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Southern Oregon Speedway: A Field Of Dreams For The Racers For Over 20 Years

The Medford area has a long and storied history of racing going back many years to the famed Medford Speedway. When the last track closed, the search was on for a new location. It was found at the Jackson County Sports Park in neighboring White City. John Skinner built the 3/10th mile banked clay oval track and opened it in April of 1996.

The divisions featured that first season included the Dirt Modifieds, Pro Stocks, Mini Stocks and Winged Sprint Cars. The track also hosted visits from the Late Models, SODCA Dwarf Cars and other groups. Through the years, big Late Model and Sprint Car events have taken place at the speedway, and two of the biggest events at the track are the Dwarf Car Nationals and the R. Charles Snyder Salute.

Here's a look at the Southern Oregon Speedway Wall Of Champions:

IMCA Modifieds

In the early years of Modified racing, the track ran the Modifieds with wings on the cars. In more recent years, Southern Oregon Speedway has run the division under IMCA sanctioning and added an IMCA Sport Mod division as a way to help breathe new life into some of the older cars in the area.

A man who will certainly be in the discussion of "greatest ever" at Southern Oregon Speedway is Mark Wauge. Wauge has won seven IMCA Modified championships at the speedway. Tom Glover opened the track with a championship and won another one two years later. Hard chargers like Don Estramado, Brian Poppa, Jon DeBenedetti and Travis Perry are others who have written their names on the Southern Oregon Speedway Wall Of Champions in the Modified division. Poppa got his start by winning a Pro Stock championship before moving up, and another Pro Stock graduate, Albert Gill, entered 2016 as a two time defending IMCA Modified champion, but it was Wauge winning that chapionship. 

Modified Champions
1996 Tom Glover
1997 Dennis Silva
1998 Tom Glover
1999 Don Estramado
2000 Mark Wauge
2001 Jay Hinton Jr.
2002 Jon DeBenedetti
2003 Jeremy Richey
2004 Brad Alfrey
2005 Mark Wauge
2006 Brian Poppa
2007 Mark Wauge
2008 Justin Holt
2009 Mark Wauge
2010 Travis Peery
2011 Mark Wauge
2012 Mark Wauge
2013 Dustin Knight
2014 Albert Gill
2015 Albert Gill
2016 Mark Wauge
2017 Jesse Bailey
2018 Albert Gill

Winged Sprint Cars

The Sprint Cars have had at least a race at Southern Oregon Speedway each season since the track opened. The track has hosted some big Sprint Car events through the years, including visits from the the World of Outlaws, the King Of The West Series and races during Northwest Speedweek. 

There were 13 years point seasons for the division as of 2010, but the class fell to visitor status for the past five seasons that followed. Veren Wheeler Jr. was point leader when the class was dropped in 2011, and Kyler Barraza won back to back Coos Bay/Southern Oregon Speedway combined championships in 2013-2014.

Notable championship winning drivers of the past include four time track champion Dan Menne and two time champions Randy Rodgers and Bill Nutter. The division was brought back for championship points in 2016, and the next two championships were won by Jake Wheeler (2016) and Kyler Barraza (2017).

Sprint Car Champions 
1996 Dan Menne
1997 Bill Nutter
1998 Dan Menne
2001 Chad Bauer
2002 Todd Zeitler
2003 Dan Menne
2004 T.J. Winningham
2005 Dan Menne
2006 Bill Nutter
2007 Randy Rodgers
2008 Randy Rodgers
2009 Charlie Thompson
2010 Chadd Noland
2011 Vern Wheeler Jr. *
2013 Kyler Barraza **
2014 Kyler Barraza **
2016 Jake Wheeler
2017 Kyler Barraza
2018 David Hibbard

* Point leader, never officially crowned
* Southern Oregon Sprint Tour

IMCA Sport Modifieds

The IMCA Sport Modifieds enter their fifth season at the track with two different champions. Dwayne Melvin got it started with back to back championships, but the hot driver at Southern Oregon Speedway is past Street Stock champion Jorddon Braaten, who is a two time champion. Long time Southern Oreggon Speedway competor continued the two in a row trend of champions by winning the 2016 and 2017 track titles.

IMCA Sport Mod Champions
2012 Dwayne Melvin
2013 Dwayne Melvin
2014 Jorddon Braaten
2015 Jorddon Braaten
2016 Mike Medel
2017 Mike Medel
2018 David Marble

Mini Stocks

Mini Stocks were there at the beginning of Southern Oregon Speedway to give the track a nice entry level division for the racers to get their feet wet. These are almoost the Street Stocks of the program as the track didn't even atempt to run that class for over a decade. Through the years, the track has tried a few different 4 Cylinder classes, and the regular Mini Stocks are the class with the most staying power.

