Showing posts with label John Dunlap. Show all posts
Showing posts with label John Dunlap. Show all posts

Monday, May 9, 2016

Eight Different Divisions To Highlight Speedway Willow Springs Action This Saturday

By Dave Grayson

It's going to be Saturday night lights and the roar of engines from eight different racing classes when Speedway Willow Springs drops the green flag on round 3 of their 2016 season. Providing the on track action will be the speedway's Elite, Hobby Stock, Mini Stock, Street Stock, Skid Plate and So Cal Enduro divisions. Plus, there will be a special guest appearance from the Mini Dwarfs and Motorized Bikes.

The quarter mile asphalt oval is located within the massive Willow Springs International Raceway complex in Rosamond. With improvements in the community's over night weather forecasts, the speedway will launch their night time race schedule beginning this Saturday night. Green flag time will be 6pm.

The Hooper's Rear End Service Elite Division is a unique concept created by the speedway management that allows super late models, late models, modifieds and trucks to race together under the auspices of a single rule book. David Brandon, the winner of last month's main event, is currently on top of the championship points standings and has a 14 point advantage over Rosamond's Alex Anderson, who won the division's season opener back in March.

Brandon's points lead is primarily based on his excellent job of collecting bonus points. Speedway Willow Springs employs the use of a unique points system that awards a bonus in the areas of qualifying, heat race finishes and passing points. That's how there's a 14 points gap between two drivers who are main event winners.

Driver Johnny Troesch has been the hot shoe in the Wayne & Dave's Automotive Hobby Stock division and leads the championship points based on two, consecutive, main event wins. However, Brandon Fisk is only four points out of first and will be looking for his first feature win Saturday night and take over the top spot in the standings. Also of interest here is a close battle for third in the standings where drivers Michael Williams and Corey Carter are separated by a single point.

The Platinum Loan and Jewelry Street Stock's current championship profile is a case of a young, but experienced, driver versus a true veteran who is young at heart. Tony Forfa IV, the winner of the division's round two main event in April, goes into Saturday night with a four point advantage over 71 year old Bruce Secord who won the season opener following a very exciting final lap battle with Forfa. Secord has proven that age in nothing more than a number to be listed on an official document and has become very popular with the Speedway Willow Springs fans. Expect to see more excitement this Saturday night when these two drivers line up for their main event.

The Lucas Oil Mini Stocks has raised the question who can beat the #68 Ford? In the round one season opener, team owner John Dunlap made easy work of winning the main event. When it was time to run last month's round two, Dunlap put speedway veteran Bobby Dezarov behind the wheel who parked the car in victory lane for the second race in a row. Going into this Saturday night, Dezarov leads the division's points standings with a four point advantage over Greg Didoha.

Also on the Speedway Willow Springs racing agenda will be the very popular The Tire Store Skid Plate cars. With their rear tires replaced with flat metal plates welded to the wheel hubs, this division creates a very unique and fun form of racing. With the speedway switching to their night time format this Saturday night, those metal plates are going to create a shower of multi colored sparks. Brady Mertz and Daniel Chadwick have been the big main event winners so far. Mertz leads the current points standings with a five point advantage over Jon Carter.

Without question, the So Cal Enduro Racers has emerged as one of the most popular racing divisions at the speedway and that is based on the high quality of their shows which are often 50 lap features and, in the case of their April event, sometimes 100 laps. Making their feature races even more interesting are the presence of two large tractor tires that placed just outside of the speedway's two straightaways. When the field comes off of turns four or two, they crank their steering wheels to the left and drive around the large tires. That makes the racing line entering turns one and three most interesting. Another aspect to this racing division is the relatively low cost of building and maintaining these enduro cars. The division is largely comprised of sport compact vehicles which can be constructed for around $1,000.

The competition in this series can get quite fierce. Going into Saturday night's race, Nate Van Deventer leads the points standings. However, that lead is only a single point over Jake Basham. Driver's Pete Chilbes, Randy Hannah and Michael Walters are lined up third through fifth in the standings. The points separation between the top five drivers is a mere seven points.

