White City, Oregon...The 2018 schedule has been released for the Outlaw Kart program at Little Southern Oregon Speedway and it's a little bit bigger than it has been in the past two seasons. Eleven events have been booked, including a two-day show to open the season on May 18th and 19th.
The KT-100 Challenge, presented by Speed City, opens the show on May 18th along with the track's regular lineup of Beginners Box Stock, Box Stock, 250 Karts and 500 Open Karts. The KT-100 Challenge Main Event will run on Saturday along with a full program for the UAS Series Speedway Karts, presented by Speed City of Medford.
One of the changes in the 2018 schedule is the inclusion of the Speedway Karts at all events. Speedway Karts run the entry level 4 Cycle class and the faster UAS division, and both will take part in the remaining nine events, which will include championship point racing for both divisions.
The schedule will show race dates on June 8th, June 22nd, July 6th, July 13th, July 20th, August 10th, August 17th, September 7th and September 21st. This year there is only the one opening weekend event for May. The past two seasons have seen four May events rained out, so promoter Mike McCann is hoping to have better luck getting the season started by starting it later and going later. This should result in much more racing on the fast 1/8th mile dirt oval, prepared by Uncle Rich.
The popular Beginners Box Stock division, which is the gateway for the youngest racers to get started, returns this year with word of several new competitors. Last season, we saw the first starts ever for Yreka Winter Series champion Carson Henson and Mike Wheeler Jr. Word is that there will be several other newcomers in this class, which should make for some entertaining racing for the fans. Malachi Johnson and Kiley Grimes have won the past two championships.
The popular Box Stock division is the next division in line for the youngsters, and with three time champion Trevor Grimes moving up to the 250 Kart class, it is a wide open race to see who the champion will be this year. It will be interesting to see what newcomers and returning drivers will take part in this class.
Grimes was only out to get his first starts in the 250 Kart class last season, but he ended up winning the championship. Will he be able to repeat? One driver who could present a big challenge for him is fellow Box Stock champion, Carley Holmes. Vinny DeBenedetti and Yreka Winter Series champion Cadyn Smith also made the move into the 250 Kart class last season.
The bigger question is how the 500 Open Kart division will respond after a disappointing 2017 season. The elephant in the room is the higher cost for drivers to maintain their 500 Karts, and the fact that it has seeped down to the 250 Kart class hasn't helped matters either. Still, there is word of 250 drivers getting 500 Karts, including brothers Braden and Bodee Weiser. It is hoped that this division will return with a bigger car count. Management has issued the challenge to the 500 Open Kart division that they need to bring at least four Karts to the show to get a purse.
Other things are being examined for potential shows in the future, and management has looked into Flat Track Motorcycle racing and Lawn Mower racing as well. Also on the table is a potential Hornet race, or even a Hornet Figure 8 event. The goal is to continue to keep Little Southern Oregon Speedway going for years to come. Records show how many talented young racers have gotten their starts at this track before moving on to the bigger track.
The aforementioned Speedway Kart division is an important addition to the program. Several enthusiastic competitors came to compete in the final two events last year, sparking much optimism for the future of this style of Kart racing. It just adds to the family fun aspect of the sport. The Fuller family of Speed City in Medford is enthusiastically supporting the Speedway Kart class, and this means you see such stars as Yreka Summer Series UAS champion Brionna Fuller, Lori Fuller, Larry Fuller, Steve Rambo, Yreka Summer Series 4 Cycle champion Johnny Hoult, Debbie Medeiros and many more.
Racing fans looking for more of a racing fix will find it at Little Southern Oregon Speedway on Friday nights 10 times this year, and it's a nice appetizer heading into the bigger track on Saturday nights. Who are the rising young stars of Southern Oregon racing? You can find that answer on Friday nights.
2017 Southern Oregon Speedway Outlaw Kart Season Review
White City, Oregon...The 2017 season at the Southern Oregon Speedway Cage Kart track can best be summed up by the phrase, the show went on as scheduled. Once again, the first two races of the season were claimed by rainouts and frustration grew when pipe problems at the facility forced the cancellation of the third event.
The season finally opened for what was the fourth scheduled event. A low turnout nearly forced the next event to be turned into a playday. Not one to give up so easily, promoter Mike McCann put it to a vote amongst the racers who were present. The vote was to race and the show went on as scheduled. To show you the level of commitment to the program, on one occasion the 500 and 250 Outlaw Kart classes brought one Kart each. Though the two cars were run together, the drivers were paid for winning their Main Events and given winner's trophies. Despite criticism, management has remained firmly committed to the Outlaw Kart program.
This can be best demonstrated by Uncle Rich and his crew and the hard work they put forth in preparing the track for each event. The drivers were given smooth racing conditions. In addition to that, Rich kept the grounds maintained and led his crew in giving the walls of the Kart track a fresh coat of paint. The commitment was there to keep the show going.
The 500 Open Kart class has held the top spot at the track since the gates opened in 1998. Car count was less than desired, and the finale was called off when only local legend Mike Wheeler showed up to race. The record shows that wins went to champion Tanner Holmes, Wheeler, 2016 champion Johnny Burke and Wyatt Pinckney.