Three notable multi time champions on the list are John Derby, David Bishop and Tracy Bradley. Derby is a four time champion, doing it four years in a row. Bishop and Bradley both won back to back championships. Two stars of recent seasons are Gary Anderson and David Marble, are champions. Marble has since moved up, and long time division supporter Bob Burkett was the 2016 champion.

The close competition was on display in 2017 as Kristopher Mix won one of the closest championship batttles in track history.

Mini Stock Champions
1996 Brian Barns
1997 Scott Holt
1998 Rich McCoy
1999 Tracy Bradley
2000 Tracy Bradley
2001 Tom Lanigan
2002 Mike Johnson
2003 David Bishop
2004 David Bishop
2005 Tony Christopher
2006 Milton Carter
2007 Jim Pope
2008 John Derby
2009 John Derby
2010 John Derby
2011 John Derby
2012 Toby Judd
2013 Steve Goetz
2014 Gary Anderson
2015 David Marble
2016 Bob Burkett
2017 Kristopher Mix
2018 David Steele

Pro Stocks

The Pro Stocks are another division that was on the track's roster when it opened for business back in 1996. There are two big names that seem to rise above the others on the Champion's List. Jimmy Walker Jr. was a force on the Pro Stock scene even before Southern Oregon Speedway opened, and his three championships at the speedway happened during the first six seasons. The other mega star in the class was Frank Word III. Frank has won an amazing eight championships, and he did it all within a nine year span.

Two champions who have sprung up from Pro Stocks to win IMCA Modified titles are Brian Poppa and Brad Alfrey. Not to be outdone, Scott Lenz won the track's first Pro stock championship before winning the prestigious Lon Skinner Memorial race a year later. Poppa was the driver who kept Word from winning nine championships in a row when he returned to the class for a second championship. The division races at multiple tracks these days, and hard chargers like Ken Irving, Dave Everson and Jeffrey Hudson count themselves as champions in the Pro Stock Association. Irving is a two time champion. Scott Lenz won the track's first championship in six years in 2017, while also winning the Association tile.

Pro Stock Champions
1996 Scott Lenz
1997 Jim Walker Jr.
1998 Jim Walker Jr.
1999 Brian Poppa
2000 Brad Alfrey
2001 Jim Walker Jr.
2002 Frank Word III
2003 Frank Word III
2004 Frank Word III
2005 Frank Word III
2006 Brian Poppa
2007 Frank Word III
2008 Frank Word III
2009 Frank Word III
2010 Frank Word III
2011 Dustin Knight
2012 Ken Irving *
2013 Dave Everson *
2014 Ken Irving *
2015 Jeffrey Hudson *
2016 Steve Borror *
2017 Scott Lenz
2018 Scott Lenz 

* Pro Stock Association

Late Models Lites/Super 4's

Two years into the track's existance, a Super Truck division was added to the roster. This division had a five year run in which there were no repeat champions. Roger Lee won that first championship in 1998, and Greg Arnold won the final title in 2002. Arnold was among the drivers to move to the new Super 4's division when it began in 2003.

Brian Barns counts himself among the Mini Stock champions, and he ushered the Super 4's division into the speedway by winning the first two championships. The Super 4's would have an 11 year run that saw such notable two time champions as Joe Guider and Brian Johnsen. The division faded away in 2013 with John Barger wining that champinship. It returned in 2016 as Lee Doty was champion. The new renamed Late Model Lites championship was won by Bob Burkett in 2017.

Super 4/Late Model Lites Champions
2003 Brian Barns
2004 Brian Barns
2005 Reggie DeVore
2006 Joe Guider
2007 Jacob Cole
2008 Brian Johnsen
2009 Parker Jones
2010 Brian Johnsen
2011 Joe Guider
2012 Jamie Guider Newberg
2013 John Barger
2016 Lee Doty
2017 Bob Burkett
2018 Charlie Eaton

Super Truck Champions
1998 Roger Lee
1999 John Cahill
2000 Patrick Lanigan
2001 Steve Pierce
2002 Greg Arnold


A recent addition to the roster is the bone stock Hornet class. The rulebook for these Mini Stocks allows no modifications to the cars. These are cars that the drivers race, not race cars, as was written in the original rulebook. It's a great opportunity for new racers to come out and see what racing at Southern Oregon Speedway is all about.

The division was first sceduled to race in 2013, and Robbie Jones was the first champion in 2014. Drew Fielder was champion in 2015. The class was sort of an after thought during the first three years, but the current management has made a effort to promote the division better. Tim Hedges won the 2016 title, and with the best car counts the class had seen to that point, Jason Soutenburg was the 2017 champion.

Hornet Champions
2014 Robert Jones
2015 Drew Fielder
2016 Tim Hedges
2017 Jason Stoutenburgh
2018 Bree Tritchler

Dwarf Cars

In the 20 plus years that the Southern Oregon Dwarf Car Association has been around, Dwarf Cars have been a part of the action at Southern Oregon Speedway. These fast, motorcycle-engined race cars put on a great show and never fails to entertain the fans. SODCA is a member of the Western States Dwarf Car Association, and as such, they have booked a big Nationals Event that attract several of the top drivers on the West Coast. Southern Oregon Speedway has served as the host track for several years.

