Willow Springs Blog

SPEEDWAY WILLOW SPRINGS RACE REPORT FOR 6.4.16

June 7th, 2016
SPEEDWAY WILLOW SPRINGS TREATS A LARGE CROWD OF FANS TO A VERY FULL NIGHT OF STOCK CAR RACING
BY DAVE GRAYSON.

A large crowd of eager race fans turned up at Speedway Willow Springs this past Saturday, June 4th, to take in a very full night of stock car racing provided by six different racing divisions. The drivers responded with close door to door racing that turned up very few yellow caution flags despite the high intensity of the on track action. The quarter mile oval is located within the 600 plus acre historic motorsports complex, known as the Willow Springs International Raceway, in the community of Rosamond.

One of the better events of the evening was the Hooper's Rear Service Elite Division's 40 lap main event. First off, this division is unique because it allows Super Late Models, Late Models, Modifieds and trucks to race together under the same rule book. The Elite main event was a character study of driver patience, and perfectly timed moves, from driver David Brandon which led him to his third win of the season as well as padding an already large championship points lead.

Todd Barnes, driving a Modified, led the field to the initial green flag. The field only ran two laps before the only yellow flag of the race surfaced following Chris Peedan's turn three spin. A tip of the racing hat goes to speedway veteran Randy Wilkins who made an outstanding maneuver to avoid collecting Peedan's spinning car. Following the restart, Barnes again jumped into the lead before getting passed by John Penning, who won the division's heat race earlier in the evening. .

Meanwhile David Brandon was patiently biding his time while waiting for an opening that would allow him to advance his position. The field was lined up based on an inverted order from qualifying which meant Brandon, who picked up bonus points for setting fast time, started at the rear of the field. Brandon patiently worked his was to third by lap seven and then, by lap 21, moved into second and began the process of running down Penning. Brandon's only miscue in this race came on lap 23 when me made some light contact on Penning's rear bumper and had to back off to avoid wrecking the race leader. Penning was able to gather his car in to keep the race lead but Brandon found himself falling from second to fourth. Brandon worked his way back to second place on lap 36 but time was running out. Brandon made his race winning move one circuit later when he made a low line pass, coming out of turn two, to take both the lead.and the win. Penning was second followed by Peedan, Wilkins and Barnes.

The 35 lap main event for the Platinum Loan and Jewelry Street was won, and completely dominated, by Justin Good who scored his highly anticipated first win of the season. Jerry Baxter led the field to the green flag and held the lead for two circuits before Good made a low line pass, coming out of turn two, in what would turn out to be his race winning move. In what was clearly a well prepped race car, Good's Chevrolet Camaro hugged the low line of the track like it was riding on rails. Baxter, who won the heat race earlier in the evening, took the runner up position followed by Ray Butler and Casey Parker.

When the Wayne and Dave's Automotive Hobby Stock division lined up for their 30 lap feature race, the big question was: can anyone beat Johnny Troesch who has won the first three races in a row? It turned out that the answer to the question was Michael Williams who really lit up the fans by scoring his first win of the year.

Ridgecrest's Justin Quinn came out of the front row to take the initial lead. However, the pace of the field was slowed by what would be the worst hit of the entire evening. On lap five, Joseph Pablo spun in turn three and slid up the banking directly into the path of Rod Sproule who, with nowhere to go, hit the Pablo car hard in its right front fender. During the process of towing Pablo's car, and the ensuing track clean up, Sproule limped to the pit area and, much to everyone's surprise, returned to the track in time for the race restart. Unfortunately, Sproule also involved in the event's second yellow flag on lap 22 when he tagged the turn four wall. In the spirit of refusing to give up, Sproule's team got their car back into the race where he appeared to have finished fifth, pending a results review by the speedway's scoring team.


