Tyler Johnson

Tyler Johnson, shown in action during a July race at Bakersfield Speedway, edged out Brandon Ratcliff by four points to win the American Stock track championship. 

BY TOM MACHT For The Californian

The regular portion of the racing season wrapped up at Bakersfield Speedway last Saturday night with the track crowning it’s final three division champions.

The only championship in question entering the night was in the American Stock division where Tyler Johnson came out on top.

Johnson finished third and won the title by four points over second-place finisher Brandon Ratcliff. Cody Johnson won the race.

Tyler Johnson finished the season with 11 top-five finishes, including six wins, in 16 races. Ratcliff never won but kept close with consistency, finishing in the top five a whopping 14 times. His runner-up finish on Saturday was his sixth of the year.

Rookie Trevor Baker had the Hobby Stock championship wrapped up before heading into Saturday night’s race, where his third-place finish was his 11th in the the top five, including two wins.

Lloyd Wren Jr. finished the year off with his first win on the season. Mike Hill Jr. was second.

Loni Spiller raced to her eighth win in 16 races on Saturday night but it wasn’t enough to overcome the consistency of Misty Warren, who won the championship.

Warren had two wins and 12 top-five finishes, making it three straight championships for women drivers in the division. Tina Bell won three years ago and Spiller last year.

Also in action on Saturday night was the USAC Western States Series where Ronnie Gardner led all 30 laps for the win. 

Next up at the track is the 32nd Bud Nationals Oct. 13-14. 

Shepherd eyes $10,000 prize

Bakersfield’s Buddy Shepherd will be among the favorites to come away with a Late Model victory — and a $10,000 payout — Saturday night as the fifth annual Short Track Shootout takes place at Madera Speedway.

Shepherd has won four of the six point races on the third-mile paved oval this year and will be trying to close out his second championship at the track. He won the 2015 championship at Madera then concentrated at Kern County Raceway in 2016 and won the title there.

Racin Vernon of Bakersfield, who finished eighth in the last race at Madera, will be a among a huge field of more than 50 drivers vying for a starting spot in the 100-lap feature.

Vintage races at Buttonwillow

The Vintage Auto Racing Association is holding it’s Oktoberfest event on Saturday and Sunday at Buttonwillow Raceway Park.

The event includes a special feature race for all German production cars late Saturday afternoon. There will be numerous races for various vintage divisions with qualifying each morning and racing each afternoon.

Admission is $10, good for the entire weekend.

Quick shifts

Derek Thorn of Bakersfield finished fourth in a Spears Southwest Tour points race last Saturday night in Tucson to extend his series points lead. Thorn is 50 points ahead of rookie Ricky Schlick with two races left, the next at Kern County Raceway on Oct. 28.

Mike Griffith can be reached at 661 395-7390. Follow him on Twitter at @MikeGriffith54. 

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