KENNEDY: California Coast


LOS ANGELES — The 11th consecutive year of XGames in Los Angeles Aug. 1-4 will be televised with 19 hours live by ESPN and ABC.

New this year is the use of Irwindale Events Center on all four days for events —Ford Rally Cross, Gymkhana, plus Go Pro BMX Freestyle Big Air and Skateboard Big Air. Auto events have taken place in recent years in downtown Los Angeles on closed city streets. The Irwindale track also will host XGames music presentations at 6 p.m. Aug. 1 and Aug. 2.

• USAC sprint car veteran Damion Gardner will drive a Beast sprint car chassis with a Ron Shaver engine at the Bonneville (Utah) Salt Flats in August. His goal is to set the world speed record for a sprint car. He hopes to exceed 200 mph in a straight line. Damion and car owner Steve Watt plan to make a test run at California’s El Mirage Dry Lake prior to their Bonneville record attempt.

• Orange Show Stadium in San Bernardino ran its third URA unlimited sprint car 30-lap feature June 29 on the now clay semi-banked quarter-mile. Brody Roa, 22, led every lap in a 20-car field. The URA limited (Ford Focus) midget 20-lap winner was 13-year old Clayton Ruston.

Courtney Crone, a 4-foot 9-inch12-year old junior speedway cycle 150cc racer, made her URA midget debut in one of two Wally Pankratz-owned midgets. She started ninth and finished seventh.

• Irwindale Event Center and the world famous City of Hope Medical Center in nearby Duarte have announced a wide-ranging promotional partnership. The City of Hope has ongoing research and treatment for cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases. The agreement will offer discounts, special event nights and use of Irwindale Speedway skybox suites. IEC will give two free tickets to persons who donate a pint of blood for City of Hope use.

• Past World Speedway Motorcycle Champion Billy Hamill, 43, won the first five Wednesday night 500cc speedway cycle features at Industry Speedway, a one-eighth-mile indoor dirt track in the Grand Arena at the Industry Hills Expo Center. He flew to Europe to manage the USA team at the World Team Cup in the UK. Charlie Venegas won the next two Industry features in Hamill’s absence. On July 15, during round two in England Team USA transferred to the next round in Prague, Czech Republic.

• Billy Janniro, fresh from scratch and handicap feature victories a night earlier in Auburn, won the Orange County Fair Derby in Costa Mesa July 13 in front of about 5,000 fairgoers. Division One 500cc recent feature winners at Pirate Speedway in San Bernardino were Hamill, Aaron Fox, Buck Blair, Bobby Schwartz and Eddie Castro.

• Irwindale Speedway late model and super late model feature winners recently were Toni Marie McCray in her second LM 50 victory of 2013; Rip Michels in a SLM 50 that increased his track-leading feature victory total to 64, 20 more than the second-place driver; Ryan Partridge in two LM 50 mains, Connor Cantrell in a 50-lap truck race, and 16-year old Juan Esteban Gomez, from Bogota, Columbia, by 0.030 with a last-lap pass of track past champion Michels in the last few feet of a 40-lap SLM feature.

• USAC-CRA non-winged sprint car winners in June were Mark Alexander Racing teammates Damion Gardner at Ocean Speedway and Santa Maria Speedway and Nic Faas at Perris July 4 in front of about 5,000 spectators. Faas, 23, is a recent college graduate with a degree in finance. He won his second in a classic duel with five-time series champion Mike Spencer, a 31-year-old college grad with a mechanical engineering degree.

• NMRA TQ midget teams have completed eight of the 17 scheduled races this year. There have been six different feature winners. Only teammates West Evans and Chuck West have two victories.

• The new Kern County Raceway Park paved semi-banked half-mile in Bakersfield has raced every Saturday since it opened May 18. Recent late model feature winners in solo or twin mains have been: David Mayhew (five times), plus solo winners Eric and Brian Richardson, Race Liberante, Kevin Thompson and Donny St. Ours, who ran a 17.863 lap in late afternoon qualifying.


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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.