Racing is back at Orland Speedway, and they are trying some new things, such as running the Dirt Modifieds this Saturday night. I thought I'd put up a few paragraphs to support the cause. I always respected the effort the Turners put towards this track and starting Wingless Spec Sprint racing there, and I am hoping the new track management can continue the good things and take it to the next level.
The dirt track located at the Glenn County Fairgrounds in Orland, known as Orland Speedway, ran their first race of the season Saturday night, featuring four divisions of racing. It was a great opportunity to get things going and establish momentum under new track management, and a good group of drivers came out to get the new season started.
Wingless Spec Sprints were once again featured on the card, and eight drivers made the call for this show. Steve Fletcher started things off by winning the heat race ahead of former champion Josh Jacobo. When the track reopened last season after a year off, Jacobo returned to action and captured several Main Event victories. Jacobo figures to be one of the drivers to beat this season. The Emery family has been a big part of this division throughout the last decade, fielding several cars, and Dave Emery Jr. won the Trophy Dash after finishing third in the heat race.
The Emery family accounted for three of the top five feature finishing positions, but the win itself belonged to the night's double winner, Fletcher. Doug Emery placed second ahead of Don Emery. Brian Kirby and Emery Jr. rounded out the top five as Jacobo settled for sixth. The finishing order was completed by Jerry Cisco and Josh Tucker.
One of the top Pure Stock drivers at the track in recent years, Steve Martin, returned to action and collected the Main Even victory ahead of Earl Adams and Rich Hood. There were five cars in the field, and Jake Van Tol was fourth in front of Clay Ralls. Hood won the heat race in front of Adams, while third place heat finisher Van Tol won the Trophy Dash. Van Tol is a former Four Cylinder Modified and Mini Truck champion.
Four Cylinder racing continues to be an important part of the Orland Speedway program, and the always exciting Mini Truck division fielded eight trucks. Richard Gale won the heat race in front of Steve Barbo. Barbo won the 2006 Mini Truck championship at Orland. However, the big winner of the night was Tyler Pebley. Pebly claimed Trophy Dash honors before picking up the feature win ahead of Barbo and Ross Vige. Gale and Dan Webster earned top five finishes as the remainder of the finishing order was made up of Steven Woods, Leroy Beck and Jim Davis.
The Mini Stocks were also in action and produced a five car field with three different winners. The heat race was won by Don Runkle ahead of Eric Hammond and Ken Johnson. Johnson was the third of four different drivers to finish third in a heat race before coming back to win the Trophy Dash. The Main Event, however, belonged to Hammond. Hammond was followed across the line by Don Runkle, Johnson, Jarrod Flower and Chad Arnold.
Track management had announced during the week leading up to the opener that points would be awarded if ten cars competed in any division. The track also intends to run some Dirt Modified races, which may be the first time this has happened at Orland. Martinez based racing veteran Terry DeCarlo has been working on recruiting drivers to support the cause at Orland, and they are optimistic of a good turnout this Saturday night for the division's first appearance. Also on tap for Saturday are the Wingless Spec Sprints, Mini Trucks, Hobby Stocks, Mini Stocks and and Four Cylinder Modifieds.
The track has also announced an interest in running any other class that has enough driver interest. For more information, check out the official track website at www.orlandspeedway.com.