Danny Quinn, the creator and promoter of this series, has done an excellent job of putting this program together, including securing sponsorships. The So Cal Enduro Racers' race this Saturday night will be sponsored by Swift NAPA Auto Parts and their four locations in Ridgecrest, Mojave, Tehachapi and Lake Isabella along with DRC Pump Systems.

By the way, Quinn placed a very interesting post on the series' Facebook page, back on April 27th, that read as follows: "rumor has it that La Policia, Willow's most famous mini van, will be running the next enduro on May 14th. You won't want to miss that."

Making a special guest appearance at Speedway Willow Springs will be the Mini Dwarfs. These tiny race cars are popular at race track all over the country and are driven by youngsters often referred to by promoters as the future stars of tomorrow. The racing is usually ran in two classes: drivers 5 to 8 years old and age group 9 to 13. When these youngsters climb out of these tiny cars for a victory lane interview it turns into a major ooh and ahh moments from the fans.

The body width of these cars are 42 inches with an open wheel base of 57.5 inches. The weight of the cars are 300 and 325 pounds for the two respective classes. The Honda GX 200 or the Honda GX 160 are the engines of choice for the series.

Also making a special guest appearance will be So Cal Motor Bicycle Racing. This highly unique form of racing features standard bikes, from small BMX to larger, standard size, equipped with small gas tanks and engines that range from 50cc to 160cc engines. They are the only racing group of its kind in the entire southwest. They frequently visit the Willow Springs International Raceway to race on the facility's kart track and have graciously agreed to present an exhibition race on the quarter mile oval Saturday night. By the way, fans can visit the speedway's website,, and see a selection of videos to get an idea of how exciting this form of racing is.

For the nominal fee of $10, fans will receive a wrist band at the front gate that will allows them to take in all of this short track racing action. Children 8 years old and under are admitted. But, wait, there's more. Those wrist bands will allow the fans to visit the other tracks within the complex, on both Saturday and Sunday, to watch the racing there. In the case of this weekend, you can take in some sports car action, provided by the Porsche Owner's Club, at Big Willow, the massive 2.5 mile, 9 turn, road course. There's even more weekend action to see at the Streets of Willow Springs, a 1.6 mile road course, where the sports cars from the famed Speed Ventures Auto Track Day will be racing. That's two days of racing for the price of a $10 wrist band. It's also one of the many why Willow Springs International Raceway is regarded as being one of the most fan friendly racing complexes in the country.

Racing at the Speedway Willow Springs is powered by a highly potent, and much appreciated, group of sponsors that includes: A To Z Signs, Abadak, Adams Metalizing & 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 Steakhouse-San Dimas & Colton, Platinum Loan & Jewelry-Lancaster, Scramblez, Street Customs, Studio Equipment Rentals, 10,000 RPM, The Tire Store and Wayne & Dave's Automotive.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Another Day Of Racing Fun At Speedway Willow Springs

By Dave Grayson

Under an abundance of Saturday afternoon sunshine, and a huge break from the 60 MPH winds that plagued California's Antelope Valley the day before, six racing divisions responded to the green flag in what would turn out to be another day of racing fun at the Speedway Willow Springs. The quarter mile paved oval is located within the 600 acre complex known as Willow Springs International Raceway in Rosamond, California.

In the 40 lap Hooper's Rear End Service Elite Division main event, David Brandon picked up his first win of the still young season in rather dominant fashion. Speedway veteran Randy Wilkins led the field to the initial green flag and paced the event for the first eight circuits before Brandon was able to make an inside move, going into turn three to become the new race leader. It turned out to be the race winning move. At one point in the event Brandon held a full straightaway lead over Anthony Mainella. Late in the race Mainella picked up a few ticks on the stop watch and reduced Brandon's lead to one half of a straightaway. However, despite being the fastest car on the track, time and laps ran out and Mainella had to settle for the runner up finish. The margin of victory was 3.715 seconds. After the race Brandon lit up his tires and performed a victory lane burnout that completely engulfed his car in smoke much to the delight of the fans.