On lap six, Troesch made what was at first perceived to be another race winning move and took command of the race. However, Michael Williams had other plans and moved into second. When it was evident that passing the race leader on the low side of the track wasn't going to work Williams
switched to the high side entering turn three, on lap 25, and, while exiting turn four, performed a nice slide job that would turn out to be his race winning move. Quinn, who won the division's heat race, finished third while Brandon Fisk and Sproule completed the top five.

At the May 14th race, driver Ryan Bragdon made his season debut at Speedway Willow Springs and easily won the Lucas Oil Products Mini Stock main event. Last Saturday night Bragdon made a return visit to the track and created racing deja vu by winning the 25 lap feature flag to flag. Greg Didoha, who won the division's heat race, followed Bragdon under the checkers to take second followed by drivers Nick Higginson and Randy Hannah.

One of the true highlights, during any given evening at Speedway Willow Springs, are the So Cal Enduro Racers. Their main events often have them driving to the left of large tractor tires, placed on the edge of the track's two straightaways, while creating the resemblance to a road course. However, on this night it was the dual six lap heat races that garnered a lot of fan attention. Prior to these races, the track crew pushed three large tractor tires into a straight line in the middle of the speedway's infield that is often used for figure eight racing. When the enduros came out onto the track, half the field lined up on the left side of the tires with the remainder of the cars lined up to the right. Effectively, the quarter mile speedway was transformed into twin one eighth mile ovals. The cars on the left side raced counter clockwise and made the traditional left hand turns before coming across the infield to complete a lap. The cars on the right side of the tires made a not so traditional right hand turn, through turns three and four. The sight of the two groups of cars running a heat race in opposite directions at the same time was simply awesome. Needless to say, this unusual racing format stemmed from the vision, and genuine sense of humor, of series promoter Danny Quinn who is one of the reasons why this series is so popular. Randy Hannah and Michael Walters were the dual winners of the heat races and the fans loved the unusual racing format.

The series' 40 lap main event was staged with the tractor tires placed at the edge of the straightaways to create the series' more traditional road course format. Randy Hannah and Michael Walters led the 14 starters under the green flag with Walters taking the lead. Unusual things seems to occur during these enduros and certainly one of them was the weld breaking on the passenger door of Walters' car. However, the driver didn't seem to be distracted by the fact that his car door was wide open during the entire race. Walters paced the field for the first five circuits before Hannah made a race winning move that saw him lead the remaining 35 laps en route to his first win of the season. Walters finished a close second and was followed under the checkers by Pete Chilbes and Jake Basham.

The win was emotionally charged for Randy Hannah due to his daytime job. The Ridgecrest resident is the auto shop teacher at Burroughs High School and much of the work on this race car, both at the shop and at the track, is performed with the help of the driver's students.

Earlier in the evening the always fun cars from The Tire Store Skid Plate division raised a shower of sparks, even while the sun was still out, during their 12 lap main event. Brady Mertz led this race flag to flag and scored his second win of the season.

Speedway Willow Springs will be taking a short break from their race schedule and will return to Saturday night racing on August 13th. For more information, regarding this family fun racing program, dial up their website, www.thespeedwaywillowsprings, or visit their Facebook page.

Racing at Speedway Willow Springs is presented by a highly potent, and much appreciated, group of sponsors that includes: A To Z Signs, Abadak, Adams Metalizing & Grinding, Angel's Touch Towing, Benz Sanitation, Deist Safety, Dezarov's Mobile Auto Service, Dominguez Mexican Restaurant, 51 Fifty Energy Drink, Frank's Radios, High Desert Cellars, Hooper's Rear End Service, KGG Electric, K&N Performance Filters, Linny White's Race Shop, Lucas Oil Products Inc, Misfit Motorsports, Pinnacle Peak Steak House in Colton & San Dimas, Platinum Loan & Jewelry in Lancaster, Scramblez, Street Customs, Studio Equipment Rentals, 10,000 RPM, The Tire Store and Wayne & Dave's Automotive.


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Founded in 1952, with substantial elevation changes and high average speeds, Willow Springs has become one of the fastest and most challenging tracks in the U.S. More

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