'Dominator Dave' rules the mini stocks at speedway

Stock car racing fans at the Southern Oregon Speedway have begun to call David Marble "Dominator Dave."

It's no wonder. The Medford heating and air conditioning installer has won seven of nine main events in the mini stock class and finished second another time. One race in which he failed to finish is all that separates Marble from near perfection.

"People tell me I drive my car as hard as anyone out there," Marble, 33, says. "I'm always looking ahead and I'm prepared for anything that happens."

Marble, who finished third in points a year ago and eighth in 2005, credits pit crew chief Toby Judd with turning him from "Mediocre Marble" into "Dominator Dave." Judd, a former points champion in Yreka, joined Marble's pit crew this season.

"He's my motor guy and set-up guy and he knows what he's doing," says Marble of Judd. "I trust him with everything I've got. I tell him what the car is doing and he knows what adjustments to make. All I have to do is go out there and drive it."

Marble has driven his car, a 1980 Mercury Capris, for four seasons.

Marble's winning spree has put him under the watchful eye of the tech inspectors, who examine the winner's car and engine after nearly every race. In week four, Marble was caught with an illegal steering column part and stripped of his points that night.

The disqualification knocked Marble from first to seventh in points, but three weeks later he was back on top.

"It's a part that quickens your steering and prevents you from over-correcting when something goes wrong," Marble says. "It's a safety part in my opinion. I had it on there last year and no one said anything. Only after I started to win every race did it become a problem.

"It made me mad. I went out the next week and won, anyway."

Marble's interest in racing was piqued by his uncle, sprint-car specialist T.J. Winningham, when they lived in San Jose, Calif. Marble worked on Winningham's crew, then began racing go-karts after moving to Medford in 1994. He graduated to the Southern Oregon Speedway in 2002.

"Racing gives me the best adrenaline rush I've ever had," says Marble, who lapped all but five cars during last Saturday's main event. "I get butterflies in my stomach before every race. Racing is what gets me through the week."

Marble hopes to move up to the super-4 class next summer.

"If I can scrape up the money I'll do it," he says. "I'm sure there's quite a few guys (in the mini stock class) who would like me out of there."

JER DEUBERT BURST into the limelight by winning the Art Pollard Memorial on May 19 and has been a major factor in the pro stocks division ever since.

In his last four starts, Deubert has two wins and a third. He's climbed to third place in the points race and trails runner-up Jim Hill by just four points.

"The Art Pollard was one of those races where everything came together," Deubert says. "It was like the seas parted and I just drove on through."

Deubert's luck took a turn for the better just prior to the Pollard race when he made repairs to the suspension on his 2006 Skipper Klimcheck chassis. The car suffered minor damage its last time out last season at a race in Fallon, Nevada.

"Once we changed some lower control arms, the car handled a lot better," Deubert, 42, says. "It's been running great and handling great ever since the Pollard race."

Deubert's climb up the point standings — he was sixth last year — can also be attributed to the amount of time he's had to work on his car. Last year, Deubert toiled as a logger, spending 12-hour days in the woods. But he switched jobs over the winter and now works as a carpenter.

"I drive home in 20 minutes now instead of two hours," he says. "It's been a godsend."

Deubert admits he's a long shot to catch points leader Frank Word III — he trails the former four-time champion 656-592, but he's not conceding the title just yet.

"We're going to do our best to win some more races and finish every race," he says.


THE SOUTHERN OREGON Speedway will be idle Saturday in honor of the Jackson County Fair, but racing will resume Monday night when sprint cars hit the oval for the Northwest Sprint Challenge Series (formerly the Northern Sprint Tour).

Monday marks the third of seven events during "Speedweek," a series in which the NSCS drivers compete at five tracks between Friday and July 28.

The series starts Friday and Saturday at Grays Harbor Raceway in Elma, Wash., and concludes July 27-28 at Skagit Speedway in Alger, Wash. Other stops are at Cottage Grove next Tuesday and Lebanon on Wednesday.

Roger Crockett, a 26-year-old sprint-car standout who moved from Eugene to Medford last year, has three wins and a pair of seconds in the NSCS's six races to date. He's well out front in the points race.

Central Point's Bill Nutter, the season points champion in 2005, is currently in third place behind Crockett and Mitch Olson.

Reach reporter Don Hunt at 776-4469, or e-mail dhunt@mailtribune.com

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