Hall Of Fame Night This Saturday
At Southern Oregon Speedway
Markey James #9 and Jack Keck #46 battle for position in the early 1970’s.
Jim Walker #97 from the 1960’s
Dave Shinn #11 and Ken Scales #10 have a good race going from the 1980’s.
Jay McCleary #170 after one of his wins in the 1970’s. Freddy Higgenbotham is the flagman in the picture.
“Silent” Sam Dykes #5m from the late 1960’s.
After last weekend’s unusual wet weather forced the cancellation of racing, Southern Oregon Speedway has another special night planned for this Saturday night. It’s the Third Annual Southern Oregon Racing Hall Of Fame event.
There will be six new members inducted into the Hall of Fame. There will also be some great racing on the Jim Rodgers prepared 3/10 mile clay oval, featuring IMCA Modifieds, Late Models, IMCA Sport Modifieds, Bobbio’s Pizza Mini Stocks and JOAT Labs Hornets.
Given the storied history of Southern Oregon racing, including such tracks as the Medford Raceway, Cascade Raceway in White City and the Ashland track, coming up with a list of people deserving of being inducted into the Hall of Fame is not too difficult. The challenging part is limiting who goes in each year.
This new tradition has been established to ensure that the history of racing in Southern Oregon is not only preserved, but honored as well.
On Saturday night, six of the all-time greats will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. This list will include Markey James, Jim Walker Sr, Jay McCleary, Sam Dykes, Dave Shinn and Freddy Higginbotham. All six of these honorees have made invaluable contributions to racing throughout their storied careers.
Walker was a two-time champion at the old White City track who won races at both that venue and the Medford Raceway. James, who’s father was racing legend Cecil James, bears the distinction of winning Main Events in every decade from the 1960s until he retired in the early 2000s. McCleary was a two-time Street Stock champion who won many races at various venues throughout his career.
In an era when Hall of Famers Ben Neel and Harold Hardesty were winning everything, Dykes was the 1968 champion and won races in the 1960s and 1970s. Shinn won the inaugural POSSE Super Stock championship, which pitted some of the best drivers from Oregon and California against each other in great competition. The man flagging some of the biggest races from the 1960s and throughout the 1980s was Freddy Higginbotham, and he became one of the most respected officials at Medford Raceway.
After the rude interruption of the rain last week, point leader Zach Fettinger will be out to see if he can get his second-straight IMCA Modified win of the season. During the past three seasons, it’s been rare to see any driver win more than one race, but Fettinger scored three victories last season as well. He holds a 25 point advantage over 2017 champion Jesse Bailey. Bailey will be looking for his second win of the season, and some of the stars to watch for this week include three-time reigning champion Albert Gill, rookies Justin Foux and Jimmy Lipke, Ray Kniffen Jr and Duane Orsburn.
Following his third feature triumph of the season last time out, Trent Elliott is pulling away from the pack in the Late Model championship battle. Saturday night will be a good tune-up opportunity for Elliott as he has eyes on the $4,000 prize being offered in the August 24th Cottonwood Classic. With a pair of third place finishes, Dave
Everson now holds second in the standings ahead of one-time winner Darren Coffell and Dave Foote. These drivers could be there this week, and others to watch for include Mark Wauge, Bob Dees, Miles Deubert and Chris Biggs.
Jorddon Braaten is on a pace to write his name in the book as a three-time IMCA Sport Modified champion. Braaten has a pair of victories and a 10 point advantage over one-time winner Matt Sanders. Matt’s brother, Isaac Sanders, is 20 points out of the lead and also has a win to his credit. Two-time champion Mike Medel will be out to see if he can get his first win of the season. He currently ranks fourth in the standings ahead of last season’s top rookie, Branden Wilson. Other stars to watch for this week include Joby Shields, Brian Knorr, Steve Lysinger, previous winner Braxton Possinger and Billy Richey.
Reigning Bobbio’s Pizza Mini Stocks champion David Steele leads the charge with four feature victories and a 15 point lead over Ashtin Hedges. Hedges has been very consistent and also has a feature win and two Trophy Dash victories to his credit. While they battle for the championship, 2017 champ Kristopher Mix and Hunter Magnan have a close battle going for third in the standings. Magnan has a win this year, and Mix is still looking for his first. Other racers to watch for include top rookie Dylan Irving, 2013 champion Steve Goetz, Brandyn Wonsyld and Mike McLeod.
Rounding out of exciting program will be the JOAT Labs Hornets. The wins have been divided amongst four-time winner Dylan Sauer and two-time winner Tim Hedges. Sauer leads Hedges by nine points in the hotly contested chase, while Tim’s wife Jenna Hedges has a close battle going with rookie Quinton Tritchler for third in the standings. Those two drivers are still looking for their first wins as they’ve been running very strong this season. Other racers to watch for include rookie Shawn Nelson, Lacey Sauer, Chris Boynton, Zach Nelson and Ryan Nelson.
Fans looking for a little bit more racing action can go to the Little Southern Oregon Speedway track on Friday for championship night. We will be crowning champions in the various divisions. Jayme DeBenedetti continues to lead the Beginners Box Stock chase, while Trevor Grimes is leading the 250 Kart standings. With Flat Track Bikes, Trikes and Quads also on the schedule, it should be an exciting program. Gates open at 5 pm on Friday with the first race starting at 7. $10 gets you pit access and a bleacher seat.
On Saturday night, the gates will open at 5 with the first race starting at 7. Also, the Hall of Fame induction ceremony is will take place approximately after the heat races have concluded. General Admission Adult tickets 13+ are $13, Seniors 62+, Veterans and Juniors 7 to 12 are $7 and children 6 and under are free. For further information, go to www.southernoregonspeedway.com.