KENNEDY: California Coast


LOS ANGELES — Owners of the new Kern County Raceway Park in Bakersfield rescheduled the grand opening race to May 18.

NASCAR Pro Late Models, late models, legends, bandoleros and mini dwarf cars will use the banked half-mile and quarter mile. The combined purse is $45,845. A 100-lap Pro Late Models purse is $27,600 with $8,000 going to the winner and $3,500 for the runner-up. The 50-lap late model field will race for $14,125 and the winner will receive $2,500. Legends will compete for $4,120 with the winner taking home $1,000.

The second race date at the new Stockton 99 Dirt Track at the San Joaquin County Fairgrounds was April 27. BCRA Midgets had 21 midgets present. Shannon McQueen set fast time of 16.513 on the banked three-eighths mile clay. Johnathon Henry won a 30-lap feature over Greg Bragg and Sean Dodenhoff. Modifieds and dirt late models made the track rough before the midgets ran the final event.

The inaugural race presented by Tony and Carol Noceti was the World of Outlaws March 22. There were 44 sprint cars and a SRO crowd of more than 10,000that night to see Kyle Larson win the 30-lap feature in a Nor Cal winged sprint.

The first URA unlimited sprint car/midget doubleheader at Orange Show Stadium in San Bernardino was April 27. It had a clay surface from 1946-63 and was paved from 1964-2012. Scott Burns’ Dirt Entertainment, LLC trucked in new clay from a construction site and made other improvements. A field of 22 sprint cars, 10 midgets and 18 winged mini sprints competed. Mike Spencer, five-time USAC-CRA champion, won the 30-lap sprint car feature in Ron Chaffin’s Maxim/410 ci Shaver. The 20-lap midget main went to Clayton Ruston, a 12-year old from Yorba Linda. Bobby Michnowicz won a 20-lap mini-sprint race. The new OSS clay held up well; features had passing and lead changes.

Fans posting on racing websites gave the clay OSS “a thumbs up” and look forward to the next race June 1. Dwarf cars, lightning mini sprints and vintage cars also will have track time that night.

Reopened Irwindale Speedway ran its second event on April 27. About 3,000 spectators watched a six-division program. Feature winners were Rip Michels in a NASCAR 40-lap super late model feature. It was his track-leading 62nd victory. Two-time bandolero champion Ryan Cansdale, 14, became the youngest winner (by two years) on Irwindale’s half-mile. He scored a 30-lap victory in a full-size S2 touring stock car. He also set fastest qualifying time.

Other night two winners were Ken Brown, 66, a first-time truck winner, Donny St. Ours, 19, in his legend car, Ricky Lewis, 14, in a bandolero, and Sean Brennan, 23, in a wild 27-car skid plate race. The cars that had metal skid plates mounted on both rear wheels instead of tires.

Irwindale’s third night of racing was May 4. First-time winners were Gary Read, 56, a six-year super stock driver, and Toni McCray, daughter of retired NASCAR stock car racer and 2009-11 Orange Show racing promoter Rick McCray. She started fifth and led all but the first four laps of a 50-lap Lucas Oil Late Model main. She was the second female to win on Irwindale’s half-mile. Lindsey King won a late model main in 2008. Other winners were Ryan Bragdon (mini stocks), Neil Conrad (trucks), Rod Proctor (Figure 8s) and Robert Rice (trailer race).

Round three of the 12-race Robby Gordon Stadium Super Trucks was April 27 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, 1970s birthplace of Mickey Thompson stadium off-road racing.

In a three-division format at the LA Coliseum, Gordon led all 20 laps in a super truck feature with 13 trucks. Larry Swim took the monster truck main in Bigfoot. Jerry Whelchel won a 12-lap, 10-buggy final. Rob MacCachren trailed Gordon with Indy 500 vet P. J. Jones third. Other Indy 500 drivers in the field were Arie Luyendyk Jr. and Jeff Ward. Cycle/off-road racer Ricky Johnson and NASCAR truck racer Justin Lofton also competed.

Round four was held May 4 at San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium. MacCachren won the 14-truck, 20-lap super truck feature with a last-lap pass of Ricky Johnson. Gordon finished third. Luyendyk Jr. was fourth and Jones fifth. A. Lopez won the 12-lap, eight-buggy main.



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Tim Kennedy
Tim Kennedy is a veteran motorsports journalist. He worked as the CRA sprint car publicity director for 11 years beginning in 1968 and his Racing Scene column has been a motorsports staple since 1979.