tire Store and Wayne and Dave's Automotive.