BY DAVE GRAYSON.
The Speedway Willow will be turning on the Saturday night lights while presenting another one of their action packed racing shows that has garnered them a lot of attention and positive comments, both from their racing teams and especially their fans. The always challenging quarter mile paved oval is located within the 600 acre plus motorsports complex known as the Willow Springs International Raceway.
Speedway Promoter Andy Daddario, and his staff, have once again created another full racing agenda that supports their mission of giving their fans more bang for their buck while maintaining an atmosphere of true entertainment for the entire family. On the racing agenda for Saturday night is a scheduled 248 laps of short track action spread out among six different racing divisions plus two special event races The racing will be led by the speedway’s Elite Division with some strong support from the Street Stocks, Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks, Skid Plates and the So Cal Enduro division. The aforementioned special events features an always fun flag pole race as well as an open comp figure 8 race. The first green flag of the evening will fall on all of this action at 6pm.
The Speedway Willow Springs employs a rather unique procedure for collecting championship points among its racing division. First, there are the traditional points made available from the finish order from a main event. However, under the system used by the speedway, there are a series of bonus points available based on driver’s qualifying time, their finish at the conclusion of an eight lap heat race and there’s even bonus points based on how many cars a driver passed during a main event feature. This system has two basic points scenarios. First, a highly consistent driver performance can create a comfortable lead in the championship ranking that will power the driver to a trophy at the end of the season. Secondly, a driver can use the bonus points to play catch up in the points and the division title run becomes too close to call heading into the final event of the season.
A perfect example of how this points system works can be found in the Hooper’s Rear End Service Elite Division, a special Willow Springs division that allows Super Late Models, Late Models, Modifieds and trucks to race together under the auspice of one set of rules. In three starts so far this season, driver David Brandon has two, consecutive, feature wins, and a top five finish. Brandon’s consistency in collecting the bonus points has him on top of the division standings with 70 points. Series veteran, and former track champion, Chris Peedan is ranked second with 48 points but collecting those bonus points could help eradicate Brandon’s current lead. Rosamond driver Alex Anderson, who won the division’s season opener back in March, is ranked third with 46 points.
In the Platinum Loan & Jewelry Street Stock standings driver Tony Forfa IV has been very busy keeping his family’s racing legacy headed in the right direction. Forfa has a total of 76 points going into Saturday night’s race based on two feature wins plus bonus points.
Fan favorite Bruce Secord, who won the season opener, is second in the standings with 50 points. Unfortunately, during last month’s main event, Secord was caught up in a racing situation not of his making, that saw him take a hard hit into the retaining wall. Thankfully, the 71 year old driver didn’t sustain any major injury except for the traditional soreness that often comes with a hard crash. The same could not said for his #35 Chevrolet which sustained major damage and will likely require a major rebuild situation. That situation, combined with a professional obligation at the Orange Show Speedway, means Secord will not be racing at Speedway Willow Springs this Saturday night. It also means that driver Justin Good, third in the standings with 38 points, will have an opportunity to move into second in the points.
The Wayne & Dave’s Automotive Hobby Stocks championship run has raised an important question: who can stop driver Johnny Troesch? In three starts so far this season Troesch has three feature wins and 58 points. Brandon Fisk is ranked second with 41 points followed by Michael Williams with 35 points.
There’s likely to be a change in leadership this Saturday night in the Lucas Oil Products Mini Stock points. John Dunlap, in his #68 Ford, won the season opener back in March and then turned the driving duties over to speedway veteran, and former track champion, Bobby Dezarov who responded with a main event in April and a top five finish in May which placed him at the top of the standings with 41 points.
However, due to a professional commitment to the Orange Show Speedway this Saturday, Dezarov will miss the race in Rosamond. In a recent Facebook post, Dunlap indicated that he and the car would also be missing the next race at Willow Springs. That could create an opportunity for driver Greg Didoha, second in the standings with 30 points, to take over the top spot.
It could also mean Ryan Bragdon could leap frog from third to first. The 2015 Irwindale Event Center Mini Stock champion made his debut appearance at Speedway Willow Springs and had a very big night for himself. He’s a perfect example of how the speedway’s bonus points program can work in a driver’s favor. Because it was his 2016 debut, Bragdon began the evening at the bottom of the list with zero points. He left the speedway third in the standings with 24 points after winning the main event while collecting bonus points from every category available. It’s not clear at this point what this driver’s plans are regarding this coming Saturday night.
Dont over look the fact that Dezarov’s calendar, after this Saturday night, will be free and clear to return to the #68 mini stock for the remainder of the season and he will be looking to return to the top of the championship standings.
In The Tire Store Skid Plates division Jon Carter, winner of the May 14th race, is the division’s leader with 50 points. However Daniel Chadwick, a feature winner back on April 16th, is only eight behind in second. Mike Howard is third in the standings with 39 points.
One of the major highlights of Speedway Willow Springs’ 2016 season has been the So Cal Enduro division. The division’s car count has been extremely healthy, they have a rock solid sponsorship program and the racing action has kept the fans on their feet during their main events. Enduro racing this Saturday night is being sponsored by Meinerts Industrial and DRC Pump Systems.
Going into Saturday night Jake Basham, after winning the May 14th feature, is on top of the championship standings with 46 points. However, drivers Randy Hannah and Pete Chilbes, tied for second are only six points behind the leader. Michael Walters holds down fourth just ten points from the top of the standings.
This success of this program is a tribute to the vision and hard work from series Promoter Danny Quinn who has done an excellent job of creating and developing this exciting program over the past year and a half. Quinn employs a variety of formats for each of his races. This Saturday night he’s planning a traditional old school race for his teams. The Enduro cars will be running twin six lap heat races that will determine the starting line up for the 40 lap feature race. If you’re not familiar with this style of racing then treat yourself this Saturday night. It’s well worth the trip to Rosamond and the price of admission.
Speaking of the price of admission, a ten dollar bill, at the front gate of the Willow Springs complex, will buy you a wrist band that will allow you access to see all of the racing, at all of their tracks, on both Saturday and Sunday. Children age eight and under will be admitted free.
A perfect example is the sports car racing you can see on the 2.5 mile, nine turn, road course known as Big Willow. The Lucky Dog Racing League will be presenting one of their famed endurance events. The Ultra Chiller Willow Springs Desert Dash will begin on Saturday, from 9am to 530pm, and conclude on Sunday from 9am to 3pm. You can use your wrist band on Saturday to take in some of this action and then, later in the day, make a very short drive to Speedway Willow Springs to enjoy some exciting stock car racing on the quarter mile paved oval. Plus, you still have the option of returning on Sunday to see more sports car action.
This is why the Willow Springs International Raceway is regarded as being one of the most fan friendly motor sports complexes in the country. It’s also just one of many reasons why this facility is such a commercial success that dates back to 1953.
Racing at Speedway Willow Springs is presented 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 Steak House in Colton & San Dimas, Platinum Loan & Jewelry in Lancaster, Scramblez, Street Customs, Studio Equipment Rentals, 10,000 RPM, The Tire Store and Wayne & Dave’s Automotive.