Speedway veteran, and past track champion, Chris Peedan crossed under the checkers to take third and was followed by Tony Forfa, Alex Anderson, Rich Wilson and Randy Wilkins. Earlier in the day Peedan set the fast time in qualifying with a hot lap of 15.376 seconds. Mainella won the division's heat race.

In Platinum Loan & Jewelry Street Stock action, Dwight Kelly roared out of his front row outside starting position to take the lead. Throughout the majority of the 35 lap main event, the top four drivers lined up bumper to bumper while displaying the meaning of an old stock car racing term known as the freight train shuffle. It was almost like the drivers in positions two through five were waiting for that special moment in time that would allow them to eradicate Kelly's lead and steal the win. That moment in time appeared on lap 28 when Kelly's car inched towards the high side while he was negotiating turn two. That left Tony Forfa IV just enough room, on the turn's low groove, to work his way into the race lead. At this point Forfa, to coin another old racing term, literally checked out of the hotel and won the race with a 8.289 second margin of victory.

Bruce Secord, the winner of the speedway's season opener, drove under the checkers to take second and was followed by Jerry Baxter, Kelly, Ray Butler and Justin Good. Earlier in the day, Secord set the fast time in qualifying with a lap of 16.257 seconds. Justin Good was the winner of the division's eight lap heat race.

In the Wayne & Dave's Automotive Hobby Stock 35 lap main event Johnny Troesch came out of the front row, at the initial green flag, and turned in a formidable performance and led all of the event's laps to score a flag to flag win as well as his second, consecutive, division win. His margin of victory was a whopping 18.170 seconds. Brandon Fisk came across the line in second followed by Corey Carter, Michael Williams and Rod Sproule. In preliminary action Fisk set fast time in qualifying with a hot lap of 16.751 seconds. Williams won the division's eight lap heat race.

In the Lucas Oil Mini Stocks main it was a case of the same car, a Ford Mustang, winning for the second time in a row but with a different driver sitting in the seat. John Dunlap drove the car to victory during the March 26th season opener while speedway veteran and former track champion Bobby Dezarov parked the Mustang in victory lane this past Saturday. Following the waving of the initial green flag to start the race, Dezarov came out of his pole position starting berth and jumped into the lead. He led all 20 lap of the race to score the win. His margin of victory over runner up Greg Didoha was 2.559 second. Jeremy Queener came across the line in third and was followed by Randy Hannah, Danny Quinn, Matt Peterson, Nick Higginson and Tim Ogdon. Dezarov's excellent day at Speedway Willow Springs included hitting the trifecta by setting the fast time in qualifying, 16.479 seconds, and winning the eight lap heat race.

Skid Plate racing is a popular form of racing that has swept southern California in recent years. The concept calls for the rear tires, of a small sport compact type race car, to be removed and replaced with a pair of steel hub welded to flat steel plates. These plates slide across the track surface showering sparks.The other result is a challenge for the driver of these cars to maintain control due to the fact that the rear end of the vehicles slide around. Spin outs, as well as fender bender situations, are quite common because these vehicles totally redefines the racing term loose race car.

To no real surprise, the Tire Store Skid Plate division has become very popular with the fans at Speedway Willow Springs. During last Saturday's 12 lap main event there were more cases of race cars doing 360 degree spins than could be counted. On lap ten of the race two car hooked bumpers with the result being fender benders and more spins from the drivers behind them trying to avoid the melee. The red flag came out for track clean up and that's when the speedway's Race Director called the event two laps prior to completion. Daniel Chadwick was declared the winner. He noted that this was only his second ever race. The first was at Speedway Springs on March 26 when hard luck created a major learning curve for the young driver. However, it was lessons well learned because they helped Chadwick take home the winner's trophy.

One of the extremely popular events at Speedway Willow Springs is the So Cal Enduro Racers. Created and promoted by Ridgecrest resident Danny Quinn, these sport compacts run lengthy events under very unusual conditions such as driving around huge tractor tires located at the edge of the speedway's two straightaways. Last Saturday's race was billed as the Motion Tire Motorsports 100 which was divided into twin 50 lap segments.

