By Don Martin II
It’s been an exciting season at Orland Raceway so far. As August comes to a close, Promoter Rich Hood has some exciting Sprint Car racing to offer the fans this Saturday. The Crate Sprints will be making their second and final appearance of the season, joined by the track’s Wingless Spec Sprint division. Also competing in the five division program will be the Mini Trucks, Mini Stocks and 250 Micro division.
Prior to this season, it had been a few years since there had been Winged Sprint Cars on the 1/5 mile dirt oval. Several of the Winged Crate Sprint competitors have been trying to get dates at the speedway, and Hood finally booked them for a pair of races this year. Earlier this season, it was Mike Sayre winning the race. He is expected to be back to make another run at victory this Saturday night.
The Crate Sprint division is seen as a more economical way for competitors to get into Sprint Car racing. They’ve been racing mainly at Marysville this season, and Brett Youngman currently leads the championship race ahead of Kiely Ricardo and Cameron Haney Jr. Some of the drivers anticipated the this week include Jeff Macedo, Jerry Douglas and Chad Thompson, Sayre and Haney.
The Wingless Spec Sprint division has held 10 races so far. The lion’s share of the glory has gone to Tony Richards, who had to go back home and get his back up car in order to start last in the most recent feature race. Richards ended up collecting his seventh win of the season, but the consistent Denny McNary finished third. Though McNary is still searching for his first win of the season, he has a 40 point advantage over Richards in the standings. McNary has scored 10 Top 5 finishes in his 10 starts, and at this rate, he may still be able to win the championship without winning a race.
RJ Baker has turned in a solid effort of his own this year and has a 33 point lead over Cort Marchuk in the race for third in the standings. Baker lost a very close battle with Tanner Thomson last season in the championship chase. The top rookie in the field continues to be Jeremy Langenderfer, and following his recent Top 5 finish, Langenderfer has a good hold on fifth in the standings. There were a dozen cars last race, and some of the stars to watch for this week include Ryan Owens, Cassie Amore, two-time winner Josh Tucker and Jerry Douglas.
Sometimes it gets a little bit wild in the Mini Truck division, but the drivers always put on a good show for the fans. The consistent Kalvin Kvalvik is leading the championship chase by 42 points over William Fogle. Kvalvik scored his second win of the season last time and has seven Top 5 finishes in his 10 races.
Fogle was absent one week as he went to Hayfork and scored the victory there. That absence may have cost him a shot at the championship. Fogle has a closer battle for the second position as he leads Dan Libbee by 13 points and Dan Webster by 24. 2016 champion Webster has racked up five feature wins in his eight starts, and he would probably be leading the standings if he had been at every race. Some of the stars to watch for this week include James Wooddell, Anthony Esquaville, Zack Webster and Beau Chandler.
Tom Davis is well on his way to a third-straight Mini Stock championship. Davis holds a lead of over 100 points over past champion John Kirkpatrick. He has also won an impressive seven Main Events in nine starts as only Kevin Pendergrass and Pure Stock champion Paul Stephens have managed to beat him. Davis has also picked up four wins in Susanville and one big money race in Hayfork as he’s become one of the top Mini Stock racers in the state. Kirkpatrick, meanwhile, holds just a 19 point lead over Jason Libbee in the race for second. Other drivers to watch for this week include Barbara Crain and Jeremy Langenderfer.
The Wingless 250 Micro class rounds out the program. Despite failing to start the most recent race, four-time winner Mike McCarthy still holds a 24 point advantage over Ronnie Heyer in the championship chase. Lester Elsey is only five points behind Heyer in a good race for second. These three are anticipated this week, and others to watch for include three-time winner Kaylee Porath and Jess Garland.
Fans wanting to see some exciting Sprint Car racing at Orland should take note. This Saturday show offers two Sprint Car divisions. With the four cylinder classes and the 250 Micros as part of the program, it should be an exciting show. For further information, go to the Orland Raceway Facebook page.