Monday, August 23, 2010

Increased Car Count For Orland Races Saturday Night

Thought I'd throw something together for Orland Speedway. Looks like another good night for the track.

With the tragedy of Merle Shepherd's death in a big rig race at Marysville and the temporary closing of that track, racers were invited to Orland Speedway Saturday night. Before the start of the show, drivers parked their cars on the front stretch and paid tribute to Shepherd. Four divisions competed on the one-fifth mile dirt oval, and feature wins went to Josh Tucker (Wingless Spec Sprints), Richard Gale (Mini Trucks), Jimmy Ford (Mini Stocks) and Jesse Skidmore (Hobby Stocks). Another highlight for the evening was kids bike races in which free bikes were awarded to the winners.

Seven Wingless Spec Sprints competed, and top ten ranked Chico competitor Braedon Enos won the heat race ahead of four time Orland champion Josh Jacobo. Enos also won the Trophy Dash. Josh Tucker is a feature winner this season, but it's been a while since his last win. The increased field was Tucker's chance to shine, and he collected the win ahead of veteran Dave Ellis, in one of his best finishes in this division. Brian Kirby was back in action and finished third ahead of Enos, Jacobo, J.D. Hopkins and Pat Bisio.

With a season high 13 trucks in action, two heat races were held. Early season feature winner Tyler Pebley returned and won his heat race ahead of Ross Vige. Dan Webster continues to run strong and held off Richard Gale in his heat to prevent a Gale clean sweep., Gale won the Trophy Dash and returned to the Main Event winner's circle by out running another 2010 Main Event winner, Jim Davis. Orland newcomer Clint Coman impressed with a third place finish ahead of Vige and Webster. Steven Woods finished sixth and Mini Stock ace Don Runkle was seventh as John Blevins, Tony Billotti and Dan McClain completed the top ten.

For the first time this season, Marysville Mini Stocks were allowed to race with the Orland Mini Stocks, rather than the Modified 4 Cylinder class. Will Robertson has won races with the other 4 Cylinder class this season in his visits, but he won the first Mini Stock heat race ahead of Kyle Cheney. With ten cars in action, the division ran two heat races with the second heat race win going to Howard Law ahead of Jimmy Ford. Law was the third ranked driver in 2009 points at Marysville, and Ford currently ranks second there this season. Like Robertson, Ford has visited Orland this season and raced with the Modified 4 Cylinder class. Ford would win the Trophy Dash and follow it up with an impressive Main Event victory ahead of Law and Robertson for the Marysville 1-2-3 sweep. Last week's winner, Sean Perry, earned a fourth place finish ahead of Marysville racer Jacob Davis. Chad Arnold returned to action and finished sixth, and a flat tire derailed Olin Crain's bid for a top three finish as he ended up seventh ahead of Derick Grezier, Ken Johnson and Kyle Cheney.

Six Hobby Stocks competed, and Jesse Skidmore started his night off right with a heat race win ahead of Michael Adams in the Earl Adams #22 car. The top diver in the class this season, Rich Hood won the Trophy Dash. Only recently making their season debuts at Orland, Skidmore became the latest new feature winner ahead of newcomer Richard Jones. Hood settled for third as Steven Joseph made his season debut in fourth. Adams and John Dragon completed the finishing order.

All four divisions return to action along with the popular Powder Puff Races next Saturday night. Also, the Pro 4 Sprint Cars, a group that has raced mainly at Marysville this season, has been added to the program for the night.

These are NOT official points for Orland Speedway. To my knowledge, they are not keeping points this season. Using Antioch Speedway's Main Event point system (50, 48 46...), I took the Main Event finishes I had (a few are missing), just to get an idea how drivers might rank this season. Here's a look at the top five, but remember, they are not official.

Wingless Spec Sprints (9 Races) *

69-Josh Jacobo 418
74-Josh Tucker 278
7x-Brian Kirby 270
4xl-Pat Bisio 218
5-John Hopkins 176

* At least 1 race missing

Mini Trucks (11 Races)*

62-Dan Webster 500
97-Ross Vige 468
23-Richard Gale 462
00t-Tyler Pebley 328
5-Jim Davis 310

*1 race missing

Mini Stocks (11 Races)*

86-Eric Hammond 334
23-Don Runkle 318
93-Ken Johnson 316
46-Sean Perry 284
82-Chad Arnold 210

* 1 race missing

Hobby Stocks (8 Races)*

12-Rich Hood 326
22-Earl Adams 192
18-Brian Compton 186
2-Jake Van Tol 142
44-Jimmy O'Reilly 136

* At least 1 race missing