During the first segment, Michael Walters led the opening laps until Joe David took the point on lap 12. Unfortunately, bad racing luck hit David, on lap 37, when he suffered a flat tire. Nate Van De Venter became the new front man and guided the field to the end of the first 50 lap segment. The twin segment was utilized due to the fact that the transponders, an electronic device on the cars that sends track position data to a computer located in the speedway's race control tower, required reactivating. The teams were also given seven minutes to work on the cars with many of them electing to change tires.

During this intermission something rather bizarre happened. Two race vehicles, a full size truck and a large bomber stocker, came out on the track towing boats. The tow chains were released from the boats and the two vehicles circled the track while repeatedly running into the boats. The result was a case of maritime murder and the boats were soon reduced to piles of debris. It turns out that the management of Speedway Willow Springs likes to stage a little destruction now and then while sharing the moment with their fans.

Following track clean up, it was time for the Enduro teams to line up for the start of segment two of the Motion Tire Motorsports 100. Nate Van DeVenter picked up the pace, where he left off in the first segment, and began putting asphalt between himself and his closest competitor. It appeared that he was well on his way to collecting the $400 winner's check. Unfortunately, with the race three quarters complete, the tell tale signs of heavy white smoke began to drift from the back of his car. This was followed by a rarely seen event when the battery came flying out of the window of one of the cars and landed on the track. The result was a red flag condition to allow clean up followed by a standing still restart. That restart came very quickly and Van DeVenter's car was slow to respond and, by the time he recovered, five cars passed him. To his credit, Van DeVenter did find a way to drive his ailing car to a fifth place finish despite all of the white smoke streaming out the back of it.

Meanwhile Pete Chilbes became the new race leader and made quick work of running out the waning laps to claim the win. Unofficial results, pending a complete review of the lap charts by the speedway's scoring team, showed Jake Basham and Randy Hannah following the race winner under the checkers. There's a lot of excitement attached to the So Cal Enduro Racers and it's very easy to see why they've become so popular with the fans. This is a top shelf, well run, racing program that has unlimited potential for a very bright future.

Racing returns to the Speedway Willow Springs on May 14th featuring the same six divisions. With the late spring, early summer, expected to be in place in the Antelope Valley area, the speedway will begin its night racing schedule meaning the first race will begin at 6pm.

The Speedway Willow Springs is greatly enhanced, and blessed, with a large group of track 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, Misfit Motorsports, Pinnacle Peak Steak House-Colton and San Dimas locations, Platinum Jewelry and Loan-Lancaster, Scramblez, Street Customs, Studio Equipment Rentals, 10,000 RPM, The Tire Store and Wayne and Dave's Automotive.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

A Busy And Fun Weekend Set For Willow Springs

By Dave Grayson

With an abundance of race tracks presenting ever form of motorsports than you could name, spread out in a complex that measures 600 plus acres, there's always going to be plenty of action at the Willow Springs International Raceway, located in the beautiful community of Rosamond-California.

They're going to prove that point this weekend by treating their fans to another full weekend led by stock car racing at the Speedway Willow Spring, the facility's quarter mile paved oval, who will present six different racing divisions, this Saturday-April 16th, during the course of a special day race that will receive the green flag at 1pm. Those racing division on the schedule include: the Elite Division, Street Stocks, Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks, Skid Plates and the So Cal Enduro Racers.

The Hooper's Rear End Service Elite Division is a unique racing group, created by the Speedway Willow Springs management team, that allows Super Late Model, Late Model, Modifieds, Southwest Tour and Spec Trucks to race together all under the guide lines of a single rule book. During the waning laps of the division's March 26th season opening main event, Alex Anderson staged a razor sharp maneuver that moved him from third place to victory lane.

