2017 Stories by Paul Vetter

Visalia, Ca.

April 28, 2017

By Paul Vetter

Micro sprint racing continued Friday night at Keller Auto Raceway at Plaza Park competing under the auspices of the United States Auto Club (USAC).   Track management has also reverted back to the single car qualifying format to set up heat races and feature events.

                  Super 600 heat races were set after Jake Hagopian set fast time with heat race wins going to Mason Daniel and Joey Ancona.  The 30 lap feature saw pole sitter Paul Javaux set the early pace followed by Cody Christensen and Daniel.  Javaux waded through a pair of yellows as leader with dropouts including visitor Dillon Horsley and Daniel.

                  A lap eight restart slider by Christensen swapped the top duo.  Christensen and Javaux were chased by Hagopian as Brendan May, Ancona and Kevin MacIntosh dropped out.  Hagopian garnered second with ten laps remaining before Dayna Hill stalled for the final yellow.

                  Christensen repelled the charge of Hagopian to take his first Plaza win of the season.  Hagopian, Michael Laughton, Javaux and visitor Jessica McManus rounded out the top five.

                  Non Wing 600 action saw Austin Stone set quick time.  Heat race wins went to T.J. Smith and Cody Smothermon.  Starting on the pole spot, Smothermon jumped out to an early lead  in the 30 lap feature over Smith with double duty racer Mason Daniel into the third position.

                  Jack Kassik was an early drop out before Smith pestered Smothermon enough to take the lead on lucky lap thirteen.  The lapping process began well past the halfway mark before Daniel spun out of contention with five laps to go.

                  Smith ran on to his second consecutive feature as he took the win ahead of Smothermon, and fourth row starting Jimmy Leal in one of his better events.  Ben Silliker and Greg DeCaires V ran top five.

                  The younger Restricted 600 racers were paced by quick qualifier Garth Kasiner.  Caeden Steele and Dawson Faria captured heat race victories.   Bakersfield visitor Troy Morris III led the first four circuits of the 25 lap main event before Gauge Garcia spun for a yellow.

                  Kasiner assumed the lead on lap six before second runner Morris III bobbled and stalled his way out of the show.  Jake Smith ran second before taking the lead from Kasiner to lead four circuits.

 A yellow with five laps remaining bunched the field and Kasiner gave Smith a turn four slider to lead the restart.   Kasiner ended up in victory circle followed by Katey Syra, Smith, Faria and Carson Myrick.

Junior Sprint action had four different heat race winners as the group does not qualify but does run two sets of heat races.  Jade Avedisian, Drew Mowry, Wyatt Bookout and Robert Rios won heats.

Twenty laps of main event action were halted on the opening round with Cash Lovenburg getting upside down for the second consecutive week.  Mowry led the initial six laps before Rios ended up on his side in turn four.

The final fourteen laps went green with Lowry leading until five laps remaining.  Avedisian, who also won two weeks ago, then passed Mowry for the top spot.  Double checkers and the victory went to Avedisian and Mowry with Reilee Phillips, Bookout and a returning Rios the top five.

The Stock 600 class was short on cars this week as Cooper Worth led all fifteen laps to win the class main event ahead of Michael Laughton.                    Officials are hoping the count will rebound at the next Keller Auto Raceway at Plaza Park Raceway race scheduled for May 19th.




Visalia, Ca

April 14, 2017

By Paul Vetter

                  Friday night racing at Keller Auto Raceway at Plaza Park began with a season opener consisting of five division open wheel divisions on Good Friday.  A good night it certainly was for feature event winners Jake Hagopian, T.J. Smith, Brooklyn Holland, Gauge Garcia and Jade Avedisian.

                  A new format for the events saw drivers line up for their single heat race via a pill draw.  Heat race finishes and passing points then determine the feature event lineups.  The time consuming qualifying process has been eliminated.

                  Passing was at a premium early in the evening with Super 600 heat wins going to Cole Christensen and Kevin MacIntosh.  However Jake Hagopian passed several cars in his heat and thereby started on the coveted pole starting spot for the 30 lap feature event.

                  Hagopian jumped out to an immediate lead before Mason Daniel spun for a yellow.  Hagopian again led the pack and he began the lapping process prior to the halfway mark while being pursued by Christensen, Heath Duinkerken and Raio Salmon.

                  Kevin McIntosh and Paul Javaux spun their way out of contention with Hagopian leading the final eight green flag laps to claim he win in a dominant run.    Duinkerken , Salmon, Brooklyn Holland and Daniel rounded out the top five spots.

                  Non Winged 600 action saw veteran T.J. Smith and class newcomer Brody Fuson capture heat races in nonstop fashion.  The 30 lap feature started off with a bang as another newcomer Keith Roush flipped in turn three.

                  After Fuson led the first six laps Jack Kassik also flipped unhurt in turn three.  Fourth starting Smith worked Fuson on the restart to take the top spot while being chased by Ryan Delisle and Mason Daniel.  A midrace yellow slowed action with the field now closed up on leader Smith.

                  The final half of the race was all Smith as he led Delisle, Daniel, Cody Smothermon and Fuson to the finish line.  Randy Thompson flipped on the final lap but climbed out unhurt as Smith started his Plaza season off in winning style.

                  The track has decided to return the Stock 600 class into a class of its own.  Double duty driver Brooklyn Holland won the heat race for the class and started on the pole for the 20 lap feature.   Bakersfield racer Troy Morris III failed to start after heat race problems with Holland taking an immediate lead.

                  Breana Hernandez flipped wildly in turn four on the second circuit for a red.  She was ok.  Cooper Worth dropped out on the restart and Holland then led the final laps to take the win ahead of triple duty racer Mason Daniel and Anthony Verissimo.

                  The youngsters of the Restricted 600 class found Katey Syra and Gauge Garcia as heat race winners.  Garcia, up from the Junior Sprints ranks, jumped out to an immediate lead from the pole starting spot ahead of Syra and Garth Kasiner.

                  Dawson Faria bobbled in the turn three apex on lap fourteen and Troy Morris III also became involved tipping his car to its side.  Both drivers were ok but were done for the event.  The leading duo remained unchanged the final laps.

                  Garcia returned to the victory circle for the first time in this class ahead of Syra, ninth starting Jake Smith, Kasiner and Conner Danell.

                  Eleven Junior Sprints competed and Robert Rios and Jade Avedisian took heat race victories.  Drew Mowry started pole position for the 20 lap feature but failed to hold off Avedisian as the distaff racer paced the opening lap.

                  Up jumped the devil prior to lap two as newcomer Cash Lovenburg flipped in turn four.  Jett Barnes was also out with front end damage.  Avedisian maintained the lead on the restart being chased by Mowry and Reilee Phillips.

                  The top three remained in those spots to the finish of the event with Rios and Wyatt Bookout running in the top five of the nine finishing drivers.

                  Racing returns to the speedway in two weeks on April 28th.  Front gates open at 5:30 with racing to commence at 7pm.