Pre-Race Story by David Grayson……2 days until RACE-DAY!!!

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          Speedway Willow Springs is set to launch the second half of their 2016 racing season this Saturday night, August 13th. The one quarter mile paved oval is located within the massive, 600 acres plus, Willow Springs International Raceway in the beautiful community of Rosamond California.
          Like many race tracks, located in the western states area, Speedway Willow Springs took a racing break during the month of July to beat the heat. Like many southern California desert communities, it’s gets extremely hot in beautiful downtown Rosamond. However, here’s the good news according to the National Weather Service regarding Saturday race day: the mid day high temperature will be 101 but, with a 6pm green flag start, the temperature should be dropping to the mid to upper 80’s while turning into a nice evening to watch some red hot stock car racing.
          The red hot stock car racing action will be presented by the Hooper’s Rear End Elite Division. This is a special racing class that allows super late models, late models, modifieds and trucks to race together under the auspices of the same rule book. Also getting red hot on the Speedway Willow Springs will be the Platinum Loan & Jewelry Street Stocks. the Wayne & Dave’s Automotive Hobby Stocks, the Lucas Oil Products Mini Stocks, the Tire Store Skid Plates and the So Cal Enduro Series whose racing this Saturday will be sponsored by A To Z Graphics of Ridgecrest and DRC Pump Systems of Lancaster.
          David Brandon, in his bright red #96 late model, has totally dominated the Hooper’s Rear End Service Elite division so far this year. He’s also on top of the championship standings based of three main event wins and a second place finish. He goes into next Saturday’s race with a 20 point advantage over speedway veteran and former division champion Chris Peedan.
           The one thing that you can’t help but notice while watching Brandon on the track is his remarkable abundance of driver patience. Regardless of his initial starting position in a main event, he spends the first half of a 40 lap main event making carefully calculated, one car at a time, maneuvers that creates an improvement in his track position. Before you know it, he’s running second and somewhere between laps 25 to 30 he seems to find that race winning move he needs to collect another Speedway Willow Springs trophy.
          Also of interest here is the fact that there’s only a 17 point separation between positions two through five in the Elite division championship rankings. That group is led by Peedan with drivers Randy Wilkins, Alex Anderson and John Penning lined up behind him. From this group only Anderson has a feature win so far. The local Rosamond driver won the season opener last March.
          The Platinum Loan & Jewelry Street Stocks currently has driver Tony Forfa IV as its resident hot shoe. The fourth generation driver of this well known racing family leads the division’s points standings based on two feature wins and three top five finishes and a lead of 20 points going into next Saturday night’s race. Drivers Justin Good and ageless wonder Bruce Secord are ranked second and third in the championship hunt. Both drivers have won main events during the first half of the season.
          The Wayne & Dave’s Automotive Hobby Stock division also has their own hot shoe. That would be Johnny Troesch whose three feature wins, along with four top five finishes, easily places him on top of the division’s championship standings with 70 points. At a point in time when many wondered if anyone could step up and snap the Troesch win streak, it turned out to be Michael Williams who won the last race on June 4th. Williams is only 12 points behind Troesch and making up that deficit during the remaining series’ races is doable. However, Williams will have to keep an eye out for the presence of Brandon Fisk in his rear view mirror. Fisk’s consistent four top five finishes places him third in the hobby stock points only three makers away from second.
          Of all of the division championship standings at Speedway Willow Springs, the Lucas Oil Products Mini Stocks so far has turned out to be the most intriguing due to special circumstances. John Dunlap, and his #68 Mustang, won the season opener in March and then Dunlap made an executive owner’s decision when he turned the ride over to speedway veteran, and former champion, Bobby Dezarov who immediately responded with a feature win, along with a third place finish, in the division’s April and May events. However, Dezarov had a commitment to another speedway and the team missed the race in June. Enter Ryan Bragdon, an Irwindale Speedway mini stock driver, who visited Speedway Willow Springs two times and went home with two trophies after winning the division’s May and June main events.
          So, who’s in command of the Mini Stocks points standings? How about Greg Didoha who quietly drove his #19 Ford to three top five finishes and now leads the standings with 44 points. However, Dezarov is only three points behind the leader and has indicated that he will be available to drive the #68 for the remainder of the season. Bragdon is ranked third only six points away from first. It appears that mini stocks are not running at Irwindale this Saturday so it’s highly possible that Bragdon will be making another visit to Speedway Willow Springs. This championship may not get resolved until the final night in October.
          The Tire Store Skid Plates is a concept that has captured the fancy of the Speedway Willow Springs fans due to the unique racing format of the division. The rear tires of the cars are removed and replaced with metal plates welded to the rear hubs. This creates an extremely challenging handling situation for the drivers because these small cars will very easily slide their way into a 360 degree spin. Going into Saturday night’s race, Jon Carter leads the series’ points with 64 and has a ten point lead over drivers Mike Howard and Daniel Chadwick.
          One of the true highlights, during any given Saturday night at Speedway Willow Springs, is the excitement generated by the So Cal Enduro Racing Series. This series races small sport compact sized race cars that is regarded as an extremely affordable entry level for newcomers to take on the sport of racing. It’s also a very challenging racing series that employs the use of large tractor tires that turn the speedway’s oval into a simulated road course.
          The promoter of the series is Ridgecrest resident Danny Quinn who is very good at creating different racing configurations that challenges the drivers and entertains the fans. This Saturday night Quinn will have his teams racing in a trio of 20 lap segments. The line up for the first segment will be based on the traditional pill draw held during the driver’s meeting. The segment two line up will line up by reverse order of the finish of segment one. Segment three will line up based on a combined average finish from both the first and second segments with the best average finish starting at the front of the line. Only the finishing order of segment three will be awarded prize money and season points. There will be multiple winners when the So Cal Enduro Racers completes their three segments of racing. The first is, of course, the driver that takes the checkered flag. The other winners are the fans who get to watch this form of racing excitement and fun.
          The cost of all of this motor sports fun is a $10 wrist band available at the front gate of the Willow Springs complex. Bring the family, kids age ten and under are admitted free. These wrist bands will admit you to Saturday and Sunday’s Willow Springs race programs at all of their tracks within the complex. In many cases, especially at the road course events, the wrist bands will grant fans direct access to the pit areas where you get an up close look at the race vehicles and talk to the drivers.
           In the case of this upcoming weekend, fans can take in the Classic Motorcycle Track Day which will race on the massive 2.5 mile, nine turn, road course known as Big Willow all day Saturday from 8 am until 5 pm. Then at 5pm the Big Willow long front stretch will be converted into a one-eighth mile drag strip for an evening of grudge racing. Fans can catch an hours worth of straight line racing and then make a very short drive to the other side of the complex to take in the 6 pm stock car action at Speedway Willow Springs. On Saturday and Sunday there will be day long sports car racing provided by Extreme Track Events on the 1.6 mile road course known as the Streets of Willow Springs. That’s what you’ll get to see for $10. It’s also what makes the Willow Springs International Raceway so fan friendly.
           The Speedway Willow Springs racing program is presented by a highly potent, and much appreciated, list of track 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 San Dimas & Colton, Platinum Jewelry & Loan Lancaster, Scramblez, Street Customs, Studio Equipment Rentals, 10,000 RPM, The Tire Store and Wayne & Dave’s Automotive.
           For additional information regarding the speedway’s race programs, dial up their official website at