However, it was runner up David Brandon who left Rosamond as the division's point leader. That''s because of a rather elaborate points system created by the management. In addition to main event championship points, bonus points are awarded based on qualifying, heat races and even passing. Brandon had a great night during those preliminary events and that's how he became the first points leader on opening day. However there's only a two point separation between these two drivers going into next Saturday's race and you can expect Anderson to address that issue.

The Platinum Jewelry and Loan Street Stocks were a major highlight of opening day when 71 year old Bruce Secord fended off a hard charging, and much younger, Tony Forfa IV. As the pair sailed under the checkers, the margin of victory was approximately half the length of Secord's left front fender. The other result was a crowd of excited race fans on their feet enjoying the action. Secord will go into next Saturday's race with a two point advantage over Forfa and we will all be watching them to see if they create another intense performance similar to what we observed on opening day.

Based on the strength of his main event win last month, Johnny Troesch will start next Saturday's race with a three point advantage in the championship standings over Brandon Fisk in the Wayne and Dave's Automotive Hobby Stock division. Here's yet another group of racers doing a fine job of putting on a great show.

In the Lucas Oil Products Mini Stock division John Dunlap scored his long awaited first ever win at Speedway Willow Springs on opening day and now will be focused on collecting his second, consecutive, win this Saturday. Dunlap also did extremely well in collecting bonus points during the preliminary events and will go into next Saturday with an eight point lead in the championship standings.

Skid Plate racing is a fun concept that has quickly captured the attention of fans at tracks all across the country. The division is comprised of sport compact cars with a low budget build factor. The rear tires are removed and replaced with a pair of hubs with steel plates attached to them. The result is a race car showering sparks off the rear wheels while the drivers to their best to control the direction of the sliding cars. It's a lot of fun to watch.

Brady Mertz was the first 2016 winner during last month's season opener. He will be going into next Saturday afternoon's second race of the season with a 13 point advantage in the championship standings over drivers John Carter and Angel Carter who are tied for second.

Last, but never least, will be the presence of the So Cal Enduro Racers. These are your basic low budget Mini Stocks but their literally fly around the Speedway Willow Springs quarter mile while sometimes racing under altered track conditions such as entering a straightaway through the infield while negotiating their way around large tractor tires.

At the conclusion of opening day, Nate Van DeVenter was the first 2016 series winner with Pete Chilbes and Michael Walters second in third in both the race and the points standings. Saturday's main event is being sponsored by Motion Tire and Wheel of Ridgecrest and DRC Pump System. Their main event has been dubbed the Motion Tire 100. That's right, these enduro drivers are going to run 100 very fast paced laps, while competing for a $400 winner's check, in what is highly anticipated as being one of the major highlights of next Saturday's race schedule.

General admission tickets are $10 with kids ten and under admitted free. The purchase of a $10 wrist band, at the front gate of the complex, will allow fans to watch all racing activities at all of the Willow Springs Tracks on both Saturday and Sunday.

A case in point regarding this particular weekend is the presence of Extreme Speed's Auto Track Days who will be racing high powered sports cars,on both Saturday and Sunday, on "Big Willow", the facility's premiere 2.5 mile nine turn road course.The cars will be on the track all day from 8am to 5pm.

Also on Saturday and Sunday will be hot motorcycle action presented by the California Superbike School. While the intent here is motorcycle racing lessons, the track will be filled all day with high powered bikes that will be a sight to see on the "Streets Of Willow Springs" the facility's other challenging road course measuring 1.6 miles of twisting right and left hand turns.

In the case of the action at both road courses, fans are allowed to visit the pit areas to meet the drivers and get an up close and personal look at their racing machines. That's a lot of action for a $10 weekend. It's exactly the reason why Willow Springs International Raceway is regarded as being one of the most fan friendly racing facilities in the country and why it's been in top flight operation since 1953. It's also the reason why it's going to be another busy, but fun, weekend at Willow Springs.

Make sure you visit the Speedway Willow Springs and its hot stock car show on the quarter mile paved oval this Saturday afternoon at 1pm. It's has all the makings of being the hottest racing show in the So Cal area.