Two of the biggest stars of the early days were three time champion Jon DeBenedetti and two time champion Gary Fitzsimmons. Both drivers have since moved up, and DeBeneditti is both an IMCA Modified champion and winner of the prestigious Lon Skinner Memorial race. Three other drivers have notched a pair of championships through the years, Kelly Gutches, R.J. McGahuey and Josh King. Brock Peters became the fourth member of that group when he won his second championship in 2017.

Dwarf Car Champions
1998 Jon DeBenedetti
1999 Jon DeBenedetti
2000 Jon DeBenedetti
2001 Gary Fitzsimmons
2002 Gary Fitzsimmons
2003 Dan Van Acker
2004 Crash Jackson
2005 Jerry Apland
2006 Tom Palazollo
2007 Jeff Harsha
2008 Kelly Gutches
2009 Greg Denton
2010 Kelly Gutches
2011 R.J. McGahuey
2012 R.J. McGahuey
2013 C.J. Puttnam
2014 Josh King
2015 Josh King
2016 Brock Peters
2017 Brock Peters
2018 Josh King

Late Models/Street Stocks

When Southern Oregon Speedway opened seven years after Medford Speedway closed, two of the old track's divisions, Late Models and Sreet Socks, were not included on the main roster. Late Models were booked for special races, including the big "Battle At The Border" season ending event.

In 2008, the track made a minor attempt to add a Lae Model program, but it faded within a couple years. The track also started running Street Stock Enduro races and regular races in 2010. Duane Orsburn won back to back championships in 2011 and 2012, and the roster reached into double digits before rule changes killed that momentum. Jorddon Braaten and Miles Deubert won the last two championships.

In 2016, and Open Stock class was added to see what Street Stock and Late Model drivers were interested. Bob Dees won that championship, and it was obvious that Late Model drivers were interested. Car count continued to grow in 2017 as Nathan Augustine won the Late Model championship.

Late Model Champions
2008 Joe Salyer
Roger Lorenzini
2010 Jeremy Richey
2016 Bob Dees
2017 Nathan Augusine
2018 John Dees

Street Stocks Champions
2011 Duane Orsburn
2012 Duane Orsburn
2013 Jorddon Braaten
2014 Miles Dubert

Special Races

R. Charles Snyder Salute

For many years, dating back to the old Medford Speedway, long time Radio DJ R. Charles Snyder was the voice of Southern Oregon racing. Snyder did many things to help people in the community at large. At Southern Oregon Speedway, he announced, wrote articles and maintained the track's web page. Winning a race earned the drivers the further honor of being interview by Snyder at the end of the night. When he died in 2015, the track failed to recognize his contributions, but current managemet changed that. 

The R. Charles Snyder Salute was established in 2017, and the Race Tower was renamed as the R. Charles Snyder Memorial Race Tower in his honor. The big event paid $5,000 to win, and Troy Foulger became the first winner.

Past R. Charles Snyder Salute Winners
2017 Troy Foulger
2018 Bobby Hogge IV

Lon Skinner Memorial

The Lon Skinner Memorial Race bore the distinction of being the track's signiature event for years. When the track opened in 1996, John Skinner wanted to have a special race in honor of his father. This race has became perhaps the biggest event on the West Coast, and drivers flocked to Southern Oregon Speedway from throughout Oregon, California, Washington and other states to compete. With winner's prize money at times reaching as high as $10,000, this race is the one they all wanted to win.

It's a Californian by the name of Bobby Hogge IV who is a five time champion, incliudin the final race in 2016. Fellow Californian Richard Papenhausen has two wins and has entered every race since this event began. Brian Poppa tops the local driver's winners list with three victorires, while Mark Wauge, Don Esramado and Matt Duste are among the other winners. It wasn't until the seventh event that we had our first repeat winner, Richard Papenhausen. Bobby Hogge IV bears the distinction of being the only driver to win three of these races in a row.

Past Lon Skinner Memorial Winners
1996 Ron Haggard
1997 Scott Lenz
1998 Tom Glover
1999 Richard Papenhausen
2000 Don Estramado
2001 Brian Poppa
2002 Richard Papenhausen
2003 Dennis Silva
2004 Scott Weldon
2005 Brian Poppa
2006 Mark Wauge
2007 Jon DeBenedetti
2008 Bobby Hogge IV
2009 Bobby Hogge IV
2010 Bobby Hogge IV
2011 Brian Poppa
2012 Matt Duste
2013 Jesse Williamson
2014 Nick Trenchard
2015 Bobby Hogge IV
2016 Bobby Hogge IV