Pinckney won his race with he and 250 winner Trevor Grimes the only competitors on the track. Both drivers received winner's purse money and trophies for their efforts. Perhaps the highlight of the season was the slide job battle put on by Burke and Holmes, where they were passing each other in every turn for the entire distance. Burke scored the win, but the second place finish earned by Holmes was good enough to notch the championship in his favor. The biggest car count of the season came with four competitors on the night Wheeler won in impressive fashion. Wheeler is credited with second in the standings in a tie with Pinckney.
The 250 Kart division turned into an unlikely battle as the season went on. Having won the previous two Box Stock championships, the Box Stock season was pretty much Trevor Grimes's farewell season as he became a rookie in the 250 class. Grimes is shown as a two time winner with a third and fourth place finish in the Main Event, but he nearly let the championship slip away from him.
Perhaps the most entertaining competitor in this field was past Box Stock champion Carly Holmes. Holmes only raced three times, but the record shows she left with the winner's prize money on all three occasions. As Holmes was winning her third race, Grimes was stuck in the pits. After running the Box Stock race, Grimes was unable to get his 250 Kart to start. Holmes used her win to take the point lead, but her absence from the finale gave the lead back to Grimes. Holmes would settle for second in the final standings.
With third and fourth place feature finishes, Box Stock graduate Cadyn Smith wrapped up third in the standings. Smith also had a successful winter as he won the 250 championship in Yreka. Both Braden Weiser and Reece Slyter had second place finishes in their lone starts, netting them 4th and 5th, respectively, in the standings.
Trevor Grimes certainly carried the experience advantage into his final Box Stock season. With four victories and a second place finish, there was little doubt who the champion would be. However, it was the one night Grimes settled for second that may have been the race of the season. Keaton Augustine was bypassing his local track to compete in Medford, and Augustine made a surprising pass on Grimes to claim the other Main Event win. He also had a second and a third place feature finish to claim second in the standings.
Having won the Beginners Box Stock championship in Yreka a year earlier, young Taylor Fuller set his sights on a successful Box Stock championship run there in 2017. However, he made some appearances in Medford and earned a second, a third and a fourth place finish on his way to 3rd in the standings. This young man showed how tough he was when one of his visits resulted in a rollover. Sophia Bauer used a third and fourth place finish to wrap up fourth, while Vinny DeBenedetti had one third place finish to finish fifth in points. Vinnie's Box Stock season came to a screeching halt when he contacted the Turn 4 wall and flipped. Fortunately, he was uninjured, and he would make the move up to 250 Karts by season's end.
The Beginners Box Stock season turned out to be the closest championship battle at the track. When Jacob James showed up for the first two races and won impressively, it looked like he would be a runaway champion. However, those were his only starts of the season in Medford as he wound up fourth in the final points. After blowing a motor in the season opener and missing the next race, Malachi Johnson came on strong. He won the final three races of the season.
Johnson still had to contend with reigning champion Kiley Grimes as she had a shot at the championship in the season finale. Grimes lost by 11 points as she had one second and two third place finishes among her highlights. Uriah Sanders had a third and two fourth place finishes to move into third in the final standings. With second place finishes in their only starts, Keegan Bounds and Gavin Restad tied for fifth.
The fastest growing form of Kart racing in the area is happening in the Speedway Kart division. Rainouts and cancellations early in the season prevented them from showing what they could do on the fast 1/8 mile dirt oval early on, but the month of August saw the Speedway Karts make two impressive visits. Both times, a combined total of 12 Karts competed with six in the 4 Cycle class and six in the faster UAS division. .
It was Kenny Boardman flying to victory in the first UAS race ahead of Larry Fuller and Ron Bolles, who each won a heat race that night. In the 4 Cycle class, hard charger Steve Rambo won a heat race and impressed with his feature triumph ahead of Michael Vickers and Lori Fuller. Rambo backed up his win with another win at the next race ahead of Vickers and Debbie Medeiros, who were the two heat race winners that night. Richard Torzilli won the next UAS race ahead of Yreka UAS champion Brionna Fuller and reigning Yreka Champion Ed Grubb. Mike Wheeler won both heat races and pitted while leading the Main Event that night.
The Lawn Mower racers were invited to make an appearance in July and brought two competitors. What they lacked in count they made up for in a crowd pleasing side by side battle in the Main Event, won by Gabe Garrison. In the last event of the season, two newcomers made their very first starts of the season in the Beginners Box Stock class. Carson Henson and Mike Wheeler Jr. were actually on the track previously making practice laps after the night's events had concluded. For the special final race, these two new competitors battled each other for a trophy and $50 in prize money sponsored by fans. When the checkered flag waved, it was Henson winning his first race ahead of Wheeler.
The good news for fans of Outlaw Kart racing is that the show went on in 2017 despite the obstacles. It was the 20th season of racing on the smaller track. 2018 marks the 20th Anniversary Season of Outlaw Kart racing at Little Southern Oregon Speedway, and it will see an increase in events scheduled.
We would like to invite everyone to check out the kart races at Southern Oregon Speedway: where the whole family can race!