Speedway set to open Saturday

Southern Oregon Speedway is hoping to begin the season on Saturday.

The weather just needs to cooperate.

"As usual, we're at the mercy of Mother Nature," Speedway general manager Tom Carnes said. "We were scheduled to open April 14 but were rained out. Then, April 21 we couldn't get in the pits. We feel pretty good about this Saturday."

Last year's track champions were John Derby (mini stocks), Duane Orsburn (street stocks), RJ McGahuey (dwarf cars), Joe Guider (Super 4s), Dustin Knight (pro stocks) and Mark Wauge (modifieds).

There should be no shortage of competition — and excitement — this season.

If the weather holds up, racing on Saturday will feature modifieds, pro/mods, dwarf cars, mini stocks, street stocks and a dwarf car powder puff race. Fans will have the opportunity to purchase a five-lap ride with Wauge in the "Fox-26 Scream Machine," an A modified race car.

In a strong modified field, the winner will pocket $800, speedway promoter John Skinner said.

General admission is $10 for those who are 13 and older. Seniors, veterans with identification and juniors (ages 6-12) are $7, children 5 and under are free and reserved seats are $15. Gates open at 4 p.m. with racing at 6 p.m.

Special-event races may cost more. Season tickets are also available.

Some of the special-event races on tap this year include the ISCS 360 Sprints (May 19, Aug. 11, Sept. 15), King of the West 410 Sprints (June 9), Firecracker 50 (July 3), ASCS 360 Sprint Tour Speedweek (July 16), Late Model Mayhem (July 28), "Rolling Thunder" semi-truck races (Aug. 18), the 18th annual Lon Skinner Memorial "King of the Dirt" Modifieds (Sept. 1-2) and the Battle of the Border Super Late Models and Four-Cylinder Open (Sept. 28-29).

Also, the Wild West Modified Tour will begin in Medford on June 16. The event features some of the top modified drivers in the Northwest competing in seven races in eight nights. The marathon concludes at Skagit Speedway in Alger, Wash., on June 23.

Modified racing will be a little different this year, and for the better.

The modified racing division at Southern Oregon Speedway joined the United States Racing Association, a national sanctioning body, earlier this year. The track is the first in Oregon to join the USRA. Drivers in the USRA modified division at the speedway will compete for a points fund worth up to $1,500 at season's end, plus multiple contingency awards and a $10,000 top prize for the national champion in the American Racer USRA Weekly Racing Series.

"I'm excited about the season," Skinner said. "We have the most competitive modifieds ever."

Southern Oregon Speedway is located off Highway 140 in Central Point.

For more information, visit sospeedway.com, or call the Speedway office at 541-772-7264.

Reach reporter Dan Jones at 541-776-4499, or email djones@mailtribune.com

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